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Posted: 11:10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012

ACL Fest: Expert advice

We ask a group of seasoned ACL Fest veterans how to get the most from the fest

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Ashley Cass photo
Giant Noise's Ashley Cass considers water, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, sunscreen and a handkerchief ACL Fest essentials.

By Deborah Sengupta Stith

The expert: Andy Langer - KGSR, Esquire, YNN, Texas Monthly

His advice: Study the schedule, make a plan and then be completely open to entirely shelving that plan, walking around aimlessly and stopping in front of whatever catches your ear. Also, be courteous with your chair/blanket set-up- there are no official aisles and walkways, but it’s pretty obvious when you’re set up right in everyone’s way.

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The expert: Ashley Cass, Social Media Manager for Giant Noise

Her advice: Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer, sunglasses, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle and ca$h money. Reception isn’t always reliable, so decide on an obvious meeting spot or consider a conspicuous sky sign like a flag or balloon when coordinating with friends. Also, don’t forget to bring a handkerchief! It’s quite functional when fending the elements .. be it sun, dust or wind.

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The expert: Matt Reilly, Program Director of KUTX

His advice: Your cell phone is unreliable. Texts you send will be received approximately 41 minutes after sending them. Forget trying to actually talk on the phone. Check the weather forecast before heading down to the park. Eat. When you really think about it, beer is mostly water.

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The expert: Happy Mercado, ACL Live

His advice: Buy rain boots. Now that you own them, it will never rain. Don’t forget to have fun.

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The expert: Mike Rypka, owner, Torchy’s Tacos

His advice: My advice to newcomers is pace yourself and do yourself a favor, and see some people you have never heard of. That is where the magic is. I discovered Arcade Fire there the first year. They played at 2 pm that year and I was blown away. I think they headlined a year or two later. Most of all try tons of food. We’ve got the best festival food in the country - it can’t be beat!

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The expert: Tolly Moseley, austineavesdropper.com

Her advice: Eat lunch or dinner at the amazing food court. I’m not sure how it is other places, but ACL always fetches the most delicious vendors, who are truly worth the lines (which move quickly). No funnel cakes or questionable corn dogs … just local yumminess, like pulled pork BBQ sandwiches from Stubb’s. Mmm.

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The expert: Matt Shook, owner of Juiceland

His advice: Bring a suit and go to Barton Springs when you need a refresh. Also, make sure to drink a fresh coconut daily.

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The expert: Bob Schneider, musician, Scabs frontman

His advice: Sun screen and water. Lots of water.

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The expert: ACL Mike, aclmike.com

His advice: There’s always music playing somewhere. If you’re at a stage without music, you’re doing it wrong. Meet the people around you, they share a common interest and are probably pretty cool (just like you). And remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself and have fun!

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The expert: Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel

His advice: Come ready for heat, rain, cold, dust or none of the above — cause they all might happen!

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The expert: David Brown, host and Executive Producer at KUT News.

His advice: The big tree by the small BMI stage not only offers rare and precious respite from the midday heat, but a terrific perch from which to discover your next favorite artist. (You can thank me later.)

The expert: Lance Armstrong, cyclist, cancer fighter

His advice: Ride your bike (with a lock of course) to the fest. Easiest way in and out.

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NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the titles of Matt Reilly, David Brown and Happy Mercado who have all changed positions since this article was first posted a year ago. 

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