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.

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  • 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.

Welcome to Austin

Video: Muse at Outside Lands

In case you didn’t catch wind of it, Outside Lands went down successfully a couple of weeks ago. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is held every year in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. If you haven’t ever heard of the festival, that’s probably because it’s still pretty new. The first edition of Outside Lands was in 2008 and brought in 40,000-60,000 attendees per day. With clear support and demand, Outside Lands has continued putting on a memorable show each year since 2008. Geared toward the green movement, Outside Lands is not only a big summer travel destination spot for music-lovers, but it’s also considered to be one of the most eco-friendly music festivals in the USA.
This year’s festival saw the likes of Muse, Phish, The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, The Roots, MGMT, and many more. The Muse performance, however, is what caught my eye. Check out the video above for some first-hand footage of the bright lights during the Muse set. I saw Muse at the Austin City Limits festival last October and I can attest: those green lasers are just as intense in person as they seem in the video.

Unfortunately, festival season is soon coming to an end. If you have your tickets to one of the few festivals remaining, let us know which one in the comments. And if you were lucky enough to participate in Outside Lands 2011, tell us about your experience!

Top 10 Travel Attractions of San Francisco

Bonnaroo Photo Galleries

I made kind a big fuss about Bonnaroo. I tried to encourage anyone who had the means to attend the festival. Because, as excruciating as the Tennessee sun while camping can be, the festival was the highlight of my summer last year. Whether or not you managed to make it to Manchester, Tennessee for the festival, you should scope the photos Bonnaroo has released from last weekend’s festivities.

The people running the show over at Bonnaroo.com did a great job with compiling photo galleries this year–galleries of just about every act and moment that was a part of the event. Take a peak and either look for your own face or see what you missed. If you like what you see, start thinking about Bonnaroo 2012.

Check out the recently-released Bonnaroo photos here.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo: know before you go

Bonnaroo kicks off today. In fact, at this precise moment, music-lovers anticipating one of the best weekends of their respective summers are pitching their tents and working out which bands they’ll see tonight. I remember this feeling. I went to Bonnaroo last year and had such a blast that I got passes for this year’s festival, as well. Unable to make the trip at the last minute, I am living vicariously through festival-goers, flipping through their Facebook photos as they roll into my news feed. The photos will chronicle the fun they’ll inevitably be have. If you’re gearing up for the next few days of Bonnaroo, here’s a little run-down of things you should know before you go. This will help you to get a little more acquainted with the festival before it swings into full gear and, with any luck, it will increase the chances of you having a smooth and stress-free experience.

  • Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival takes place every year in Manchester, Tennessee. It’s held at Great Stage Park and this year’s festival is #10 for Bonnaroo. The term ‘bonnaroo’ originated in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans a slang interpretation of the French words ‘bon’ (good) and ‘rue’ (street), which translated to “the best on the streets” in New Orleans. The term was popularized by Dr. John with his 1974 album Destively Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo has invested its resources since the beginning in sustainability and for this reason, it is one of the most Earth-friendly music festivals out there. The festival drew in roughly 75,000 fans last year, most of them having traveled to the festival.
  • Tickets. Tickets are sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, you’re not going. Start saving up for next year’s festival.
  • Alcohol. No glass containers or kegs are allowed on the premises of Bonnaroo. No outside alcohol is allowed inside of the What Stage Venue or Centeroo.
  • Grilling. Grilling is permitted, but only with small grills and camping stoves.
  • Fires. Absolutely no open fires are allowed.
  • Gas. There is no gas available on the festival grounds, so make sure you fill your tank before entering the festival.
  • Pets. No pets, none at all.
  • Re-entry. No vehicles can leave the grounds before 9pm Friday night and expect to re-enter. If you do leave Friday and expect to re-enter, then you must depart from either the East or West Tollbooth. You will only be allowed to leave and re-enter once during the festival.
  • Day parking. Those parking just for the day may only enter and depart through the West Tollbooth.
  • Leaving on foot. Patrons are permitted to leave on foot if they are scanned out by the East or West Tollbooth.
  • Wristband. Do not put it on before you get to the festival. Period.

ADVICE

  • Be neighborly! Bonnaroo is a friendly place–embrace it.
  • Schedule music-seeing carefully. You won’t be able to see everything you want to see, just know that and prepare for that.
  • Have a shade-solution. It will be difficult to find shade for certain shows, so come with a parasol or sun hat at least.
  • Bring cash and avoid ATM fees.
  • For every alcoholic beverage you consume, consume a glass of water. This is a good rule of thumb in general, but especially when you’re outside in the heat all day. Bonnaroo has seen its share of alcohol or drug-related deaths–take care of yourself.

