Just left of the Samsung Galaxy Stage in the shade of one of the Great Lawn’s few trees, Adam and Rebekah Johnson of Dallas have staked out a sweet spot for Foster the People with a cluster of camping chairs. They took the seated approach to avoid the chaos and claustrophobia of the up-close crowds.
"I’m thinking of it as a marathon, rather than a sprint," Adam said. The couple have two young boys at home and are in Austin for their first ACL. "Besides, we have enough craziness back at the crib."
On the opposite side of the sound booth and a few feet back from the imaginary edge of "No Chair Zone," ACL Fest alum Scott Weaver sits in a low chair with a flimsy blue shade between his back and the afternoon sun. This is his seventh ACL, and while he’s camped out for Beck, he’s also here to discover some new music. "Lots of the bands we like now we discovered here," he said.
Weaver said he and his fellow festival-goers typically set up at a base camp and then wander from stage to stage. He said the key to chair-bringing success is to not be overly paranoid about someone snatching your gear. "We build a little nest and don’t worry about it. For as big as it is, it’s very chill."
He said packing heavy has some other benefits beyond BYO-back support. "We’ve been inundated before, but we have all the kit we need."
Cody Hamm has taken a more lightweight approach to seating, sitting in a burnt orange stadium chair halfway between the bar and the stage. Hamm recently moved from Austin to Nashua, New Hampshire, and is back for his second ACL and to catch up with friends. "I’m camping out here today and then moving over to see Outkast," he said.