The Mother of All Texas Music Festivals

Austin City Limits Music Festival

September 28 & 29, 2002

Zilker Park, Austin, Texas



Paul Johnston

The Mother of All Texas Music Festivals has now been born! Yes, the first Austin City Limits Music Festival has just successfully blasted off into the Austin Live Music Cosmos and is destined to be the hallmark of all Texas music festivals!

Not perfect for the first time, but easily makes it into live music heaven. Austin City Limits, the primary beneficiary of the event, its sponsors, promoters, the musical artists, the many excellent volunteers, and the city of Austin are to be commended on the fine job done by this first time event, an event that has set a historical mark on the live music scene in Austin, Texas. No doubt, now, the Live Music Capitol of the World!

The festival strategy for the first day was park, ride, acquire tickets, have fun, ride and then try to remember where you parked before driving home. Parking was to be had at the various state employee/visitor parking lots around the 14th and San Jacinto Street area. The ride to the Zilker Park area where the festival was held was provide by buses from Capitol Metro. Saturday morning the initial wait in line to get on a bus was anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, not pleasant in the hot sun, but the situation was corrected by calling in more buses Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.

After arriving to the Zilker Park area, another surprise awaited the festivian again, standing in long lines to purchase tickets or to acquire a two day wrist band pass. The ACL Music Festival producers were just not fully prepared for the tremendous turnout. Forgivable, yes, as this was the first festival. What was done was done well and the various difficulties were successfully handled as quickly as humanly possible. For myself, I went over to the volunteer/media tent to pick up my press pass. To my surprise I was handed a first class Media Kit notebook with all types of pertinent public relations information plus a CD, On Any Given Evening-Austin-Volume III, provided by the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau . This CD had various musical artists that one would hear in the Live Music Capitol of the World, Austin, Texas. This Media Kit made gathering the background details about the new festival much easier!

Over the two day event, the festival featured 70 bands on six stages plus a Taste of Austin Food Court, SoCo Art Market, and the
Austin City Limits Experience. Shown below is a schedule of performers that festivians experienced. Most of my time Saturday afternoon was spent at the Austin Stage enjoying Caroline Herring, Patrice Pike, The Derailers and David Garza. Side trips were made to the Texas Stage to see Gillian Welch; at the American Original Stage, Gary Clark Jr.; the Heritage Stage, Caitlin Cary. All were excellent performers! Plenty of musical variety over the two days to suit just about anyone's taste.

Some Suggestions:

The event was handled very well considering everything. Since the hot sun is a factor at this time of the year, maybe a large tent could be set up over the area where the sound engineers for each stage are located. This would provide six extra shade areas, one for each stage, for the sun-challenged and youngsters in addition to the sound engineers. Another nicety would be hand washing stations for the porta-potty and food vending areas. More ATM machines and someone to service these machines would insure that all who attended could spend as much as their hearts desired.

Talking Trash - Speaking of trash, more/larger trash containers need to be supplied to the festival grounds. More frequent trash pickups need to be scheduled throughout the day to keep trash from overflowing into the area around the trash cans. Between stage areas, the grounds were free of liter. However, around many stages, liter accumulated from the crowds. Why the crowds would intentionally leave liter around the stage is hard to understand? Perhaps between acts, the announcers could gently nudge festival goers to pick up around where they are standing or sitting to help out. If there is sufficient quantity of trash receptacles, maybe the crowd would participate.

Obviously, next year, because this event is really going to blast off in popularity, sufficient transportation to and from the event and more people to process the ticket holder will be things the promoters will want to make sure run more efficiently in order to insure a sweet sounding festival success.

The Austin City Limits Music Festival was a music history making event for 2002! High music festival standards were set and achieved in Austin this past year and surely the ACL Music Festival will be the professional standard on which all Texas musical festivals will be measured from now on. Once more, the Mother of All Texas Music Festivals has now been born!

Featured Festival Photographs
[No Longer Available]

Caroline Herring Caitlin Cary David Garza

Festival Scenes

Gary Clark, Jr.

Gillian Welch

Patrice Pike

Joe McDermott

The Derailers

The New Deal

****NEWS STORY****

2002 Band Performance Schedule


11 A.M.         Faithful Gospel Singers (11:30)  
NOON   Ramsay Midwood (12:15) Space Truck
Lil' Cap'n Travis (12:50)
  New Soul Invaders (12:45) Grupo Fantasma (12:15)
1:00 Blind Boys of Alabama   The Weary Boys (1:50) Asleep at the Wheel    
2:00   South Austin Jug Band Caroline Herring (2:50)   Mighty Sincere Voices of Navasota Eyes Adrift
3:00 Los Lobos     Gillian Welch Original Bells of Joy (3:15)  
4:00   The New Deal Patrice Pike   Natalie Zoe (4:30) Caitlin Cary
5:00 Wilco   The Derailers (5:15) Patty Griffin Gary Clark Jr.. (5:45)  
6:00   Sound Tribe Sector 9 David Garza (6:30)     The Jayhawks
7:00 String Cheese Incident   Abra Moore (7:45) Nickel Creek Joe Bonamassa (7:15)  
8:00 String Cheese Incident (8:45 p.m.) Soulive   Pat Green (8:45)   Bob Schneider



11 A.M.         The Gospel Stars (11:30)  
NOON Jack Ingram (12:30) RANA Jane Bond

Jon Dee Graham (12:50)
Kelly Willis (12:30)   Allison Moorer
1:00   Olospo (1:45) Kevin McKinney (1:50)   Durden Family Singers James McMurtry (1:45)
2:00 Karl Denson's Tiny Universe (2:30)   Tift Merritt (2:50) Shawn Colvin (2:30) Ruthie Foster (2:30)  
3:00   Topaz (3:30)       The Gourds (3:30)
4:00 G. Love & Special Sauce (4:30)   Vallejo Jimmie Vaughan (4:30) Beto y Los Fairlanes  
5:00   Particle (5:30) Cross Canadian Ragweed (5:15)   Rebirth Brass Band (5:30) Eric Johnson & Alien Love Child (5:30)
6:00 Ryan Adams (6:30)   Reckless Kelly (6:30) Emmylou Harris (6:30)    
7:00   Luna (7:30) Monte Montgomery (7:45)   W.C. Clark Robert Randolph & the Family Band (7:30)
8:00 The Arc Angels (8:30)          

 Copyright - 2002 - Paul Johnston

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