Amid fires, cancellations, massive crowds, and intense heat...the music goes on. :)
FRIDAY: Mike and I got all of our crap together for the weekend in Austin. We mosey'd on down I35 and plotted out our day. We purchased a map of Austin so we could find a place to park the van and then ride to Zilker Park. We decided we would leave the van at a local park...about 1.5 miles from the event.
We ambled our way to Zilker Park (after I negotiated a particularly tricky intersection with no light!) and tried to figure out how to get IN to the event. The wristband redemption area was packed...and after a lady instructed us to go to a different entrance, we headed over to join a massive line of sweaty, moody people. Unbeknownst to us, there was a fire and the entrances were all closed. After a while of waiting, we were allowed entrance into the park. This was really our only issue with entrance/exit for the entire weekend at the park. First show we witnessed: Joss Stone at the ATT stage. She was FABULOUS. I didn't get many good pics, but gotta give the girl props for rockin out. We heard bits of Blonde Redhead while we were waiting to get into the park. Not too terribly impressed. We heard a bit of Spoon and all of Gotan Project's set. We waited patiently for Bjork to take the stage. I have to say, I was extremely excited to see Bjork. After a phenomenal set from Gotan Project, I was hungry for another good show. Bjork took the set and opened with "Innocence". Her next few songs, while excellent and aptly performed, were just too somber for me. I had been in the sun for a LONG ass time and needed something, er...UP. Needless to say, we left a bit early. Back to our "campsite"...which just happened to be a WalMart parking lot. Seriously. Apparently they allow overnight RV parking on the weekends, so Mike and parked the VW camper van in the lot and crashed out. Aside from the weird feeling I got from the idea of sleeping in a WalMart parking lot, it worked. :)
Saturday:Breakfast at IHOP where we learned about the fire from a local. After breakfast, we headed out to McKinney Falls State Park to check that out. We used the showers to get cleaned up and then did a little hike to check out the "falls". Along the way, we found these huges patches of Daddy Long Legs. Kinda trippy. Before leaving the park, we checked with the park ranger and found out that they DID have spaces available. So we snagged one for the remaining nights we would be in Austin. MUCH better than WalMart. :) We went to check out a local bike store, then hopped on over to Lamar to check out restaurants. Found a little Mexican place (apparently Mexican food is the cuisine of choice in Austin...its everywhere) and contemplated where we would park that day. We opted for a different location this time (and prayed that we wouldn't get towed while we were at the park) much closer and without the need for crossing Lamar (not fun to cross this street!). First band we caught at the ATT stage (which is where camped out for most of the weekend)- Augustana. Pretty good sound, but very produced in my opinion. Catered to the 18-24 year old crowd...angsty, melodic. You know the drill. But entertaining. Raul Malo took the stage behind us (Dell). This guy was really good. Did several covers and honestly kept my foot tapping. Really good stuff. Stephen Marley took the stage at ATT next. Obligatory Bob Marley covers (No Woman No Cry, Buffalo Soldier, etc) in an apparent reach-out to the fans that don't know HIS music, only his father's. He had a good stage presence however and did keep the beat rolling. Zap Mama took the stage next (Dell) and presented some interested tunes. We didn't stay for her whole set, however. We opted to break out of the festival to go find some eats and AC. It was really hot. We biked ourselves down to a BBQ place and cooled off. At this point, I was pretty much in the mode of "I don't wanna deal with crowds and I don't wanna get all hot again" so we decided against returning to the park for Muse. Shame...because Zac showed me some video from the set and it looked awesome. HOWEVER...I enjoyed relaxing and stuff. I was kinda beat at that point. So...I take it as a cost of too many bands, not enough time. Mike and I went to Wally World and picked up some stuff to have for breakfast the next day and headed back to camp. Slept a little better that night. Skeeters were pretty bad, but Tylenol PM helps with that. Wheeee
Sunday:Woke up, had breakfast...bagels and nutella, with bananas! TIP...make sure you put a little nutella on your banana. MMMMM After breakfast, we went down to the falls area and I did some swimming while Mike skipped rocks. He said it was too cold. And it WAS kinda chilly, but I thought it felt great. We found some great fossil shells and stuff. After swimming, we showered and headed into town and tried to find some bike shops to check out. None were really open...so we looked for food :) We found a great fish place and had a very tasty lunch. After that, we headed back out to figure out parking for day three. We decided to park at a bike shop that shut down for the day right on Barton Springs and Lamar. Very easy access to Zilker Park. We biked down and found the most accessible bike rack... and then ambled into the park. Again, parking at the ATT stage, we caught Ben Kweller as he sang his way through his set. He is a talented little guy...enjoyed his set alot. On our way to ATT Blue Room, we got a surprise as Common took the Dell stage and rapped a few tunes for us. I was hoping he would do a bit of crooning, but he insisted on rapping...so I said "screw it! On to Devotchka!" We headed on over to the other stage and after losing each other for a bit, we lighted center stage toward the back (where it was less crowded) and enjoyed some funky music. This band was incredible. Very eclectic. Actually, they did the soundtrack for Little Miss Sunshine. Really good stuff. It was kinda hot at this point, so Mike and I decided to find some shade and chill out. Which we did! We found a bit of shade given by a gorgeous pecan tree over by the Medi-Tent and crashed out for a while. Unfortunately, we could hear Regina Spektor from where we were sitting. For the love. Did NOT enjoy her set at all. Luckily, near where we were chilling, I was able to snap some pictures of the really amazing Gibson Art Guitars. These were effin cool. My favorite was a mosaic one...they also had a LiveStrong one, etc etc.
After chilling for a while, we opted to leave again to go grab dinner and enjoy some AC. We biked on over to Chuy's and had margaritas and sampled their Green Chile menu. YUMMY. Those 'ritas really hit the spot...even my HAT liked them....and the food...YUM-TASTIC. I do like Chuy's. Party-ON. Post margaritas, we headed back to the park and found a location to chill while we waited for Bob "bleh bleh bleh" Dylan to take the stage. We found a spot on a little hill with a view of the ATT stage, within listening distance of The Decemberists (at Dell) and Ghostland Observatory (at ATT Blue Room). People watching really is fantastic at ACL. Really. Watching the throngs of people pour into the field was mesmerizing. Had a great view of the downtown skyline and the stage (even if we were pretty far away). Dylan finally took the stage and we ached through a few songs of completed unintelligible tunes. (could recognize the melody, but none of the words) About halfway through his set, we followed the swelling crowds out of the festival and into the streets. Found our way back to the van. Locked up the bikes and headed toward the campsite. Along the way, Mike in his travel weary wisdom says "why don't we find a hotel instead of camping tonight?". I was not one to argue. A comfy bed and a decent shower sounded excellent after the weekend's toil. That night, I rested peacefully with visions of music and random people in my head.
Monday: The ONLY thing I wanted to do before we left Austin was go to Kerbey Lane. Simple. :) So, Mike indulged me. We went to Kerbey Lane (on Lamar) and had ourselves some Kerbey Queso, yummy blueberry pancakes and felt happy to get back on the road home. All in all, a great weekend. I am sure I left plenty out...but I am sure more will come back to me later. ;)
Hugs, kisses and all that jazz....