Day One: Hot on and off the stages
The 18th Austin City Limits Music Festival opened Friday in Zilker Park. Here are five things to know about the first day of Weekend One and what's coming up Saturday:
1. It was hot and will continue to be hot. Saturday's weather forecast calls for Texas-size sunshine with blazing temperatures approaching 97 degrees. Some clouds will roll in at night, but it should stay balmy, staying above the mid-70s. In an attempt to mitigate the heat, ACL Fest organizers added a few new shade structures. A colorful art installation by the food court that provided some coverage last year has been replaced by two large tents with picnic tables underneath. Music lovers also gathered under trees and by the fans in the beer tent to escape the afternoon heat.
2. The new Bonus Tracks stage, tucked into a shady spot in the wine grove near the Austin Kiddie Limits area, got off to a solid start Friday with a handful of 30-minute interviews that included NPR's Stephen Thompson talking with Jenny Lewis before her early evening set on the VRBO stage. The big news out of that interview might have been Thompson's parting heads-up that his 2 p.m. Saturday interview guest will be Billie Eilish. Expect a massive crowd trying to jam into the relatively contained space for that one.
3. Local R&B breakout Alesia Lani set the tone for a stellar day of music in her sizzling early afternoon set. With an eight-piece band at her back, the Austin native prowled the stage, exuding the sass and flair you’d expect from a soul queen, with the glint of a prizefighter sparkling in her eye. The sparse crowd grew thick as her set progressed, moving and grooving to her hook-filled jams. Other notable sets Friday: an energetic performance from quippy pop singer King Princess, who kicked off her Cheap Queen tour in Austin, and a crowd-surf-worthy show from Los Angeles band Fidlar. Headliners on Friday night were Tame Impala and Guns N' Roses.
4. Rapper Lil Uzi Vert canceled his 6 p.m. set on the Honda stage. The festival announced the news early in the afternoon. Jai Wolf, who played at 2:30 p.m., replaced the hip-hop artist with an encore performance.
5. Coming up Saturday: Headliners Childish Gambino, who had to cancel last year because of a foot injury, and the Cure, along with hometown guitar hero Gary Clark Jr., teen pop sensation Billie Eilish and Brittany Howard, the soulful frontwoman of Alabama Shakes now on tour with her first solo record.