ACL With the Toddler Set

Picture an outdoor concert spanning multiple football fields, packed with hipster music fans (who may or may not be intoxicated), soaking up the live music screaming out of multiple stages. Now picture bringing you precious children into this scene. Sounds crazy, right?

As I grabbed my twin three-year-old girls’ hands before we launched ourselves across that field, I wondered if I was, in fact, crazy. But once we made it across the field intact, we found ourselves in the safe space that is Austin Kiddie Limits at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Only in Austin would they remember to include children in the fine art of live music appreciation.

When the sun burned off the rain clouds that Saturday of the second weekend of ACL, it rose to a muggy 90 degrees. We found our way to the kids’ outdoor stage and settled in under the shade of an umbrella, which I was grateful I had thrown in the bag at the last minute. The girls enjoyed The Ohmies, Wiggles-like performers who sing and dance in costume. I wished we had made it in time for one of the adult-child crossover artists, but c’est la vie with kids.

Then the girls dove into the Abrakadoodle art station, where the helpful guides showed them how to use a matchbox car and a marble dipped in paint to create swirls of lines inside a shoe box. Their pieces got smeared while rolled up in my backpack, but it’s the experience that counts, right?

One of my daughters spotted a girl with pink hair, and that was all I heard about until we found the Rock Star Hairdos makeover booth (put on by Avant SalonStudioSpa). Once her hair was styled and sprayed pink, she adopted a punk-rock attitude–complete with tongue sticking out while posing–that I’ve never seen in her before.

They poked their colorful heads in at the School of Rock instrument petting zoo next door, where you could play drums or electric guitar, but it was too loud for my crew. There was also a music class going on, but with all the heat, noise and people, my girls didn’t have the attention span to join in (same experience with DrumZone’s percussion corner).

To complete their rock and roll look, we stood in a long line in the blazing sun waiting for a music note to be spray-painted on each of their arms. My suggestion to ACL for next year: bring more shade, or more tattoo artists. (I wish there had been physical activities for the kids to do while the parents patiently held the spot in line. I ended up promising snow cones to keep my kids by my side.) Luckily, the Rosetta Stone photo booth was right next door, so we got a great picture taken to memorialize the day.

Another thing on my wish list: food and drink within Kiddie Limits. We had free lemonade thanks to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, but the food vendors were located outside the kiddie fence. It may not have seemed too far for an adult to walk when they set it up; next year I’ll lend them my kids’ sweaty hands so they can see how long it would take to push through that crowd with hot, hungry, tired preschoolers.

If you’re going to Austin Kiddie Limits 2014, don’t forget to bring: sunscreen and/or hats, a foldable umbrella or two and a stroller. I didn’t bring a stroller because we don’t use one much anymore, but it would have made all the difference crossing that field.

Feed them well before you go or get food at the vendors before you enter Kiddie Limits. If your children get easily overwhelmed by crowds or loud noises, consider going when it first opens and leaving early. And don’t miss my girls’ favorite part–-taking a ride through the city in a pedicab.

Next year, let’s all agree to meet at the entrance and form a parents/kids’ conga line across the field. We’ll beat those hipsters yet.

Virginia Woodruff founded the website Great Moments in Parenting, where parents share the agony and the ecstasy of life with kids. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband and three kids.


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: School of Rock

 *This article originally appeared on

We're thrilled to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) again this year. Whether you are going Weekend One, Weekend Two, with or without kids, we want to be your go-to source for the Festival. We've listened to all the bands and have picked the ones we think you should have on your schedule. Are you ready for some great music?!

Founded in Philadelphia in 1998, the School of Rock now has 105 schools in cities around the world, including Austin. The curriculum emphasizes the roles of performance and collaboration in developing musical talent. Students pick an instrument (or, more than one), take private music lessons taught by local musicians and participate in group rehearsals, with the idea that when they are ready, students will take to the stage.

The Austin School of Rock opened its doors in a warehouse in Pflugerville in 2004 and now makes its home at Northcross Mall. About 160 kids between 6 and 18 years old currently participate in School of Rock programs, including their newest program for preschoolers, Little Wing (which will be at Austin Kiddie Limits during ACL). Show seasons are 12 weeks long. Students begin with Rock 101, where they have a chance to learn a few classic rock and roll tunes in a group setting. The experience is largely customized to meet the needs and interests of each student. The Austin School of Rock also has an adult program which meets on Monday nights, after the kids' lessons are over.

Colleen Bell, the School of Rock's Regional Manager, says the biggest change she sees in kids who attend School of Rock is in their confidence. "It changes the way a child walks. It changes the look on their face. Not just when they are in the school, but when they are talking to their friends". The camaraderie among the musicians is also a huge benefit, according to Colleen. "Having a community outside of school that you always have something in common with, always have something to talk about, is really reassuring, especially to teenagers."

For the sixth year, the Austin School of Rock has been invited to perform at ACL. Colleen explained that the 11 students performing at the Festival are part of the School's B Team, a select group which is chosen by audition twice a year. These musicians perform together 2-3 times a month at music festivals and other gigs in the area. We had the chance to sit down with three members of the B Team on the first day of ACL to talk about why they enjoy performing, who they want to see at the Festival and what it's like to grow up in the Live Music Capitol of the World.

You can catch The School of Rock on Friday October 11th from 11:30-11:55pm and Sunday, October 13th from 4:05-4:30pm, all on the Kiddie Limits Stage.

school of rock logo
The three members of the School of Rock's B Team we interviewed, all who are 17 years old, are Rozie Castoe, bass, who attends New Hope High School; Alanna Malcom, vocals, who attends Georgetown High School and Bryce Martinez, guitar, who goes to Vandegrift High School.

LiveMom: How long have you been making music?

Bryce: I started playing guitar when I was about 11, about a year before I decided to come to the School of Rock. I’ve been playing ever since, so, about 6 years.

Alanna: I’ve always sang, but I didn’t start playing guitar until I joined the School of Rock.

Rozie: I started playing drums when I was 10 and bass when I was 11.

LiveMom: Who are your musical influences?

Rozie: John Paul Jones from Ledd Zepplin. He is an extreme influence on me.

Alanna: I would probably say Janis Joplin. She has an amazing voice - really different. I’ve always looked to her as inspiration when it came to singing.

Bryce: To avoid sounding like a cliche, Gary Moore is one of my favorite guitar players. I absolutely love his playing. It’s so soulful and he doesn’t just try to shove every note into every solo he plays, so he’s an inspiration.

LiveMom: Who are you looking forward to seeing perform at ACL?

