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ACL 2016 | 5 Major Keys To Success

Here are some cheat codes to winning at this year's Austin City Limits.

Patrick Greenby Patrick Green
Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images)

We all know, especially our livers, that the music festival season is a marathon not a sprint. Now with the finish line in site, we head (okay, more like limp) to Austin City Limits Music Festival (September 30 to October 2, and again from October 7 to 9) to see LCD Soundsystem for the fourth time this year, which isn’t such a bad thing if you’ve seen them live.

So giddy on up with whatever festival outfit that hasn’t been in used in a profile pic, pack up that last bottle of glitter and muster up whatever dignity you have left, we’re heading to Texas.

Also: ACL 2016 | Interview: Bombino, West African Voodoo Child

I’ve come up with the Five Major Keys to Success at ACL (which apply for Weekend 1 and 2) to help you cross the music festival finish line a winner. 

DL the ACL 2016 App

The Official Austin City Limits Mobile App has all you need to know about the festival right in the palm of your hand. Plan out the shows you want to see, find out where the stages are located and read up on what you can eat, drink, etc. Powered by Miller Lite for Android and iPhone, there’s also an interactive map showing the water stations, beer halls, and requisite bathrooms.

Ride it or Bike It

With Uber and Lyft, no longer in Austin (it’s a long story), it can be hard to get around. Some downtown Austin hotels offer shuttle service, but the wait can be long and the overtaxed service inconsistent. There are a handful of other “made by Austin, for Austin” ride-sharing companies (Ride Austin, Wingz, GetMe). For the more athletically-inclined, the best form of transportation may just be the oldest — a bike. Not only is it cheaper, but you can get around easier on two-wheels because traffic in and around downtown looks like a scene from World War Z. You can rent or “share” a bike from Austin B-Cycle, think CitiBikes in New York, with easy-access stations all over downtown and surrounding areas. At night, if you’ve had one too many, you can hop on one of the fleet of pedi-cabs.

Breakfast Tacos

There’s no better way to soak up a night of beer, booze and bad decisions than with a plate of breakfast tacos. You can find Austin’s finest delicacy served at almost every bend, but a personal favorite are the migas tacos from the Veracruz All Natural trailers parked around town with their made-to-order tortillas and their life-saving watermelon agua fresca. Grab one, two, or three before heading into the ACL festival grounds.

Under-dress For Success

Skinny jeans, denim shorts, and vintage T-shirts are the standard ACL uniform, but you can never be too prepared for the Central Texas weather, which throws curveballs at you. It can go from sweltering heat to pounding rain at the drop of a hat so pack light and smart: jeans, shorts, a jacket, hats and long-tread sneakers. If you want to fit in, go retro. If you need to pick up some second-hand threads there’re some great boutiques on South Congress and Lo-Burn.

Don’t Horse Around

As you wander the streets post-ACL to one of the after shows, you will undoubtedly run into mounted police. Okay, may have ridden horseback on a family trip to Monument Valley, but police horses are not your friend, as evidenced by that grass landmine they just dropped on your pair of new Yeezy’s. In Texas, they’re actually considered officers of the law. So, don’t be a horse’s ass and try to pet them or worse, take a selfie. Not only do you risk getting KO’d with a kick, but you could get arrested and spend a night in the hoosegow.