Technology enhances ACL experience
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 by Matthew Girard
A lot has changed in the area of music festivals since the days of Woodstock, and no place better displayed those changes than the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park.
Although the traditional sites and sounds of the festival are alive and well in Austin each fall, this year's three-day extravaganza featured a more tech feel as smart phones of all kinds and electronic wristbands served as "guides" for the more than 200,000 people attending the festival.
Through a free "app" allowed concert goers to plan out their days with a scheduling function, find their way around Zilker with the help of an interactive map and post pictures using the social media program "Instagram," among many other useful tools.
The app also featured connections to a special "ACL Radio" channel, the ACL store, Twitter, Facebook and other specialty apps to help anyone find nearly anything they might need during the festival.
Those in attendance also were able to register their wristband passes, which allowed them to "check in" at various points around the park through electronic scanners.
Along with all the electronic features, the festival also featured its usual food court with eats from all of the best Austin area restaurants and a "Boutique Row," which featured gifts and other memorabilia from local Austin stores and from around the country.
As is usual with the Texas weather, fans also had to deal with varying degrees of climate during the three-day festival. From heat and humidity to a near monsoon on Saturday afternoon, participants dealt with the different conditions with a multitude of typical ponchos to embracing the rain and mud.
To add to all those experiences, some of the biggest names in the music industry provided the soundtrack to the weekend. On seven different stages more than 100 bands and musical acts played to the thousands of people milling around the park.
It wasn't uncommon for an act to come on stage and announce that they were playing for their biggest crowd ever.
Each day kicked off at 11 a.m. and finished with a headliners such as The Black Keys, Jack White of the White Stripes, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Next year's festival will be bigger as the festival is expanding to a two, three-day event in October 2013.
For more information about the Austin City Limits Musical Festival, visit www.aclfestival.com.