Bryce: I’m so excited to see Portugal the Man here. I love every album they have made and I haven’t gone to see them yet.

Alanna: Queens of the Stone Age is really good live and they put on a good performance, so I'm excited to see them.

Rozie: I’m excited to see some of the older bands, Depeche Mode and the Cure. My musical tastes tend to be stuck back in the 70s and the 80s.

LiveMom: What do you like about performing?

Alanna: I just like playing. It’s something that’s always come naturally for me. It was natural, but there was still so much that I had to learn. Every time I feel like I play, you kind of learn something. It’s nice playing with people like them (points to other kids) because they are really good people to play with. They always teach you something.

Rozie: For me, the stage is something almost like a second home. I feel really, really comfortable up there. I feel like I can really come out of my shell, and be a completely different person than I am in everyday life. Playing music is what I love to do more than anything. It is my relaxation. It is something I have passions and drives for. It is me. It’s everything that defines me and everything that I do.

Bryce: Playing in a group is so much more beneficial than just playing by yourself. There's a huge difference between playing by yourself in your room and then being on stage with a group of other musicians. It helps you grow in ways that you wouldn't if you were just playing in your room to your favorite songs.

LiveMom: What do you think is different about being a musician in the Live Music Capitol of the World?

Rozie: Being able to just be around so much music is such an influence because literally we can go out any single night of the week and see a band. That really keeps you on your toes because it keeps you involved in what's popular in the area -- what people are liking -- if you really want to make something out of it, what types of stuff you should be going for.
But it's also an inspiration. I'll go to shows and I'll see people playing and I think, I don't want to be here. I don't want to be in the crowd. I want to be up there playing. So having that musical element has really made me a better musician and made me want it a whole lot more.

LiveMom: How do you feel like your musical style has evolved?

Bryce: One of the things I like about School of Rock is that before I came here I would listen to all the same classic rock bands that every kid guitar player wants to listen to, like Jimi Hendrix and AC/DC. So I was kind of pigeonholed into that. But then you come here, and there people from everywhere. There's so many different kids here that listen to so many different bands and the teachers all have their own unique bands -- there's teachers playing metal, there's teachers playing country, there's teachers playing indie. So you get a melting pot of all these musical tastes. So, you start to want to listen to those and you start to want to play those. Coming here has made me get out of where I was stuck, and it did help me start writing my own stuff and find myself, I guess.

Rozie: As a person, the School of Rock has really helped me socialize, because it's an afterschool program and a lot of my friends are not at school, but at School of Rock. I have to say that School of Rock really helps pretty much everyone make a huge group of friends and especially for us, being on the B team our show team we're almost like a family because we spend so much time together.

Alanna: A lot of the people that are on there have been on there forever, so we've known each other for a long time.
It's clear that these kids are incredibly talented and poised, but we'll just have to wait to see where they go next!

For updates, follow the School of Rock on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


ACL Music Festival Weekend One Wrapup

*This post originally appeared on

We listened to over 24 bands over the course of three days, took over 100 photos (including some interesting fashion choices that we just couldn't resist capturing) and ate our way through the day and night to harness enough energy to get us home safely to our beds. Now we might need until SXSW to recover. Here is our take on our favorite bands, food options and a few tips to make next weekend's festival rock your socks off:

Hangin' with our buds and AKL veterans The Q Brothers by their Hip Hop Workshop booth.

Friday, October 11th

Friday was the least crowded, and so it was a good day to bring a toddler for a few hours. He enjoyed Austin Kiddie Limits from the comfort of his stroller, walked around a bit on the way to the Bud Light stage and conked out for the remainder of the time, before meeting up with his dad at the Austin High pickup/dropoff area. Although it can be hard to navigate the gates and other narrow areas with the stroller, being able to stash a lot of gear, blankets and water bottles in the bottom was really nice.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down is a highlight of the Bud Light stage. The band stood out as a great way to ease into the first afternoon of the festival with laid back, yet upbeat songs. Frontwoman Thao did a nice job of engaging the crowd.

We caught a few songs of Fun., whose music is very well-suited for ACL. Admittedly, it is much easier to sing along to "We Are Young" at the top of your lungs when you are alone, in your car, when you aren't surrounded by twenty-somethings, but it was

Local Natives' surf-infused rock and dreamlike melodies gets the crowd moving at the Samsung Galaxy stage in the late afternoon.

Kaskade makes for excellent people watching, even if it's just a guy on stage spinning. We grabbed a beer and sat along the fence on one of the walkways, which led to a nice view of dancing patrons. The crowd was super high energy, which was more than we could say for ourselves in the early evening.

Depeche Mode headlines on Friday night. I admit, even being a fan, that the show was a little weird. There is no denying that this performance has a high entertainment value and they played a mix of their new and old songs, which made the crowd very happy. What was weird? Well, if you are into seeing Dave Gahan grind the microphone pole while grabbing his junk, you will be very pleased at this performance. Honestly, I was in awe as he is about a decade older than me and has an insane amount of energy to carry him through 1½ hours of performing.

We discovered Instagram this weekend...and that you can take some great photos while you are waiting for someone to use the restroom.

Saturday, October 12th

We eagerly anticipated the cold front moving in, to cool things off, and quickly joined the ranks of those huddled in blankets and jackets by the end of the Cure's set. We arrived a little later, so we would still have some energy left to join our ticket winners at the Discover Great Music Lounge after the festival shut down for the night.

Passion Pit does not disappoint. It was loud, great sound. Definitely don't miss this one!

Kendrick Lamar is definitely not family-friendly music. If you still have your little ones with you at this point of the festival, move as far out of earshot as possible. Tip: When Kendrick instructs you to wave your hands in the air like you just don't care, make sure the beer can that you are holding in one of your hands does not spill onto the person in front of you. Wave one hand, gently move the other. Much safer that way. For the record, he did not tell us in so many words to wave our hands in the air like we just don't care. I think he said put one hand up. Now put the other hand up. But since I was one of the oldest women in the crowd, that's what I heard in my head...cause I am a product of the 80s and 90s.

Headlining Saturday's show, The Cure nearly brought me to tears. They sounded just like they did 17 years ago! Seriously, I made Nicole go off to the porta-potty by herself because I could not force myself to leave. But then a half an hour later, I also had to make a trip to the wonderful porta-potty so I should have just stuck with my buddy. Tip: If you find yourself having to leave the show mid-way through for a bathroom break, exit the crowd and head to the right as the porta-potties there seemed to be less crowded. Also, the crowd thinned out at that time so I was able to grab a spot right up at the front of the stage.

