The crowds returned in full force to Zilker Park on Saturday for Day Two, Weekend Two of Austin City Limits 2013, shuffling through the blistering heat and humidity for another full day of great live music.
And it’s a good thing, too, because it was their last chance to enjoy the festival before flash floods washed away the final day on Sunday — canceled due to nearly a foot of rain in the area overnight that swelled creeks and made it dangerous for anyone to go to Zilker Park on Sunday.
Any lingering doubts about the size of the crowd after a thin start Friday went out the window on Saturday.
“Our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff and artists,” said Shelby Meade, communications director for C3 Presents, the promoter behind Austin City Limits Music Festival. “We regret having to cancel the show today, but safety always comes first.”
The festival may have been truncated for the first time since it started in 2002, but attendees on Saturday called it a success.
David Brent, 28, of San Antonio wound up at the festival because the tickets were a gift, and he said he was having a great time as he stood in the long line to meet Walk the Moon after their energized set on the Samsung Galaxy Stage on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said.
Any lingering doubts about the size of the crowd after a thin start on Friday went out the window on Saturday, with throngs identical to the first 2013 weekend and that of recent years.
“I’m from Houston so I’m used to the heat — it’s just all these people,” said a laughing Esmeralda Silva as she sat at a bar stool at the Barton Springs Beer Hall and listened to the lilting sounds of the Little Green Cars at the nearby Austin Ventures Stage.
Fans crowded the Barton Springs Beer Hall in front of its giant screen TV to watch the University of Texas Longhorns trounce the University of Oklahoma Sooners 36-20, the room exploding in cheers when the game ended in victory for the locals.
“Clearly it’s not as mellow as you might think it would be.” — ACL Fest attendee Adam Curtis
“It was a huge deal!” said Adam Curtis, who wore an orange Longhorns balloon around his hat as he enjoyed a brew at the beer hall.
Curtis said he and his girlfriend decided to buy tickets for the second weekend after the first weekend sold out, and figured they’d be there for “the more mellow weekend” of the two.
“Clearly it’s not as mellow as you might think it would be,” he said, gesturing to the packed beer hall.
One of the enduring long lines at the festival this year was the new, oversized picture frame set up on the hill near the entrance, a favorite photo spot for attendees who can get the crowds, the stage and the Austin skyline in the background.
Some waited two hours for a photo op; others, like Keli Rabon and Jonathan Page, didn’t see the point.
“Why would we want to do that?” he said as they took photos of each other 50 feet from the line.
“We wanted to make our own,” Rabon added.
The couple met a year ago at ACL Fest 2012 and returned this year to celebrate their anniversary, recreating the photos they took of each other the day they became a couple.
With nearly a dozen years behind it now, the Austin City Limits Festival has become an annual event in the backdrop of the young lives of fans who came of age with it.
Melissa Takaaze came all the way from Honolulu with her boyfriend and other buddies to visit hometown pal Jane Taylor of Austin and go to the festival — Takaaze’s first time.
Asked what she was enjoying most about her visit, Takaaze said she loved, of all things, the bike ride through South Austin to the festival.
“I loved seeing all the old signs from the 70s,” she said.
She also loves partying with Austinites, even tens of thousands of them, because “everyone here is so nice, very gracious.”
Her favorite show was the frenetic deejay set of Kaskade, bouncing among the crowds who got soaked on Friday night in a brief downpour during the dinner hour.
Takaaze calls paradise home, so she can be forgiven for disliking even the light rain shower — although she reportedly managed to enjoy the show anyway.
“She hated it, but she loved it,” Taylor said.
With nearly a dozen years behind it now, the Austin City Limits Festival has become an annual event in the backdrop of the young lives of fans who came of age with it. Some of them, like Gavin Jackson, have been every year that they has been alive — make that three years and change, in Gavin's case, say his parents, John and Brenda Jackson.
They also plan to make a habitual visitor out of their newest, 6-month-old Alex, who snoozed peacefully in a double stroller as the family of four headed out of the food court and toward the mellow Austin Ventures stage.
Kathryn and Johnathan Wahlers come to the show every year, but this year they brought 18-month-old son Charlie with them for the first time — and he proved to be a good influence, the Austin couple said.
“A little less drinking, a little more shade,” Kathryn Wahler laughed as they sat under a tree at the BMI stage listening to Shakey Graves.
Well, if you’re not going to do it for yourselves, at least do it for the baby, right Mom and Dad?