There are many ways to approach a huge event like the Austin City Limits Music Festival. This year, in addition to our regular critic’s picks and artist spotlights we’re offering game plans, various strategies for how to approach the festival depending on what kind of experience you’re looking to have. For each game plan we’re providing both a suggested schedule and a playlist. Today, the Top 40 lover’s gameplan.
The playlist: Hear the Hits
The strategy: Forget all those obscure bands you’ve never heard of. You want to scream out the lyrics to your favorite radio jams at the top of your lungs.
Instagram – Post a shaky-cam video of Iggy Azalea shakin’ it to make your friends jealous.
Phone charger – See above.
Flag – You’re scoping out the big ticket, big draw shows. If you have any hope of meeting your friends there, you’ll need a landmark. If you have any hope of spotting yourself on the aerial cam … you’ll need a landmark.
Extra cash – Your game plan isn’t focused on scoping out every new band you can find, and you won’t be getting to Zilker until lunchtime, anyway. Gotta have nacho money.
Headphones – But who knows! You might get curious and want to check out someone you’ve never heard of. That’s what Spotify Premium is for.
2:15: Capital Cities (Samsung Galaxy) The “Safe and Sound” dance bros are your first safe bet for festival karaoke.
3:15 Bleachers (Miller Lite): You know Jack Antonoff from fun.’s ubiquitous “Some Nights” and “We Are Young.” Summer alt-radio has been kind to his side project’s heart-on-sleeve “I Wanna Get Better.” (Bonus: Potential Lena Dunham sighting. The “Girls” star is Antonoff’s girlfriend.)
5:15 Sam Smith (Miller Lite): Stay with him. If he doesn’t do an acoustic “Latch,” your money back.
6:15 Foster the People (Samsung Galaxy): There’s not a track from 2011’s “Torches” that you won’t recognize. Better yet, the “Pumped Up Kicks” dance-poppers put on an electrifying live show, with surprisingly strong vocals from frontman Mark Foster.
8:15 Outkast (Honda): This is it. You have laid awake at night, dreaming of one day shaking it like a Polaroid picture with Andre 3000 and Big Boi themselves. You are the speakerboxxx. You are the love below. Go to them, Lucy Lius and babydolls. Get on the floor.
4:30 The Head and the Heart (Samsung Galaxy): Truth be told, Saturday is a little light on hitmakers. But you can go down in the valley a little ways with your sorority sister’s favorite feel good folksters.
5:30 Iggy Azalea (RetailMeNot): We would recommend Icona Pop at the same time, but your window for enjoying a live performance of “Fancy” grows treacherously thinner by the day.
6:30 Lana del Rey (Samsung Galaxy): S-s-s-summertime, summertime radness.
7:30 Major Lazer (RetailMeNot): You have gotten sloppy to “Bubble Butt” on Dirty Sixth and you know it. (Bonus: Diplo’s dancehall spasm-inducer “Pon de Floor” is sampled in Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls).” It’ll be like Queen Bey is right there!)
8:30 Eminem (Samsung Galaxy): If you wanted to hear hits and you bought a pass this year, you’ve been waiting months to hear “The Real Slim Shady,” “My Name Is,” “Lose Yourself,” “Love The Way You Lie,” “Berzerk,” “The Monster,” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
2:00 AFI (Honda): Slather that extra-long front bang with gel and thrash, Rock Band style, to “Miss Murder.”
3:00 Cults (Austin Ventures): You’ve heard their one and only hit “Go Outside” on “The Vampire Diaries,” “90210,” “Gossip Girl,” and every time you’ve walked into Urban Outfitters.
4:00 Fitz and the Tantrums (Honda): If you haven’t heard “The Walker” this year, you’ve been ensconced in a hyperbaric chamber.
5:00 Phantogram (Miller Lite): It’s a toss-up between this electronic duo and other electronic duo (and inexplicable holdovers from 2007) Chromeo, but “Don’t Move” was in “Pitch Perfect.” That’s as good a tiebreaker as any.
6:00 Spoon (Honda): Austin rock royalty who are in no way “The Underdog.”
7:00 Lorde (RetailMeNot, weekend two only): Get saved. Amen.
7:00 Zedd (Miller Lite, weekend one): But if you’re only going to weekend one, this time slot should be a no-brainer with the German DJ/Ariana Grande collaborator.
8:00 Calvin Harris (Honda): Pearl Jam may have “Even Flow,” but this Scottish beat maestro has “Summer,” which is arguably the song of the season.