THINGS TO BRING

  • Spare set of keys
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Plenty of sunblock, a sun hat, a sun umbrella, whatever you need to combat the sun and heat.
  • Aloe
  • Cooler with food
  • Flashlight
  • Raingear and mud boots
  • Camping gear
  • Blanket for seating
  • Bandana
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra toilet paper
  • Flag or balloon to identify camp site
  • Small luggage lock for tent
  • Earplugs
  • Camera WITHOUT detachable lens
  • Pen/Paper
  • Phosphate and sulfate free soaps
  • Ashtray for cigarette smokers

THINGS NOT TO BRING

  • Fireworks
  • Weapons
  • Illegal substances
  • Vending materials of any kind
  • Bicycles, scooters, or any other personal motorized vehicle
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Styrofoam coolers

THINGS PROVIDED

  • Drinking water
  • Medical assistance
  • Wash stations
  • Showers
  • Portable toilets with toilet paper
  • General store
  • Food, beverages, and snacks for sale
  • ATM machines

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Bonnaroo 2011: Why you should go

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo 2011: why you should go


Bonnaroo 2011
is bound to be fun. I say this with confidence because I packed a car (and a cooler) and pitched my(embarrassingly huge, but purchased as a gift by my mother) tent at Bonnaroo last year. I had scored some V.I.P. passes to the festival last minute and decided, without much hesitation, that it was about time I experienced a camping music festival for myself. As soon as I rolled into the parking/camping lot for the festival, I knew I’d made the right decision.

My fiance and I pulled into the muddy lot and put our borrowed car in park. We pulled out said giant tent and began to piece together the puzzle that putting it together wound up to be. We did this with PBRs in hand and serendipitously, it seemed, everyone around us was doing the same thing: wrestling with tent instructions and alternating stakes with beer-filled aluminum cans. The sun was setting in that neon pink and orange light, the kind of colors that consistently paint the sky on the best summer nights. Our neighbors were also from Brooklyn, and also really really excited to be hanging out beyond the Tri-State borders for a few days.

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We entered the festival last year just in time to catch The Temper Trap’s show. We’d never heard of them before, but just a song into their set we found ourselves asking people around us, “Who are these guys?”, knowing that it didn’t actually matter who they were–the experience of being at this festival was already speaking for itself, above and beyond the name or online merch. store url for any specific band.

We traveled all over in 2010. From New Orleans to Grenada, Costa Rica to the Blue Ridge Parkway, we certainly didn’t stay in one place for very long. And yet when all was said and done, those four days we stayed in that one place, Bonnaroo, will never be forgotten.

Although general admission tickets are now sold out for the upcoming Bonnaroo 2011, V.I.P. tickets are still available. And after having had V.I.P. tickets myself, all I can say is this: you’ll be showered and not walking miles each morning to get into the heart of the festival. The 4-day party takes place in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee and the dates this year are June 9-12.

Not sure if you want to invest in the sonic adventure yet? Well, here are some highlights that just might remedy your uncertainty.

  • Silent Disco. Everyone’s wearing wireless headphones, but dancin’ to the same song. From the outside looking in, everyone’s shakin’ their thang in utter silence. Inside? It’s a party.
  • Planet Earth. Bonnaroo is paving the path for eco-friendly festivals. Local food, composting, free water… the Bonnaroo green initiatives know no limit.
  • Yoga. Imagine hundreds (or thousands depending on how many people can rise and shine in time) doing sun salutes in unison as the Bonnaroo day breaks. It’s truly a sight to behold.
  • Artists’ Market. I was impressed with the wide expanse of legitimate artist booths at Bonnaroo last year. More handmade local goods, less made in China duplicates. That’s the idea and Bonnaroo holds to it. My handmade purse I purchased last year is regularly referred to as the ‘Bonnaroo Bag’ at home.
  • Bonnaroo Cinema & Comedy. If you need a break from all of the music listening, good-food eating, and fine-beer drinking, you can always chill out at Bonnaroo Cinema or Comedy tents to change up the kinds of shows you’re seeing.
  • Good vibes, anyone? Never before have I entered a certain community and felt so immediately welcomed and loved. There was something in the air at Bonnaroo last year, some kind of love and peace cocktail, if you ask me. And this, above everything else, is what will bring me back this year if I can make it.
  • Travel. Few people actually live in Manchester, Tennessee. Because of this, Bonnaroo is a time for travel for most attendees. It’s a time to pack the bags and file into cars, trains, buses, and plains and get there, one way or another. Talk to anyone who has traveled to Bonnaroo and they’ll back me up when I say: Bonnaroo is as much about getting there as anything else.
  • The MUSIC. Last, but of course not least, Bonnaroo is about the music. Some artists highlighting this year’s roster for me: Robert Plant & Band of Joy, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mumford & Sons, Primus, Florence + the Machine, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Explosions in the Sky, Gogol Bordello, Beirut, Ratatat, Atmosphere, Portugal. The Man, Band of Skulls, Man Man, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Black Keys, and, you guessed it, many many more.

For more information on Bonnaroo, check out their website.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival