By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor
I woke up around 7:30 to hit the road an hour later for my trip to Austin City Limits, but in my typical form I was running behind. I rushed and hauled all my stuff in my car in an attempt to get breakfast, gas and a quick coffee from Dutch Bros. Before leaving.
The Dutch Bros. line. was wrapped around the building when I arrived so I knew that was an immediate no. After parking in the Panera Bread parking lot, I realized I’d much rather have an energy drink and breakfast taco at Buc-ee’s in Temple, so I left as quickly as I had stopped. .
Once on the road, I listened to some popular songs from the band, Sarah and the Sundays, who I had planned to interview once I arrived. Thirty minutes into my ride, as planned, I stopped at Buc-ee’s to pick up my breakfast items and hit the road back to ACL.
I started to panic slightly when I realized I only got there about 8 minutes before the ticket office opened, where I had to pick up my wristband. I thought there would be a huge queue that would take forever to get in, but that didn’t turn out to be the case at all.
Once in Austin, I parked in a garage that looked a little sketchy, but it was apparently recommended by ACL, so I decided to check it out. Then I started my 1.5 mile hike from the garage to the east entrance of the festival.
Honestly, the walk wasn’t great, and I spent most of my time planning my interview in my head and taking pictures along the way. Once it got to the media accreditation box office, it hadn’t opened yet, even though I arrived 30 minutes late.
I had a little chat with the other press around me, then it was time to grab our bracelets. Donning the shimmering orange and yellow media headband made him feel real for the first time. I was here to cover a festival, and I couldn’t be more excited.
After the box office, I walked to the entrance where there was a much shorter media queue. Everyone patiently waited for the doors to open at noon.
When the “Star Wars” theme song sounded, we knew it was time to enter the festival. Almost like the right time, everyone rushed forward through the doors. Once through security, I began my second journey of the day in search of the press room for my first interview.
The press room was much bigger than I expected and there were giveaways galore. From coffee and chips, to popsicles and granola bars, the press lounge was starting to feel like home. They even had comfortable chairs to sit on for informal interviews or just to take a break from the festival business.
After my interview, I rested in the press room for a bit before deciding to explore the park. First, I had to get an airbrush tattoo, of course. I waited in line too long but it was worth it as the tattoos were cool and I got to talk to the artist for a while.
After the tattoo, I took a few photos in front of the iconic ACL flags, and then curiosity got the better of me. I saw a long line stretching out of the Hulu Motel pop-up area, and immediately needed to know why. Interestingly, no one in line knew what was inside. They had lined up out of curiosity like me.
I’m grateful to have jumped in the queue, because I met two cool girls who I chatted with for about an hour.
Once I got to the front of the queue, I discovered that Hulu had set up a lounge themed around the new TV show Bates Motel, based on the movie Psycho! They had postcards that you could sign and mail, and then at the end you answered a quiz of movie-related questions on a vending machine screen to try and win prizes. I won a portable electric fan. I was jumping for joy at that moment.
After the Hulu zone, I had to hop into the Coca-Cola zone to relax a bit on one of the swings, where I won a free pin. I absolutely loved taking advantage of all the ACL freebies.
I met my roommate afterwards, and we decided to have kimchi fries and a cherry lemonade from JuiceLand. It was my favorite ACL drink last year, so I was so excited to be able to have it again.
Post ACL eats, I went to my first official gig of the day, which was Sarah and Sundays. I left a bit early to head a bit towards BENEE, then took another snack break in anticipation of the night closings.
I ended the night seeing Omar Apollo, who absolutely killed his performance, and SZA, who brought the night to a close effortlessly on the Honda stage.
The first day was very long, but it was totally worth it, and I can’t wait to see what awaits us on the second day!