Wondrous lineup for ACL festival
The hottest ticket in town just got hotter. The lineup for the 10th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival was released today, and with such superstar acts as Stevie Wonder, Kanye West, Arcade Fire and Coldplay co-headlining, the top tier of this year's schedule is the best yet.
The undercard includes such diverse talent as Randy Newman, Santigold, My Morning Jacket, Nas & Damien Marley, Cee Lo Green, TV on the Radio, Ryan Bingham, Cold War Kids and Gillian Welch.
Three-day passes to the fest, Sept. 16-18 at Zilker Park, sold out in about an hour last month at $185 each. Single-day tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at $90 each.
Just as the 25th anniversary of South by Southwest was almost too much to handle, the 10th annual ACL Fest is the one that everyone seems to want to go to.
"We sold out (three-day passes) so fast," said chief booker Charles Attal, "that it actually put more pressure on us to over-deliver on talent. What other festival in the U.S. sells out before the lineup is announced?" Attal said he and his partners in C3 Presents, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker, wanted this 10th anniversary to be special.
The fest, which has a capacity of 75,000 a day, grossed just over $15 million in ticket sales last year, according to Billboard magazine. Still, it's the cheapest of the four major U.S. festivals, including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Three-day passes to that last fest — resurrected by C3 as a Chicago destination event in 2005 — are $215. Coachella and Bonnaroo multidays also top the $200 mark.
In past years, the ACL format has revealed itself as heavy in second-tier up-and-comers but lighter than the other fests in headliners. But this year's top rungers Arcade, Wonder, West and Coldplay are as strong as the other three. Lollapalooza, for instance, has Eminem, Muse, Foo Fighters and Coldplay at the top.
Call that a draw. And at $30 cheaper for three-day passes, ACL Fest could be the best fest bargain around.