Austin City Limits Music Festival Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The music is back! It’s finally the week that the Austin City Limits Music Festival begins. If you are leaving, how should you prepare?

The City of Austin has helped put in place guidance to ensure festival-goers have the best possible experience. Below is everything you need to know to help you plan the festival.


Whether or not you’re going to the festival, you’ll likely be impacted by traffic if your commute takes you near Zilker Park in downtown Austin. But do not worry ! There’s an interactive map of park access and road closures online, and a calendar showing when they’ll occur (spoiler alert: it’s basically the entire park and the roads around it).

Go to the ACL festival website

Attendees have several options for getting to the festival site, including a free shuttle service provided by ACL.

  • Shuttle bus: A free shuttle service will board at Republic Square at the corner of 4th and San Antonio Streets and drop off passengers outside the Barton Springs West Festival entrance.

    The shuttle will also provide trips to the city center each evening.

    Shuttles will leave from Place de la République from noon on Friday and from 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday on the two weekends of the festival.

  • Bus: CapMetro’s trip planner can be used to find a bus route from anywhere to Zilker, but the most direct route to ACL Fest is MetroRapid 803.
  • Walking and cycling path: The hiking and biking trail at Lady Bird Lake will be open and you can walk or bike directly to the festival grounds from any of the many entry points along the 10-mile trail. Bring a light and remember that motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
  • Bike: Besides the walking and cycling path, there are designated cycling routes around the festival.
  • Micromobility: Bird, Lime, LINK and Wheels are all options for electric micromobility in Austin. If you bring a scooter or e-bike to ACL, be sure to drop it off at a designated drop-off area before entering the grounds.
  • Carpooling: Pickup and drop off points will be located off the MoPac Highway at Veterans, Lee Barton and Wallingwood Parkways. Plan to do the rest of the way to the field yourself.


Although bringing food and drink onto the grounds is prohibited, attendees can still expect to eat and drink well at the festival, with nearly 40 food vendors set up.

This year’s mix includes fan favorites like Voodoo Donut, Amy’s Ice Cream and Mama Fried. Read the full list of providers on the ACL website.

Complimentary water bottle refill stations are also available on the grounds.


Weather is a major factor in ACL planning. The forecast is subject to change, but so far the forecast shows plenty of sunshine and fair weather clouds, with temperatures expected in the mid 80s to 90s, but it will likely feel warmer with the weather. large number of people who will be in the park.

Check the pre-festival forecast for the most up-to-date information.

As it will be hot and sunny, you should wear sunscreen, appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes for long standing and walking.

Park Rules

Zilker Park has a few rules you need to know.

  • Glass and Styrofoam are not permitted on park grounds
  • No outside alcohol is allowed on site
  • Swimming in Lady Bird Lake is prohibited
  • Smoking and vaping are prohibited in Austin city parks. Violators are subject to a class C misdemeanor
  • Selling on the park site without a permit will result in a minimum fine of $200 – a class C misdemeanor

Advice for first responders

Austin Fire Department

The Austin Fire Department warns drivers to be aware of a large number of pedestrians sharing the roadway during the festival and reminds drivers that if there is an emergency response in the area, give priority to allow access for emergency vehicles.

AFD also urges people to get rid of smoking products safely. Service will be on hand to ensure all fire code requirements are met.

Austin-Travis County EMS

ATCEMS will provide on-site medical resources at the festival. If you or someone you are with has a medical emergency and can make it to the medical tent, please do so. If you can’t, call 9-1-1 and provide as much detail as to where doctors need to go to reach the patient as quickly as possible.

ATCEMS asks that people consume alcohol in moderation and avoid using illicit substances. Also, do not take pills that were not prescribed to you or are legally dispensed by a licensed pharmacy.

Austin Police Department

APD is leading a no-denial initiative that will coincide with the festival. It will be in effect from October 6 to October 16 daily from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. The purpose is to enforce DWI laws, ensure public safety by encouraging drivers to make responsible decisions and request a blood test. warrants against suspects who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, the ODA said.

The department says to always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds, and to keep your phone and ID/credit cards/cash in separate places on your person.

