It’s looking like a good day for Astros fans at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Hundreds crowded into the fest’s beer hall on Friday afternoon and cheered loudly as Houston’s major-league team took an 8-1 lead in the sixth inning of their first playoff game with the Boston Red Sox.
Among those in the crowd were four longtime ACL Fest attendees who were bouncing back and forth between watching the game and catching bands such as Romes and the Lemon Twigs on the adjacent Miller Lite Stage. Austin residents Barry Joe Carson, Matt Mahoney and Mark McCrimmon were joined by Steve Derrick, a former Austinite who came up from his current home in Galveston for the fest.
Watching sports while listening to music isn’t out of place from typical habits at home, McCrimmon said. “But the beer is cheaper at home,” he added with a chuckle. True enough: A brew in the beer hall will set you back $8 at least. That didn’t stop hordes from crowding the place as the Astros surged ahead, even if some of those in the tent were simply taking shelter from the hot midafternoon sun on a humid day in Zilker Park.
The friends were somewhat split on this year’s music offerings. Carson, the biggest Astros fan of the bunch, said he was disappointed in the lineup, enough to declare acronymically, “ACL, WTF, RIP.” He added, though, that that layout of the grounds, featuring more space added with a new stage south of Barton Springs Road, was “the nicest I’ve ever seen it.”
Derrick was more positive about the musical experience. “I’m OK with the bands playing,” he said, mentioning the XX, Hamilton Leithauser and Lemon Twigs as among the acts he was looking forward to hearing on Friday.
McCrimmon fell somewhere in the middle, wanting to hear some of the old-school rock acts the fest has booked in the past but understanding that ACL Fest’s demographics have changed in recent years. “We’re no longer the target audience,” he said, “and we know that.”