ACL Kiddie Limits Spotlight: Big Don

Hey Austinites - did you know that award-winning hip-hop musician Don Robinson (Big Don) is based right here in our wonderful city? He is a member of the Austin music hall of fame, and has been part of the Austin music scene for 22 years. 

Big Don's charismatic style and charm is legendary! Catch him on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage on Saturday, October 3; Sunday, October 4; and Friday, October 9. He was kind enough to grant us a preview interview before his show tomorrow. 

What has been the most exciting gig you have performed so far? 

We have performed at ACL on the kids stage twice before and it is always a super exciting environment! Playing a festival like ACL that is really the biggest gathering of a local community is always amazing to us.

Who is a fan of your music that you never expected to have? 
College kids! We actually have a huge following among kids in their 20's who identify with the contemporary sound that we bring to the production of our music. The messages are obviously aimed at kids between the ages of 3 and 9 years of age, so when college kids approach me about how they dig the sound, it's pretty flattering.

What do you love about performing in Austin? 
Austin is one of the best communities on the planet for getting together an having a good time whether it's the annual Kite festival or many of our world-famous music festivals like ACL and South By Southwest. People here really love to embrace getting together and sharing everything the city has to offer with family.

What is the best thing about being a musician for children? 
There is absolutely no better feeling than being able to make a child smile. We played one of our performances at the Austin Children's Hospital. Getting those kids up, smiling and dancing and being able to forget about being sick for even a brief amount of time was really special to us.

What are your some of your favorite songs that are not kids' music? 
Well, being a musician I am influenced by everything from James Brown to Michael Jackson. I simply love Pop, Soul and Hip Hop Music! My favorite song of all time is "Dancing Machine" by the Jackson 5.

What's your favorite restaurant in Austin? 
Chuy's is my favorite restaurant on earth. There just is nothing better!

Welcome back to the ACL stage, Big Don!

Sat, Oct. 3rd | 1:00 - 1:25 PM
Austin Kiddie Limits

Sun, Oct. 4th | 1:00 - 1:25 PM
Austin Kiddie Limits

Fri, Oct. 9th | 12:30 - 12:55 PM
Austin Kiddie Limits


ACL Kiddie Limits Live: Justin Roberts

And we're here! ACL is in full swing, and we are listening to and interviewing some of our favorite artists while we're on site. 


Did you know that Justin Roberts was in school getting an advanced degree in Theology when his first album started to take off? He had been a preschool teacher and decided to make a children's CD on a whim. While he was studying, he played occasional gigs for his professors' children, and he realized that his heart was in the music.

Justin finds inspiration from his own childhood memories and finds a personal connection to help him create his music. He has nine CDs in his repertoire now, and he is constantly looking for ideas and thinking about topics as they come up.

"I am a big fan of lyrics," Justin said. "So I like artists like Loudon Wainwright, Nick Lowe, and Joni Mitchell. Musically, I like Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys."

Speaking of the legendary Brian Wilson, Justin had a chance to play for him once, and Brian asked Justin to play a particular song again just for him. And then asked him to play it a second time, and then a third. On the third round of the song, Brian started harmonizing with Justin and creating his own version of the song.

Recently, Justin wrote the lyrics and music for a musical in Chicago, and watched it come to life. And he is working on a second picture book that is scheduled for released in 2017.

Listening to Justin play is like no other kids band you can think of - it's funny, and catchy, and sophisticated. And, of course, fun. Catch him again this Sunday, October 4, at 4 PM on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage.


Bill Childs: ACL Picks

Bill Childs is producer of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, a syndicated family music radio show distributed by PRX.  You can listen to Spare the Rock locally here in Austin every Sunday at 6 p.m. on KUTX. On Spare the Rock Records, he’s also released three benefit compilations of music for kids, including Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, which has raised over $75,000 in relief for Haiti. Bill also co-produces many family-friendly music shows in Austin including the upcoming Hush Hush Music Bash happening on October 3rd, from 4-7pm. 

As usual, ACL has sneaked up on me, doubly so because I'm going the second weekend. But still, there's lots to see and here are some picks of acts that might be of particular interest for families!

First of all, the Austin Kiddie Limits stage is packed this year, albeit almost entirely packed with male performers.

Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players is as good as it gets in music for families -- ludicrously catchy songs with a direct line to the brain of kids and adults alike. Also on the first weekend's bill, Tim Kubart's new album "Home" is pure pop goodness, and to see him with Mother Falcon will be extra great (note that you can see them for free on Saturday 10/3 at the Hush Hush Music Bash at the Domain!

