Tips from TicketCity: ACL

Since TicketCity is based in Austin, home of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, it’s fair to say that we have a lot of ACL experts on staff. So instead of featuring tips from just one of us, we will be posting several different tips throughout the next seven days as we count down to ACL.

While this year marks the tenth anniversary of ACL Fest, it is my personal sixth anniversary of attending the festival. It has been six glorious years full of great music, delicious food, and unforgettable memories.

Part of the fam at ACL Fest.

When my family and I decided to first attend the festival in 2005, I was a sophomore at LSU and had only visited Austin once before. Since that year’s lineup included Coldplay, Tom Petty, Ben Harper, Ray Lamontagne, and Kings of Leon, among others, there was something for everyone, so my whole family decided to attend. We all enjoyed it so much that we have made it an annual family tradition and are still doing it six years later. And I took my love even one step further than the rest of the fam by packing up and moving to Austin just as soon as I could.

In a sense, ACL is the perfect family vacation. No worrying about finding universally appealing activities, as every family member is sure to find something pleasing right there on the grounds of Zilker. Also, the fact that there is a set date each year means that there is no letting a year’s reunion slip through our fingers–we know the next year’s family reunion date approximately a year ahead of time, thanks to the miraculous logistical planning of the folks over at C3 presents.

But, my dad’s favorite thing about it, using a line from his favorite movie, Coupe de Ville, is that “We all got together.” So here I am to share what it is, exactly, that we must do, when we all get together, six years strong.

Get ready for some two steppin' at The Broken Spoke,

1: A night out at The Broken Spoke

My dad is a true country music connoisseur. Since my siblings and I were raised listening to albums of Willie, Waylon, and the boys, it only makes sense that The Broken Spoke is at the top of our Austin to-do list.

According to its web site, The Broken Spoke is the “Last of the True Texas Dance Halls,” and also the best chicken fried steak in Texas.

It features live music five nights a week, and dance lessons Wednesday through Saturday. Check out the calendar here to see which band is playing each night.

Go with an empty belly, and don’t forget your dancing boots!

2: Brunch at East Side Cafe

Ten years before I made the move to Austin, my sister lived in this amazing city, and while she did she earned a living by working at East Side Cafe. During our first tour of ACL, she suggested we brunch at this quaint restaurant, and the food was so life-changing we vowed to return each year.

As its name might let on, Eastside Cafe is located in a warm, old house with wood floors in Austin’s vibrant Eastside neighborhood. Many of the herbs and vegetables in its dishes are grown right outside the door in the restaurant’s own garden. The menu has something to please even the pickiest of eaters, including my own father, who finds even the very thought of soysauge, vegetarianism, or salad appalling. Check out the menu here.

Quick tips: Reservations are accepted for brunch, and are suggested. Also, if you’re looking for a souvenir, visit East Side Cafe’s gift shop, which is located just across the courtyard from the restaurant.

The always refreshing Barton Springs.

3: A quick dip in Barton Springs

While Texas is known for many things, our moderate climate ain’t one of ‘em. In fact, ACL Fest in September can downright blazing. Fear not, ACL goers, for there is a quick, affordable solution located right in Zilker Park. Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite spots in Austin: Barton Springs.

For those that have purchased three-day passes to ACL (It’s not too late-get yours here), exiting and reentering the fest is permitted. This allows one to walk out the festival gates, cross Barton Springs Road to get to the other side of Zilker Park, and experience Mother Nature’s air conditioning. Barton Springs is fed by natural springs and maintains an average temperature of 68 degrees F. For a mere $3, you’ll gain entry to the pool side, or by walking a few extra yards, you can visit the creek side free of charge. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy this nice reprieve from the heat of the Texas sun in between festival acts. For more information on pricing and hours, click here.

While these are just a few highlights of the items on my family’s annual to-do list, they are some of our favorites. No matter which acts you see, foods you taste, or nightlife you experience, you can be sure that when you’re reliving your ACL memories at the festival’s end, you’ll at least be able to say one thing: “We all got together.”

The Week in TicketCity Search – September 9th

TicketCity Week in Search

Week of
Sept 4th
1 1 Texas Longhorns Football
2 2 Texas A&M Football
3 4 Mississippi State Football
4 3 US Open Tennis
5 - LSU Football
6 - ACL Fest
7 8 Oklahoma State Football
8 - Arkansas Football
9 10 Taylor Swift
10 - Auburn Football
Week of
Aug 28th
1 2 Texas Longhorns Football
2 - Texas A&M Football
3 - US Open Tennis
4 5 Mississippi State Football
5 3 Justin Bieber
6  - Texas Tech Football
7  - Chris Brown
8  - Oklahoma State Football
9 4 Mindless Behavior
10 9 Taylor Swift

Well, after a little time off, I’ve returned to find college football season has started. Yes, the weeks around the September kick-off are some of the few that find the countdown devoted so completely to sports. Can’t quite squeeze everyone with a microphone out, though. The resilient Miss Swift has held on both weeks, tenaciously clinging to the countdown.

