Despite all of the “May the Fourth Be with You” sentiments that are running through news feeds and social media timelines this morning, there is another force moving through the Lone Star State. At the center of the movement is Austin, Texas, and a once “quaint little music festival” that has grown into a “must visit destination for all music lovers.” The Austin City Limits Music Festival released their lineup for this year’s two-weekend extravaganza, taking place during the first two weeks in October.
In addition to local and regional favorites, like Spoon, The Black Angels, Lukas Nelson and the up-and-coming Missio, the festival boasts national acts that are sure to make many a Bonnaroo or Coachella fan book flights and hotels. Headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers, who last saw the festival grounds five years ago, are joined by global phenomenon and music industry innovator, Chance the Rapper, fresh off his impressive Grammy win, alongside the unadulterated rock band, The Killers.
The lineup is filled in with countless acts that graced SXSW stages, like The Revivalists, Angel Olsen, Hamilton Leithauser, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Mondo Cozmo, Run the Jewels and Jacob Banks (weekend one only). As has become an ACL Festival staple, the middle tier of the lineup clearly outshines other festivals, though many of the headliners will look familiar to music fest-goer eyes.
The two most interesting names on the bill, however, are both well-scheduled throwbacks. Ryan Adams, who had to disappointingly cancel his showcase during 2017’s SXSW, is near the top of the lineup, sure to make up for his March absence on a much bigger stage. Also joining him near the headliners is the ultimate throwback, as Ice Cube takes the stage to send the ACL Fest audiences back to the West Coast for a little “California Love.”
All in all, the lineup is impressive, and still manages to not befall the trap of inviting the same acts as visit every other major festival. Tickets go on sale today, May 4th at 10am, and here are a quick few favorites we anxiously look forward to seeing October. Join us and get your tickets now!
1) James Vincent McMorrow – To take a falsetto voice and back it with the grooves and beats from classic R&B and hip hop takes an incredible talent. McMorrow manages this with ease, riding the line between D’Angelo and Bon Iver, all while delivering sledgehammer lyrics.
2) First Aid Kit – Making their return to ACL Fest grounds, this Swedish band sounds as though they were born under the big Texas sky, so rich and layered are their harmonies and lilts. They wowed us with “Emmylou” and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel when last they came and we can’t wait to see what they’ve got for us this year.
3) Middle Kids – A SXSW 2017 discovery, there is no real way to describe how primal and yet sentimental the Australian trio sounds, combining rock, folk and lap steel with aplomb. The sound is, at once, infectious and hauntingly familiar. Tempo changes and brilliant bridges pepper their songs and will make for as satisfying a launchpad for reckless dancing as the “drops” audiences expect of EDM.
4) Tank and the Bangas – It takes a lot to impress the music curators at NPR. And, amid an open call for competitive bands to win a Tiny Desk Concert with global exposure, it takes even more to do so. Of the thousands of submissions, the unanimous victor was the New Orleans poet-rapper-sirens known as Tank and the Bangas. Their sound defies most comparisons, unless one reaches back to the bands Arrested Development and Us3, but even then, NOLA drips throughout their sound and a flute pops up at near-perfect times, making them an eagerly anticipated set.
5) Chance the Rapper – What can we say about the phenom that hasn’t been said? We fell in love when he dedicated an entire song to his grandmother (see “Sunday Candy” above), but we went over the moon when he fearlessly included his faith in Grammy-award winning songs like “Blessings” and “How Great.” He never disappoints and it is great to see the ACL Fest planners raise him from the middle tier to headlining act.
6) The Head and the Heart – There isn’t a day when we’ll forget being introduced to this Seattle band at SXSW, six years ago. The next year, they made the audience for an afternoon set at ACL Fest look like a closing headliner’s throng. Through their own struggles – brilliantly tackled in their latest release, Signs of Light – and years of touring, the band sounds no less inspiring today, and we can’t wait to let that energy flow through us and all who bear witness.
3-Day General Admission Tickets for both weekends go on sale today at 10am CT at www.aclfestival.com. 3-Day VIP and Platinum Tickets and Hotel Packages will also be available starting at 10am CT. Music fans ages 10 and under will be admitted free of charge accompanied by a ticketed adult. 1-Day General Admission Tickets, 1-Day VIP Tickets and 1-Day Platinum Tickets will be available later in the year.