Austin City Limits Music Festival ‘Survival’ Guide: Everything you need to know before you head out

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The music is back! It’s finally the week that the Austin City Limits Music Festival begins. If you go, how should you prepare?

The City of Austin helped put together guidelines for festival-goers to ensure they have the best possible experience. Below is everything you need to know to help you plan the festival.


Whether you’re driving to the festival, chances are you’ll be hampered by traffic if your route takes you near Zilker Park in downtown Austin. But no worry! There is an interactive map online showing park access and road closures, as well as a calendar of when they will take place (spoiler alert: it basically affects the entire park and the roads surrounding it).

Getting to the ACL festival site

Attendees have multiple options for getting to the festival site, including a free shuttle service provided by ACL.

  • Commute: A free shuttle service picks up at Republic Square at the corner of 4th Street and San Antonio Street and drops riders in front of the Barton Springs West Festival entrance.

    The shuttle also offers trips back downtown each night.

    Shuttles will operate from Republic Square starting at noon on Friday and 11am on Saturday and Sunday on both weekends of the festival.

  • bus: CapMetro’s trip planner tool can be used to find a bus trip to Zilker from anywhere, but the most direct route to ACL Fest is MetroRapid 803.
  • Hiking and biking trail: The hike-and-bike trail at Lady Bird Lake is open, and you can walk or bike directly to the festival site from one of the many entry points along the 10-mile trail. Bring a light and remember that motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
  • bicycle: In addition to the hiking and cycling trail, there are designated cycling routes around the festival.
  • micromobility: Bird, Lime, LINK and Wheels are electric micro-mobility options in Austin. If you are bringing a scooter or e-bike to the ACL, be sure to drop it off at a designated drop-off area before entering the premises.
  • rideshare: Pickup and drop-off locations are located near the MoPac Expressway at Veterans, Lee Barton, and Wallingwood Drives. Plan to walk the rest of the way to the site yourself.


Although bringing food and drink onto the site is prohibited, attendees can still eat and drink well at the festival with nearly 40 food stalls set up.

Included in this mix are some fan favorites like Voodoo Donut, Amy’s Ice Cream and Mama Fried. Read the full list of providers on ACL’s website.

Complimentary water bottle refill stations are also available on the premises.


An important factor when planning ACL is the weather. The forecast is subject to change but so far the forecast shows lots of sunshine and fair weather clouds with temperatures expected to be in the mid 80s to 90s but it will likely feel warmer with so many people there will be in the park.

Check the pre-festival forecast for the most up-to-date information.

As it will be warm and sunny, you should wear sunscreen, suitable clothing and comfortable shoes for long periods of standing and walking.

parking rules

Zilker Park has some rules that you should know.

  • Glass and styrofoam are not allowed on the park grounds
  • No outside alcohol is allowed on the premises
  • Swimming in Lady Bird Lake is prohibited
  • Smoking and vaping are prohibited in the City of Austin’s parks. Violators are subject to a Class C misdemeanor
  • Selling on the park premises without a permit carries a minimum fine of $200 – a Class C misdemeanor

First Responder Guide

Fire Department Austin

The Austin Fire Department is warning drivers to be aware of the large number of pedestrians sharing the lane during the festival and is reminding drivers to have the right-of-way in an emergency to allow emergency vehicles access.

The AFD also appeals to people to dispose of smoking materials safely. The department will be on site to ensure all fire safety requirements are met.

Austin-Travis County EMS

ATCEMS will provide on-site medical resources at the festival. If you or someone you are with has a medical emergency and can make it to the medical tent, please do so. If this is not possible, call 9-1-1 and provide as much detail as to where the medics need to go so they can reach the patient as quickly as possible.

ATCEMS encourages consumption of alcohol in moderation and avoidance of use of illegal substances. Also, do not take any pills that are not prescribed to you or that are legally dispensed from a licensed pharmacy.

Austin Police Department

APD is running a No Refusal Initiative that will coincide with the festival. It will be in effect from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. daily from October 6 to 16. The purpose is to enforce DWI laws, protect the public by encouraging drivers to make responsible decisions, and seek blood warrants against suspects who refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, APD said.

The department says you should always be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowds, and carry your phone and ID/credit card/cash in separate locations.