Football isn’t the only sport that’s not only held on, but clung to the top five. That would be the US Open, tennis flavor, ongoing for the past couple weeks up in lovely Flushing, NY. Thanks to some rain outs, there’s still a lot of tennis to see. The tournament will run through next Monday, the 12th.

Another favorite shows up this week, ACL Fest. We’re just a week away from the 2011 festival. Since it seems the local climate remembered it doesn’t have to have three digit temperatures all the time, things are shaping up for a fine few days out at Zilker Park.

The Week in TicketCity Search – August 26th

TicketCity Week in Search

1 - Virginia Tech Football
2 2 Texas Longhorns Football
3 1 Justin Bieber
4 - Mindless Behavior
5 4 Mississippi State Football
6 - Georgia Football
7 3 Dallas Cowboys
8 - ACL Fest
9 7 Taylor Swift
10 - Texas A&M Football

The Hokies, out of nowhere, take the top spot this week. Fun fact: my dad was a “Hokie.” While I did not follow in his footsteps, it did make getting an acceptance letter from Tech pretty easy. They are followed by one of the usual suspects this time of year, the Longhorns, who hold onto the number #2 spot this week. We find the esteemed Mr. Bieber in the countdown at #3, followed by a newcomer to the countdown who posted a similar “out of nowhere” performance.

Mindless Behavior is a boy band, or so Wikipeida tells me. Doesn’t tell me much more than that. I guess they’re not quite Menudo, NKOTB, or ‘N Sync yet. They have an album, the charmingly titled #1 Girl, and have been the opening act on Janet Jackson’s recent greatest hits tour.

The reminder of the countdown is far more conservative. While the schools change, college football is a constant, as are the Cowboys, as this the point in the season where optimism abounds.

ACL Fest returns to the countdown. The festival kicks off September 16th, so we’re only three weeks away now. Be sure to stay cool out there, as the forecast is for more of the same toasty temps from the past few months. Better than rain, at least.

The Week in TicketCity Search – July 22nd

TicketCity Week in Search

1 7 Adele
2 1 Justin Bieber
3 5 Taylor Swift
4 8 Jason Aldean
5 3 Katy Perry
6 6 Selena Gomez
7 2 ACL Fest
8 - A Perfect Circle
9 - U2
10 - Sade

It’s summer concert season and we’ve got a full list of concert performers for you this week. Nary a sporting event in sight. Have a month or so before college football heats up and (maybe) the NFL. Shooting right to the top is Adele, who climbed the chart reliably the past few weeks and has ended up on top. Her restarted tour is back, and tickets for her show at the Frank Erwin Center went on sale today. She takes some of the wind out of the esteemed Mr. Bieber’s sails in reaching the top, moving him down to #2, followed by Taylor Swift, who also had a really good week.

Jason Aldean and Katy Perry round out the top five, a big move up for the country star. Katy’s summer tour continues going strong, despite slipping a bit in the countdown this week. She makes for a good pop pair with Selena Gomez, who holds onto the #6 spot this week. ACL took a bit of a tumble to end this week at #7, where it makes way for our new and returning entries.

Debuting this week is A Perfect Circle. The recently reformed band has been touring on and off since 2010, though there are no plans to release a full album of new material, rather a few new songs. Finally, U2 and Sade end up the week in the #9 and #10 spots, both having been seen on the countdown on and off for months now. U2′s 360° Tour, which has been running since 2009 (with a break), finally comes to an end this week, so this will be your last chance to catch this unique concert event.

The Week in TicketCity Search – July 15th

TicketCity Week in Search

1 1 Justin Bieber
2 7 ACL Fest
3 4 Katy Perry
4 3 Davis Cup
5 2 Taylor Swift
6 5 Selena Gomez
7 10 Adele
8 - Jason Aldean
9 - Phillies
10 - LSU Football

Interesting results this week. Looks like last weekend’s Davis Cup had enough enough searches to keep it on the board from Saturday and Sunday alone. ACL surged as we’re nearing the middle of summer and thoughts may be turning to plans for Fall. Well, what passes for Fall around here, at least. ACL is in mid-September this year, so that’s not even technically Fall, just the very end of summer.

Katy Perry jumped a spot to number three, leap frogging last week’s second and third entries. Taylor Swift still ended the week at a respectable number five, while the more recently minted pop star Miss Gomez also fell a spot to number six. Adele made big gains this week as her return to touring nears.

All this week’s new entries are neatly packaged at the end; a nice change from the usual “appearing out of nowhere” and “rushing right to the top.” First off is semi-regular Jason Aldean, who is on tour in support of his recent album My Kinda Party, and had some crossover success with his latest single “Dirt Road Anthem.” Team sports make an uncharacteristic appearance on the summer countdown, with the Phillies making the chart at number nine, and some early shoppers for college football season looking to snag some LSU football tix.