For the first time in the event’s 19-year history, the Austin City Limits Music Festival won’t take over Zilker Park for a weekend of music, food and family-friendly fun. Instead, organizers are presenting an online program with highlights from more than a dozen archival ACL Fest sets by artists including Paul McCartney (2018), Billie Eilish (2019) and Willie Nelson (2016), plus a few new performances from local acts including Grammy-nominated Black Pumas. The free virtual festival will air on the ACL Fest YouTube channel at 7 p.m. on Friday-Sunday (Oct. 9-11), with each night’s broadcast running approximately five hours.
Other acts to be featured in archival segments include local heavyweights Gary Clark Jr. (2019) and Spoon (2017), along with Radiohead (2016), LCD Soundsystem (2010), Alabama Shakes (2015), St. Vincent (2018), Juanes (2014), Phish (2010), My Morning Jacket (2011), Sylvan Esso (2018), ZHU (2017), the XX (2017), Twenty One Pilots (2015), Queens of the Stone Age (2013), String Cheese Incident (2003), Durand Jones and the Indications (2018) and Phoenix (2018). The archived performances will feature "a mix of partial sets and longer sets," according to a festival representative. More names may be added before the event begins.
ACL Fest presenter C3 Presents announced on Sept. 15 that the event would be virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Lineup details were revealed Tuesday morning.
A handful of local and regional acts will get special attention through a couple of spotlight segments. Sets filmed at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka farm will feature Black Pumas and Mobley from Austin, along with Dallas troubadour Paul Cauthen. The Austin Parks Foundation will showcase sets by Melat at Zilker Botanical Gardens, Jackie Venson at Pan Am Neighborhood Park, Los Coast at Zilker Clubhouse and Otis the Destroyer at the Heath Eiland & Morgan Moss BMX Skatepark. And the elementary schoolchildren from the Barton Hills Choir, regular performers at the festival for more than a decade, also will be included.
Beyond the performances, C3 promises "special appearances" from Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey; musicians Shakey Graves and Donn Adelman (owner of Donn’s Depot); Austin sports celebrities Vince Young, Ricky Williams and Andy Roddick; Mayor Steve Adler and City Council Member Paige Ellis; Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson; and local drag queen Louisianna Purchase. Barbecue tips will come from the proprietors of Leroy & Lewis, Valentina’s Tex-Mex and Slab BBQ. The broadcast also will feature the recent video "Walk With Me," a collaborative song featuring more than 45 Austin musicians.