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Surviving

ACL

by Bob Wischnia

Top 10

ways to get through the festival

T

here are only two certainties for the 7th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival: The music will be hot and the daytime temperatures will be scorching. Your calendar may say it’s fall, but here in Austin there’s still another month of summer. And for some reason, summer seems to wait for ACL weekend to dish out the baddest of the

32 | AUSTIN FIT MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2008

bad summer heat. The fact is that unbearable summer heat is as much an ACL tradition as Asleep at the Wheel. But it’s survivable — if you know how. All ACL’ers will regale you with how they stay cool. They’ll tell you to dress light and of course drink...and then drink some more. But staying hydrated won’t be enough.


Staying hydrated is certainly important, but staying as cool as is humanely possible is the only way to enjoy ACL. Fortunately our team of ACL veterans, who survived the ’04 108-degree blast furnace to hear Coldplay and the ’05 dust storm, are here to help. Our experienced hands offer some innovative, yet

simple ways that can actually keep you cool and comfortable so you can make it through the afternoon shows clear on through the evening headliners on Friday (Alejandro Escovedo and David Byrne), Saturday (Robert Plant and Alison Krause) and Sunday (The Raconteurs and Foo Fighters).


10TIPS Survival

1.

Freeze! The night before you go to

ACL, stick a plastic water bottle with water or

4.

You Won’t Regret It!

Make your own A/C. Get another cup of

ice and add just a little water. Hold the cup close

Gatorade in your freezer. Freeze it rock-solid

to your mouth and blow gently into the cup. The

and bring it to the festival with you. It works as

ice will cause the air you’re blowing into the cup

a handy slushy and until it turns to liquid, you

to chill out which will then be forced right back

can rub the bottle on your neck and head to

into your face and cool it down. If nothing else, it

cool you down.

feels good.

2.

5.

Get wet. Absolutely, the most effective

Wet T-shirt. Soak your T-shirt and pull it

way to cool off is to get wet which can reduce

on. As it evaporates, you’ll get a cooling effect.

your core temperature by three or four degrees.

Note to ladies who have something to hide: Use

You’re lucky. The most beautiful spring-fed pool

a synthetic shirt.

in the country is a five-minute walk, right across the street from the festival site. It’s called Barton Springs and the water temp is a constant 68 degrees. Take a break, walk across the street and for a paltry $3 you can relax and chill out in the Springs. You can even hear some of the nearby stages while in the Springs.

6.

Wear as little as possible. The less

you wear, the less heat can get trapped by your clothes next to the skin. Two-piece swim suits work well for women (especially if you’re going to take a break at the Springs) and as the evening goes on, you can add clothes to your

3.

skimpy ensemble. Men? Shorts suffice.

spending a few minutes between sets (take off your hat, shoes and socks) in the shade will get you out of the direct sunlight. There are

Ice, ice baby. Fill a cup with ice from one

sprinkling systems set up in some of the shade

of the concession stands and apply it to your

areas. They’ll help to cool you off slightly.

wrists, neck and other pulse points. Applying ice to the wrists and neck will cool off the rest of your body. If you can’t get any ice, at least hold an ice-cold bottle of beer or soda (or Sweet Leaf

7.

Seek some shade. Zilker Park is

Tea) against your neck to cool the blood headed

pretty wide open, but there are shade trees

toward your soon-to-be fried brain. Ice is a

on the periphery of the park and there are

simple and ubiquitous remedy, and it can make

plenty of tented areas. The shade might not

your ACL experience that much better.

be significantly cooler, but at the very least

34 | AUSTIN FIT MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2008

8.

Eat cool. The heat may kill your appetite,

but you should try to eat something healthy at


the food court. There’s plenty to choose from,

10 hours a day will take its toll on your ability to

way to keep yourself from overheating while

but a crisp salad or a fruit bowl might taste best

enjoy the festival. Whenever you have an hour

still enjoying the music is to take turns grabbing

on a blistering hot day and also will help you

or two window, take advantage of it (provided

drinks, food and other paraphernalia during the

stay hydrated. (Hint: Watermelon is the best.

you have a three-day festival pass) and leave

fest. Set up a home base and invite as many of

Pineapple and strawberries work well, too.)

the festival grounds. Go to one of the nearby

your friends as you can — the larger your little

bars and eateries along Barton Springs Road

ACL family, the more music you can enjoy and

such as Uncle Billy’s, Austin Java, Chuy’s,

more importantly, the less sweaty walking you’ll

Green Mesquite, Romeo’s and a few others that

have to endure during the heat of the day.

are within easy walking distance. There you can

9.

rehydrate and relax in air conditioned comfort. Time out. We don’t care how heat-

acclimated you are, boogeying in the heat for

10.

Make yourself at home. A really simple

Surviving ACL: 10 Ways to get through the fest | LIFE | 35


Don’t Forget Your Water!

What to drink:

The pitfalls of beer and wine... and the ultimate ACL elixir You don’t need us to tell you that what you drink and how much you

visits you have to make to the can, which ultimately means two things:

guzzle will effect your health and enjoyment of ACL. But it’s a music festival

You’re missing some great music and even worse, you’re becoming more

and the fluid of choice is clearly beer. Lots and lots of it.

dehydrated through the water-loss.

Even though beer is mostly water, the alcohol in it acts as a diuretic

A wine buzz isn’t much better than beer. Soda and iced tea are better

which makes you visit all the wonderful Port-A-Johns set up on the

options than booze, but your best bet to stay hydrated and healthy in

periphery of Zilker Park. The problem is the more beer you drink, the more

the heat of ACL is plain old water. Cold, bottled water tastes better than the tepid water you can get from drinking fountains scattered around the park so you’re more likely to drink the necessary 12- to16-ounces of it every hour or so. Cold, filtered water is better than tap water for only one reason: you’re likely to drink more bottled water than tap water, but drink whatever water works for you.) It’s also a good idea to match every two beers with at least 12 ounces of water. Gatorade is actually the perfect ACL drink. Since you’ll be sweating buckets (which removes water and salt and other electrolytes from your body), Gatorade replaces some the electrolytes you’ll be losing while your baking in front of one of the stages.

36 | AUSTIN FIT MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2008

Ways to Beat the Heat - ACL Preview  

Austin City Limits Festival - Austin Fit Magazine, Ways to Beat the Heat

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