On the surface, ACL Music Festival appears to be dominated by teenagers and twentysomethings trying to get as close as they can to Kendrick Lamar, but it has been and will always be a festival open to music fans of any age. A shining example of this attitude is festival within a festival, Austin Kiddie Limits.
As usual, kids aged 10 and under will get in for free with a paying adult, and they’ll likely thank you after dragging them along to see Jimmy Eat World for your 90s nostalgia trip. Austin Kiddie Limits has a lot to offer for family fun; here’s a rundown of a few awesome activities to check out. (And feel free to read up in last year's guide on how to survive ACLwith the kiddos. You’ll need all the help you can get.)
School of Rock Jam Tent
You'd better believe that School of Rock knows how to keep the little ones plenty entertained. It’s best described as a petting zoo, except instead of featuring goat poop everywhere (we hope), it’s made up of various instruments that kids can play around with. Idle hands are the devil’s tools, so playing around with instruments should keep them sufficiently occupied. Be sure to stick around for special performances at the tent by students from School of Rock.
This is Austin, so its important for kids to get a head start on practice for all the community drum circles. Michael Marcionetti and his friends lead kids in fun lessons in percussion and how to keep a rhythm. Their workshops should also help kids to let out quite a bit of their energy; the next time your children start banging on pots and pans at home, it may sound a less cacophonous.
Like the festival at large, Austin Kiddie Limits wants to cover a breadth of genres, and their Hip-Hop Workshop will help provide families with a crash course in creating their own hip-hop tracks. The Q Brothers devote their efforts to walking kids through the process, with lessons in scratching, beatboxing and rhymes. Once they get it down, they record their very own track to take home with them, instantly making them the coolest kids in their school.
Living the Rock Star Life with Hairdos and Video Karaoke
It’s one thing to learn music and how to play instruments, but being a rock star is on a completely different level. Luckily, you can help your kids walk the walk by making them look and feel like the next “it” thing.
They can start out with some hair styles that will make them fit right in at ACL, Lolla or Coachella, such as a faux-hawk or a color stripe. Parents can then take them over to Rock Star Video Karaoke, provided by one of Austin’s top video companies, Arts+Labor. Their producers will film an entire green-screen karaoke set, after which participants receive a free DVD copy to take home. That should give parents a useful tool for blackmail down the line when friends and dates come over to visit in high school.
Austin Kiddie Limits has still more on offer, from more arts and crafts to a very useful baby changing station. And since you’re raising kids in Austin, it’s never too early to get them hooked on festivals.