by Bob Wischnia
ways to get through the festival
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
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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 â€™04 108-degree blast furnace to hear Coldplay and the â€™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).
Freeze! The night before you go to
ACL, stick a plastic water bottle with water or
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.
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.
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
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
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
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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
rehydrate and relax in air conditioned comfort. Time out. We don’t care how heat-
acclimated you are, boogeying in the heat for
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.
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