Peoplewatching: out-of-towners meet ATX

Hanif Amanullah, Staff Writer

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Austin City Limits (ACL), Texas’ largest music festival in terms of attendees, drew crowds from all over during its two-weekend runtime this October. An event that usually draws in attendees numbering in the hundreds-of-thousands, ACL is a mecca for for live music lovers from almost everywhere.

With so many different races, ethnicities, and age groups converging in the heart of Austin, the festival is an ideal place to find out about what makes the ACL and Austin lifestyle special to people in attendance. Ashley Evans, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, values the musical diversity showcased at the festival.

“Honestly, my love of live music is why I’m here,” Evans said. “I mean, I just left Bishop Briggs randomly and now I’m just standing here because this concert caught my attention.”

Evans, coming from her hometown of Pittsburgh to attend ACL, eventually found her calling in Austin. In 2006, she moved to Austin full-time–job and the reasons for that move were partly music related.

“I’m actually here because of a job, but I stayed because I loved it and the music kind of grew on me,” Evans said.

Work is not the only reason people go to ACL. Monica Faught of Kansas City, Missouri enjoys ACL for its family aspect and kid-friendly nature.

“Austin Kiddie Limits, actually,” Faught said. “We love music, but it’s so awesome for our kids to come experience this and see so much of the environment.”

Another one of Faught’s main reasons for visiting have to do with her familial relations in the Austin area. Her daughter, who goes to The University of Texas, is a part of what draws her back to ACL every year. The annual trip has allowed her younger children to become more and more comfortable with the festival’s atmosphere.

“It’s just a good vibe, and we come so often that our kids are really getting comfortable,” Faught said. “This morning my four-year-old was like ‘let’s go to Royal Blue and have breakfast tacos and cinnamon rolls.’”

Sitting below one of the only Norwegian flags on the entire festival lawn, Randi Sausjord also came to ACL and Austin because of family relations.

“My sister lives here,” Sausjord said. “We’re visiting this week, me and my two brothers. [We’re here] mostly for my sister.”

Evans is a seven year veteran of ACL and cites the music as her main reason for returning.
“I think it’s just the diversity in music,” Evans said. “I’ve seen Willie, I’ve seen Mumford And Sons, I’ve seen Kendrick Lamar, and this weekend is Paul McCartney. That is why. How could you not want to be here for that?”

Arin Bryant of Odessa, Texas was inspired to come in part by the spectacle of it all.

“I’m really here just for ACL,” Bryant said. “I mean just to see all the artists and everything. It’s kind of like a once in a lifetime experience.”

And as for the idea about whether a music festival like ACL would work in other towns, Faught thinks the specific location of the event is what makes it so accessible to her.

“[The festival’s] Very unique, you know?” Faught said. “You can’t do this anywhere else.”