What do three days, 65,000 fans, eight stages, and 130 bands add up to?

The Austin City Limits Music Festival — which has become one of the nation’s top music events after only three years.

Its midtown park location, fan-friendly format, and great food have helped the fest become a hit, but the success really boils down to — what else? — the music.

“Austin is a legendary music town; all the great musicians play Austin,” says soul rocker Robert Randolph of the Family Band. “People bring their ‘A’ game to Austin — they’re psyched up.”

Promoter Charles Attal started booking bands last November for this year’s event. “It’s like a big puzzle. You put different styles of music next to each other that complement, to create a flow and get people moving around the park.”

“There’s something for everyone,” says Maury Sullivan, marketing guru for KLRU, which produces the TV show and the festival. “Fans get to hear lots of new acts.” While this year’s list of artists pays homage to ACL’s 31-year legacy, with bands like Asleep at the Wheel, Lucinda Williams, and Steve Earle, other acts, like the Killers, Yo La Tengo, and the Pixies, push the envelope.

The $105 three-day pass is a value: There’s easy access to all of Austin’s amenities. There aren’t those pesky lines of traffic funneling into a gate off some country road. Stage hopping is easy. The event is clean and family friendly, with a kids’ festival, lots of local food (Randolph recommends the barbecue), and an art market. And the lineup for the September 23-25 festival, Attal promises, will blow fans away.