Austin City Limits

Breaking Down the ACL Festival 2018 Daily Lineups

What time do you get to the stage to get a good vantage point to see Sir Paul?
What time do you get to the stage to get a good vantage point to see Sir Paul? Photo by Jim Bricker
The time is not quite here for the tough decisions of which stages you’ll be at when two of your favorites are playing at the same time, but the 2018 Austin City Limits Festival schedule did become a little clearer this week as the festival announced which acts were playing which days. For those of you who held off getting three-day tickets because you don’t want to drop a ton of money on travel and food, now is the time to pick which of the three days you’ll be planning to attend.

The biggest revelation here is which acts will be headlining on which days. Friday night will be topped by sets from Paul McCartney and Odesza and Sunday night will be anchored by Childish Gambino and Arctic Monkeys. On Saturday there is a little bit of a shakeup as weekend one has Metallica, at the moment, at the top of the list all on their own, while weekend two has both them and Travis Scott—who drops at Astroworld this Friday, if you haven’t seen his giant gold head outside of Cactus Music—at the top of the bill.

Those Saturday shows are set up to be some of the most rocking that ACL has ever hosted, and they’re definitely leaning in on making the lead up to Metallica something special. Deftones look to be in a direct support slot weekend one, which is going to make for a hell of a one-two combo if you’re into heavy music; Deftones won’t be around weekend two but, in one of the weirdest ACL bookings ever, Disturbed will be, and I’m fascinated to see how the ACL crowd responds to them. Those Saturday shows also feature Justice, St. Vincent, The Breeders, and Chvrches, making it, in my opinion, easily the best day of the weekend.

Although I understand if you look at the Friday lineup and disagree with me. You’ve got one of the most important musicians in history as one of the headliners, plus indie mega-favorites The National, one of the best and most creative live performers of all time in David Byrne, and Hozier, who is so much better than “Take Me To Church” might have you believe. It should at the very least make for a very good kick off to both weekends.

Which leads to the conundrum of Sunday. Sunday's lineup isn’t bad, but it’s also one of those lineups that makes you really question if you should head back home early to get some extra sleep for Monday or gut it out. Janelle Monáe should be amazing and I have a soft spot for Twin Shadows, but the top of the card pales to the first two nights. While I think Childish Gambino will be great, you’ll be able to see him at the Toyota Center in September. There’s nothing wrong with Arctic Monkeys, but you can see them at Revention on October 12 without having to stand in the sun all day. The rest of the lineup for both weekends just isn’t quite as electrifying as what’s going on Friday and Saturday.

For now, you can check out the entire day by day breakdown below and start crossing your fingers that you have too many scheduling conflicts. With the fest two months away, now is the time to start hydrating while also praying for good weather.

click to enlarge
Graphic courtesy ACL Fest

click to enlarge
Graphic courtesy ACL Fest
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia