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.


AKL Spotlight: SteveSongs

LiveMom is thrilled to be covering ACL for the fifth straight year. We have listened to all 140 bands and are your one-stop-shop for the biggest music event of the fall, whether you are taking the whole fam or using it as an excuse to get some adult time. Keep up with our coverage of this year’s festival here on LiveMom and over on Facebook, Twitter, our ACL 2014 Pinterest page and Instagram. We’ll be there Weekend One! You can even peruse our schedule.

There are two types of music for kids: the kind that you want to turn off, and the songs you want to turn up. SteveSongs falls squarely into the second category. A mainstay on weekday mornings on PBS, Steve Roslonek left his job as a business consultant 15 years ago after penning a song for his brother, then a first grade teacher, and never looked back. Eight CDs and one DVD later, Steve is still at it, releasing upbeat, educational songs that get stuck in your head for days (true story). Recently, Steve collaborated with the National Fire Protection Association to produce the song and video above, "Little Rosalie" (available for free download here), for National Fire Prevention Week, which takes place October 5-11th. Life as a kids performer and songwriter changed when he and his wife started a family, and as you'll read below and can see in this cute video, Steve's son and daughter love to get in on the act. This is Steve's first appearance on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage, but we're hoping it's not his last. Read our interview with Steve below to find out who's he's looking forward to seeing perform at ACL, what he likes about playing music to kids and his dream of starting a family band.

 You can catch SteveSongs on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage on Saturday, October 4th from 2:30-2:55pm and Sunday, October 5th; Saturday, October 11th and Sunday, October 12th from 3:30-4pm.

Steve Songs Photo credit: Sasha Nialla
Steve Songs; Photo credit: Sasha Nialla

LiveMom: Will you be appearing at any other events here in Austin to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week?

Steve: We’ll be doing a session on the radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on Monday. Other than that, nothing is planned right now – though since we’re in town for a couple of days we may try to add a school event and I’ll be reaching out to the local PBS station (KLRU) to let them know I’ll be in town.

LiveMom: Have you made it to Austin before? What do you plan to do when you are in town?

Steve: I played a cool event for KLRU at Pioneer Farms back in 2008 and then came back for the next 2 years to perform for the national PBS convention and also the lawmakers at the Capitol. I’ve enjoyed the visits every time and am looking forward to getting back there in October.

LiveMom: What other bands are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?

Steve: Ralph Covert and the Sugar Free All Stars are great kids bands and great guys – so I look forward to seeing and hearing them. I also am very excited to see Tune-Yards, Ozomatli, Eminem and Beck.

LiveMom: Have you made music for adults before?

Steve: Yes, a long time ago when I first left my corporate job to do kids music – I would occasionally open up for “grown-up” bands in the evenings. I had intended to do a “grown-up” album about 10 years ago, but the kids stuff just got so busy and so fun that it never happened. I do find that over the years I have increasingly worked more complicated or intricate musical and lyrical content into the kids songs integrating more of what I might have done with music for grown-ups into the family music material.

LiveMom: How do you balance your performance schedule with having younger kids at home? Do they ever come along when you are on the road?

Steve: Long trips away from the family are a big challenge. Before getting married and having kids, I used to travel for months at a time, now I tend to do more quick trips on planes out and back. For the Austin shows, we’ll be out on the road for 10 days which is quite rare. I love it when the family can travel with me. We did a trip last year with the family down to DC and Pennsylvania. I did shows along the way and made sure to add in a couple of days for family time. My son who is now 6 has been on many trips with he. He actually performs a few songs with me – he raps for the Flat Stanley song, does beat boxing for another (he’s got great rhythm) and tells some jokes. Our 3 year old daughter is into dancing and has started to join us on stage for a couple of dancing songs. My wife actually plays the piano quite nicely, though hardly at all in public. It’s my dream to someday get a bus like the Partridge Family and travel around doing shows together. I’m pretty sure it is not my wife’s dream… yet.

LiveMom: You definitely seem to have used your music as a vehicle to educate. What do you hope kids and families take away from your songs?

Steve: The show that we do is quite varied – different types of musical styles and different topics (lyrical content). I do love the idea of playing a song that kids and families like to listen or dance to because of the music, but at the same time can learn something – whether it’s about science or reading or fire safety.

LiveMom: What do you like performing in front of an audience of children and families?

Steve: Lots of things! The three person band that will be traveling with me for ACL are great. They are friendly guys and talented musicians who are also young dads themselves. Many of our songs include three part harmonies or neat backup singing parts. I love the idea of playing interactive songs that kids get into because there is a singing or moving part or game for them - but that also sound full and interesting musically to the parents.
At the same time, I have a song called “Song without a Rhyme” that I play myself. The lyrics bemoan the challenge of trying to write a song without a rhyme, all the while replacing expected rhymes with a non rhyming alternatives. And for an audience that enjoys listening to lyrics, it’s one of the most fun ones to share.

