A Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak at ACL 2014

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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?

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