Nahiba was one of the performers at the Discover Great Music Lounge afterparty on Saturday night.
Sunday, October 13th

Nicole hit the festival early on, and Catherine brought her toddler and 6-year-old for a few hours in the afternoon to enjoy the last day of ACL. I'm not sure whether it was the lineup, the cooler weather or the fact that it was the last day, but it was packed early on. Even with the showers overnight, the grass was only wet in a few spots, so sandals turned out being fine.

Courrier was a band we interviewed earlier in the week, so Nicole was looking forward to catching their set. Getting to Zilker early certainly has its privileges, as there are still front row spots available midway through. For those of you attending the second weekend, this might be a spoiler alert, but it also shows how much fun the band was having and how infectious their music is.

MS MR was another band we interviewed prior to the festival. I wasn't sure how their sound would translate to a huge outdoor festival, but Lizzy Plapinger's Florence-like vocals and the energy of Max Hershenow were well-received by the crowd.

Lone Bellow was another artist on the Austin Ventures stage that really engages the crowd. The harmonies that lead singer Zach Williams, Kanene Pipkin and Brian Elmquist meld perfectly with their folksy rock. Their songs are simply magnetic.

I thought The National would be too low key for me for a festival, but their set includes a nice mix of songs I had heard before, plus some new stuff.

Note: Although we were bummed we missed their sets, we're glad we can catch these local bands we interviewed outside of the festival: Dana Falconberry, School of Rock, Barton Hills Choir, Grace London and the Peterson Brothers Band. You also might want to check out our profiles of Play Date and The Q Brothers.

What to eat:
For a late night snack, the Second Bar + Kitchen Truffled Pomme Frites were tasty. Nicely salted with a side of mayo was just perfect as we left the festival on Saturday.

Also, the empanadas from mmmpanadas were delicious. Flaky crust and well seasoned filling pleased both mom and tot. I got the Argentinean beef, Nicole had the Green Chile Chicken, but there are veggie options as well.

Coolhaus was a win-lose with Nicole pleased with her late night sweet treat while Catherine's left a little something to be desired. On Sunday, Catherine went back in with her two kids to give it another try. Really, it was tough to believe that two cookies paired with a scoop of ice cream in between could be wrong so it HAD to be tried again. Sure enough, the chocolate chip cookies with vanilla bean ice cream won her over. Tip: Get a spoon and a handful of napkins as this can be quite messy. There were no spoons or napkins out at our first visit so we had to ask. They were better stocked up by Sunday with napkins, spoons and little cardboard containers to catch the drips.
What ACL does to a toddler (and, come to think of it, we felt the same way).

Reminders (because we are moms, after all!):
  • We posted the 411 on ACL, in case you missed it earlier.
  • Don't forget to apply (and re-apply) sunscreen. Don't just apply to your kids and not yourself. Zilker always seemed warmer than the forecast and both of us ended up a little rosy by the end of the weekend.
  • Refill, refill. The CamelBak water filling stations were a feature we both took advantage of this time around, and we were happy to use them. This time, two one-liter bottles seemed like a lot to carry, so we had one frozen each day, which was nice to have and refill. If you choose to bring a reusable water bottle, just keep in mind it has to be empty upon entry, so if you bring a frozen bottle you will have something colder to enjoy once you are there.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. This seems so obvious, but Nicole set out to find some fashionable footwear on Thursday and was regretting her choice by Friday afternoon. Even after the rain fell on Saturday, Sunday was navigable in flip flops (yes, contoured and road-tested Chacos, but still...)
  • Bring a lightweight poncho. These can fit into a small backpack and provide you with something to sit on in case the ground is damp. I was happy to have it when the cold front moved in, so it doubled as a jacket.
  • Come equipped. This is what we were glad to have with us: packets of Wet Ones wipes to use before and after meals, ibuprofen in case of headaches, band aids (they don't take up any space and you may need them!), lip balm, sunscreen, sunglasses, a bandana to wipe off sweat, pocket-sized Kleenexes for when the portable toilets run out of toilet paper and ear protection (for adults and kids).
  • Charge, charge. We are so accustomed to messing with our phones all the time that batteries run out quickly at ACL. There are charging stations, but who wants to spend time at ACL sitting around, missing out on music? Texting seemed to work better this year, but try to resist the urge to check your phone unless you need to. Do your homework beforehand so that you don't need to use the ACL app to decide which bands to see, and instead rely on the paper maps handed out at the entrance (don't worry if you lose it -- you can get a new one the next day).
Lastly, Kiddie Limits is a haven for all the little ones who also want to enjoy Austin City Limits Music Festival with mom and dad. While Friday was relatively less crowded than Saturday and Sunday, it can still get a bit squished in there. Tag your kid in case they get lost. The Tag a Kid booth is right at the front on your left-hand side as you enter the Kiddie Limits area. Tip: My daughter gets easily overwhelmed with large crowds, but we found the giant sandbox (directly behind the Q Brothers Hip Hop booth) to be a quiet reprieve from the people and noise. It is also shaded and has a handful of chairs for parents in case you don't want to sit in the sand.

Did we see every single band we wanted? No (Dan Croll, Haim, Dawes, among others. Sigh). Were we disappointed with any sets? Sure (Foxygen, I'm looking at you...although the mom in me is just worried, I'll admit). But all in all, it was a great festival. How else could we have the chance to see so many bands in just a few days, remember what it was like to see music before we were mamas and fit in some of the best people watching while we were at it?

What were your impressions? Do you have a favorite new band now? Any disappointments?
Obligatory photo outside of the Barton Springs gate.
 Authors: Catherine Prystup and Nicole Basham can be found writing and adventuring on


Ride Capital Metro to ACL Music Festival

Ready to rock the second weekend of ACL 2013? Capital Metro can get you there.

Ride the official, FREE Austin City Limits Music Festival shuttle, loading up at Republic Square Park at 5th and Guadalupe, with direct service to and from Zilker Park.

The shuttles will run approximately 10 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. each day. The last bus leaves Republic Square for the festival at 8 p.m. The last returning bus back to Republic Square heads out about an hour after the last band leaves the stage each night.

Plan your trip to Republic Square.


ACL Festival Parent Survival Guide

Raquel is a homeschooler, work-at-home mom and all around crafty broad. She has blogged about her adventures in Austin since moving here in 2005 and loves exploring Austin fun with her 5-year-old son. Find her at

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If you are a parent, and you scored tickets to the Austin City Limits Festival, be cool and take your kids. It's free for kids 10 and under and, with Austin Kiddie Limits tucked away in the corner, it really is a separate little festival just for them. Festival organizers have gone out of their way to make this festival fun for families, so take advantage of it!

