This year marks the fourth year that Craig's Hlist will be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival for the Houston Press and Rocks Off. Each year we get more acclimated to the walking and the heat, which should not be a big issue this year with the hoodie weather that has been going down lately.
We don't remember our first go-round in September 2007, because we drank a lot. But we do remember seeing a fire onstage at the Bjork show, Queens Of The Stone Age making us shake our hips, Arcade Fire nearly making us weep in ecstasy, and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy asking us what time Muse was playing, and we probably made out with someone's intern in the media tent. Or at least kissed her cheek or something.
That year Wilco and My Morning Jacket played at the same time on opposite sides of the park. Imagine the turmoil the Rocks Off team was in. We ended up splitting the difference and taking time with both, though.
It was the first time we were let loose to write and blog about things that we loved, and get paid for it. This was before Twitter was a journalistic tool, so we uploaded our thoughts onto MySpace as we went along. If we had Twitter back then, it would no doubt have been sad-sack crap, since we were still bruised from a busted engagement.
That first year we went, we thought we needed to dress the rocker part, and so we wore black jeans and a black T-shirt. This fashion choice nearly destroyed us in the upper-'90s heat wave, and no amount of Lone Star could cool us down. The next day we came back in jorts.
But that's how you learn at festivals - trial and hilarious error. The importance of cold water, light snacks, limited booze intake and appropriate clothing all play a big part. It's not like we met anyone because we were wearing tight black girl-pants that year, so it was all for naught. There is no shame in looking and feeling comfortable.
ACL's organizers sent out a top ten list a few days ago, full of tips on how to survive the festival. It's a little too preachy and geared towards you buying shit, so we decided to give you the seamier side of each tip.
NEED TO FIND THE BOX OFFICE? WE'VE GOT THREE
After you get your wristbands and whatnot, you then get patted down like you are going on a jet plane to London to be tried for war crimes. Don't bring any knives, tasers, shotguns, bongs or crack pipes, Joe Walsh of the Eagles. You have been warned.
GO GREEN TO ZILKER PARK
Go green, huh? No one picks up their own trash, you leave your beer cans on the ground, cigarette butts are as prevalent as ants, the grass gets torn up by tripping hippies. (And this is if it doesn't rain.) Going green is for the organizers, not Joe ACL, who just wants to see some bare hipster titty during M.I.A.'s set.
RESPECT THE CHAIR-FREE ZONE
This chair-free zone is really just where the magic happens. You can smoke pot, swill off your snuck-in flask, make out with random folks you meet and watch music too.
STAY CONNECTED AT ACL: MOBILE APPS, GROUP TEXT, WIFI & MORE
Phones hardly work at ACL; when they do, it's frantic texts from friends who can't find you or people calling while you are in front of a two-story amp. Most times the Internet is up at ACL, so that's not such a bad deal. But it's still hard to download porn.
GET SIGNED AT ACL... KINDA (MEET THE ARTISTS)
We have never stood in line to meet any of the artists, and we wish we had time to. Before the White Stripes canceled their 2007 appearance, we had a whole Meg White scenario planned for the meet-and-greet tent. It involved duct tape, a Boz Scaggs cassette and our great-grandmother's wedding ring.
HYDRATE UP & COOL DOWN
Water is expensive, and drinking out of the misting stations is weird as hell. You want liquids, but you will be damned if you drink something that won't make you drunk.
KICK BACK & RELAX AT ACL
Believe it or not, our ACL trips are more stressful than they are relaxing. We get worried about so many things, like whether or not we will make it back to The Jackalope on Sixth Street in time for the last part of happy hour, or if we have enough baby powder with us so we don't chafe. Don't get us started on needing dollars to tip the bartenders in the media tent. It's like a prison.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR DO'S AND DON'TS
"Do yourself a big favor and take a minute to run down our list of authorized and unauthorized items so you don't show up at the gates on your skateboard and a fistful of fireworks," says the ACL site. This line was written because of us one year, but substitute "drunken Russian mail-order bride we picked up in Bastrop" for "skateboard." Her name was Zelda and she had an Eve 6 tattoo on her boob. Good times.
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YOU COULD WIN BIG AT ACL 2010
More ways for the folks to get your personal information so they can put a chip in your brain while you are at the dentist. Sign up to win a car, pick up trash to win an ACL T-shirt, drunk-tweet for VH1, or sell your soul to State Farm. Sounds like a perfect Saturday night to us.
JOIN THE PINT-SIZED PARTY AT AUSTIN KIDDIE LIMITS
Craig's Hlist has no kids, so we can't go into the kiddie area. We should, though, to pick up on some hot single moms taking a smoke break while Junior plays Guitar Hero: "Hey Mama, you like boys in debt who have weird scars?"