Austin City Limits Festival hits a weird spot in the world of festival fashions – not as wild as Burning Man; not as chic as Coachella; and not quite as unpretentious as festivals of yore like Woodstock. Somewhere in the middle is where ACL fashion can be found.
The new hotness for 2014 was flash tats – sparkly gold and silver temporary tattoos worn on any exposed piece of flesh, from ankles to eyebrows. Everywhere you looked, flash tats were winking in the sun – and vendors in the ACL Fest art market were adding to the numbers.
And while the ever-popular flowered crown remains the top accessory of ACL Fest, beaded headbands and chains that run along the hairline and forehead are the up and comers looking to challenge the mainstay.
High-waisted hot pants and crop tops topped with fringed kimonos were popular among the younger set, while vintage flowing tops and maxi dresses could be found on the fashionable ladies late-20s and older. Teal and hot pink warred against basic black, white and beige for most popular colors, and hair that could be braided was likely to be braided.
Looking around Zilker Park also gave the impression that the 90s were making a reappearance among festgoers, with plastic chokers, halter crop tops, belly chains and sunflower prints abounding.
But the key to looking great at ACL Fest is balancing practical weather concerns (whether it’s blistering heat or drizzling, chilly rain) with looking effortlessly cool.
Music writers Deborah Sengupta Stith and Peter Blackstock will be here at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 7 to answer all of your questions about ACL Fest, the best acts of Weekend One and what not to miss at Weekend Two. Join them to ask questions and weigh in with your take!
Nevermind the polite early adopters–their legs crossed on blankets and littered around the Austin Ventures Stage first thing Friday.Brooklyn’s Arum Rae–massaging a red guitar, backed by only a black-clad drummer–was dishing major league heat.
The former Austinite (“We came in from New York . . . but I used to live here!”) has a reputation for penning head-nodding, hybrid electro pop. There’s strums, fuzz, Christmas tree ornament vocals.
But before edge-trimming the heartstrings with gems like “Warranty Queen” and “2001” (as in, “I had a bad breakup that year”), Rae hulked out a bit on her ax. The bedroom lullabies may be in fashion on the East Coast where apartments are tiny and the rent is too damn high; but in Texas you can crank the propeller and glide across Zilker.
In other words, drum machines and lo-fi aesthetics are second: Arum Rae is a showoff talent first and foremost. Lyrics like “I’m not worried about money baby, we got gold shining all around us” hit optimistic tones, but Rae closed sober with a solo ballad about her brother, “Heaven,” that folded the darkness and demons, put them in the linen closet, and peaced out.
While Austin is home to many festivals (and seems to grow new ones every day), Austin City Limits Festival has a different vibe. Fest goers include people of all ages; some are chair people and others are wanderers; some stake out front row spots at headliner shows and others wander the edges of the many different stages, and still others just lay down in the grass to take a midday nap while music plays around them.
Do you think you can capture the spirit of what makes ACL Fest special with your camera? It’s time to find out!
The first place winner will receive a commemorative ACL Fest poster autographed by ACL 2014 artists Nikki Lane, Wood & Wire and Reuben and the Dark. The second place winner will receive one print of their choice from our staff photographer’s photos of ACL Fest 2014.