Nothing lasts forever, even cold October rain.
It's dipped into the high 40s Friday afternoon at Zilker Park, and there's chilly drizzle, but Guns N' Roses fans remain undeterred from camping at the front of the stage for seven-and-a-half hours until the rock legends take the stage. By 12:15 p.m., the Austin City Limits Music Festival’s first lawn chairs had staked their ground at the American Express stage. At 12:20, I counted 50 people along the front barricade, just after the noon gates opened. The beer and wine were already flowing.
Christian Bates said he moved to Austin from California six weeks ago. He made an early festival dash to the front, and said "Welcome to the Jungle" is one of his all-time favorite rock songs. He also said that he was born in 2001, and that Dad helped him discover his love for classic rock---YouTube's suggested, auto-play videos did the rest.
"I just looked up 'rock' music on YouTube. Ozzy was the first person that popped up, and videos just kept playing and playing," Bates said. "I ended up hearing 'Welcome to the Jungle' for the first time. It was just so mesmerizing. ... It's still one of my favorite rock songs of all time."
But it's a long way from the 7:30 p.m. performance, and the weather is gross. At what point is Bates going to seek shelter should conditions worsen?
"When their set finishes," he said flatly.
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The 18-year-old also said he doesn't have any thoughts about what he'll eat when he gets hungry, but said he'll "figure it out when I get there."
Another patron, University of Houston student Santiago Pereira, chimed in: "That's one of the last things you worry about. (All that matters is) just water and surviving."
Santiago Pereira is here with his brother, Ricky, and they're from the border town of McAllen. They're here for the Raconteurs, and say that afterward they'll head to see ACL Fest's other Friday headliner, Tame Impala. Ricky is wearing white shorts and a sleeveless, white Red Hot Chili Peppers T-shirt.
"I did not come prepared," he said. "I came in shorts and no sleeves thinking it's going to be hot ... the coldest ACL of all time."
Ricky digs it though: "Once everyone gets here we're going to warm up" and that it'll be a "group bonding experience."
Santiago is wearing a green jacket, and says that after five years of ACL, the brothers are better mentally prepared for camping out up front. Their key rule is that no one leaves for food after 4 p.m.
"Our first year we were very broke. We just ate half a P. Terry's burger and that was all we ate all day," Santiago said. "The third day: Just one Pop Tart."
Both brothers talk about the group that forms a bond during that long window of waiting. That's ultimately why they're not worried about the weather.
"We're the ones that are OK but the ones in the middle who don't get any water and don't get direct care, those are the ones who pass out," Santiago said.
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