Coachella or Bonnaroo this ain’t. You’re not spending three days baking in a field while sleeping in a city of rented tents, maybe miles from running water. But the Austin City Limits festival can be a bit of a haul. Twelve hours in the Texas sun with 80,000 of your closest friends will result in some gruesome effects on the body if you’re not careful. Even with that evening shower and morning plate of migas, three days out in Zilker Park will have most mortals reaching for that extra bag of ice after Sunday’s headliner.
Fortunately, there’s a way to rule the fest that doesn’t involve hourly jaunts to a Westlake chiropractor or the JuiceLand down the road. Aside from a few of the – ahem – personal items like travel-sized Kleenex (for those evening trips to the Port-A-Pots by the Samsung Stage and a solid stock of Gold Bond Medicated Powder for preventing moisture from infiltratin’ the area, there do exist plenty of ways to gear up to create a better fest.
Austinites who’ve braved the roads around nearby Barton Springs neighborhood know there’s no more troubling task than trying to park your car for under $30 anytime after 10am. Best to bike it if you can. With racks available on the north and south sides of the park, accessibility runs either direction. But it’s a madhouse getting out of there, and you could use a better light, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than the Cygolite.
2 Platypus Softbottle, $8.95
Agua at the festival runs about $4 for 16 ounces. It comes in environmentally friendly packaging and tastes like cardboard when you drink it. Best to invest the cash on your own bottle and fill up at available hydration stations. Cascade Designs’ Platypus Softbottle folds neatly in fits into your pocket after you’ve quenched yourself.
3 Mitscoots Socks, $11-$31
Or really footwear in general, since you’ll be on your dogs all day. If you can buy a new pair of shoes before Friday, that’s great. If you can bring a couple pairs of socks to the festival each afternoon, even better. This Austin-based company makes their socks on American soil and employs Toms’ One for One model by giving a pair of socks to the homeless every time someone buys a set. Go block to avoid looking dirty and multi-colored and crazy if you want to attract attention. Your feet will thank you, as will your friends in close proximity.
For both ravers and those overtly aware of the issues plaguing our ozone. Zinka’s dose of colored SPF – available in hues ranging from red to blue to teal to army green – goes great around the faces of the crowds at both Skrillex and Major Lazer, and might even look cool on the muzzles of ATLiens. Not to mention that you’re doing momma proud by protecting your precious schnoz skin. And at .60 ounces, a pack barely takes up space within your pockets. Also available as a lip balm.
5 Motorola Talkabout MS350R, $100 for 2
ACL’s a black hole for cell phone service, with tens of thousands of millennials struggling for data service simultaneously so they can Instagram the latest action shot of Lana Del Rey. If you’re looking for your friends in the audience, you’re pretty much out of any luck. Texts arrive late, if ever at all. By the time that you receive one, you’re already at a show waiting on another set of coordinates. Go old school with communication and find everybody before closing.