There’s no denying the fact that the Austin City Limits Fest gives you the chance to see some pretty big names (Foo Fighters, Drake, The Strokes), but the festival also provides you the opportunity to support homegrown artists taking the stage for what are likely to be among the most important — and personal — shows of their careers.
“I’m born and raised in Austin and I’ve been going to ACL for years as a patron,” says Ryan Harkrider of The Nightowls, whose set last year was cancelled due to rain. “I’ve stood out in the sweat, dust, mud — whatever the case may be — each year and dreamed about [being] onstage. It’s a family…It’s going to be this huge achievement and moment for everyone involved.”
Along with The Nightowls, a “very dance-heavy, very high-energy” soul/Motown band, a few of the Austin-based artists making an appearance onstage at this year’s festival include Residual Kid — a self-described “noise punk grunge alternative;” Calliope Musicals; and 18-piece ensemble Mother Falcon, who are actually performing on the kid’s stage alongside family entertainer Tim Kubart.
“Kids are the least forgiving audience,” laughs Mother Falcon’s Matt Puckett. “They don’t have a sense of giving you obligatory applause. They either are having fun or they’re not… They’re not going to give you pity laughs, but that’s fun.”
And while you’re enjoying local performers at ACL, you’d be advised to heed their festival words of wisdom as well.
“You should really see someone you’ve never heard of,” advises Puckett. “You have so much opportunity to see new things, and it’s so much better than Spotify. Watch them play in the heat and sweat. That’s a special moment.”