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Heat lightening rumbles in the distance

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Brad Morgan backing Patterson Hood and the Downtown Rumblers - ACL 2012
30 September 2013

Just a few days away.

Eight stages, 100 bands, 80,000 fans a day, give or take a few thousand, over three days at 350 acre Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, the Austin City Limits music festival (ACL) is possibly the greatest live music event any music junkie will ever experience. Yeah, Lollapalooza is fantastic, and my 25 year stint in Chicago biases me to everything Chicago (except the bitter cold), but the laid back style and the alt country and indie folk influences make ACL an annual pilgimage for me.

Imagine seeing The Old 97's, Patterson Hood(check out the album, "Heat Lightening Rumbles in the Distance"), The Black Keys, Jack White, The Civil Wars, Steve Earle and the The Alabama Shakes in one weekend. That was just part of my lineup last year. And, in between, stumbling across something new, as I did last year, while trying to get stage positioning for the Old 97's and finding myself in front of The Lumineers. I hadn't heard of them, but they put on a rollicking, fast paced show that screamed, "We're just happy to be doing this for a living." Then they went on to win a Best New Artist Grammy later.

And, just to make it that much finer, you're eating some of Texas' finest in the same open air venue. This ain't State Fair grub either. For instance, Woodshed Smokehouse offered an elk and beehive honey-infused cheddar cheese sausage with house-made mustard that couldn't have been farther in the right direction from carnival food. And, while the The Salt Lick isn't new or unique, their tortilla sausage wrap was great. And, there was also Chi’lantro which offered kimchee fries with beef. Who doesn't love Korean BBQ with crispy french fries thrown on top for good measure?

I'll post photos upon my return next week. Photo potential in this place is huge.

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