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Heading to Texas for this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival? Get ready for three days of music, food, and fun. But the experience can be overwhelming for first-time attendees. Here’s what you should know before you go.

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL

OCTOBER 2 TO 4

Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin, Texas

HEADLINERS: PEARL JAM, DAVE MATTHEWS BAND, KINGS OF LEON, JOHN LEGEND
www.aclfestival.com


BRING:

-Two unopened one-liter bottles of water
-Blankets
-Soft-sided coolers
-Unframed backpacks
-Collapsible chairs
-Cameras

DON’T BRING:

-Food or beverages (except water)
-Glass or aerosol containers
-Hard coolers
-Framed backpacks
-Pets
-Audio- or video-recording Equipment

Things to Remember:

Keep Your Cool
Though the festival has been pushed to October this year, temperatures may still climb into the 80s. Cool off with a dip in Barton Springs Pool, a man-made swimming hole located in the park.

Getting There

There’s no parking at the festival (unless you spring for a VIP pass), and most of the surrounding neighborhoods prohibit it too. You can walk, bike, or take a cab -- bike racks at the festival are ample, while taxis are hard to come by -- but the most convenient option is to take the complimentary shuttles that pick up and drop off concertgoers at downtown’s Republic Square (Fourth Street and Guadalupe Street). Garages near the square offer parking for a reasonable fee.

Kid-Friendly, Mother-Approved

Children ages 10 and under get in free. The Austin Kiddie Limits stage showcases kid-friendly bands and offers fun activities for your pint-size rockers. Take advantage of the Tag-a-Kid program, which helps reconnect you to your child if you get separated.

Cash or Credit

Some, but not all, of the on-site food and art vendors accept plastic. There are ATM machines in the park, but it’s best to have some cash on hand.

Where You At

Meeting up with friends? Decide on a time and location prior to arrival, as cell-phone reception can be shoddy. (You can download a festival map from the official Austin City Limits website.) Some people carry balloons or flags to make themselves easier to spot.

Standing-Room Only

It’s a good idea to bring a blanket or chair, but don’t expect to sit down near the stages; the first few hundred feet are designated no-chair zones.

Have It Your Way

Create your own customized schedule on the ACL website; then compare set lists with your friends on Facebook.

STAY HERE:

$
The Austin Motel
is a funky, affordable flophouse in Austin’s hip South Congress neighborhood. (1220 South Congress Avenue, www.austinmotel.com)

$$
Hotel San José packs loads of retro charm while still offering modern amenities in an urban bungalow-type setting. (1316 South Congress Avenue, www.sanjosehotel.com)

$$$
The Driskill is an elegantly appointed historic hotel that’s just a few blocks from the shuttle pickup/drop-off spot. (604 Brazos Street, www.driskillhotel.com)
EAT HERE:

Kerbey Lane Cafe
We’re partial to the gingerbread pancakes at this popular joint. The original location, a cozy converted house, is the best. (Multiple locations, www.kerbeylanecafe.com)

Torchy’s Tacos
Torchy’s serves the best tacos in town. (Multiple locations, www.torchystacos.com)

Stubb’s Bar-B-Que
This local institution
is known as much for live music as for good grub. (801 Red River Street, 512-480-8341, www.stubbsaustin.com)

Amy’s Ice Creams
Grab a sweet treat at Amy’s. (Multiple locations, www.amysicecreams.com)


BANDS WE’RE EXCITED TO SEE:


Kings of Leon -- We can’t get Only by the Night, the latest album from this Tennessee family band, out of our heads.

• Phoenix
-- If you were to combine the poppy melodies of Vampire Weekend with the hazy love affair of M83, you’d have this quartet from Versailles, France.

• Andrew Bird
-- Talented whistler and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird produces haunting tunes and a beautiful live sound.

• Daniel Johnston
-- Daniel Johnston is a local legend and the man behind the famous Hi, How Are You mural on Austin’s Guadalupe Street.