On the second weekend, Mister G, recently nominated for a Latin Grammy, will bring his bilingual fun to the stage (and keep an eye on Spare the Rock's Facebook and Twitter feeds for your chance to see him Thursday morning in a special exclusive in-studio at KUTX). Also on the second weekend, the Pop-Ups will bring their infectious electronic fun to the AKL stage. And finally, Emi Sunshine, a 10-year-old from Tennessee, will mix some Appalachian music in.

Longtime local favorite Big Don will get everyone dancing with his positive hip hop. And finally, Residual Kid and the School of Rock will each show your kids that they, too, can rock.

Outside the family area, the Tito's Handmade Vodka stage may be the best place to camp out as a family. Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops is mesmerizing, El Tule will get you all moving, and Kali Uchis will give the kids a great introduction to modern soul.

Elsewhere, the Decemberists' early evening set on Sunday is promising; there's a lot more humor to be found in their live shows than you might expect, and I've found that kids enjoy the storytelling that characterizes many of their songs.

But for me, a huge amount of the fun of ACL when my kids were littler was walking around and discovering what struck their fancy, especially on the smaller stages. I still remember walking back from getting a taco with my daughter, then probably 10 or 11, and seeing Frank Turner, whom I'd never heard of at the time, on the Austin Ventures stage. She said, "We should go watch that!" and he's been an absolute favorite of both of ours ever since. So go and explore!


ACL 2015 Eats: better than your average festival food

My mouth is watering already... the food at ACL is going to be the best of the best in terms of festival food. Austin is famous for good food, and the crowds coming to the city to visit during ACL will not be disappointed with the choices. 

If you are bringing the kids, here are some of my personal favorites:

Amy's Ice Creams - Team Mexican Vanilla all the way. Nobody makes vanilla like Amy's. (For gluten free kiddos, all of the ice creams are GF except for the Oreo flavor)

Austin's Pizza - Regular and GF pizza, and pizza rolls

Children of the Kettle Corn - Creepy logo, awesome vegan/ GF kettle corn (popped in soybean oil)

Frank - The hot dogs and sausages are the bomb, and their waffle fries are GF

Freebirds World Burrito - Mmmm, fresh-made chicken, steak, or vegan tempeh burritos

GoodPop Popsicles - Hibiscus Mint, Watermelon Agave, Coldbrew Coffee, all vegan (except the coffee flavor) and GF

Hat Creek Burger Company - If you are a vegetarian, you're in luck - Hat Creek serves Hot Dang burgers, chock-full of beans and cashews (NUT ALERT!); their cheeseburgers are excellent and the chicken flashers are GF. 

P. Terry's - The secret weapon at P.Terry's is the oatmeal cookie. Super yum. Start with a burger or veggie burger with some fries and go all out.

Skull & Cakebones - I haven't tried them yet, but their delicious-sounding cupcakes are vegan, which means that my egg-allergic son can have one. I love them already.

Torchy's Tacos - Torchy's queso is one of my favorite things in town. And it's good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not that anyone really needs that much queso.

Trudy's - MINI STUFFED AVOCADOS. Say no more.

The full list of eateries is listed here, or go to the ACL site for more details. 

Amy's Ice Creams
Austin's Pizza
Burro Cheese Kitchen
Chi'Lantro BBQ
Children Of The Kettle Corn
East Side King
Freebirds World Burrito
GoodPop Popsicles
Hat Creek Burger Co.
Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
Maine Root Beverages
Mighty Bird
P. Terry's Burger Stand
ShadeTree Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Skull & Cakebones
Southside Flying Pizza
Stubb's Bar-B-Q
Tamale Addiction
The Mighty Cone
The Peached Tortilla
The Salt Lick BBQ
The Woodshed Smokehouse
Tiff's Treats
Tinos Greek Cafe
Torchy's Tacos



ACL 2015: What can and can't I bring into the festival?

All passholders are allowed to enter and exit the festival as needed up to 3 times per day. You must be scanned upon exit at the gate in order to re-enter that same day. Passholders and their belongings will be searched upon entry and every re-entry to the park.

Guests and their belongings are subject to search upon entry or re-entry. If you don't have a bag, look for the "No Bag" line at the entrance. If you are bringing a bag in, you'll be searched in the other lines. 