LiveMom: After ACL, what are you up to next?  

Steve: We’ll be playing both weekends at ACL and in between we’ll be traveling to Orlando to play at Legoland to celebrate Fire Prevention Week with our new fire safety song “Little Rosalie”. Shortly after that, we’ll be going back into the studio to work on another song and music video for the NFPA about fire fighters.

You can keep up with Steve on his website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


A Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak at ACL 2014

ACL 2014 banner

Although you can catch a band virtually any day of the year here in the Live Music Capitol of the World, during the Austin City Limits Music Festival (most commonly known as ACL) our own Central Park is transformed into an all-encompassing experience for music enthusiasts.

For us parents who often burn the candle at both ends, ACL can be a great opportunity to squeeze in a year’s worth of music during the daylight hours and get home at a semi-decent hour. This year, single-day tickets (while they last) even allow you to pick and choose, so you can balance getting in some “me” time without the guilt of ditching the kids all weekend. With the two-weekend format, there is even more flexibility to help you take advantage of this huge event happening right in our backyard. If you prefer to hang with your family, don’t forget that children 10 and under get in free with a ticketed adult. ACL even has a special area for kids and families, Austin Kiddie Limits, which has its own stage, plenty of fun stuff for budding music fans and even baby changing stations and its own restrooms.
We’re thrilled to be covering ACL for the fifth straight year. Keep up with our coverage of this year’s festival here on ACLWithKids.com and over on Facebook, our ACL 2014 Pinterest page. We’ll be there Weekend One! 

Photo credit: Ashley Garmon
Photo credit: Ashley Garmon

With less than a month to go until Weekend One (hooray!), we’re kicking off our 2014 ACL coverage with an interview with Lindsay Hoffman, Festival Marketing Manager over at C3 Presents. Read on for the scoop on what’s new at this year’s festival, how bands are chosen each year and how many people it takes to pull it all off.

LiveMom: For those of us who have attended ACL in the past, is there anything new we can expect to see this year at Austin Kiddie Limits (AKL)?

Lindsay: It’s shaping up to be a great year at AKL. Not only is the space staying open 30 minutes longer (until 5pm), it’s going to be brighter and more colorful than ever. We’re going to begin each day with morning yoga to get everyone loose and ready to rock. Kiddos can revisit their OM at The Little Yoga House Zen Tent all day long. Lifeway will be hosting a large art wall, where kids of all ages can collaborate on a masterpiece. There will of course be punk rock hair and air-brushed tattoos, and a chance to lay down beats with the Q Brothers, as well as record their very own DVD at the Rockstar Karaoke tent.

LiveMom: Can you give us some insight as to how you book the acts for AKL and the larger festival? How do you balance the mix of national and local acts?

Lindsay: Booking the festival is a year-round process that begins with a wish-list and grows from there. ACL Festival has always had a diverse lineup of artists that includes big name headliners and acts that are yet to be discovered. We’ve always tried to include the massive talent we have in Austin and expanding to two weekends has allowed us to incorporate even more local acts, as these vary by weekend. For AKL, we have the benefit of looking outward to what the kids will like, and looking inward at our established lineup to find out which acts want to do a set for the kiddos.

LiveMom: How big is the team that works to coordinate AKL?

Lindsay: The Austin Kiddie Limits team has a lead producer and a talent buyer running the planning year-round, but like the rest of the fest, they’re supported by the over 3,000 people who come together to make the magic happen each year.

LiveMom: What can you tell us about how families with food allergies or sensitivities can find out what options are in the Food Court?

Lindsay: While we don’t allow outside food and beverages into the park, we do have options suited for all kinds of dietary choices and restrictions. Austin Eats vendors regularly offer a variety of vegetarian and gluten free options, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for among the roster of Austin chefs, you can head to the HOPE Farmer’s Market at ACL Festival. You’re sure to find something delicious and satisfying that suits your dietary needs. If you have dietary questions or concerns and need more information or special permission to bring in outside eats, please email us at info@aclfestival.com and we’ll be happy to work with you directly.
[Editors Note: The ACL Eats page now has a list of food vendors and menus so you can have a strategy before heading out to the park.]

LiveMom: How does the planning team make ACL uniquely “Austin”?

Lindsay: We do our best to bring as much of Austin as we can into Zilker Park, whether it’s local food at Austin Eats, local non-profit organizations represented in ACL Cares, the HOPE Farmer’s Market, or partnering with a local kids yoga studio to provide a little Zen for Austin Kiddie Limits…but at the end of the day, the bulk of the credit for ACL being “uniquely Austin” goes to our great city, and its warm, welcoming inhabitants. ACL Fans have beautiful traditions and camaraderie and they make the kind of magic that can’t be produced.