APD recommends keeping your phone out of your back pocket. Phones sticking out of back pockets or backpacks are not safe. Keep belongings in a safe place (chest pocket, fanny pack) or leave them at home.

If something is stolen from you, use the APD or Austin 311 (non-emergency) online reporting page to report the theft.

You can also sign up for the Lost and Found ACL to report a lost cell phone or to try to find it.

Communication during the festival

The city of Austin will take advantage Twitter and Facebook to post relevant information.

That Austin Police Department, Austin-Travis County EMS, Fire Department Austinand Austin Emergency Management will also use their Twitter feeds for time-sensitive notifications.

Let us know your expected whereabouts in advance in case cell phone reception is intermittent at the festival.

Make sure your phone is fully charged when you arrive.

Be aware of your surroundings.

What can I bring? What is not allowed?

articles that are PERMITTED:

  • Bags that meet these criteria: clear plastic, clear vinyl, or clear PVC not exceeding 12″ x 12″ x 6″. MORE: ACL bag policy
  • Small clutch purses, belt bags with no more than 1 pocket. Clutch purses no larger than 4.5″ x 5.5
  • Empty reusable water bottles and hydration packs, as well as plastic or aluminum water bottles
  • stroller
  • frisbees
  • chairs
  • binoculars
  • Blankets, sheets, towels
  • Cameras (basic point-and-shoot consumer cameras) without detachable lenses and other accessories (monopods, selfie sticks, tripods, GoPro mounts and other attachments are not allowed)
  • Personal size hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in sizes 3.4 ounces or smaller
  • Totems (Less than 7 feet tall and less than 1 inch in diameter. Must be made of lightweight material: pool noodles, foam-like material, cardboard tubes, cloth, lightweight plastic, balloons, aluminum, and/or inflatable items)

articles that are NOT ALLOWED:

  • Any bags that are not see-through or are larger than 12″ x 12″ x 6″. All hydration packs with more than 2 pockets
  • aerosol containers including sunscreen and personal beauty products
  • Cool boxes of any kind (exceptions can be made for medical purposes)
  • Frame backpacks, multi-pocket backpacks, and any backpack that does not match the permitted backpacks listed above
  • All professional audio recording devices
  • Professional cameras and professional recording devices (photo, video, audio) (NOT large professional detachable zoom lenses, stands, monopods, tripods, mounting pins (selfie sticks) or other commercial devices
  • Any professional video equipment. Video recording is not permitted
  • Drones or other remote controlled aircraft
  • hammocks
  • All kinds of glass containers
  • Illegal and illegal substances of any kind
  • Outside of food or drink (including alcohol) of any kind
  • umbrellas
  • Pets (except service animals)
  • Selfie Sticks
  • Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts, or other personal motorized vehicles
  • Tents, canopies or shading structures of any kind
  • Unauthorized/unlicensed providers are not allowed. No unauthorized advertising and materials, including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, giveaways, samples, etc.
  • Weapons or explosives of any kind
  • Fireworks
  • Large chains or spiked jewelry
  • Bicycles within the festival site (free parking is available near the festival entrance)
  • Carts of any type (including Red Wagons)

Prescription drugs and items for dietary restrictions

Outside food and drinks are not permitted inside the festival. However, if a visitor has specific medical dietary restrictions, items are permitted. It is recommended that guests speak to the security manager and members of the medical team at the festival entrance gate who can assist them.

Patrons may bring medically necessary supplies and medication to the festival if they meet these guidelines:

  1. Recipes are in their original packaging
  2. Only one type of medication is present, and the bottle contains only the appropriate amount of medication required during attendance
  3. Recipes have not expired
  4. The customer’s name is on the prescription bottle and is verified with an ID card

Medications that require refrigeration can be taken to the medical tent for storage after the screening has been complied with.

Stream Austin City Limits

If you don’t have access to the festival, you can still access the musical performances. Hulu will stream the festival live this weekend and next.

Behind-the-scenes footage will also be released, Hulu said.

“Hulu and Live Nation both strive to provide fans with exceptional entertainment, so we’re thrilled to partner with them again as we expand our offerings to include these three iconic festivals,” Hulu President Joe Earley said in a previous release . “Each event is unique, but all three bring people together for incredible music, artistry, and experiences that we’re fortunate to be able to share with Hulu subscribers.” Austin City Limits Music Festival ‘Survival’ Guide: Everything you need to know before you head out

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