When it comes to whole family enjoyment at the festival, here is our breakdown of how to share the time. A 3-day pass translates into one morning/afternoon at Austin Kiddie Limits, one whole day split between Austin Kiddie Limits and the ACL stages, and one afternoon/evening for adults only. That way the whole family gets a fair amount of fun and entertainment as well as a fresh crop of crowd pleasing stories to tell around the water-cooler or on the playground about that one time at ACL fest...

A successful ACL Festival weekend with kids is impossible without serious planning. My tips are proven effective whether yours are factory model kids or kids tricked out with few bonus features including a kinetically charged engine, slow response breaks and a highly sensitive anti-food system. The festival has done it's part by being as family friendly as possible. Here are a few awesome tips to help you do your part by having a kick-ass time.

What To Pack

  1. Empty reusable plastic water bottles (or two factory sealed ones). Free water refilling stations are all around the park. Let your kids hold the bottle while volunteers fill 'em up--never a dull, dehydrated moment at ACL. I have seen young people with camel-backs on, but would bet money that it wasn't water they were sipping through those wrap-around straws.
  2. MomGyver (or DadGyver) Travel-size Kit.
    Stuff the following items into a gallon-sized zip lock bag and you're ready for anything:
    - Chewing gum
    - First Aid kit
    - Sunscreen
    - Antibacterial wipes
    - Insect repellant wipes
    - Cortizone
    - Kleenex
    - DIY porta potty for boys (see #10) 
  3. Your kid's favorite book. What? Yep. The paper kind. Mainly if you plan to split your time between Kiddie Limits and the main stages. All the sights, sounds and smells at the festival can be overwhelming to a normal adult human. By the time we're adults, we learn how to cope with all the stimulation overload by smoking, drinking, becoming bitchy, or taking ourselves home. Kids, on the other hand will either go to sleep or straight-up melt down and make everyone miserable. Books calm their brains in ways Angry Birds does not. I carry an illustrated book of Hot Wheels with feature descriptions with me everywhere. Comic books and graphic novels are awesome choices as well.
  4. Small camera and extra memory card just in case. Cameras with detachable lenses are banned, so leave your fancy DSLR at home. You don't want to depend on your cell phone because you don't want to run out of charge. Use cells for Instagram, but not for all your photos. I learned first hand that event volunteers are very nice young people who are happy to let you use their cell phone to call your husband to work out logistics within the park, but don't put yourself in that position.
  5. Handheld mister fan. ACL Festival happens in October, which is still summertime-hot in Austin. Mister fans are great for a bit of distracting amusement for the kiddos and for keeping cool.
  6. Festival bag. Limit your load to one small backpack (large backpacks are prohibited) or cross-body bag big enough to hold all the items listed above with room leftover for any items you might pick up at the festival. 
  7. Sun hats. There is no shortage of tented areas in Austin Kiddie Limits, but if you plan to make the rounds to the stages with your kids, sun hats are just a good idea.
  8. Stroller. If you have a kid under the age of 7, consider a stroller. You know your kid. If you're one of those lucky parents who has a child who generally goes with the flow and never complains, you might survive without a stroller. If your 5 year old is anything like mine and has mastered the fine art of whining and trying to convince you that his legs are about to fall off and that he is parched beyond re-hydration and seconds away from melting from the direct sunlight,  you might be glad you have a stroller to banish him to. Our BOB stroller holds kids up to 70lbs, is narrow enough to navigate crowds and, with the top cover down, is an ideal place for a quick nap. One time we stayed at the festival until night to see Stevie Wonder's closing performance and we were all glad I brought that stroller. 
  9. A blanket. Use it to sit on. Have a picnic. Use it to cover the stroller at nap time. Use it for time-out. You might even use it as a pee tent (see #10). A blanket at a festival is never a bad idea. 
  10. DIY porta potty. For parents of big boys. Stuff a gallon-sized zip lock bag full of Bounty paper towels. Put the stuffed zip lock bag into a plastic grocery bag. Bounty paper towels are the most absorbent and when you get stuck outside of Austin Kiddie Limits and are too far away from the porta potties, you'll be glad you have your own. Find an off-the-path spot, use the blanket and yourself as a privacy screen while he does his business in the bag. Zip the bag, tie it up in the grocery bag and find the nearest trash can to discard it. If anyone gives you a bad eye, screw them. One time...well two times...last year, the only thing that saved my son from wetting himself in line outside The Louvre in Paris and in the middle of The Prado in Madrid was an empty water bottle. The first time we had fortunate proximity to litter. The second time, we had unlucky proximity to the public restrooms. Both times, we did not have a blanket, and I didn't give rat booty if anybody had a problem with it. At ACL festival, you want your empty water bottles for actual water, so trust me on the DIY porta potty. You're welcome.
Bonus Things--If your kid has allergies: Letter from doctor, list of allergies, prescription (bonus if on EpiPen box), Benadryl and snacks. At ACL, outside food is prohibited, but event staff aren't heartless. You've spent at least $225 to attend ACL and they get that you're not trying to scam them to bring $10 worth of snacks in for your kid. ACL Festival provides a great list of food vendors and their event menus for the weekend, so study the offerings so you have an idea of what you can actually buy there. It helps to minimize how much food you have to bring yourself, particularly if you plan to be there through a couple of mealtimes.

Want to see pics from our first time at the festival in 2001? Click HERE.

There you have it. Are any of your must-haves missing from the list?

Enjoy the festival!


ACL Feature: Courrier


LiveMom is thrilled to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) again this year. The ladies of LiveMom have listened to all the bands and have picked the ones they think you should have on your schedule. Are you ready for some great music?!

One of the great things about ACL is finding out about performers based in our own backyard. Take Courrier, a band which could be easily mistaken for a group of British lads. With Austin Jones on lead vocals, keys and guitar; Philip Edsel on lead guitar and vocals; Nathan Drake on drums and Taylor Bartholomew on bass and vocals, Courrier recently wrapped up a whirlwind tour, blazing through 25 cities in 29 days in support of their new release, Cathedrals of Color. Courrier made a stop at Stubb's on September 27th before gearing up for ACL. You can listen to the band talk about Cathedrals here and how many of the songs explore the theme of home. Each song was catchier than the last, which makes it no surprise that the band showed up on Austin Monthly's Ten Bands to Watch list and that Courrier was recently featured in Rolling Stone. It's clear that Courrier is gaining momentum, and I'm glad to have the chance to catch these fresh-faced musicians on their way to the top.

