Austin City Limits Festival lineup announced, griping begins

Performers have been announced for the 10th annual Austin City Limits music festival, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 in Austin’s Zilker Park. Headliners include Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Fleet Foxes. You can see the whole lineup here.

Before the announcement fans speculated on artists that included Radiohead, the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Paul Simon and maybe even the reformed Buffalo Springfield. All of those acts are booked at other festivals this summer and at first glance the ACL lineup seems in line with the other three major U.S. festivals – Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza. But truth to be told, the Austin lineup also feels a little off, when you consider it’s the 10th anniversary of the festival and all. You would expect something a little more spectacular, you know?

The middle part of the roster includes diverse acts like Randy Newman, Iron & Wine, Chromeo, TV On The Radio (didn’t one of its members just die?), Airborne Toxic Event, Big Boi, etc. which may be fine to see for free at SXSW but a little harder to get enthused about when you’re paying $185 for a three-day entry. The middle part of the lineup seems light on hometown heroes this year, even though it includes staples Asleep at the Wheel, Jack Ingram, Ryan Bingham, Hayes Carll and Courtyard Hounds (two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks). And Fleet Foxes just played Austin a few weeks ago, Bright Eyes had a free full show during SXSW – you can nitpick this one to death.

Stevie Wonder set for ACL Fest.

But on the other hand: Arcade Fire is the biggest band in the world after its Grammy Award for Best Album, Kanye West may be a dick but he’s also backing an acclaimed current album, and Stevie Wonder is a stone legend. So if any of these interest you, go to the ACL festival website sooner than later and purchase a one-day ticket for $90. Three-day passes sold out a long time ago, but they are easy to find (particularly a few days before the event) on StubHub and Craigslist.

The fest, with a capacity of 75,000 a day, grossed just over $15 million in ticket sales last year but it’s the cheapest ticket of the four major U.S. festivals. Three-day passes to Lollapalooza are $215, Coachella and Bonnaroo multidays also top $200. But one weird thing about ACL is that it’s the only one that puts three-day passes on sale before it announces headliners or any part of its lineup.

This year, the limited amount of three-day passes sold out within a few hours and now all that’s left are one-day tickets at 90 bucks apiece – if you want to go all three days, do the math … it’s more expensive than any other festival. So it’s no wonder ACL has so many complainers. Maybe they should use a more conventional ticketing system and not let fans’ expectations run wild.

Well, if you’re in Texas and want to do some outdoor music before September, by all means check out the Free Press Summerfest, slated for June 4-5 in Houston’s Eleanor Tinsley Park. This one has as headliners Weezer, Cut Copy, Ween, Big Boi, Beirut, Yeasayer and many others. General admission weekend passes are $45 and are still on sale!

Austin City Limits festival website

Free Press Summerfest website

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