ACL: know before you go

The Austin City Limits Music Festival, usually referred to as ACL, is coming up soon. And really, Austin deserves some semblance of fun after this horrendous fire-infused, rain-free, 100+-degrees-for-way-too-many-days-in-a-row summer. After attending ACL last year just a few days after I’d arrived to Austin from New York City and successfully having a blast, I decided to get tickets for this year’s festival, as well. Acts taking the stage at ACL 2011 include Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Alison Krauss, Nas, Cee Lo, Bright Eyes, TV On The Radio, Death From Above 1979, and, of course, just like every other festival out there, many more.

So why does this festival matter to traveling folks? Well, because over 70,000 people attend the festival every day. And they’re not all Austinites. They travel from all over the globe to be a part of this festival. Indeed, ACL is a travel destination for many. And with that, I present you, your handy Know Before You Go list for ACL.


  • Austin City Limits. Austin City Limits Music Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, September 16-18. The festival takes place annually in Zilker Park, Austin, Texas.
  • Tickets. All 3-day tickets are now sold out. And, unfortunately, day passes for Friday and Saturday are sold out. But wait! You can still attend. On Sunday. You can hurry and grab your Sunday pass and still catch acts like Arcade Fire, Social Distorion, Death From Above 1979, Broken Social Scene, The Walkmen, and more.
  • Food. The food at ACL is phenomenal, especially when you consider that this is a festival and festivals (until the recent warmly welcomed changing atmosphere of festivals) usually sell hot dogs, popcorn, and ice cream. Austin has a diverse food scene and many of the restauranteurs make their mark in the ACL Food Court. Some of my favorites are Tiff’s Treats, P. Terry’s, Amy’s Ice Cream, and The Salt Lick, but check out this link for a full list of food vendors.
  • Art. ACL boasts a pretty decent Art Market within the festival grounds. Check out this link for the full list of artists.
  • Alcohol. You’re not allowed to bring in alcohol. If you want to drink, you’re going to have to drink what they’re selling inside.
  • Pets. I’m disappointed too, but no, you may not bring your pets to ACL.
  • Re-Entry. Here’s how it works: You exchange your 3-day ticket for a wristband. You need to wear your wristband to enter the festival. As long as you’re wearing your wristband, you can come and go as you please. Unfortunately, if you only have a single day ticket, you won’t receive a wristband and, therefore, you won’t be allowed re-entry.
  • Transportation. If you’re looking to not drive to and from ACL, there are, of course, other options. ACL (and Austin, in general) is bike friendly. There are not only bike racks at each entrance of the festival, but there is also a bike shop at each entrance of the festival. If you need parts or repair, you can stop by Mellow Johnny’s Bike Station. If you’re within walking distance, walk! It’s not the fasted mode of transportation, but it’s certainly good for the body and mind. You can also ride the free shuttle from Republic Square (4th & Guadalupe) to ACL. The shuttles begin at 10am and their last round is at 11pm. Taxis are another good option and they’ll be around for the flagging.
  • Parking. There is absolutely no parking available on the grounds of the festival. None. So here is what you do if you’re driving. Park at One Texas Center (here’s a map). The parking there is free after 5pm on Friday, September 16th and $10 on Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th. It’s a pretty easy walk over to the festival from the garage. You can also park in town. We found reliable spots on West 6th last year and walked from there.
  • Activities. Photo Booths, car giveaways, and filtered water fill-ups are a few of the few things non-music ACL has going on. That’s right. I said ‘a few of the few’ for a reason: there’s not much non-music stuff going on at ACL, especially not compared to festivals like Bonnaroo.

ADVICE: ACL is crowded, but it’s fun. But keep the crowded thing in mind. Plan accordingly. If you have anxiety and think you may need to bring your medication, I suggest you do. It’s also going to be hot. HOT. Very hot. Prepare for the heat and sun in every way you know how. I saw a girl passed out cold last year from what I bet was drug or alcohol related, but the heat certainly didn’t help. Don’t let that be you this year. Prepare.

THINGS TO BRING & NOT TO BRING: The powers that be behind the curtains of ACL have put together a helpful list of things you can bring and things you cannot bring right here.

THINGS PROVIDED: Most of the things you need are within ACL… food, drinks, water fill-ups, medics, etc. But check the ACL website to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the festival before you arrive.

Video: Arcade Fire at Coachella

Music festivals are one of the best ways to spend your sweet summer time. Although we’re still a ways off from the official launch of summer, many music fans consider Coachella the beginning of summer… or, at least, the beginning of summer festivals. As the season of love via live music swings fuller into gear, I’ll help you navigate as many music festivals as I can. But for now, lets talk about Coachella.

Coachella is one of the bigger USA music festivals each year and it’s safe to say that the festival acts as a vacation destination for people across the globe. With 225,000 attendees last year, this year’s festival had a whole lot of hype leading up to its launch. Coachella just wrapped up last night and in case you haven’t heard, it seems as though there might have been some desert-style drama at the event, both good and bad.

Kanye West slammed the event and other event performers. Cee Lo Green showed up late and blamed the festival for his tardiness. But on a more positive energy note, Arcade Fire illuminated their audience with a set you can check out in the video above.

Jamie Lynn, Britany, Kanye: Celebrities at Los Angeles airport create problems for the rest of us

Let’s say you’ve arrived at LAX airport and you happen to look, kind of, like Jamie Lynne Spears, and it–kind of, looks like you are carrying a baby. From this LA Times article’s account, you’d be surrounded by some paparazzi in a wild flurry as they snapped your picture hoping to sell it to TMZ, Perez Hilton, or some other celeb loving publication.

That’s what happened Wednesday night when Jamie Lynne Spears was to arrive at the airport with new baby in tow. Spears did show up, but the paparazzi were going after a decoy. [Although, by this account, she wasn’t a decoy–but someone who just happened to look like Jamie Lynn Spears who the police were helping get through the airport in the flock of paparazzi. I’m confused.]

At any rate. Supposing you weren’t a decoy, but someone who REALLY does look a bit like Jamie Lynn Spears? What Wednesday’s story does illustrate is that LAX is becoming increasingly a paparazzi paradise for snapping pics as celebrities haul themselves and their luggage through the airport.

Big deal, you might think. But, according to what I read, it’s having an influence on travel for the rest of us. Sure, you may not be hounded by people trying to take your picture, but when Kanye West was arrested earlier this week, it gummed up the airport’s flow. Security was busy handling Kanye West’s arrest outside the passenger security areas of Terminal 4. As exciting as it may have looked to be part of the melodrama, what about catching that plane?

The article also said that such nonsense creates flight delays for everyone else–not just the celebrities whose pictures are in high demand. The article also talked about how people happened to be at the airport the same time when Britney Spears was flanked by photographers who were vying for a good angle while she was making her way on the escalator.

It’s not that she was on the escalator by her lonesome. As the paparazzi flocked, some people were knocked askew. From the article’s description, it sounds like celebrities make it through the airport often, so much so that photographers stake themselves out there daily.

If you want to see what it’s like to be a celebrity, figure out which one you look like, head to the airport and try to act like you don’t want your picture taken. Might be fun—or not.

The question is. Is the photo of Jamie Lynne Spears or the decoy? I think it’s the decoy.

Next time you see Kanye West at the airport, don’t take his photo!

Rapper Kanye West was arrested at LAX airport this afternoon, after a fight involving someone taking his photo, and a reporter with a video camera.

The altercation started when someone took a photo of the rapper, and then refused to hand over his camera when the bodyguard decided that nobody could take photos. The bodyguard then grabbed the camera, and smashed it on the terminal floor.

To make matters worse, Kanye West then spotted the journalist with his video camera, who had captured the entire incident on tape, and when he refused to hand over the camera, that one got smashed too!

Both Kanye West and the bodyguard are being held on a $20,000 bail. Of course, after seeing the video of the battle, I can’t help wonder why anyone would pick today of all days to start a fight in an airport. Seems like a really stupid thing to do. already has the video online, as well as a link to the LAPD booking sheet.

When You Can’t Travel to the Food, Have the Food Travel to You!

Kanye West brought a whole new meaning to the “curry run” recently. Apparently, when he found Manhattan’s culinary choices a little too confining, he was tipped off–by fellow rap star Snoop Dogg–to the world’s best curry take-out: the British Raj, near Newport, Wales.

Masud Ahmed, the restaurant’s owner, didn’t know who Kanye was, when the faxed order came in. But, he was happy to have his head chef fulfill the 3000-mile delivery order. The special eight-dish meal ended up costing Kanye over $3800 USD for the restaurant bill alone, plus the costs of transporting the chef and the temperature-controlled dry ice containers to Heathrow by helicopter, then business class to NYC, then limousined to the party (transport costs paid by the record company).

The chef gets his first trip to the States, and Kanye’s guests get curry in a hurry, relatively. Maybe next time, he’ll just go to the restaurant in person.

Oh, and, by the way, no need to call up Snoop for the 4-1-1; we got you covered. Here’s the restaurant’s contact info: The British Raj Lounge Bar, 68 Tregwilym Rd., Rogerstone, Wales, NP10 9EJ, telephone: +44-01633-892-377.