#MusicMonday: ACL Festival 2021 Brought the Music Back to Zilker Park

by Brian Maass on October 18, 2021 in Entertainment, Music, Austin,

After an open arms welcome to ACL Fest, the music in Zilker Park came to an end. More than 100 performers took to the stage representing a wide variety of music genres over the course of the festival’s two weekends. 

Joyfully busting moves at Bob’s Dance Shop during ACL Fest 2021. Photo Gaby Deimeke

The first weekend was threatened by rain. The second weekend the sun came, and the heat soon followed. That’s Central Texas October weather for you. In 2021, ACL Fest brought back the music back to Zilker Park, and provided a brief glimpse at what getting back to normal could look like. As Miley told the crowd “life… it’s always going to be changing. And I think you guys, tonight, are an amazing example of that logic coming to life.”

George Strait 

When country legend George Strait walked out onto the Lady Bird stage at ACL Fest 2021, it was his first appearance at the festival. Strait told the crowd, most wearing cowboy hats, “Whoever thought this thing up deserves a medal. This is great!” The Country Music Hall of Famer closed his seat with the fitting “The Cowboy Rides Away!” Photo Charles Reagan 


Billie Eilish 

In 2019, Billie Eilish performed as a warm-up to the headliner. This year Eilish was the Saturday night ACL headliner. She did not disappoint. As one of music’s biggest stars, the ever-evolving Eilish made sure her fans were entertained and, like many artists, she took time to give her thoughts on recent social events. Photo Roger Ho


Miley Cyrus

Always full of energy, and eager to put on a good show for the crowd, Miley Cyrus did just that. With covers ranging from Blondie and Sinead ‘O Connor to the songs she is most known for like “Party in the USA” and “Wrecking Ball,” Cyrus’ set was carefully crafted, and on point. Photo Ashley Osborn


Black Pumas

Austin’s own Black Pumas played five shows at hometown Stubb’s BBQ in early May. For ACL, they once again brought the psychedelic soulful rock to the Lady Bird stage. Photo Alison Narro


Brené Brown

“Daring Greatly” author Brené Brown stopped by the Bonus Tracks stage to tape an episode of her podcast “Unlocking Us,” with Brett Goldstein. In the words of the folks at ACL, the Bonus Tracks stage is a “hub of culture and connection – a space for positive vibes between live music performances.” Photo Charles Reagan 


Ricky Williams

University of Texas at Austin football legend Ricky Williams reminisced with Oklahoma defensive star Brian Bosworth on the Texas/Oklahoma rivalry on the eve of the big game in Dallas. Unfortunately, the game did not go the way Ricky and fellow Longhorns would have liked. Photo Charles Reagan 


Wendy Davis & Kathy Valentine

Texas politician Wendy Davis was joined by former Go-Go bassist Katherine Valentine to discuss the restrictive anti-abortion law recently passed by the Texas Legislature. Photo Gaby Deimeke 



A GoodPop popsicle is a good way to stay cool during the hottest parts of the day. Hydration stations also help festival goers stay hydrated. Photo Gaby Deimeke 



Austin’s iconic and fan favorite JuiceLand was also on hand to provide a refreshing tasty beverage. Whatever beverage, or food, attendees wanted was available in the ACL Eats Food Court. From barbecue to tacos, there were many mouthwatering selections to choose from. Photo Gaby Deimeke 


Tyler the Creator

Tyler the Creator brought ACL Fest 2021 to a close on both Sundays. After performing this set he told the crowd “Y’all get home safe, alright!” With that, the curtain came down on ACL Fest 2021. Photo Credit: Ashley Osborn

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ACL Fest aerial cover photo courtesy Charles Reagan

Brian Maass enjoys live music, and sharing good times at a local brewery or winery with his wife and friends. If he is not at a concert, then you’ll find him at a National Park photographing the amazing scenery this world has to offer.