What's New at ACL this Year?

If you're a seasoned attendee of ACL, you might be surprised by a few new changes this year. Check out the new things to expect at the festival this year:
ACL CASHLESS: For the first time ever, you can use your wristband to make on-site purchases including food, beverages and commemorative merchandise. After activating your wristbands online, you can securely connect a credit or debit card, create a unique 4 digit pin to make safe, cashless transactions throughout the park. You can also visit the ACL Cashless booth onsite for activation help.

AUSTIN FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL CHEFS SHOWCASE: The Austin FOOD & WINE Festival will be taking over one booth in Austin Eats to present a rotating cast of incredible local and  regional chefs including father & son team, Jack and Bryce Gilmore (Jack Allen's Kitchen and Odd Duck); Andrew Wiseheart & Ben Edgerton (Contigo & Gardner);  David Bull (Second Bar + Kitchen); Alexis Chong (Sway);  San Antonio's Jason Dady (Jason Dady Restaurant Group); and Fort Worth's Blaine Staniford (Grace.)

ACL FEST LIVESTREAM: If you can't make it to Zilker Park, you can still enjoy the ACL experience via the Livestream. The Livestream will happen during Weekend Two, and will feature two channels of live performances and exclusive behind the scenes interviews and content. The stream will be live October 10-12 from 2-10 pm CT each day, and for those who want to re-live the fest, it will be available on demand for 60 days after the festival.  Check it out at aclfest.redbull.tv, aclfest.com!


Top Food Picks for ACL 2014

When I'm seeking a candid, well-informed opinion about food in Austin, I immediately think of Melanie Haupt. I've enjoyed reading her honest assessments of the local food scene over the years in her frequent reviews for the Austin Chronicle. Melanie is a blogger and freelance writer focusing on food criticism, up and coming dining culture and historic Austin foodways. Melanie is also a member of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance and Foodways Texas. In 2013, she published her first book, Historic Austin Restaurants: Capital Cuisine through the Generations.

So when Melanie agreed to give me her top picks for what to eat at the upcoming ACL Music Festival, I knew she'd have the best advice.

Now, if you're new to ACL this year and wondering why anyone would actually seek opinions on what to eat at a festival, it's because the Austin Eats food court actually includes quite an impressive lineup of fare from truly great Austin restaurants. No mediocre hot dogs, turkey legs, and endless options of greasy fried things. Not here! The menu choices at ACL include some of the most delicious bites in Austin.

So without further ado, and with many thanks to Melanie for her suggestions, I present you with...

Top Food Picks for ACL 2014:


  • For kid-friendly eats: P. Terry's hamburger

  • For cooler temps and super hungry bellies: meatball sub from Southside Flying Pizza

  • For pure deliciousness: pork tomatillo tamale from Tamale Addiction

  • For when you don't mind getting messy: Sloppy nachos from Salt Lick

  • For the morning after an overindulgent night: peachy green smoothie from JuiceLand

  • For dessert: Ice cream cakewich from Skull and Cakebones (weekend 1); ice cream sandwich from Coolhaus (weekend 2)

Curious about what else is on the menu at ACL's Austin Eats? Check out all of the food choices and pricing here



Austin Kiddie Limits Spotlight: Tor Hyams

I recently got the chance to talk with music producer, Tor Hyams, the man behind Austin Kiddie Limits as well as the creator of the Kidzapalooza stage at the famous Lollapalooza festival.

Tor first got started with children's music when he wrote and produced the CD, A World of Happiness, with an amazing lineup of artists such Lou Rawls, Perry Farrell, Lisa Loeb, and Debbie Harry. When he was on set of the music video for one of the songs from that album, he started talking with Farrell about the idea of Kidzapalooza, which he's now been producing since 2005. And this is also now his 8th year at Austin Kiddie Limits.

When deciding which musicians to book for the Kiddie Limits stage, Tor noted that he seeks out music that will appeal to both grown-ups as well as kids. He's quite aware of the children's music scene already, but he'll also take time to listen to new cds, watch videos, and reach out to those kids entertainers that seem like a good fit each year.

In addition to being in charge of the lineup at Kiddie Limits, Tor will also be performing with Peter DiStefano (of Porno for Pyros fame) in a family-friendly show mixing the best of classic rock with forward-thinking experimental jams.  

Peter DiStefano & Tor's Austin Kiddie Limits Schedule:
  • Sun., Oct. 5th, 2:30 - 2:55 p.m.
  • Sun., Oct. 12th, 2:30 - 2:55 p.m.
Tor was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer a few questions for us...

Why do you like performing for kids?
Tor: Kids have such a carefree abandon. I like their ability to be so honest. With kids you can give a really authentic performance because kids smell bullshit a mile away. Peter has said that the kids stage is the one thing at the festival that is not about commerce -- it's about the music.

