By Brittany Robinson
Austin City Limits is one of the biggest festivals in the country, and 2016’s was the biggest yet. It’s almost impossible not to enjoy a festival as grand as ACL. Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar are literally playing on the same weekend, and I strongly believe that if you can’t find pleasure in that, then you won’t find pleasure in anything in your life. The music at ACL is just one of the many things to enjoy at the event. They have activities for families, great photo opportunities, an art market and more. Oddly enough, I found myself liking things I didn’t expect to like at all. Whether or not they were fundamentally good or bad, I got a kick out of the following things at Austin City Limits.
I’m only twenty, but I felt super old at ACL. It’s either that or I’ve reached a level in my pretension where I’m overly critical and judgmental of everything. Don’t get me wrong, ACL is an amazing festival and I had a great time. But I can’t lie and say that when I saw twelve 15-year-olds in a kindergarten line jogging to Mumford and Sons, I didn’t feel old.
For those who don’t understand, I can only compare it to what I think people who were teens in the 1990s going to a Green Day show today feel. They would probably see 13-year-olds with fringes and studs crying to “When September Ends” and leave three minutes into the show. It’s not that they don’t like Green Day, it’s just that the scene has changed and it’s not their time anymore.
It’s really not a bad thing though. It was hilarious listening to two kids talk about flower crowns and feather tattoos over a vape. If you’re a terrible person like me, and love laughing at teenagers enjoying themselves in the “Live Music Capital of the World”, then ACL is the place for you.
LL Cool J
I can’t describe what I felt when I found out LL Cool J was coming to Austin. That’s mostly because I felt nothing. I mean, maybe if I was my mom or religiously watched NCIS: Los Angeles, it would be different. Maybe if I hadn’t been exposed to his music video for “I’m Bad” at such a young age, I could actually take him seriously as an artist. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
So my mom would be happy to hear that after seeing him perform, I am now (somewhat) a fan. No, I can never actually go through a LL Cool J set without laughing. Yes, I can enjoy myself and get ‘headsprung’ while he performs his top hits. I’ll be the first to admit that Ladies Love Cool James knows how to work a crowd. I’m also going to admit that I’m never going to be able to listen to “I Need Love” without giggling.
Those Annoying Flags
For the most part, I don’t appreciate anyone who brings a flag or stick to ACL. Flags at festivals usually do one of the following things: get in the way, annoy me because they usually aren’t funny or annoy me because they are just plain disrespectful. I’m all for Mexican Independence Day, but why are you, a culturally white guy with a sombrero and your rag tag group of frat boy misfits, running around ACL with a Mexican Flag? Do you really care about Mexico and it’s people? I don’t know, but this year, I did see some originality.
While I was waiting for Schoolboy Q, someone had brought a ball and a long stick with a hoop at the end and the people in crowd took turns taking shots. I’m all for sticks and flags that are equally as fun for the crowd. Other ones I saw were references to shows, like Rick and Morty, or just aesthetically pleasing, like the with Steve Urkel. One day, I may cop out and create my own thing. Probably not next year, or the year after that, or the year after that, but eventually.
What things did you unexpectedly end up enjoying at ACL? Let us know in the comments below.