You can catch Courrier on Sunday, October 6th from 11:20am-noon on the Austin Ventures Stage.

courrier ACL 2013 
LiveMom: How would you describe your sound? Who are your musical influences?

Courrier: Our genre is "alternative rock" which can be a pretty general description, ranging a lot of different styles of rock. We like that, because our influences cover a lot of different styles, from British alt-bands like Coldplay and U2 to classic rockers like Bruce Springsteen and Phil Collins. We’re all about good melodies.
LiveMom: Is this your first time at ACL?
Courrier: This is our first time playing ACL, but not our first time attending. I’m from Austin, and all the guys have lived here for some time, so it’s really like a hometown dream come true.
LiveMom: What's it like being a band based in the Live Music Capital of the World?
Courrier: It’s interesting being a band from Austin. Everyone refers to it as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” which can be a good and a bad thing. Good because people love the live music culture, but bad because it’s often over-saturated. You don’t want to get lost in the noise, so to speak.
LiveMom: What bands are you most looking forward to seeing perform at ACL?
Courrier: All of the headliners for sure. We’re big Depeche Mode & The Cure fans. We also love Muse. I’m definitely excited to see The National again, since they put on my favorite ACL performance to date. Oh, and HAIM.
LiveMom: Are you doing any aftershows?
Courrier: We’re playing a secret after show the second weekend of ACL. It won’t be announced until a few days before, so unfortunately, we can’t tell you where it will be!
LiveMom: What is on the horizon for the band after ACL?
Courrier: We’re working on a lot of new material we’re pretty excited about. We’ll also be touring extensively in the spring. Follow us on Twitter & Facebook to stay up to day on what we’re up to!

If you can't make it to the Festival, you can keep up with Courrier on their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole Basham uses her 7-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: The Verve Pipe

The artists who will be performing at ACL Music Festival’s family-friendly area, better known as Austin Kiddie Limits, are from all over the country and play all kinds of music. You can expect hip-hop, kindie, sing-a-longs, silly and educational.


Another great band to check out with your little music lovers is The Verve Pipe, who will be onstage both weekends, ready to entertain you with songs from their latest album Are We There Yet? With a little something for everyone, from rock to bluegrass, this band sings of childhood memories, love, and just plain silliness.


You probably remember The Verve Pipe from your younger days, thanks to the hit, Freshman, which played, like, 400 times a day for about three years. Well, they've had kids since then and decided to take their music to a kid-friendlier level.  

The Verve Pipe at Austin Kiddie Limits:
  • Saturday, Oct. 5th: 3:30 - 4 pm
  • Sunday,Oct. 6th: 4:05 - 4:30 pm
  • Friday, Oct. 11th: 2:30 - 2:55 pm
  • Saturday, Oct. 12th: 3:30 - 4 pm

For more Kiddie Limits coverage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, check out


Interview with The Q Brothers

LiveMom is thrilled to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) again this year. They have listened to all the bands and have picked the ones they think you should have on your schedule. Are you ready for some great music?!

There are those moments in life when you meet a person and can instantly see the passion for what they do written all over them. I had one of those moments when I first met The Q Brothers a few years ago at my inaugural Austin City Limits Music Festival. Set up inside a booth in the Austin Kiddie Limits area is a hip-hop music making station that is run by this fantastic brother-duo. GQ and JQ are no strangers to the music and entertainment industry with a resume that includes co-creating, co-directing, and starring in the original productions of Othello: The Remix and Funk It Up About Nothin', among many other credits. Add in a little writing, producing, acting and album-making and you've got two incredibly talented guys who are there at the festival to teach your kids how to be just as awesome as they are. 

Q bros ACL

LiveMom: What is the source of inspiration for your music? Are either of you parents?

Q Brothers: FAMILY is the source of inspiration for our music. We're not parents... yet.

LiveMom: What's the best part about performing for children?

Q Brothers: Kicking something that is real for us, and having them genuinely feel we are being real with them, and not dumbing down material because they are young. Also, making songs up on the spot, about elephants, rainbows, and Darth Vader is pretty dope.

LiveMom: You have been to Austin many times for past ACL Festivals. What do you like to do while in town? Any favorite restaurants or tourist spots?

Q Brothers: I think this is our 6th or 7th ACL...We love eating Tex Mex every day. Tacos at Torchy’s is always a standby for us. Allen’s Boots is great for gear.

LiveMom: What's on your ACL schedule? Which bands are you looking forward to seeing?

Q Brothers: We literally just got back from performing for three weeks in London. We haven't even looked at the schedule yet. I like being surprised every year, and not planning too much!

LiveMom: What do you hope children gain from listening to the Q Brothers?

Q Brothers: Confidence, good vibes, and some great laughs.

LiveMom: What advice would you give to parents of budding musicians to encourage a lifelong 
love of music?

Q Brothers: Support your children's interests, no matter what they are!

For updates, follow the Q Brothers on Facebook, Twitter or their website.


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: Caspar Babypants

The artists who will be performing at ACL Music Festival’s family-friendly area, better known as Austin Kiddie Limits, are from all over the country and play all kinds of music. You can expect hip-hop, kindie, sing-a-longs, silly and educational.


Caspar Babypants will bring his clever name and fun show to the Austin Kiddie Limits stage both weekends of ACL. Caspar Babypants is the former lead singer and songwriter of The Presidents of the United States of America, Chris Ballew. The Presidents were pretty big in the 90s and you probably remember their songs Peaches and Lump. We certainly do!


Since his President's days, Ballew has discovered that singing for kids and their parents comes easy to him and that he loves doing it. He aims to bring high quality, intelligent, simple acoustic music for kids and their parents to enjoy TOGETHER. And they definitely will.

We gave a listen to Caspar Babypants' latest, Baby Beatles, and had a fun time singing along to our favorite Beatles songs such as Here Comes the Sun and Blackbird. We were pumped and singing along at the beginning, by the end of it, we were ready for a nap. Turns out, this is the goal of all Babypants albums. Hopefully, your kid will follow suit and be lulled into naptime!

Besides the Baby Beatles album, Caspar has released two others, Here I am!, and More Please!, both came out in 2009 and there are lots of awesome videos for those songs you should check out.