Do you have any albums with Peter?
Tor: No, no albums yet.

For someone who has never seen you and Peter play before, how would you describe your show?
Tor: We are the most unprepared and unrehearsed act you'll find in all of ACL.


Will you be performing any other shows while you're here in Austin?
Tor: Yes, on Saturday we have a show with a lot of the others from Kiddie Limits.
(Tor will be playing at the Hush Hush Music Bash on Oct. 4th at The Domain. This event is free and open to the public.)

Besides being at the festival, what else do you like to do when you're in Austin?
Tor: Eat! And ride around on a scooter from Austin Moto.

Which artists are you most looking forward to seeing at this year's festival?
Tor: You know, I've kind of seen it all (having done Lollapalooza and ACL for years). But I am looking forward to seeing Avett Brothers, Trombone Shorty, Ralph (of Ralph's World), Steve Songs and Elizabeth McQueen.

For more info about Tor, you can check out his website and keep up with him on Facebook and Twitter.


AKL Spotlight: Sugar Free Allstars

The Sugar Free Allstars are a funky duo from Oklahoma City full of humor and high-energy. The description on their website is pretty amazing, "Imagine that Deep Purple and Sly and the Family Stone had a love child that grew up in New Orleans listening to Ray Charles, Black Sabbath and Booker T.  That love child would be the Sugar Free Allstars." That alone should make you want to go running to see them when they perform on the upcoming Austin Kiddie Limits stage!

Sugar Free Allstars is comprised of Chris “Boom!” Wiser who plays organ, saxophone, and performs lead vocals as well as Rob “Dr. Rock” Martin who plays drums and provides backing vocals. Their music is an eclectic mix of New Orleans soul, Memphis funk, and pop. Their albums have had rave reviews, and their live performances are known to have both kids and parents rockin' out. You won't want to miss them on their next stop in Austin!

Sugar Free Allstars' Austin Kiddie Limits Schedule:
  • Fri, Oct. 3rd,  2:30 - 2:55 p.m.
  • Sun, Oct. 5th, 12:30 - 12:55 p.m.
  • Fri, Oct. 10th,  2:30 - 2:55 p.m.
  • Sat, Oct. 11th, 12:30 - 12:55 p.m.
Chris Wiser was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer a few questions about the upcoming festival...

How many times have you played at Austin City Limits? What's something that you like about this festival in particular?

  This will be our second time to play the Austin Kiddie Limits stage at ACL, the first time was back in 2010. The fest always has amazing big name acts that we may not get a chance to see anywhere else in the region of the country. And as a performing artist they treated us great! We had our own envoy that shuttled us around on the fest grounds and the Artist Village hospitality area was awesome!

Which artists are you most looking forward to seeing at this year's festival?

Chris: Beck and Outkast, will probably try and catch Eminem, Lettuce, Jimmy Cliff and Lake Street Dive

Besides playing at Kiddie Limits, what else do you like to do when you're in Austin?
Chris: We've played in Austin several times and we love that there are so many local businesses to check out, it's fun going into a shop or eating at a restaurant that you won't find anywhere else in the country.

Will you have any other shows while you're here?

We will be performing at an event the evening of Oct. 4th at The Domain called Hush Hush Music Bash featuring several of the AKL artists. We open the event with a 30 min. set at 5:00 p.m. (Note, this is a FREE event and open to the public!)

What made you first decide to play music for children? 

Chris: We started hearing stories of kids really liking the music that was on our "grown up" albums so we began writing songs with more family/kid centered subject matter and when we had enough material we recorded and released "Dos Ninos", our first Kindie album. We had such a great response to that album that we decided to continue on this path and we've never looked back, it's been one of the best career decision we've ever made!

For someone who has never seen you play live before, how would you describe your show? 

Chris:  It's a fun and funky dance party experience full of audience interaction wrapped up in a family friendly arena rock show package.

What is one of your favorite songs to perform? 

Chris: We have a new song called Monster Truck that has been a crowd favorite. It's a lot of fun to play and will be on our next album set for release next year.

Check out this video from the Sugar Free Allstars' latest album, All On a Sunday Afternoon:

For more info about the Sugar Free Allstars, you can check out their website and keep up with them  on FacebookTwitter, YouTube and Instagram.


Hush Hush Music Bash

Austin City Limits Music Festival is right around the corner. With so many fabulous musicians coming in for the festival, the whole city will benefit from the free fringe concerts that pop up all over town. If you have mini music fans at home, there will even be a free music festival for kids!

