The only ACL Fest 2021 playlists you'll ever need, with hits and hidden gems
Austin City Limits Music Festival is around the corner with a lineup that has something for just about everyone. Are you showing up to the festival in your finest cowboy boots? Make sure to catch country legends George Strait and LeAnn Rimes. Is your heart aching with nostalgia for new wave? Lose your mind while Duran Duran plays “Rio” and “Hungry Like a Wolf.” Want to show off all the TikTok dances you learned in quarantine? You’ve got Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat to keep you company.
But those are just some of the big names. More than 100 performers will be gracing the ACL stages over the next two weekends, and it’s easy to feel like you've bitten off more than you can chew. Fret not — we’ve compiled two playlists to help you get to know the lineup better, from the names you know and love to the ones printed so small on the promotional poster that you have to squint to read them.
ACL 2021: Hype
Our first playlist, Hype, is all about energy. Houston-bred hot girl Megan Thee Stallion kicks it off with her latest single, “Thot Shit,” and is followed by hip-hop hidden gems like Tkay Maidza, La Doña and 070 Shake. Billie Eilish’s deceivingly chill at first “Happier Than Ever” transitions us into a wave of emo and pop-punk songs from performers like KennyHoopla, Machine Gun Kelly and girl in red. The playlist detours into indie rock (The Backseat Lovers, Bleachers) and energetic country (Trixie Mattel, Jade Bird) before landing in a cushion of dance music, featuring the Eilish-inspired Noga Erez and Australian DJ Alison Wonderland.
ACL 2021: Chill
We’ve also compiled Chill, a playlist of songs that might be better enjoyed with a head nod from the bring-your-own-chair zones of Zilker. Reigning sad girl Phoebe Bridgers starts it off with the delicate “Garden Song,” followed by bedroom-pop kids Claud and Frances Forever. Erykah Badu’s “On & On” is the first in a string of soulful songs from acts like Moses Sumney, Cautious Clay and Austin’s own Black Pumas. Soft country and rock numbers lead into low-energy electronic music from the likes of Public Library Commute and FINNEAS, Eilish’s brother and collaborator. Slower hip-hop numbers from Freddie Gibbs, self-proclaimed “nonbinary rockstar” Serena Isioma and Tyler, the Creator make an appearance before indie artists like St. Vincent and Modest Mouse take us home.
Sit back, relax — or stand up, dance — and press play.