What to See: ACL Festival 2023 Preview

by Andrew Calvio

ACL Fest 2023 requires planning

Music lovers across the nation are in full force, gearing up for another jam-packed festival season. With ACL Fest 2023 looming on the horizon, the anticipation is quickly beginning to mount. Per usual, there are big names on the bill (and rising artists that you MUST see) that will force fans to choose which direction to take on their musical journey through Zilker Park. But fret not my friends, we are here to help guide you through a most pleasant experience.

Day 1

KENDRICK LAMAR!! What else needs to be said? We’re pumped! For those of us not fortunate enough to score tickets to his last Austin visit in July of 2022, this is exciting news. His matter of fact style resonates and his performance is sure to pack the people in. However, another big headliner will thin out the hipster crowd when the LUMINEERS take the opposite stage. KALI UCHIS will also draw the people on Friday, providing the latin flavor to this diverse lineup. You have to at least stick around for her performance of “Telepatia”. THE MARS VOLTA! Keep this band on your radar and see this set! PORTUGAL. THE MAN will also be present and is always fun to watch live. They’re that one band that sings that song that will make you say “oh yeah, I know them.” I can’t go without mentioning all the other great Day 1 artists to consider: NESSA BARRETT, ABRAHAM ALEXANDER, Austin’s JIMMIE VAUGHAN & TILT-A-WHIRL BAND, BASS DRUM OF DEATH. If you’ve never seen Austin’s ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL open a Friday ACL Fest you’re missing out. Get there early and catch these musicians play some classic country hits that you’ll feel your body moving to involuntarily.

Day 2

Man, I feel Like a woman! Saturday will be a day of tough decisions in my camp. When the daily schedules were released our worst fears were confirmed, FOO FIGHTERS and SHANIA TWAIN will play at the same time on opposite stages. A clever way to split the crowd as most big festivals are accustomed to doing. With the passing of Taylor Hawkins a little over a year ago, this FOO FIGHTERS set is a must see performance for me. But then again, SHANIA TWAIN (W1)! Why do the ACL gods make us choose? Weekend 2 will be equally as difficult with THE 1975 replacing the country goddess in that time slot. ALANIS MORISSETTE will be guaranteed to fill up fast so get there early. Don’t forget about Jared Leto and THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS. Love him or hate him, it’s sure to be a good show. If you’re down for some good old fashioned blues, don’t miss CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM. A local act that I’m super excited to see making an appearance at ACL Fest this year is DIE SPITZ(W1). This group of ladies lay down some noisy guitar heavy punk rock that will melt your face! This is a must on Saturday! There will be other notable performances by TOVE LO, MT JOY, TEGAN AND SARA(W2), TANYA TUCKER, NOAH KAHAN, SHAED, BEN KWELLER, CALDER ALLEN and SHOOKS. Saturday is stacked and you will need to do some strategic planning. Wear your sneakers and get there early!

Day 3

I’ll be recovering from Saturday with a much more relaxed Day 3. Don’t miss Karen O and the YEAH YEAH YEAHS. Marcus Mumford is bringing the whole gang this year and while they have a place in many Austinites’ hearts, not so much for me. ODESZA was put against Sir Paul McCartney during their last visit to ACL. Even though I was all in with Paul, the spectacular light show that was happening on the Honda stage was pretty awesome. LABRINTH will have you looking inside yourself finding a sense of peace and understanding. Really good work. TASH SULTANA (W1) is a multi-instrumentalist that utilizes looping, acting as a one-person band. It’s worth noting that they can absolutely slay the guitar too. THE BREEDERS are coming back! We last saw them at ACL 2018, it was a fantastic set. Don’t skip this one.

Sunday will be a day of discovery, hopping between stages to catch CIGARETTES AFTER SEX, HOZIER, M83(W2), SUKI WATERHOUSE, YVES TUMOR, ELLIS BULLARD and many others that I’m not familiar with.

The only thing left to do is get yourself geared up and take a deep dive into some artists you’re not too familiar with. This will be another great year in Zilker Park listening to some great music! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for fair weather on both weekends!

Here’s the ACL Fest full schedule, passes, and all the info you need to get ready for the festival. Check out all our coverage for the 2023 festival, as well as all our past year’s on Austin 101.

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