Many people heading to a huge music festival like ACL spend weeks planning their itinerary. Most spend the better part of each day hustling from stage to stage to catch all their favorite acts. But for one group of fans, lets call them “Stans,” there was only one act at ACL Fest on Saturday — Detroit rapper Marshall Mather II, a.k.a. Eminem. As the gates opened at noon they rushed to the front of the Samsung Galaxy stage to stake out their spaces where they planned to remain throughout the entire festival.
“I can see Detroit, Michigan, is in the house,” guitarist Adrian Quesada joked during Spanish Gold’s excellent opening set on the stage. After the rockers finished, we waded into camp “Stan” where a very congenial group of Eminem superfans were happy to talk about their love of Slim Shady.
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Meet the “Stans”
Name: Alexis Ramirez, age 19
Favorite song: “Drug Ballad”
Ramirez feels like Eminem keeps it real. He’s been open about his personal ups and downs in a way that resonates with his fans. “His music got me through some rough times in my life,” he said.
Name: Daisy Ruiz, age 18
Favorite songs: “Clean Out My Closet” “3 a.m.”
Ruiz says Em seems like he’s not like other artists. He’s not scare to speak the truth. She isn’t bothered by the violence or perceived misogyny in his music. “As a true fan I know he doesn’t mean that stuff,” she said.
Name: Rachel Robinson, age 40
Favorite songs: “Rap God” and “Toy Soldiers”
To celebrate her 40th birthday one of Robinson’s friends bought her tickets to the fest. She plans to spend the day camped in front of the Galaxy stage to see Eminem, who she’s never seen before. “I’m obsessed with his music and this crowd is amazing,” she said.
Name: Skyler Zen Rice, age 12
Hometown: San Marcos
Favorite song: “Toy Soldiers”
Skyler earned her ticket to the event by picking up abandoned cans around the tubing spots in San Marcos and turning in the bags for cash. She loves the way Em can rap so fast and how he “rhymes the words that aren’t supposed to rhyme.”
Name: Annie Sardinha
Hometown: San Diego
For Annie, it’s all about Em’s “swag, hands down.” She also thinks it’s “pretty rad” the way he’s persevered through so many hardships. “He uses the talents that God gave him,” she said.