The only kid afterparty is going down on October 4, 2014, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Domain! Just when you thought it was time to put the kids to bed.... it's time to party at the Domain, instead. Brought to you by LiveMom.com, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and The Domain. The event is FREE and open to the public. An afterparty wouldn't be an after party without an awesome lineup of musicians, a couple of them being in town to perform at ACL.

5-5:30 Sugar Free Allstars
5:45-6:15 Joe McDermott
6:30- 7:00 Elizabeth McQueen
7:15- 7:45 Tor Hyams
8:00- 8:30 Ralph Covert

And what's a party without swag? There will be some of that, too.
On tap for the festivities:
  • Sweet treats from Baked by Amy's
  • Cupcake decorating and a photo booth from Passion Flower Mobile Parties
  • Face painting Rising Stars Pediatric Dentistry is bringing face painting
  • Gaming zone set up by the Microsoft Store
  • Costumed Characters will be in attendance, thanks to Rocket Fizz
  • Imagination Playground Blocks will also be there thanks to Ashley's Playhouse
  • Kids can get down and funky in the Microsoft Dance Zone where they will win some cool swag
There might be more special treats in store! For updates, check the Facebook event page. You'll find the party in front of Dillard's, next to Maggiano's in the Domain (11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin). 

Many thanks to our sponsors: Passion Flower Mobile Parties, Rocket Fizz, The Microsoft Store, Millie & Mox, Baked by Amy's, Honest Kids, Music Forever, Music Together, Do512Family.com, Rising Stars Pediatric Dentistry, FreeFuninAustin.com, Ashley's Playhouse, Palacios ATA Martial Arts, ACLWithKids.com.


AKL Spotlight: Elizabeth McQueen

You may know her best from years of playing in the Grammy Award winning band, Asleep at the Wheel, but this year Elizabeth McQueen is taking on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage on her own to entertain families at the festival with her dreamy voice and hip-shaking, jazzy tunes.

In the early 2000s, McQueen jumped into the Austin Americana music scene, released her own album, and then accepted a gig with the Texas legends, Asleep At The Wheel. In 2010, she released her solo album, "The Laziest Girl in Town" -- although, of course, she's anything but. Mom of two girls, McQueen is busy often performing around Austin. (You can check her Facebook page for schedule updates.) McQueen has described "The Laziest Girl in Town" as a combination of “roots jazz with some R&B, a splash of Texas drawl and just a hint of pop." To listen to all of that and more, you can check her out in person on this year's Austin Kiddie Limits stage.

Elizabeth McQueen's Austin Kiddie Limits Schedule:
  • Fri, Oct. 3rd,  1:30 - 1:55 p.m.
  • Sun, Oct. 5th, 1:30 - 1:55 p.m.
  • Fri, Oct. 10th, 12:30 - 12:55 p.m.
  • Sat, Oct. 11th, 1:30 - 1:55 p.m.

Photo from her Facebook page

Elizabeth McQueen was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer a few questions about the upcoming festival...

How many years have you been playing at Austin City Limits Music Festival?
I think this will be my 9th year playing ACL. For 8 years I played as part of Asleep at the Wheel. This will be my first year doing my own thing!

What do you like about this festival in particular?
What I love most about ACL is the energy it brings to the city. For two weekends the world comes to Austin. I love that!

Who are you most interested excited to see at the festival this year?
This year there's so much! Tuneyards, Spoon, Beck, Outcast, Lorde, Broken Bells, St. Vincent, Icona Pop, Jenny Lewis, Lucius, the Preatures, Spanish Gold, Emily Wolfe, Riders Against the Storm  -- and hopefully I'll get to catch Asleep at the Wheel with Katie Holmes and Emily Gimble.

Do you have a favorite of your songs to perform? If so, what is it?
McQueen: Probably "You're to Blame". It always makes me happy!

Will you have any new music to debut at the festival?
McQueen: I'll be doing some dance versions of standard kids songs  -- "ABC" and "Wheels on the Bus" -- and debuting a couple of new songs kids I've written.

Do you ever listen to other children's musicians? If so, who are your favorites?
McQueen: Of course I do! I absolutely love Joe McDermott and Neal Kassanoff. In fact we're covering a Neal Kassanoff song!

How old are your children?
McQueen: 5 and 3.

What do they think about your job?
McQueen: It's hard to say. I think they like it, but they don't love me being away from home nights. That's why kids music is so great! The shows are always early!

Do you usually bring your kids to ACL? If so, do you have any advice for other parents trying to navigate the festival with kids in tow?
McQueen: I haven't actually brought them to too many ACL's. But this year I'll definitely bring them. I'd say to parents just try to have realistic expectations for how much music you'll be able to see with littles. And when in doubt, head to Kiddie Limits. It's the calmest place at the fest!

For more info about Elizabeth McQueen you can find her on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.


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