It's almost here.
The one event I dread annually, more than a filling being replaced and more than Christmas shopping.
I have but three words for you:
Austin City Limits.
While most people come into town for this glorious three-day cacophonous sweatfest, I try to plan my way out. It's not that I hate live music. But in my opinion, live music should be an experience, not an event. Much like camping, I shy away from ACL because I just can't get behind something that doesn't have several basic amenities: a place to sit or lie down, somewhere to rinse off my feet (weird, I know), easy access to food and water and oh yeah, a bathroom.
Throw sixty five thousand people into that mix and you’ve got a campsite from Hell. So, I just say no. I haven’t been to ACL and, barring a Billy Joel appearance, I don’t plan on going.
Every year, my friends and coworkers dutifully buy their tickets and carefully plan out their weekend in advance. Friends from out of town (one year a friend from Zurich made the trek) suddenly are calling and wanting to meet up – a nice concept in theory. I gently remind them that I never go to ACL and that this year isn’t any different, at which point they say “Oh! Well, we’ll just meet up afterward.” Yeah, at around 3 AM at the after-after party after the other one that’s after Kings of Leon. That’s gonna happen. My small office is inevitably deserted on Friday and my boss usually feels sorry for me and lets me leave early.
By the way – a Texas music festival in the summer? Newsflash: It’s still hot in Austin right now. Just because we all threw our windows open and broke out the hot chocolate last week does not mean 95 degrees is some sort of cold front. Remember the year of the dustbowl in 2005? People’s diehard listening aptitude was judged by how much dirt they had outlining their flip-flops and the Zilker Park soccer “fields” were reduced to something more resembling a rodeo arena. If I have to make a burka out of a handkerchief to attend, I ain't goin'.
No, I don’t get into ACL – the afterparties, the pre-parties, the during parties, nothing. I use it as a time to catch up on things I can’t do any other time of the year in Austin, like drive down Mopac during rush hour or find street parking downtown. There’s never a wait at Guerro’s during the headliners at the festival and if you can get down to the Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail, it’s practically deserted.
So here’s to you, ACLers! May you find your happiness darting from stage to stage and enjoy that beautiful “Great Lawn” that appeared to be underwater last week.
I'll be in the AC listening to iTunes, beverage in hand, with cleaner feet.