  1. Baby Strollers
  2. Backpacks (Standard school sized. No frames or camping gear)
  3. Purse
  4. Binoculars
  5. Blankets, Sheets, Towels
  6. Cameras - only nonprofessional photos and video cameras will be allowed, and must be without equipment attachments such as selfie sticks, tripods, and monopods
  7. Empty CamelBak water bottles and hydration packs, and plastic or aluminum water bottles
  8. Portable/collapsible chair (Individual seat only; no double wide or connecting chairs)
  9.  Umbrella (Hand-held ONLY and no bigger than 42 in. when open)
  10. Water - you may bring two factory sealed bottles of water and refill them throughout the day at our free water filling stations
  11. Totems, rage sticks and flags under 12 ft. tall are allowed for way-finding among friends. Items that are deemed to be unsafe, inappropriate, or are being used for purposes other than intended may be confiscated on site.
  1. Aerosol containers, including sunscreen and personal beauty products
  2. Any and all professional audio recording equipment
  3.  Professional cameras (SLR, DSLR) and professional recording (photo, video, audio) equipment (NO large professional detachable zoom lenses, stands, monopods, tripods, attachment sticks (selfie sticks) or other commercial equipment.
  4. Any and all professional video equipment. No video recording will be allowed
  5. Drones or any other remote flying device
  6. Coolers of any kind. (Exceptions may be made for medical use)
  7. Framed backpacks
  8. Hammocks
  9. Glass and metal containers of any kind
  10. Illegal and Illicit substances of any kind
  11. Non-collapsible chairs
  12. Outside food or beverage (including alcohol) of any kind, except 2 factory sealed bottles of water (up to 1 liter each)
  13. Pets (except service animals)
  14. Professional radios or walkie-talkies
  15. Selfie sticks
  16. Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts or any personal motorized vehicles
  17. Smoking is not allowed in all Austin parks, including Zilker Park
  18. Tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
  19. Unauthorized/unlicensed vendors are not allowed. No unauthorized solicitation and materials including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, give-aways, samples, etc.
  20. Weapons or explosives of any kind
  21. Fireworks
  22. Large chains or spiked jewelry
  23. Bicycles inside festival grounds (free parking is available near festival entrance)
  24. Carts of any kind (including Red Wagons)

For additional questions about allowed and prohibited items, e-mail
Children at ACL Festival.

Locker Rentals & Chair Check

Entertainment Lockers will have rental lockers available near the Lady Bird entrance, along with phone chargers. Complimentary chair check will be available there, too until 8:30PM each night. They go fast, so reserve yours now before they sell out.


Austin Kiddie Limits activities: from punk hairdos to video karaoke to the kiddie lounge

Austin Kiddie Limits countdown, kid style:  two more wake-ups! 

The Austin Kiddie Limits area is open 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of both weekends, it’s jam-packed with activities and music of all kinds. 

"My number one tip is to take kids on Friday afternoon/early evening and then leave them home with Grandma the rest of the weekend. Fridays never seem as crowded, the grass is fresh and not muddy, the bathrooms cleaner, and the crowd not as drunk/hungover."
- Writer/ Photographer ElizabethMcGuire

"Friday is the best day to take kids. We like to be there when it opens and head straight to Austin Kiddie Limits. There are usually some free food samples for the kids, and plenty of opportunities for face painting and small arts projects. The layout is very good-- it's somewhat closed off so you don't have to worry too much about escape artists. I recommend taking a stroller for kids and/or gear; even when our kids are walking the stroller carries our goods. Take empty water bottles for the kids as they have free water fill-up stations. We also pack noise-canceling headphones and a soccer ball for them to kick around between bands. Everyone has always been really nice to the kids there, and we have always felt welcome. That being said, we do get them out of there early. There are some things I'm not quite ready to discuss with them." 
- Austin-based yogi Andy De Waal

Ready? Line up the artists you want to see, and in between, take the kiddos to these fun activities:

Stop by and make a donation for a nice cold cup of lemonade. All money raised goes to the nonprofit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds research for childhood cancer. The Austin Kiddie Limits lemonade stand has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the cause in the past.

Need a break? Go here to sit down, relax and paint your own ceramic magnet.

Join your kids in these interactive musical activities that involve drumming all day long. Together, you can play some rhythm games, try out various percussion instruments, and create high energy drum beats. 

Does your kid want a pink mohawk? Check. Gelled-back hair? Check. Rock star hair? Check. Let them try it out here. 

The Q Brothers will teach kids how to scratch, beat box and rhyme, and offer a CD for you to take home with your budding star's vocals. 

Cool down with Lifeway ProBugs Kefir for Kids and frozen Kefir Push Ups, all made with Lifeway’s kefir. Don’t miss fun, kid-friendly giveaways, or the opportunity to contribute to the giant art mural.

Your rockers can pick a song, grab some props, and stand in front of a green screen and sing to the camera. They'll get to take home a copy of the recording. 