Are you bringing the fam or going solo? What acts are you most looking forward to seeing this year?


Music Lineup at Austin Kiddie Limits 2014

How is September passing by SO quickly?! Before I blink twice, the Austin City Limits Music Festival will be here, and it's time to start getting prepared. Will you be taking the kids this year? Maybe you're still just considering this option. Well, Austin Kiddie Limits is the family-focused section of the festival that is FREE for children ages 10 and under with a ticketed adult. Austin Kiddie Limits offers amazing music from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day of the festival.

Check out this video from Austin Kiddie Limits 2013:

Austin Kiddie Limits 2014 Music Lineup:

Weekend One:

Friday, Oct. 3:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. -- School of Rock
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. -- Elizabeth McQueen
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Sugar Free Allstars
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Ralph's World

Saturday, Oct. 4:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. -- Sugar Free Allstars
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. -- School of Rock
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Steve Songs
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Ralph's World

Sunday, Oct. 5:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. --The Q Brothers
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. --Elizabeth McQueen
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Peter DiStefano & Tor
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Steve Songs

Weekend two:

Friday, Oct. 10:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. -- Elizabeth McQueen
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. -- School of Rock
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Sugar Free Allstars
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Ralph's World

Saturday, Oct. 11:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. -- Sugar Free Allstars
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. -- Elizabeth McQueen
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Ralph's World
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Steve Songs

Sunday, Oct. 12:
12:30 - 12:55 p.m. -- School of Rock
1: 30 - 1:55 p.m. -- The Q Brothers
2:30 - 2:55 p.m. -- Peter DiStefano & Tor
3:30 - 4 p.m. -- Steve Songs


Get Planning for ACL 2014!

As I sat around the dinner table at a friend's house yesterday, we vented about the back-to-school stress that hovers over us like a dark cloud this time of year. As fall approaches, so do complicated schedules and to do lists, homework, projects, PTA committees, and weekends full of soccer games, commitments and the attempt to find just a few hours of down time. But as my mama friends and I rattled off our lists of events that will fill the next few months, one thing stood out like a bright ray of sunshine, like a mini-vacay, like a celebration in the near future: Austin City Limits!

It's coming up SO soon! But besides the general excitement about it swirling in the back of my head, I haven't taken any time at all to start thinking about the festival. Since it's still over a month away, it's really not too late to plan to take advantage of this awesome event here in our own hometown. After about six weeks of school is underway, won't ACL feel like a well-deserved moment of "me" time? (Yes!) So if you're like me and just now starting to think about this, here's my basic to do list for ACL Festival planning...

1. Buy tickets.
Did you know that weekend passes have been SOLD OUT for a while now? It's true. BUT the good news is that you can still get single day tickets for Friday or Sunday on either weekend. (Both Saturdays are sold out.) So get on it while you can! Check out ticket info and pricing here.

2. Coordinate with friends.
If you're like me and you want to plan the weekend with the ultimate festival buddy, it's time to invite your pals. (In fact, I'm going to get offline in a moment and call up my college bestie to see if I can talk her into joining me for a fun weekend of music and catching up.) But perhaps you want to go with a friend and order tickets together to ensure you can buy them for the same day. Perhaps you're planning to go with your whole Mom's Night Out group and want to coordinate babysitters together. No matter, it's good to start thinking and planning ahead if you're hoping to experience ACL with a friend.

3. Get a babysitter. 
If you're planning to take the kids to Austin Kiddie Limits, please by all means do it! In fact, on this blog we are going to walk you through all the steps to help you prepare for a great time if you bring the little ones along! (I promise, we'll do that for you.) But the Kiddie Limits stage does close early (4:30pm). So if you plan to take the kids home and jet back for the headlining acts at night, you're going to need someone to watch the kiddos. So, don't wait until all your favorite sitters are booked. Get on it now. Or start making your list of backups or friends you can call in for favors.

4. Study the schedule.
We still have a little time on this, right? But if you thought you'd see both Beck AND Outcast perform on Friday night only to learn that they are playing at the same time, that could be a big bummer. It's best to think way in advance about your priority lineup. Here's the full schedule.

5. Catch up on playlists.
Does your friend talk endlessly about how much she loves the Head and the Heart but you're still not sure what they sing? Was the last Interpol album you listened to "Turn on the Bright Lights" from 2002? No fear. There is a lot of time to catch up and do some listening. Sometimes it's fun to just go to a show not knowing any of the songs, but sometimes it's good to at least know if you like the band's sound ahead of time. We'll help you out on this here on the blog. Check back soon for playlists!


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