A decade ago this month, Rocks Off Sr. drove down from Jasper to check out this new event in Zilker Park called the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Back then it was a far cry from what it would become - there were only a couple of stages, and one of them was just a platform in the middle of a field. The park was also not jammed wall-to-wall with people, which was nice.
Rocks Off imagines we'll be thinking back on that first ACL a lot during this weekend's Best of Houston® BestFest. We're expecting an intimate, laid-back affair more like a backyard party than a music festival, but with a pretty killer lineup. Before it's even started, in fact, we came up with six things BestFest already has over ACL.
6. The Weather. Unlike years past, the weather wasn't bad at ACL this year - a little rain (finally), a little muggy - but this weekend looks like the reason God created Texas in the first place: Highs in the low 90s, manageable humidity, not a cloud in the sky.
5. It's Smaller. Rocks Off took one souvenir away from ACL this year, and it was totally free: A gnarly-ass blister on our right big toe that may never heal. That's what happens when you walk 25 miles in three days. (We'd show you, but we don't want to gross you out right before the weekend.) At BestFest, though, you can make a lap around the entire superblock in the time it would take to hit one of the ACL portapotties.
4. It's Closer. Like right down the street, for a lot of you. We know it's a drag that the light rail is shut down, but trust us, you'll barely miss it. There's no stigma to hopping on one of the Rail Shuttle buses - they're clean and the seats are more comfortable. The buses actually run more often than the train, every 10 minutes or so, and they'll drop you right outside the superblock gates.
3. No Conflicts. At ACL, watching Manu Chao meant missing Fleet Foxes, Cee-Lo cost you Cut Copy, etc. etc. Not so at BestFest, where each performer will have the Superblock all to themselves during their sets.
2. It's Cheaper. ACL prices start at $75 for a no-frills one-day pass. BestFest is a recession-friendly $25 per day or $40 for the whole weekend. Go ahead and get your tickets now and save yourself that time in line at the box office - it is payday, after all.
1. Because a Lot of You Still Don't Know How Much Good Music Houston Has. Something that's come up in discussions of our lineup is that it's the "same people" who play "all the time," to which someone's grandmother might say, "We should all be so lucky." BestFest is for the Outer-Loopers, exurbanites, people who can't or don't want to stay out at Fitz or Rudz until the wee hours, and everybody else.
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Besides, as someone who has seen many of these acts umpteen times, we can assure you they're just as rewarding the 15th time as the first. You could take our word for it, or you could just come see for yourself - we know which one we'd choose.
See everything else you need to know about BestFest at bestfesthouston.com.