  • Saturday, Oct. 5 -> 12:30 - 12:55 pm
  • Sunday, Oct. 5 -> 11:30 - 11:55 am
  • Friday, Oct. 11 -> 12:30 - 12:55 pm
  • Saturday, Oct. 12 -> 11:30 - 11:55 am

For more Kiddie Limits coverage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, check out


Tips from Bill Childs of Spare the Rock Family Music Radio Show

Bill Childs, producer of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, a syndicated family music radio show and his rockers-in-training.
Bill Childs, producer of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, a syndicated family music radio show, and his show's biggest fans.

ACL is hot, tiring, sweaty, overwhelming, and, all too often, outright miserable to attend with kids.  Here's a quick look at a few highlights, split about evenly between the excellent Austin Kiddie Limits section and other stages.  Plan it out right, though, and it can be a great time.  And remember: hydrate!

First, the four acts that jump out at me the most on the kids' stage (but you really can't go wrong all weekend):

Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon
One of the most intriguing acts scheduled, due largely to the combination.  Tim and the Space Cadets play infectious poppy alt-rock, and Austin local heroes Mother Falcon will join them with a killer string section.  What that will add up to?  I honestly don't know, but it's going to be interesting and probably terrific.

Play Date
This married duo would have the potential of being overly cute, but their indie history (Greg Attonito was a founding member of the Bouncing Souls) helps avoid it.  Their record (on Mike Park's Fun Fun Records) is just crazy fun.  Their live show promises to be the same.

Caspar Babypants
Caspar Babypants is the outrageously productive kids' music project of Chris Ballew (The Presidents of the United States of America).  His records are simple but never boring, and his live show -- whether solo or with a band -- are fantastically engaging.

The Verve Pipe
I've been doing a kids' music radio show for over eight years now, and have seen plenty of "grown-up" artists think they can throw something cruddy out into the family music world and make a quick buck.  Having never been that huge a fan of TVP in the first place, I was skeptical of their move into the area.  But they've just released their second kids' record ("Are We There Yet?"), it's clear that they're taking it seriously.  They've translated their live show well into the kids' space, and if the kids' area isn't too filled with people who only remember the band for "The Freshman," it'll be a fun show.

On the other stages, I've flagged a handful of shows you should check out with the littles -- but keep in mind that there might be some language you like less.

Asleep at the Wheel (AMD stage)
It's Asleep at the Wheel.  They're legends.  Go dance with your kids.

Shovels & Rope (Austin Ventures)
This act's press kit refers to it as a "righteous racket" and that's about right.  Guitars, drum kits (put together from discarded parts), and more.  They probably sing more songs about murder than you mostly listen to with your kids, but the energy is probably going to overwhelm enough that your kids won't be permanently scarred.

Blind Boys of Alabama (Zilker Tent)
Now decades old, Blind Boys of Alabama are a vital link to the history of gospel traditions.  Playing a wild range of songs, and partnering with people ranging from Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to tUnE-yArDs of Merrill Garbus, they're just as relevant now as they were nearly 100 years ago when they were founded.

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down (Bud Light)
Thao Nguyen and her band get called folk rock from time to time, but this isn't the banjos and standup bass set -- it's got more of an indie rock vibe.  It might not work for younger kids, but it should be interesting to tweens.

Red Baraat (Zilker Tent)
Awfully hard choice, with Shinyribs at the same time -- but Shinyribs you can see around town pretty often.  Red Baraat brings a smorgasbord of sounds -- North Indian, jazz, funk, hip-hop, and more -- that adds up to sheer joy.  If you need to tire out your kids before heading home (probably yourself too!), this is the act.

Bill Childs is producer of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, a syndicated family music radio show distributed by PRX (  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.


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: The Ohmies

The artists who will be performing at ACL Music Festival’s family-friendly area, better known as Austin Kiddie Limits, are from all over the country and play all kinds of music. You can expect hip-hop, kindie, sing-a-longs, silly and educational.


The Ohmies will perform both weekends of ACL, and you won't want to miss this interactive and theatrical performance, especially if you have kids ages 3 - 6. They'll love this unique show that is designed to get the kids up and moving!

The Ohmies is a character-driven entertaining show that focuses on physical activity and overall well-being of children and their families. The Ohmies consist of Bailey Butterfly, her brother, Carlin Caterpillar, and a few of their friends. Audience members will follow them through Ohmland and meet lots of friends and sing lots of songs along the way. The story-based musical gets the audience to play along, sing, dance, jump and respond to the band's prompts. Before your kids know it, they've learned about leading a healthy lifestyle, good nutrition and fun ways to be active.

Each show features physical activities such as yoga, eurhythmics, step-dancing and ballet, as well as themes that address healthy nutritional choices. This focus is a perfect fit for preschoolers, who learn through play, and express themselves through movement. It's going to be a fun show, be sure to stop by the Austin Kiddie Limits stage for a fun fitness break!

The Ohmies at Austin Kiddie Limits:
  • Saturday, Oct. 5 -> 11:30 - 11:55 am
  • Sunday, Oct. 6 -> 12:30 - 12:55 pm
  • Saturday, Oct. 12 -> 2:30 - 2:55 pm
  • Sunday, Oct. 13 -> 11:30 - 11:55 am

For more Kiddie Limits coverage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, check out


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: Andy Z

The artists who will be performing at ACL Music Festival's family-friendly area, better known as Austin Kiddie Limits, are from all over the country and play all kinds of music. You can expect hip-hop, kindie, sing-a-longs, silly and educational. There are artists who you may have grown up with, who now have kids of their own and are writing music for them.


Andy Z will play the first weekend of ACL on Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6. You won't want to miss his mixture of music, movement, storytelling and puppets. Your kids will be taken on an imaginary tour of the "Andyland Islands", where they will learn all about Andy's friends. The resident dancers of Andyland are the Queen Bees, two young ladies who interact with the kids and help to act out the songs.

Andy Z has been playing around the Bay Area for more than 5 years. The local families LOVE him and his little fans follow him from show to show. His reviews all state that he has awesome energy and is great at connecting with his audience. Be sure and swing by if you're at the fest with your littles!

For more Kiddie Limits coverage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, check out


Austin Kiddie Limits Feature: Tim and the Space Cadets

The artists who will be performing at ACL Music Festival’s family-friendly area, better known as Austin Kiddie Limits, are from all over the country and play all kinds of music.


You can expect hip-hop, kindie, sing-a-longs, silly and educational. We will be doing a preview of all of the performers that will be at Austin Kiddie Limits, AND we will have some merch to giveaway as well, just in case you can’t make it to the fest.

