Austin City Limits: Desperate times, desperate measures
An Austin City Limits weekend adventure
Published: Monday, September 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07
Dedicated to discussing and promoting both local and regional musicians, venues, and festivals, this culture blog is updated every Monday. Readers can look forward to music reviews, concert updates, and commentary on the best in the music world.
As I hope you guys and gals already know, one of the greatest music festivals in the world, "Austin City Limits," took place this last weekend, hosting several of the greatest bands in the world at the pristine festival grounds of Zilker Park. Every year, the three day weekend of ACL manages to charge the normally relaxed streets of Austin with an atmosphere of excitement and electricity strong enough to draw yuppies and hipsters from all over the state into one centralized location for an all out, non-stop partying frenzy.
I unfortunately couldn't get my hands on an ACL ticket, but my friend…uh…Bob somehow managed to get into the festival, but only after a foot race with a security guard who took him over the top of two large fences and a Porta-Potty.
On Saturday, "Bob," played with his band at "Ditch The Fest Fest," one of the several unofficial mini-festivals that took place outside of Austin City Limits. When Bob arrived with his friends at Cheer Up Charlie's, the venue he was scheduled to play was threatened by a chance of rain.. However, thanks to the rain delay on his outdoor stage,.an intense 30-minute rain dance ritual broke out. Coincidentally, the downpour stopped, and the magnificent Texas sun emerged from the darkness in all of its glory. Bob's band proceeded to run through the short set without a hitch, and was also gifted a few free beers in the process, which made up for the situation.
Now that my friend Bob and his friends were free to do whatever they wanted with the rest of the night, it was decided that they would quickly consume far too many drinks ( kool-aid of course), and ride their bicycles, which had been stacked on top of their band van in the most inefficient and unsightly manner possible, through the now over-crowded streets of Austin. This later proved to be both a grand and terrible idea at the same time.
Not thinking about the point of elevation from which Bob and friends would be starting their adventure, they proceeded to sloppily speed down a series of massive hills until coming to a gradual stop at the madness of 6th street, where they saw amazing things.
Things like a far too dedicated and scantily clad mechanical bull rider, whose attempts to impress the crowd with artificial finesse, backfired terribly. After wandering the streets for many hours, it was now time to head back to the van. Now realizing the terrible mistake that had been made, Bob would now have to frustratingly pedal his terrible beach cruiser up one of the largest hills that he had ever seen. Thirty minutes later, and on the brink of complete exhaustion, Bob had finally reached the van.
Bob's band was also supposed to perform at another mini-festival on Sunday afternoon, but after a brief altercation with a parking attendant over whether or not the small festival was still on, or even existed, Bob and friends decided that it would be better to instead try to see one of their favorite bands, Arcade Fire, at Austin City Limits. There was only one problem. Bob was completely broke, and unwilling to get the cash needed for a ticket by the only currently reasonable option of engaging in a one day plasma donation spree.
After pondering their options for some time, Bob and friends decided that the only viable course of action would be to sneak into the festival. Of course, right? While scouting out potential areas where security was the weakest, Bob came across a group of teenagers who were dead-set on jumping the massive perimeter fence. This option seemed very risky, but they all came to the consensus that if a larger group of people were to make a dash for the festival, it would be harder for the roaming security guards to capture them.
Bob and friends lined up along the fence, there were about 8 of them. Suddenly someone in the line yelled "GO!" and the gang threw themselves over the perimeter only to be greeted by a guard who angrily yelled something into his radio and began a pursuit. After the perimeter fence, there was a 20-foot dash and then another quick fence climb. Once on top of the last fence, it was only a matter of hurdling a tall row of Porta-Potties, and running as fast and discretely as possible into the crowd. In a blur of motion, Bob somehow threw himself over the last fence, and down onto the soft grass of Zilker Park.
He had made it in.
He ran as fast as he could into the massive crowd, dodging the old-timers as they sat in their adorable fold up chairs, with the adrenaline-fueled agility that rivaled that of a cheetah on the savannah. (However cheetahs do not scream and throw their paws in the air as they run, like Bob did.). Lastly, in a desperate attempt of camouflage, Bob took off his now torn and tattered shirt to blend in with the greasy and sweaty crowd. Bob and friends then stood together in awe as they witnessed the greatest show of their life.
"It was a great weekend", said Bob, front and center at the main stage. My friend Bob and his friends watched one of their favorite bands put on an incredible show of unparalleled intensity.
Steve Wells is a senior marketing major at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School. In addition to being a student, he is also a local musician and promoter.