APD suggests not keeping your phone in your back pocket. Phones sticking out of back pockets or backpacks are not secure. Keep your belongings in a safe place (front pocket, fanny pack) or leave them at home.

If something is stolen from you, use APD’s online reporting site or Austin 311 (non-emergency) to report the theft.

You can also register with the ACL Lost and Found to report or attempt to locate a lost cell phone.

Communicate during the festival

The City of Austin will use Twitter and Facebook to disseminate relevant information.

The Austin Police Department, Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin Fire Departmentand Austin Emergency Management will also use their Twitter feeds for urgent notifications.

Communicate your intended location in advance in case cell phone coverage is intermittent at the festival.

Make sure your phone is fully charged when you arrive.

Stay aware of your surroundings.

What can I bring? What is not allowed?

Items that are AUTHORIZED:

  • Bags meeting these criteria: clear plastic, clear vinyl or clear pvc that do not exceed 12″ x 12″ x 6″. LEARN MORE: ACL Bag Policy
  • Small purses, fanny packs with no more than one pocket. Clutch purses no larger than 4.5″ x 5.5
  • Empty reusable water bottles and hydration packs, and plastic or aluminum water bottles
  • Baby strollers
  • Frisbees
  • Chairs
  • Binoculars
  • Blankets, sheets, towels
  • Cameras (basic consumer cameras) without attachable lenses or other accessories (monopods, selfie sticks, tripods, GoPro mounts and other accessories are not allowed)
  • Personal size hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is permitted in sizes 3.4 ounces or less
  • Totems (less than 7 feet tall and less than 1 inch in diameter. Must be made of a lightweight material: bath noodles, foam-like material, cardboard tubes, fabric, lightweight plastic, balloons, foil, and/or items inflatables)

Items that are PROHIBITED:

  • Any bags that are not clear or larger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″. All hydration packs with more than 2 pockets
  • Aerosol containers including sunscreen and personal beauty products
  • Coolers of all kinds (exceptions can be made for medical use)
  • Framed backpacks, multi-pocket backpacks, and any bag not aligned with the permitted backpacks above
  • Any professional audio recording equipment
  • Professional cameras and professional recording equipment (photo, video, audio) (NOT large detachable professional zoom lenses, stands, monopods, tripods, selfie sticks or other commercial equipment
  • Any professional video equipment. No video recording will be allowed
  • Drones or any other remote flying device
  • hammocks
  • Glass containers of all kinds
  • Illegal and illicit substances of any kind
  • Outside food or drink (including alcohol) of any kind
  • Umbrellas
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • Selfie sticks
  • Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts or any personal motorized vehicle
  • Tents, awnings or shade structures of all kinds
  • Unauthorized/unlicensed vendors are not allowed. No unauthorized solicitation and materials, including flyers, flyers, stickers, beach balls, giveaways, samples, etc.
  • Weapons or explosives of any kind
  • Fireworks
  • Large chains or spiked jewelry
  • Bikes inside the festival site (free parking is available near the festival entrance)
  • Carts of all kinds (including red wagons)

Prescription drugs and items for dietary restrictions

Outside food and drink is not permitted inside the festival, however, if a guest has special medical dietary restrictions, items will be permitted. Guests are recommended to speak to the security officer and members of the medical team at the festival gate who can assist them.

Guests are permitted to bring medically necessary equipment and medication to the festival if they adhere to these guidelines:

  1. Prescriptions are in their original container
  2. Only one type of medicine is present and the bottle contains only the appropriate amount of medicine needed during the presence
  3. Prescriptions are not expired
  4. Customer’s name is on the prescription bottle and is verified with ID

Medicines requiring refrigeration can be brought to the medical tent for storage, after complying with the check.

Austin City Limits streaming

If you don’t have access to the festival, you can still get access to the musical acts. Hulu will stream the festival live this weekend and next weekend.

Behind-the-scenes footage will also air, Hulu said.

“Both Hulu and Live Nation are committed to delivering exceptional entertainment to fans, so we’re thrilled to partner with them again, as we expand our offering to include these three legendary festivals,” said Hulu President, Joe Earley, in an earlier statement. “Each event is unique, but all three bring people together for incredible music, artistry and experiences, all of which we are fortunate to be able to share with Hulu subscribers.”


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