Brooklyn-based Tim and the Space Cadets with Austin's own Mother Falcon will join forces at Austin Kiddie Limits this year! Tim and the Space Cadets songwriters Tim Kubart and Matt Puckett are set to entertain Austin Kiddies with pop, rock and even lullabies that encourage them to dance and play and live their childhood years with totally fun and innocent reckless abandon. Mother Falcon is a talented local ensemble orchestra known for delivering rich vocals with dreamy strings and brass accompaniment. Both bands produce music that is appealing to hip kids and hip parents, so if you're going to ACL Festival, you and your kids are totally hip and you don't want to miss this show.

Tim and The Space Cadets with Mother Falcon at Austin Kiddie Limits

October 4, 12:30 − 12:55 pm
October 5, 2:30 − 2:55 pm
October 11, 3:30 − 4:00 pm
October 12, 12:30 − 12:55 pm

For more Kiddie Limits coverage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, check out


The 411 on ACL 2013

ACL 2013 preview 

The wait is finally over. The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is almost here -- well, at least, Weekend One. Once again, our fair city will play host to over 100 bands on 8 stages, which will draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Live Music Capitol of the World. We've listened to all the bands playing the Festival and you might already notice that we've been churning out band profiles and we will continue to do so leading up to ACL. We're hoping to showcase the great talent outside of the festival headliners and highlight some of the local acts you can catch either at or outside of ACL.

 Here are some tips, whether you are a first-timer or ACL veteran, and whether you are taking the kids or leaving them with family or friends:

Download the app. It's no surprise that the ACL app is the place to keep your schedule handy and share it with friends. You can also use the app to discover new bands and listen to their music. It's nice that the app also will soon have the festival map to help everyone spend time listening to music instead of wondering where X stage is. While we are on the subject of phones, you'll probably want to use yours sparingly to conserve battery life (there are charging stations, but who wants to spend all weekend there, right?) Don't count on being able to use your phone for much communication during the day since calls, texts and Facebook posts often appear hours later than intended.

Do your homework. There are ACL playlists popping up all over the place, but the iHeartRadio Austin City Limits Radio has been a great way for me to familiarize myself with the bands which are playing. It's nice that you can play it on your desktop while you are working or on your phone when you are out and about.

My most comfortable outfit for ACL: a Gap tank top, jeans and sneakers which didn't look like running shoes.
My most comfortable outfit for ACL: a Gap tank top, jeans and sneakers which didn't look like running shoes.
What to wear (and what not to wear). I am by no means a fashionista, but ACL is a great excuse to go out and get some new duds. That said, practicality always trumps fashion for me. The challenge (at least for me) is not to wear something that screams MOM (you know, because I really could be some of these performers' mom!) I've found that tank tops work well for me and that I can do either shorts or jeans. Footwear is a huge consideration, because of course you are walking what seems like miles, and the grass at Zilker gets muddy in spots even in the best conditions (so farewell, my beloved flip flops -- see you next week!) So, be prepared for your shoes to not be in great shape after 3 days. I might try some cute accessories to bring my outfit into 2013. 

As you can tell, my ensemble is still a work in progress. The weather is doing that is-it-summer-or-fall back and forth, which also makes planning a little more challenging.

ACL capitol 

What to bring. This answer obviously depends on whether you are attending with adults or with children. 

Here's the official list of allowed and prohibited items. If you are attending sans children, I'd recommend bringing:
  • a backpack of some sort (being handsfree is nice and easier to get through crowds than with a handbag)
  • an empty aluminum water bottle (to fill up at the CamelBak stations) and two factory-sealed 1L water bottles (put in the freezer so they will be cold as long as possible)
  • hand sanitizer (I don't use this normally, but it's nice to have at something like ACL)
  • sunscreen (PSA: aerosol sunscreens are not permitted)
  • sunglasses
  • plenty of cash for food and drinks
  • one mini-Kleenex pack per day (as back-up TP and for other small clean-up jobs)
  • a bandana which can serve multiple purposes and doesn't take up much room
  • a lightweight rain poncho/windbreaker which you can put on the ground to sit on
If you do have the kids, definitely add in a lightweight, yet easy to maneuver stroller for the littles (no red wagons are allowed) and ear protection (I ordered these off Amazon after SXSW for my kiddo). On the not allowed list are pets, food (although you can usually bring in some kids' snacks), coolers and large umbrellas. Many people do pick up inexpensive folding chairs at Academy, but they are bulky to carry around and limit where you can be, so I leave mine at home.

  ACL bikes 

Getting there and getting around once you are there. Transportation is arguably the biggest pain of ACL. Parking in the neighborhoods around Zilker is strongly discouraged. Unless you have a friend with space in his or her driveway, your best bet is to see if you can find someone to pick you up and drop you off near Austin High. Another great option is to bike it to Zilker. Once you are actually inside of the festival gates, it can be surprisingly hard to get from one band to another in a timely fashion. For that reason, I try to make sure I have a "plan B" band, just in case there is a bottleneck in the crowds. It's too early to say whether moving to two weekends will mean things seem any less crowded inside the gates. The earlier you arrive, the easier it is to get around Zilker.

  ACL kiddie limits 

To bring kids, or not to bring kids? This is a question I've heard many parents I know asking. As you probably know, kids ages 10 and under get in ACL free with a ticket-holding adult. Austin Kiddie Limits is open from 11am-4:30pm daily and has tons of family-friendly activities. has some great posts from moms who have been there and done that and are even willing to do it again!

The way I look at it is this: if you bring your kids to Blues on the Green, South by Southwest or other big festivals here in Austin, you will probably enjoy ACL. If you are really looking for this to be your big weekend to see live music and spend time with other adults (and if you have the childcare), then it's probably wise to divide and conquer with your partner, friends or family. I also know plenty of parents who are bringing their kids for a few hours and then sending them home so they can take in their favorite bands without having to worry about snacks, noise and negotiating port-a-potties with little ones.

Have a fun-filled Festival! If you want even more ACL, hop on over to Pinterest where we have pinned TONS of ACL-related goodies.

Are there any other burning questions you have about ACL? Any tips to share?

A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole Basham uses her 7-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers."


ACL with Kids: Tips from Shannan Riemer

Shannan ACL

So, you decided that you are taking your little to ACL Festival this what?

