ACL 2011: Festival in the City

Similar to our Regina Folk Festival, Austin City Limits festival happens inside Austin. Attendees not only get a festival –- they get a whole city to explore. After having a few days to experience Austin here’s what I’ve learned:

Austin’s town motto “Keep Austin Weird” is literal.  Austin is nuts and people like it that way. While the rest of the Texas votes red, Austin votes blue.

People are laid back, unbelievably cordial and helpful. It’s like classic coastal laid back hippie attitudes combined with southern gentrification. Austin is an environmentally conscious city. Cycling culture is huge and bikers aggressively rule the road. Both cyclists and motorists know the rules, both parties follow them. Cycling is easily the most convenient way to get around the city.

The nightlife is out of control awesome with music venues, pubs, restaurants and shops lining pretty much every street in downtown. Live music is huge.  Austin is not a new city. It’s drenched in years of wear and tear. Think Willie Nelson’s looks, apply that to architecture and that’s much of downtown Austin. It’s unmatched in character charm.

Austin City Limits festival, much like the Regina Folk Festival, adheres to the daytime visitors. In the grounds there are lots of chairs and an unbelievable number of people. Zilker Park is packed worse than O’Hanlon’s on Saturday night. The line between walking to a certain stage and arriving at the stage is blurred. Sometimes you just can’t move anymore which can be claustrophobic at times.