As soon as I saw the 2023 Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival line-up announced, I knew I had to attend. Weekend 2 of the 2023 Austin City Limits Festival surpassed all expectations, delivering an unforgettable weekend of music. I have attended ACL in the past and the weather Gods were kind to me on weekend 2. While it was still rather hot during the day, it was bearable and cooled down a lot in the evening – which is when I spent most of my time at the festival.

Onto the details…

The Music

My 90s music loving heart needed to see the Foo Fighters for the first time and to enjoy some more Alanis Morisette. But I was very excited that I would be able to finally see Kendrick Lamar, the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Tove Lo, Niall Horan and Odesza as well.

Every year, ACL does an awesome job of bringing an eclectic mix of artists to cater to a wide range of musical tastes. Standout performances from seasoned legends and emerging talents can be found across the stages set up in Zilker Park. If you plan ACL right, you can purchase access to both weekends which helps a lot if your favorite performers are set to go on stage at the same time. It gives you flexibility to see everyone that you want to see. On top of that, if you’re not a local, you get the pleasure of spending your weekdays in Austin – the live music capital of the world. If you’re into music festivals, I can assure you that you’ll find a lot of great venues and artists traveling through Austin.

While I was kind of bummed out that Shania Twain was only on weekend one, I consider it a blessing in disguise as I probably would have been at another stage during her set. But I’m grateful that I attended weekend 2 as I got the full experience that I wanted.

On Friday night, I was determined to see Kendrick Lamar. But, Major Lazer was a nice bonus to finally see live.

There was a lot of talk at the festival about how weekend one was rough for Kendrick because his flight was delayed so they had to cut his set short due to city curfew. Weekend two would be his chance to finally perform his full set. Before King Kendrick appeared on stage, the Austin sky was lit up with blue flashing lights from drones.  ACL attendees were treated to the first-ever drone show at ACL before Kendrick’s arrival. The drones flew over the Austin, Texas skyline and to display multiple images for 10-minutes while the crowd got pumped for the last main stage act of the night.

From the moment Kendrick stepped onto the stage, it was evident why he is known as King Kendrick. His command of the stage, coupled with his impeccable flow and razor-sharp lyrics, showcased why he is hailed as one of the greatest artists of our time. The crowd was vibing as he performed his catalog of hits including, “Loyalty,”“DNA,” and “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe. While fans love Kendrick for his lyrical mastery, his set was visually stunning and full of symbolism.

ACL Festival Location

Like any other festival, getting to and from the festival takes some work. Don’t expect to be dropped off in front of the festival gates and walk right into the event. There are also taxis standing by, but their rate is definitely hiked up due to the festival Many attendees utilize rideshare – which is smart – to get to/from the festival. But with over 450,000 attendees also requesting rides to/from the event, there is going to be some wait time involved. Help your rideshare driver out – update your picture in the app before you attend, if you can – I know feet hurt after walking miles at the festival but once you exit the festival, walk a little way further down the road to have your rideshare driver meet you at a nearby bar or gas station. Many rideshare drivers will cancel if they see you’re in the festival mess. If you’re willing to walk a little bit further, you’ll certainly greet a less stressed rideshare driver when you finally meet up.. If you’re not in a hurry, you can also wait for the cost of the ride to go down. Immediately after the event, costs will be high. If you can be patient, you’ll save a lot of money.

The festival itself was well thought out, allowing for easy navigation between stages, merch store, food vendors, and sponsorship booths. The festival grounds were impeccably maintained, perhaps more so because fans are encouraged by Austin Parks Foundation to pick up a bag of aluminum cans to exchange for a custom designed, festival t-shirt. Ample amenities including several water stations and numerous restroom areas ensured that attendees were comfortable throughout the weekend.

ACL Festival Atmosphere

ACL is an all-ages festival, which leads to some interesting interactions. The millennial in me struggled when I went to see Tove Lo perform – instead of being able to hear the music, I had several girls standing behind me talking as loud as they could with their backs turned to the stage. This wasn’t a one-time experience. It didn’t seem like I was the only one bothered. There are multiple threads on Reddit explaining how we all need to stop and remember concert etiquette as clearly many folks have forgotten that we’re here for the music.  Overwhelming, the positive vibe from the music lovers was infectious, and it was heartwarming to witness strangers connecting over their favorite bands and artists.

ACL Food & Drinks

The festival food and drinks were delicious this year. I’m always impressed with the variety of local vendors that show up. It was convenient being able to use wristbands to quickly pay at these food and alcohol stations. Some food highlights for me included the Truffle Mac and Cheese from Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and the frozen chocolate-dipped banana with caramel and oreos that I procured from Bananarchy.  There was an impressive array of options to satisfy any palate. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options were readily available, catering to a diverse range of dietary preferences.

Safety at ACL Festival

Security and medical personnel were readily available, contributing to a safe and secure environment. Even the artists were keeping an eye on the audience to see if people needed assistance. I attended several performances where the artist stopped to make sure emergency personnel was aware that medical assistance was needed. It’s nice to know that our icons are looking out for us. On the way out of the festival, there were also armed policemen scanning the site to ensure everyone stayed out of harm’s way.


TL: DR – 2023 Austin City Limits Music Festival was epic. Attending this music festival should be on your bucket list if it isn’t already. And if you can’t make the festival, visit Austin, Texas – the live music capital lives up to its name.