Emily’s Honest Tips for the Best ACL Festival Experience

Emily at ACL Festival 2019

If there is one thing us young people are good at, it’s wearing flashy outfits and going to festivals. Austin City Limits Festival is almost here, and it is my goal to prepare you in the most honest way possible. Sure, anyone can do a quick Google search to learn that bringing a mini fan to a summer festival will be helpful; but where’s the honesty in these tips? Let’s dive fanny pack first into the dirty truth of what is to be expected, pandemic or not. Don’t worry, I am here to be your expert! 😉


  1. If you are wanting to be up at the barrier for your favorite artist, be prepared to give up your first born child.

    • Being a hardcore fan is great, but if you are expecting a front row experience then be prepared to suffer. If you think that you are MGK’s #1 listener, I promise you that there are millions of other people who think that they are too. No matter how many times you can recite his birthday or social security number, if you want that barricade you’ve got to earn it. Be prepared to camp out at a stage as soon as the gates open for that sweet, sweet chance at catching some of MGK’s sweat from the first row.
  2. Alcohol is so much fun… until it isn’t. Death and dehydration is not worth it for a $15 beer.

    • Sure, alcohol is almost a must at concerts. It is important to keep in mind that festivals are NOT concerts. Remember that one time you moshed to a Limp Bizkit show pre-March 2020 and almost passed out from the excessive amount body heat and pure adrenaline? Yeah now try doing that on 4 hours of sleep, in 100 degree weather for 8+ hours a day while only running on one pretzel and 4 beers. Bring a camelback, water is FREE. Or, if you’re cheap like me, get a collapsible water bottle and clip it to your belt. I promise that a tacky-looking water pouch looks better than passing out in the middle of a George Strait set.
  3. Don’t take ANY substances (including H2O) from a dude wearing aviators and a button down shirt with his chest exposed, trust me.

    • Do I really have to elaborate on this one?
  4. Either get used to paying premium prices for chicken strips, or try out cannibalism!

    • ALL LAUGHS but seriously, those prices can be no joke. Sure, your first thought might be to sneak in illegal substances into the park. But if I were a terrible person who encouraged unauthorized things in the park, I would shame you into being more resourceful. This is an apocalyptic situation, people! As the theoretical bad person giving this completely not ethical advice would say: say no to hiding drugs, say yes to hiding granola! (Nick also wants to add that you can always burry it in the park beforehand) Or just plan on budgeting so you can enjoy those local food trucks.
  5. Make sure that you are the coolest one at the park, no posers!

    • You know when you go to a show and everyone only knows that one hit song? Yeah, you’re better than that. Only the coolest kids on the block know every song on their album + their whole SoundCloud library. If you want to be able to stick your nose up at people, this is the way to do it. It also helps the artist, of course, and it might make them all warm and fuzzy inside to see you singing along.
  6. It’s ACL not UTI… ouch.

    • Let me set the scene for you. It’s 9PM and your favorite band is about to go on. Your friends are saving you a spot at the front when suddenly, you feel a pipe about to burst in your pants. You’re sweating, trying to decide what to do while you pick at your sparkly spandex thong bikini. The world feels dark as you take a deep breath and feel a pain in your abdomen. Out of no where you can’t take it anymore, and push through a large group of frat guys to get to the nearest porta potty. It’s 100 degrees outside and the toilet smells like raw fish and old beer. You do your business, feel an instant relief, reach your hand out to grab a small square of pillowy bliss and- your nightmare becomes a reality. No toilet paper… Long story short, don’t get a UTI and bring a roll so you can spare a square.
  7. Charge your phone…

    • See tip #8 after this step is complete.
  8. … So that you can SAFELY dip out on your lame friends

    • Kidding! I bet your friends are cool, but you know what’s not cool? Spending all of that money to miss out on artists you don’t ever see because your pals want to catch a different show. Now of course, safety is important so use this tip with your best judgement. All I am saying is that we’ve all been there. Many of my young regrets include skipping out on shows because I was following the crowd. It’s a pandemic anyways, so YOLO.
  9. Nipple pasties are your friend, boys and girls!

    • It’s 2021 people, we are all about freeing things but in the case that you don’t want a sequin to slip, invest in some pasties. Bonus tip: chafing cream does wonders on all of your bits.
  10. Post what you like, but don’t be that guy

    • Festivals are for fun. Record your favorite song, post your ACL fit, snap your drunk memories to your side piece, but no one likes that guy. You know? The one that records the ENTIRE concert on their phone or Facetimes their friend throughout the whole performance. No one paid to watch Billie Eilish through an iPhone screen. Pick two or three of your fave songs and keep the recordings short. I promise that your Instagram friends will be skipping through your stories anyways.
  11. Have the best time and be safe!

    • We are just thankful that we can enjoy ACL again! Seeing your favorite artists at one of the best festivals in the world is always worth it. Wear your mask, show your vaccine card or negative test, be smart, drink water, make good decisions, and have the best time ever! Don’t forget your common sense and body glitter.


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