Photo Diary: Making New Friends at Austin City Limits

This is my fourth year at Austin City Limits. This year also marks the rock festival’s ten-year anniversary (the first six obviously don’t count). These festivals are a lot like airports—they’re pop-up communities, mini social experiments, petri dishes for human social interaction. I keep coming back simply because of the people at ACL, us festival-goers in a contained environment with one another with no fire department-approved easy way out. This year, with my two counterparts, I decided to divert my attention from the media area and get crowd-focused. We made a pledge to interact with every interesting person we passed, using our press credentials as a launching pad.

On Friday, we ascertained some noteworthy Intel. 1) Almost everyone cited “the rainy year” (2009) as their most memorable experience 2) Stevie Wonder is one helluva crowd pleaser. Check out our new BFFs after the jump.

image Patrick Origin: Dallas, TX Track record: 3rd year at ACL The Best: The year that it rained really badly. As annoying as it was trudging through the mud that was up to your shoes and losing my shoes and getting really dirty and as smelly as it was, that made it the most fun. It made it a whole different atmosphere. The Worst: The years of overindulgence. 2011 Attractions: I’m really excited to see Stevie Wonder, because I figure I wont have many other chances to see him again. I’ve seen Cold War Kids a few times before, and I’m excited about them.

image Giselle and James Origin: Cut and Shoot, TX Track Record: G: This is my fifth year; J: My second year The Best: G: Dancing in the rain at Citizen Cope two years ago when it was pouring; J: The mud ruined my shoes. I came in here with some good, brand new shoes and walked out with no shoes. The Worst: J: There are no bad memories here. Only good ones.

image India Origin: Seattle, WA Track Record: Six years The Best: MIA in 2008. And in future tense: Stevie Wonder and Santigold. They’re just gonna bring it home. It’s always been good but it’s gonna be better this year. 2011 Expectations: I’m impressed with the lineup— Stevie Wonder, that’s all I’m gonna say. Also excited about Fleet Foxes

image Jackie and Bob Origin: Austin, TX Track Record: J: Six years; B: All ten The Best: J: The mudfest. That was fun to watch; B: Richard Thompson, Robert Plant and Allison Krause. 2011 Attractions: J: Coldplay, Stevie Wonder and Randy Newman. Backstage Wishes: B: The Secret Sisters; J: I’ll go with Randy Newman. image Junie and Leslie Origin: Las Vegas, NV Track Record: Four years Original Attraction: J: I’m from Marfa, Texas originally, so I was telling her about this and she’s into all the Indie bands. L: He didn’t know who anybody was. I saw the list of bands and was like, “What?”; J: I was like, “I don’t see Iron Maiden on that list.” The Best: J: When it rained a lot two years ago. It was miserable but great. And Foo Fighters (2008). Texas Appeal: L: People are so polite. To have this many people and never see fights or problems—there’s a lot of good energy. 2011 Attractions: J & L: Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlisle and Coldplay. Stevie Wonder, he’s a legend and we’ve never seen him. ACL Advice: L: Be prepared for anything: rain, sun. Stay hydrated. Austin Go-To: J: There’s a place called Casino El Camino. They serve the best burgers I’ve ever had.

image Kayla Origin: Oklahoma City, OK Track Record: 1st time Hula Hooping History: A friend brought it to my attention, and I hooped for six hours and was hooked. ACL Appeal: Kanye West. Initial Reactions: It’s pretty awesome, but it’s not very hoop-friendly. There’s just not a lot of room, but it’s just because it’s so crowded. I just wish I had some space.

image Erin and Charlie Origin: Brooklyn, NY Track Record: E: My first time; C: I came two years ago. It was the really wet year. 2011 Highlights: E: Foster the People; C: Kanye Austin Go-To: C: We went to The Salt Lick for barbecue. It lived up to the reputation. Necessary improvements: E: Real bathrooms, no port-a-potties.

image Marissa and Todd Origin: Austin, TX Track Record: M: All ten years. And I’m only 22. My parents are big music fans; T: Six years The Best: M: I liked Tom Petty (2006). And when it started to rain for the big mudstorm here. When the rain came down, everyone was drunk already and we loved it; T: LCD Soundsystem (2010) was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Hands down. And when Bob Dylan played (2007). The Worst: M: When it was 114 degrees, walking to ACL. My friend passed out at Bob Schneider (2010). 2011 Attractions: M: Kanye. Austin Go-To: M: Polvos for margaritas. Torchy’s for a great taco. Uncommon Objects on South Congress.

Photo credit: Jessica Austerlitz

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