Do yourself a favor -- throw all your fairy tale expectations out of the window. The quicker you surrender the memories of the old days, which included you squeezing your way to the front of the stage to see Jack White, the quicker you will be ready to enjoy a new type of music festival experience. It’s not going to be easier, but you are creating some pretty amazing family memories that I promise (if you are prepared), you will not regret. Okay, here is how I survive ACL with my littles:

Have a Flexible Plan. I like to give the map to my bigger little (five years old) and let him know where we are going, who we are going to see, what we are going to eat and when we are going to leave. When the plan is in action, I will periodically check in to see if he is happy and if he starts slipping, I have an arsenal of back up plans. First, I bribe him with frozen  lemonade (usually buys 1.5 hours). When the frozen lemonade wears off, I invite him to shop for Lego sets, which I am well aware we are not going to find ACL, but its a distraction and usually buys time. Every year, I give him an Emmy Award-winning performance on how shocked I am that ACL does not carry Lego sets. He is impressed and we (usually) move on.

Prepare for anything. You will read the “pro” concertgoers advise you to pack lightly, which makes total sense if you are not towing your littles. Trust your instinct and pack everything. I take our BOB stroller (transporter of everything), umbrella, chairs for everyone, water (two bottles per person) or empty water bottle, big blanket, sunblock, bug spray, snacks, charged cameras and phones, cash, sun hats for all, wipes, and most importantly, anti-bacterial gel.

Do your homework & know the bands. Go on ACL website and click on the bands that correspond with your schedule, and listen. It’s all about the vibe for me. I love most types of music and can recognize the “perfect for music festival type”. For every band you select be sure to have a back up in that same time slot. This works well if you can’t make it to the other stage.

Location, Location, Location. When claiming your spot for the show, identify the sweet spot. The sweet spot for our family is the area where the crowd becomes a crowd. I like that area because we can still hear the music without busting an eardrum, the pot smokers are usually far away and it’s a clear and easy exit route. Oh, and when setting up “camp”, your blanket (the bigger the better) is essential. This creates a boundary that most people respect. So, your blanket, stroller (which acts as an anchor) and chairs outline the perimeter.

Have Fun. I have been going to ACL since 2005, and I have a box of show momentos. I love this stuff. As long as you go in prepared with an open mind, you will have an amazing experience. Last year, we questioned our decision to take our then 4-year-old on the way to the festival and even while we were setting up camp. The minute Florence + the Machine started their set and our sweet bigger little lost himself in the music, we knew we made the right decision.

Shannan ACL 2 

Co-owner of Riemer Residential, Shannan Riemer loves Austin living and is a bountiful source for all things Austin. When Shannan is not selling homes, you can find her perfecting her Jedi moves with her two little boys. 


KGSR Live Broadcast at Threadgill's

KGSR will be broadcasting live from Threadgill's Headquarters during the ACL Music Festival, from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5, 2013. A $5 charitable donation to the Seton Shivers Cancer Center gets you access to four hours of live music and interviews each day! 

The first 100 people will receive a complimentary breakfast taco and everyone can enjoy drink specials from Bud Light and Crown Royal. Then listen as KGSR continues to broadcast backstage at Zilker park with more live performances and interviews from ACL artists.

Here is the 2013 lineup for ACL Music Festival live broadcast at Threadgill's HQ.

Friday, October 4:
  • 8:30 a.m. – Grace London
  • 9 a.m. - Max Frost
  • 9:30 a.m. – Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
  • 10 a.m. – Bright Light Social Hour
  • 10:30 a.m. – The Weeks
  • 11 a.m. – Jake Bugg
Saturday, October 5:
  • 8:30 a.m. – To be announced
  • 9 a.m. – Aaron Behrens and the Midnight Stroll
  • 9:30 a.m. – Court Yard Hounds
  • 10 a.m. – Little Green Cars
  • 10:30 a.m. – Lissie
  • 11 a.m. – Walk the Moon
  • 11:30 a.m. – The Mowglis
For more information about the broadcast, visit the KGSR website or the Threadgill's calendar.

Threadgills HQ
301 W Riverside Dr
Austin, Texas


The Verve Pipe Returns to Austin Kiddie Limits

The Verve Pipe will be back in town to perform songs off of their new album, Are We There Yet? on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage at this year's ACL Music Festival. Take a look at the interview below, originally posted on LiveMom, and be sure to catch them at the on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 3:30pm, Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 4:05pm, Saturday, October 11, 2013 at 2:30pm and Sunday, October 12, 2013 at 3:30pm.

Many of you will remember The Verve Pipe from the mid-nineties when they gained popularity with their song “Freshman”. While The Verve Pipe has done a lot since “Freshman” hit the airwaves, the dark song about suicide and abortion is what stands out when most people think of the band. If this is the extent of what you know about them, you will probably be surprised to learn that they are performing at ACL on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage!

The band’s most recent album, A Family Album (October 2009), is silly rock that will have you happily singing along with the kids as they ask to hear songs from it over and over again (trust me as that has been my true life story for the last several weeks). I had the privilege of speaking to Donny Brown- drummer, song-writer, co-founder and producer- about their most recent album.

The band came up with the idea to create an album for the entire family after they were asked to contribute a song on a compilation album for kids. In the process of working on the compilation, they came up with several songs of their own. In fact, they had such a good time that they decided to go ahead and create a Verve Pipe album for the entire family. Donny said they wanted the material to be “something that adults could get a chuckle out of” and still “keep the songs so they weren’t talking down to kids.” You will find that the album offers something for all age groups which is great for those who have children of varying ages.

The Family Album includes ten songs written by Donny Brown and lead singer Brian Vander Ark. It is filled with love, childhood shenanigans and silliness. It covers many genres from rock to pop to bluegrass with some '70s ballad and '80s hair band thrown in the mix as well. Your kids will love the up tempo “Wakeup”, the anthem “Cereal”, the silly song about the names of food in “Suppertime”, and the pure rocking out of “Be a Part of the Band”. Plus, you will both love the hilarious hijinks in “We Had to Go Home,” which Donny wrote about a time when “my brother and I were actually asked to leave (a birthday party).... My parents received a call to come get us after we drove a go-cart into the side of an above ground pool.” Who doesn’t have crazy memories like that from childhood? There are also great warm and fuzzy songs filled with love and the messages Brian wanted to pass on not only to his own daughter but to children everywhere, in songs such as “Complimentary Love”, “Worrisome One” and “Only One of You.”

If you have had your fill of inane children’s music with overdone ABC’s, Old MacDonald or purple dinosaurs (sorry Barney!), then check out The Family Album and be on the lookout for a second Verve Pipe album for families to come. Donny was kind enough to share a rough cut of one of the new songs with me, and, if it is any indication of the next album, it will be just as fun!

Written by Katie Mastovich


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