ACL weekend two: Day three concludes ACL 2019


Photo by Kyle Chitwood

The grounds of Zilker park fill in as festival goers arrive to experience the final day of ACL 2019.

Kyle Chitwood, Life and Arts Reporter

Blue skies and sunny weather made its way to the grounds of Zilker Park as a warm farewell to close out Austin City Limits 2019.

ACL treated attendees hospitably throughout both weekends by providing hydration stations all around the festival grounds, a hammock area for those in need of rest and free shuttle buses that brought guests to and from downtown Austin for easy transportation.

Festival goers took full advantage of the final day of ACL by stocking up on artist merchandise, exploring new food options and hearing the wide range of music scheduled. The closing day hosted an array of hip hop, rock, country, folk, reggae and alternative artists. Gates opened at 11:00 a.m. with “Easy” by The Commodores playing as a precursor to the day of festivities ahead.

Performers began at 11:45 a.m. with Caroline Rose on the Miller Lite stage, Kady Rain on the Vrbo stage, The Gospel Stars on the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage, Sego on the BMI stage and PNTHN on the T-mobile stage.

First time festival attendee Michelle Wilkinson came for the final day only. She said that she wanted to see as many bands and experience as much as possible, even if it meant catching only 10 minutes of each performance.

“I’m hoping to hear some new bands that I haven’t heard of before,” Wilkinson said. “Maybe (I will) get some good food.”

Nashville-based Americana band Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors took the American Express stage at 12:30 p.m. The band released its new album “Dragons” August 2019.

Lead singer Drew Holcomb said he experienced ACL once before in 2003 when he caught a rose from Al Green in the front row. Holcomb was warm and welcoming with the early audience and assured their place in the band’s heart.

“I don’t know what your family is like,” Holcomb said, “but you’re all part of this family.”

Shortly after the start of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Austin-based band Ley Line performed on the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage at 12:45 p.m. The band touched the hearts of audience members as some embraced each other with hugs when the show closed out.

Festival attendees and Rice University students Cannon Armistead and Emma Gordon said seeing performances under the covered tent of the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage allows the smaller crowd to share a more intimate concert experience. They said the best part of ACL is discovering new music, and that pre-planning their list of concerts made their festival experience much less hectic.

“(Our experience) has been really good,” Gordon said. “We didn’t spread ourselves too thin, so it worked out well.”

British singer/songwriter YOLA took the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage at 2:45 p.m. and put on a powerful, soulful performance. Soon after, Jamaican-born reggae artist Koffee performed on the T-Mobile stage at 3:00 p.m. Mikayla Simpson, AKA Koffee, brought as much energy to the crowd as actual coffee.

First time ACL attendee Austin Mesch said he came to the closing day of the festival to specifically see Rebelution and Third Eye Blind. He said he hopes to have a fun experience despite only being there one day.

“(I expect) a lot of fun, good music, a lot of good vibes and a good time,” Mesch said.

Festival goers gathered at the American Express stage to see California-based reggae band Rebelution at 4:00 p.m. Rebelution played popular songs such as “Safe and Sound,” “Sky is the Limit” and “Feeling Alright.”

Lead singer and guitarist Eric Rachmany said he appreciated the crowd’s energy despite having been at a festival all weekend and he is grateful for the opportunity to perform at ACL for the band’s third time.

“Thank you, guys, for saving your energy today,” Rachmany said. “Every day is a celebration.”

As Rebelution’s set came to an end, the audience chanted, “One more song.” Music festivals run on strict schedules, though, so the band was unable to provide.

Australian producer Paul Fisher, better known by his stage name FISHER, took the T-Mobile stage at 5:00 p.m. with a house set so powerful that it pounded the hearts of anyone in a remotely close radius. His music was so loud and thunderous that it shook the ground of the ACL Eats area over 200 yards away.

Third Eye Blind performed on the Honda stage at 6:00 p.m. to deliver hit songs such as “Never Let You Go,” “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life.” The band will release its latest album “Screamer” Oct. 18, and lead singer Stephan Jenkins said they are leaving for a European tour early Monday morning.

Third Eye Blind cheerleaders took the stage in the band’s opening song wearing hats that read “3EB,” which they later tossed into the audience. Midway through the act, Jenkins told the crowd that there are no spectators at Third Eye Blind concerts and made the audience tell each other “I’m glad you were able to make it.”

“These are your people,” Jenkins said.

The band performed several songs off its new album. Jenkins said that he disagrees when he is told to play only old hits because music festivals provide opportunities to make new discoveries, whether it be music or otherwise.

“That’s what festivals are for: to find something new,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins expressed his gratitude to the crowd by saying that he and the band are grateful for performing in front of such a large audience.

“We don’t take for granted that you filled this field,” Jenkins said. “We think it’s magnificent.”

After Third Eye Blind, the crowd morphed into the already present mass of people gathered at the Miller Lite stage for Lizzo, whose performance last week—and this week—were so large that it had to be broadcasted on the TV panels of the Honda stage from which the Third Eye Blind audience came.

Headlining the closing night of ACL were Swedish-born singer/songwriter Robyn on the Honda stage and British folk-rock band Mumford and Sons on the American Express stage. ACL also held a silent disco each night of the festival beginning at 8:00 p.m., coinciding with the headlining performances.

Hundreds gathered under the tent of the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage to dance to a DJ set for the remaining two hours of ACL. The audience wore headphones provided by the festival and jumped in unison with no sounds projecting from the tent besides the singing and yelling of the crowd.

As the festival came to an end, Mumford and Sons front man Marcus Mumford said how crazy the ACL 2019 lineup was and expressed sympathy to the crowd’s draining yet prevailing energy.

“What a wicked weekend,” Mumford said. “Are you okay?”

The final song ended at 10:00 p.m. and festival goers exited the grounds of ACL for the final time in 2019. Eight-time festival attendee Eric Gutierrez said the best part about ACL is seeing new artists, connecting with the crowd and experiencing the overall atmosphere.

“I got to see a lot of indie bands I’ve never heard of and I’m blown away,” Gutierrez said.

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