Drinking and Festing

How to properly navigate your hangover at Austin City Limits Music Festival

How to properly navigate your hangover at ACL Music Festival

Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Pages_ACl day 2_September 2011_crowdsurfing
It's all fun and games until the hangover shows up. Photo by Bill Sallans

Fall has come and it's officially festival season in Austin. This weekend, the Austin City Limits Music Festival kicks off at Zilker Park for two weekends of music, art, food — and booze.

In a town such as ours, festivals can be a chance to catch up with friends, while also being a chance to rage for three days straight under a flag-bedazzled sky. Throw in the ACL Late Night Shows, nightcaps with out-of-town friends and fun-loving house guests, and you have the perfect recipe for a party. If you find that you've perhaps over imbibed, we have reached out to experts, friends and even recalled some of our past festival experiences to help you navigate your hangover while at ACL. 

Bike to Zilker Park
We don't normally take advice from George W. Bush, but during his drinking days in Midland, the former president would often get up early and run to shake off his hangover. Take a similar approach and bike or walk to ACL. Consider it a win-win situation. Not only will you save money on parking, you'll sweat out those Heineken tall boys in no time.

Take a dip in Barton Springs
Though a few area attractions are closed, Barton Springs will remain open for the entirety of the fest. There is nothing better for a hangover than jumping into 68-degree water and doing a few laps. Plus, if you did something embarrassing the night before, no one can see your ashamed grimace while you're under water. 

Pack a water bottle
Those free water stations are your best ally. Go often, chug hard, feel better. 

Make a beeline for the food
Did you tell your friend you would meet him by the TCU flag? Screw it. Walk straight to the food area and procure the following: a Frank Chili Cheese Dog with a side of waffle fries and a Mighty Cone Hot & Crunchy with chicken. Veggies in the audience, don't think we've forgotten about you. Get yourself to Hat Creek and order up a Hot Dang grain burger. For drinks, you're going to need a juice from the HOPE Farmers Market (we suggest the detoxifying fresh cucumber, kale, parsley and lemon juice) and a High Brew Coffee Double Espresso. Find a grassy knoll and lay it all out in front of you. Sure, your stomach may recoil in horror, but you'll thank us later.

Don't whine
Like your mama always said, you don't get sympathy for a sunburn or a hangover. (Which reminds us: Wear sunscreen. Nothing exacerbates a hangover like the heat.) So quit your belly aching and go see Lana Del Ray already.

Bring a bandana
The versatile bandana can help you in a variety of ways. Use it to mop up your booze sweats or dip it in cool water and place it on your neck. 

Find a friend with a blanket
If you've brought a blanket, this step should be pretty easy. Find a place not located in the middle of the crowd and take a break. If you haven't packed something to sit on, quickly scroll through your Instagram until you find a selfie of a friend sitting on a blanket. (It will most likely be your most responsible friend. You know, the one who's sitting atop a festival-appropriate, multi-colored woven throw she picked up during her tenure in the Peace Corps.) Text her. Once you get to her camp, put on a happy face and under no circumstances tell anyone on the blanket that you're hungover. They'll see right through you. Engage in 12-18 minutes of casual conversation and then quietly curl up in the fetal position.

Avoid the fashion photographers
Someone may mistake your womb-like layers, wet hair, oversized sunglasses and wide-brimmed hat as a fashion-forward outfit when really you're just trying to block out anything that will make you feel worse. In your hangover haze, you may think it's a great idea to have your photo snapped. It's not. Kindly excuse yourself and offer to come back tomorrow when you're not dead.

Get a Good Pop and a Topo Chico 
Trust us — this is delicious. Buy yourself a Good Pop (flavors include hibiscus mint, strawberry lemonade and watermelon agave) and a Topo Chico. Stick that ice cold pop into a cup, pour in the Topo Chico and voila: just enough sugar to bring you back to life and fizzy bubbles to settle that tummy.

Avoid Skrillex
The lights! The noise! The bros jumping around! Avoid if at all possible. 

When in doubt, head to the Barton Springs Beer Hall
Hair of the dog is the oldest hangover suggestion in the book, and perhaps the easiest. If your stomach will allow you to drink again, avoid the hard stuff and treat yourself to a locally sourced craft beer.

Don't do it again
Just kidding — you won't listen to us. If you do rage, make sure to plan accordingly. In addition to a host of public transportation options, you can always ask a non-festival-goer to grab you from the pick up/drop off locale. And when all else fails, just find that responsible blanket friend. She'll get you home safely.