Five days of music and another sold-out weekend later, the first-ever two-weekend Austin City Limits Music Festival is complete.
Though C3 had to cancel the sixth and final day of the festival because of inclement weather, music fans from around the world packed into Zilker Park on Friday and Saturday to enjoy live shows from nearly 100 bands.
The Austin-based indie rock band Okkervil River recently completed a tour after releasing yet another album. Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff said getting to come back to Austin to play the festival was a great homecoming.
“Playing a festival after a tour is really great because festivals are so fun. They’re fun for the audience, and they’re fun for the artists,” Sheff said. “I’ve been looking forward to this for several months. I knew it was going to be good.”
Sheff added that the fans are really important because, to him, they're as big a part of a great show as the band is.
“Your relationship with an audience is really a phenomenal and subtle thing,” Sheff said. “There’s no such thing as a good show without a good audience.”
The Bright Light Social Hour, another Austin rock band, first took the stage at ACL in 2009 when they won a competition to open the festival. Four years later, all their hard work has paid off: The band has won multiple awards, they've gained a lot of experience, and they got to close out the Austin Ventures stage on Saturday night.
“Being home in front of a crowd this large wanting to see a band from Austin – I mean, it’s not something I ever really dreamed of,” keyboardist Edward Braillif said.
The alternative rock band Phoenix came all the way from Versailles, France, to close out the Bud Light stage on Sunday night. Though they didn’t perform the second weekend because of the rain, but the band fondly recalled their first time playing at ACL in 2009.
“It was the first time we got such a big crowd,” vocalist Thomas Mars said. "When you can’t see the end of it – it was the first time we had this feeling.”
Guitarist Christian Mazzalai added that he and his bandmembers don’t often discuss the feeling because it's so difficult to put it into words.
“It’s very hard to describe this feeling,” Mazzalai said. “It’s surreal. It’s beyond imagination.”
The Los Angeles folk-rock band Dawes, another victim of Sunday’s rain, released their fourth album earlier this year. The band said that it’s important to put some thought into the songs they perform when playing at a festival.
“It’s a fine line because you definitely want to play the songs that would maybe be more immediate or faintly familiar, even, for some people,” Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith said. “But even for the fans that are returning, they want to hear the biggest songs.”
Younger fans spent time this weekend enjoying Austin Kiddie Limits, a park within the park featuring hair painting, DJ lessons, a sandbox and other kid friendly activities. Kiddie Limits also helped out parents by providing diapers, a changing station and a breastfeeding station.
The Zilker Park area received about a foot of rain from Saturday night into Sunday morning, and C3 was forced for the first time ever to cancel the last day of the festival. Zilker Park will re-open when clean up from the festival and rains is complete.