The only animals here are the rockin' kids - encourage them to pick up a guitar, bass, drums, keyboards. They are also offering a Rookies program where kids can play with others, even if they have no musical experience!

Because every kid in Austin needs a (temporary) tattoo!

Tepees, beanbags, and a relaxing ares to get some shade and kick up your feet with some reading material, or color a special bookmark designed by artist Michelle Romo to take home. 

Drink your greens! Daily Greens will donate 10 cents from each bottle sold in-store to the Whole Kids Foundation® to help fund school gardens, salad bars and nutrition education programs for teachers and staff.

Take a break from the heat and sun and let the  kids play in the sand and build a sandcastle. You can grab a seat and relax in the shade while still hearing some of your favorite music.

Grab an instrument and get your photo taken!

At this booth, adults can register their children with the festival and receive a wristband. In the instance that a child gets lost, we have a way to unite them with their parent. Many times, the booth also serves as a meeting place for many kids and adults when and if they get separated from each other.

A small, private room where nursing and expectant mothers can go to change a baby’s diapers, breast feed or have privacy to use a breast pump. The Family Services space is shared with the Tag-A-Kid space in the Austin Kiddie Limits area at the festival. It closes at 5PM daily.


Austin Kiddie Limits Spotlight: Tim Kubart

Our next spotlight artist is Tim Kubart with Mother Falcon!

His new album, Home was released last week, and it is a revelation. Kubart sings about things like being a big brother and eating breakfast with a smooth and fun sound; it’s impossible to listen without dancing along.

Home includes guest spots by Laurie Berkner, Matt Puckett (Mother Falcon), and Carly Ciarrocchi (check out the debut of "Breakfast Club" music video via Zooglobble).Tim performs several all-ages shows this fall, including sets at Austin City Limits Festival. Tim performs a Rumpus Room show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's Kids Place Live, as well. 

For ACL, Tim's backing band will quadruple in size to include local orchestral band Mother Falcon. The 18-piece ensemble includes several multi-instrumentalists, and is one of the top live acts in Austin, selling out Antone's, The Mohawk, the Parish and more.

Find Tim Kubart with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage:

Fri, Oct. 2nd | 2:30 - 2:55 PM
Sat, Oct. 3rd | 2:00 - 2:25 PM

Tim will be putting on another FREE show on October 3rd at The Domain! That's right, bring the entire family out to see Tim perform with Mother Falcon at the Hush Hush Music Bash. The Kiddie Limits after party kicks off at 4pm with Tim and Mother Falcon taking the stage at 6pm. More details here.


Information on parking, traffic, and road closures for ACL

From the Austin Parks and Recreation Department:

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department welcomes visitors to the 2015 Austin City Limits Music Festival, October 2-4, and 9-11, 2015.  The ACL Music Festival takes place on 46-acres of a portion of Zilker Metropolitan Park, the crown jewel of Austin’s public green spaces.  

The northern portion of Zilker Metropolitan Park, known to Austinites as the Great Lawn, will close September 21 through October 23, for the ACL Music Festival.  This includes 11 days of festival set up, 2 event weekends, a week to remove staging and at least a week for the annual Parks and Recreation Department's post-event maintenance dependent upon weather conditions. 

For information on Austin City Limits Music Festival street closures, affected area maps, shuttle routes, planning your route and parking and transportation options, please visit:

Citywide and Festival Attendee Reminders 
Festival Attendees:
* Use the free festival shuttle to the event site, or bike to the event.
* There is NO parking at the park, and extensive restricted parking areas in outlying areas.  Festival attendees should not drive to the park.
* Check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and get other festival related information at:, or

Parking and Traffic:
* There will be a traffic pattern change on Barton Springs Road for the 2015 year to help further reduce the number of vehicles impacting and causing safety concerns for patron pedestrian foot traffic entering the Festival.
* Barton Springs road will be open for local access only from Lamar to Sterzing.  All non-local traffic will be directed out of the area from Sterzing, to Toomey and Toomey to Lamar.
* There is NO ACCESS further west to Robert E. Lee as in previous years.  The festival will be providing a free shuttle for festival attendees.
* Public safety personnel will be routinely patrolling and towing in the affected areas.

Park Access and Alternate Park Sites:
* Most of Zilker Metropolitan Park will be accessible prior to the festival, and between event weekends, from Monday, October 5 through Thursday, October 8. 
* Park users can expect a high number of people in the park during festival weekends.
o This includes the Rugby Field, Polo Field, Zilker Playscape, Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Botanical Garden and Austin Nature and Science Center.
* All of Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Zilker Botanical Gardens will be closed to the public during the six festival days only. 
* Barton Springs Pool -  Southgate Parking Lot will be open during the festival weekends and is reserved for pool users only. 
* Access to Barton Springs Pool will be via Barton Hills Drive, Rabb Road or Bluebonnet Road to Robert E. Lee. 
* There will be NO ACCESS to Barton Springs Road and Robert E. Lee. 
* ADA pool parking is available in the Barton Springs Pool – Southgate Parking Lot, or first-come first-served on the north side via the northbound Mopac frontage at Andrew Zilker Road.  Proper ADA tags must be displayed prior to approaching  the area.

Alternative Park Use Areas:
* Vic Mathias Shores (formerly Auditorium Shores) east and middle lawns will both be open at all times during the festival period.  This will include the opening of the new off leash area on September 25, 2015.
* Butler Park is also open during both ACL Music Festival weekends for park patrons. 
* A park directory is available at:

Road Closures
* Street closures will occur starting at 12:01am Friday through early Monday morning of each festival weekends.
* Motorists should expect delays around the Zilker Park/Barton Springs Road area and throughout downtown.  
* All commuters are to expect higher volume of traffic in the general park area during the overall festival period.  Enclosed please find the highlighted street closures next to Zilker Metropolitan Park
* On event days:
o Barton Springs Road from Sterzing Street to Rollingwood Drive.
o Stratford Drive from Barton Springs Road to Nature Center Trail.
o Barton Springs Road/Lou Neff to Stratford Drive (right lane westbound).

* For a complete list of closures, check
For safety during load-in Stratford Road will be closed on selected days – details are at: 
   Health and Safety Reminders:
* The festival is a smoke free event site and patrons may only smoke outside the event grounds on the street.
* Wear comfortable shoes, clothing and bring personal protective items such as hats and sunglasses.
* Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, there are water filling stations throughout the festival.
* Apply gel or lotion based sunscreen and insect repellent (non-aerosol type).
* Read all of the festival information/FAQs.

In an effort to safeguard the safety and quality of life of Austin residents, the Public Assembly Code Enforcement (PACE) team will be checking that all vendors, merchants and property owners are in compliance with municipal safety codes, including having the required permits during the festival.   PACE will canvass the routes leading to Zilker Park this week and throughout the event. Those found operating without proper permits will be required to close down their operation for the remainder of the event.


The Austin Parks and Recreation Department system is smoke-free.  Violation is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 pursuant to Chapter 10-6 of the Austin City Code.


Austin Kiddie Limits Spotlight: The Pop Ups

Next on our radar is The Pop Ups, who just released a new album, Great Pretenders Club, TODAY. The album sales went live on Amazon Music this morning.  

Jason Rabinowitz, half of the creative duo, was kind enough to answer our preview interview questions. 

What has been the most exciting gig you have performed so far?
Perhaps the most technically exciting gig we've ever done was our first date on tour with Yo Gabba Gabba Live. We were in a full hockey arena with thousands of people and were pushed out onto the stage from a rolling riser. Our musical nerve center (a Roland SPDS) fell off accidentally and broke completely! We were left with only an acoustic guitar and our mics. It turned out to be an incredible experience! We had a lot of fun even though we got some grey hairs.

Who is a fan of your music that you never expected to have?
That's tough... Well...  it turns out Sammy Hagar likes The Pop Ups!  

What do you love about performing in Austin (or what are you looking forward to)? 
I was there once years ago with my band for SXSW. Austin is such a delightful place to be... I'm looking forward to the food!

What is the best thing about being a musician for children?
Children are the best audience ever.  No crossed arms.  If you throw down, they're along for the ride with you!  Kids like to HAVE FUN.

What are some of your favorite songs that are not kids' music? 
Honestly, I've been geeking out on the Yacht Rock Sirius XM station these days...  It's only around for a few weeks!  It's like a butterfly.  That stuff is so good.  Every 4th song features Michael McDonald in some way or other. I'm also currently going through a massive Fleetwood Mac phase.  I know all their hits, but I watched the VH1 Behind The Music and have become intrigued/obsessed with their story and their massive catalog of lesser known but equally devastating songs. The internet makes a musical crush on a band with that much history literally infinite.

Link here to their ACL profile. Their hits are super catchy, so check out their video and start bopping. 

Sat, Oct. 10th | 4:00 - 4:30 PM
Austin Kiddie Limits

Sun, Oct. 11th | 4:00 - 4:30 PM
Austin Kiddie Limits


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