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An in-depth analysis of which weekend of Austin City Limits you should attend

Austin City Limits is consistently one of the best festivals in the game, and spread over two weekends in October it is also one of the final festivals of the season. This gives you one last chance to catch all the artists you missed before, and one last chance to soak up the sun while listening to your favorite tunes of the summer.

The two weekends, October 4 to 6 and October 11 to 13, offer fairly similar lineups and mostly all the same amenities. At this point, hotels, flights and tickets are largely at the same stage and prices as well. Usually the first weekend sells out a bit faster, but things really do even out in the resale market.

If you are local and have the benefit of choosing between both weekends, or are deciding when to make your trip, here are six factors that might help you decide.

Cardi B vs. Robyn 

Without a doubt the biggest lineup change is Cardi B on Sunday, October 6 and Robyn on Sunday, October 13. Here’s the thing: both acts go head to head with Mumford and Sons, so if you are more interested in that set then this shouldn’t even be a factor for you.

If you like both artists, consider that Robyn just wrapped up a pretty big national tour and may not be playing as many shows in the near future as Cardi B. Totally speculation, though, as Cardi’s schedule could easily be filled with family and other career moves keeping her off the road too.

Billie Eilish at SXSW. She plays both weekends of ACL this year. Photo by Brian Benton.

The Kooks, Denzel Curry, Misterwives and Megan Thee Stallion

There are a good number of other schedule differences, including Megan Thee Stallion only performing on Saturday, October 12. However, we really think that both weekends have equally strong line-ups and unless you stan a certain act, there’s probably not one weekend that comes out stronger than the other.

Special Guests

No guarantees, but sometimes artists do bring special guests for their shows. There are reasons for both weekends with this in mind. During Weekend One, you get the first look. Just like at Coachella, much of the “hype” happens during Weekend One when really anything could happen. Meanwhile, at Weekend Two you could figure that artists want to go bigger and better and improve on their first show, or you could figure that they’re more worn out. Either makes sense.

Weather

Oh, how we wish we knew what the weather in Texas would be both weekends. Of course, there’s no way of knowing but Texas does seem to usually have pretty good October weather. Festival days are rarely rained out and the organizers are top notch and get things back up and running when storms or mud cause problems.

Ticket Availability 

Like we mentioned, Weekend One is selling faster than Weekend Two. Realistically, both will be sold out when October rolls around. For three day tickets, Weekend Two are face-value still, $260.00 plus fees, while Weekend One is being resold closer to $400.00. So, that seems like an obvious reason to pick Weekend Two if you have no other influences.

However, it could also just mean you’d be better off waiting a few weeks before buying. Resale prices do tend to go down dramatically as the festival approaches, especially single day tickets.

Overall Experience 

Here’s one actually worth considering. We have been to ACL three times, and chose Weekend Two the past two years for one reason alone. It’s a bit more relaxed, feels a bit less chaotic, and can sometimes even feel a bit less crowded. Maybe fans are more eager during Weekend One, or maybe it’s just that the staff and organizers have gone through things before and have everything down pat. In any case, we like Weekend Two because you get a bit (just a bit) of a more relaxed experience.

Amanda Mayes
Amanda Mayes is a writer and student at UT Austin.

An in-depth analysis of which weekend of Austin City Limits you should attend

Austin City Limits is consistently one of the best festivals in the game, and spread over two weekends in October it is also one of the final festivals of the season. This gives you one last chance to catch all the artists you missed before, and one last chance to soak up the sun while listening to your favorite tunes of the summer.

The two weekends, October 4 to 6 and October 11 to 13, offer fairly similar lineups and mostly all the same amenities. At this point, hotels, flights and tickets are largely at the same stage and prices as well. Usually the first weekend sells out a bit faster, but things really do even out in the resale market.

If you are local and have the benefit of choosing between both weekends, or are deciding when to make your trip, here are six factors that might help you decide.

Cardi B vs. Robyn 

Without a doubt the biggest lineup change is Cardi B on Sunday, October 6 and Robyn on Sunday, October 13. Here’s the thing: both acts go head to head with Mumford and Sons, so if you are more interested in that set then this shouldn’t even be a factor for you.

If you like both artists, consider that Robyn just wrapped up a pretty big national tour and may not be playing as many shows in the near future as Cardi B. Totally speculation, though, as Cardi’s schedule could easily be filled with family and other career moves keeping her off the road too.

Billie Eilish at SXSW. She plays both weekends of ACL this year. Photo by Brian Benton.

The Kooks, Denzel Curry, Misterwives and Megan Thee Stallion

There are a good number of other schedule differences, including Megan Thee Stallion only performing on Saturday, October 12. However, we really think that both weekends have equally strong line-ups and unless you stan a certain act, there’s probably not one weekend that comes out stronger than the other.

Special Guests

No guarantees, but sometimes artists do bring special guests for their shows. There are reasons for both weekends with this in mind. During Weekend One, you get the first look. Just like at Coachella, much of the “hype” happens during Weekend One when really anything could happen. Meanwhile, at Weekend Two you could figure that artists want to go bigger and better and improve on their first show, or you could figure that they’re more worn out. Either makes sense.

Weather

Oh, how we wish we knew what the weather in Texas would be both weekends. Of course, there’s no way of knowing but Texas does seem to usually have pretty good October weather. Festival days are rarely rained out and the organizers are top notch and get things back up and running when storms or mud cause problems.

Ticket Availability 

Like we mentioned, Weekend One is selling faster than Weekend Two. Realistically, both will be sold out when October rolls around. For three day tickets, Weekend Two are face-value still, $260.00 plus fees, while Weekend One is being resold closer to $400.00. So, that seems like an obvious reason to pick Weekend Two if you have no other influences.

However, it could also just mean you’d be better off waiting a few weeks before buying. Resale prices do tend to go down dramatically as the festival approaches, especially single day tickets.

Overall Experience 

Here’s one actually worth considering. We have been to ACL three times, and chose Weekend Two the past two years for one reason alone. It’s a bit more relaxed, feels a bit less chaotic, and can sometimes even feel a bit less crowded. Maybe fans are more eager during Weekend One, or maybe it’s just that the staff and organizers have gone through things before and have everything down pat. In any case, we like Weekend Two because you get a bit (just a bit) of a more relaxed experience.

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