Music festivals in every variety, from EDM or electronic dance music to alternative and rap, have become nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of people show up every year to see many of their favorite bands all for a very reasonable price when you consider the amount of shows versus the price of the tickets. Everything from Chicago’s Lollapalooza to the powerhouse known as Coachella and Tomorrowland, an EDM music festival held in a town appropriately titled Boom, Belgium.


This past year, music festivals worldwide hosted many of the biggest names in music such as Cage The Elephant, Beyonce, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ed Sheeran, and Lorde. Each one seems to have theme and vibe about it. At Free Press Summer Fest, located at Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown Houston, you felt as a local Houstonian would walking the streets of Houston. We got that personal experience  of walking the streets partially because thunderstorms were in the area so we had to evacuate, but it was adventurous nonetheless.


But apart from the conventional music festival lies Austin City Limits. Started over 40 years ago on Public Broadcasting System, it’s become as much as a staple of Texas as BBQ food, Whataburger and George Strait. The living country legend himself Willie Nelson even headlined the first festival in 2006. What’s more Texan than that?


Yet, since the initial festival, many bands from across the spectrum of music have performed in Zilker Park. From Kanye West’s magnificent set in 2011 to Mumford and Sons in 2016 and even Radiohead that very same weekend, ACL has transcended what a traditional Texan music festival is and included bands from all corners of music. It’s become almost a rite of passage for Texans across the state to make a pilgrimage to Austin and attend however many days of this festival they’d like.


Given that it’s Texas and it’s a music festival, the heat beating down on ACL 2017 was scorching but as expected, the many festival-goers didn’t seem to mind a bit. People were simply too excited to see the many bands and artists performing on the first day alone, Missio, The XX and most importantly, Hova himself Jay Z.


But, I must address the elephant in the room.  ACL comes only days after the tragic shooting at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas and the death of a well-respected musician, Tom Petty. Andrew McMahon, frontman for Andrew McMahon and The Wilderness, offered kind words to the crowd about how music brings people from all walks of the earth together. And that through the horrific violence of the Las Vegas shooting, the world will optimistically come together in respect and unity.


And to remember Mr. Petty himself, McMahon then covered the classic Tom Petty song “Wildflowers” in another example of a beautiful tribute. Later that night, The Revivalists also covered that very same song.


From a personal opinion, every show I saw had the performers doing either something funny, heartwarming or downright hilarious. The frontman for Mutemath invited his daughter, not much older than five, on stage and she led the crowd in a chant or two.



After a sweltering 12 hours in the Texan heat, the night ended with incredibly memorable headlining performances from Jay Z and The XX. Even though he’s recently had a new album, Hova played many of his old classics and the harmonizing vocals of The XX blew the audience away.


And this was only Day 1. It’s a blast of a music festival and proudly shows off Texas’ diverse culture, flavor and pride. And in Austin tradition, there were plenty of flags across the festival with Matthew McConaughey’s face.


Are you going to ACL? If so, let’s meet up. Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff so we can watch a band together.