Austin’s Zilker Park: A music lovers Mecca

Inspired by Austin’s live music scene in the early 1970s, Austin City Limits, three decades later, still offers the mix of musical styles that has made it a television music program standout. “Austin City Limits seeks a balance of music genres encompassed by regional, national and international performers,” Terry Lickona, the series’ producer who books the talent, said.

The award-winning TV series showcase is recorded in KRLU studios, located on the University of Texas at Austin campus, and is featured on PBS throughout the country.

Four years ago, ACL expanded its reach beyond PBS, presenting a highly successful music festival that continues to connect fans to the artists they love, Lickona said.

Jordan Johnson, a senior finance major, is attending ACL for the first time, and although he is missing work, he scheduled his classes accordingly.

“I planned my fall schedule to make sure that I wouldn’t have any Friday classes that would conflict with going to the festival,” Johnson said.

Held Friday to Sunday in Austin’s Zilker Park, the fourth annual music festival will bring music legends, aspiring artists and thousands of fans to experience ACL, Lickona said.

The festival features more than 130 musical performances, including headliners such as The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, Lyle Lovett, two shows by Widespread Panic and a Sunday night finale featuring Coldplay.

The festival is expected to attract 65,000 music fans each day, according to the ACL Web site.

Many of those in attendance will be TCU students who will be skipping class and heading south for the three-day-long festival.

Austin native Lauren Miller, a senior fashion merchandising major, goes to the festival every year to hear her favorite bands, but also looks forward to hearing bands for the first time.

“Austin City Limits exposes fans to music that gets so little exposure and other acts that can never get enough exposure,” Miller said.

One band that is hoping to get exposure from the festival is Oliver Future.

Oliver Future, better known as Pudge Zeppelin to TCU students, is the Led Zeppelin cover band that frequents the Moon Bar on Berry Street, and will be taking its original band down to ACL to promote its new CD, “The Bear Chronicles”.

The band is hoping to strengthen its fan base and get its new sound and CD out there for people to enjoy, Matt Dentler, a reporter for the Austin (Texas) Chronicle, said.

“They are the best new band in Austin and the buzz they are going to create at ACL is bound to be huge,” Dentler said.

Oliver Future is an Austin-born band with Texas roots, just like Austin City Limits itself.

According the ACL Web site, 60 percent of the people in attendance are from Austin, but many people travel from all over the country to hear their favorite bands perform at the festival.

Todd Garber, a senior at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, has attended ACL every year of his college career.

“My fraternity brothers and I head down every year to hear a lot of music that the rest of the world never gets to hear,” Garber said.

It is a long trip down, but it is one stop for all the music any enthusiast loves and appreciates, Garber said.

“I would have to travel around the world to hear all of the music I hear at this one venue,” Garber said. “It makes the trip from Ann Arbor to Austin seem like a short one.