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ACL Fest: Day 2.1: The curse of equipment

Michael Barnes

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 5, 2013

The war between the recliners and the wanderers appears to have died down at least for now. Folks in chairs generally stay in their designated zones. Fans on foot peregrinate from one end of the field to the other. So it shall always be. There’s another factor, though, that became clear as Jacob Stetson and I strolled from Haim — where actor Ben McKenzie hung out backstage with his crew — skirting sprightly Electric Guest over to energizing blast of Walk the Moon. The mere presence of chairs and other reclining devices changes not only the demographic of the overall crowd, but also its innate temper. Festivals that forbid such equipment tend to skew younger, more active and more intense. This can be a good thing or a bad thing — or both. I tend to appreciate, for fairly obvious reasons, the mix of ages and types at ACL, just as I like the musical variety. We’ll see how the equipment-bearers handle the rain, if it comes. Cloudy now, cooler, smell of rain.