soulciti at acl 17 FRIDAY \\ WEEKEND I

The 2017 ACL FESTIVAL features a lineup performing on eight stages at Zilker Park over two weekends, Oct 6-8, and Oct. 13-15.

ACL Fest is a self-contained beast, and if you haven't been there before, it can be daunting – especially the first time. There are a lot of people around, which may throw some Black folks off. ACL is a great time every year, but if it's your first time and you're not ready for it, you may not get the best impression. With these key tips, you'll be ready to navigate the monster that is ACL Fest and going like a pro in no time.

ROLL WITH A SQUAD // How deep does your squad roll? That crew love comes in handy whether you're setting up a section to watch the show, or standing in the vendor lines. Keeping that comfort and familiarity helps alleviate the stress of being in large crowds.

BRING YOUR FLAG // Like many festivals or large gatherings of people, the cellular service will SUCK. With a flag, balloons, or hilarious sign on a long pole, you will know where your people are, making it crucial in finding your friends if you happen to get separated.

WEAR THE RIGHT SHOES // You know we love our shoes, but in Zilker Park you will be doing a great deal of walking on dead grass and dirt. So, unless you got it like that, maybe those new Jordan's or fly boots may not be the move for you.

THE MAP IS YOUR FRIEND // Whether using the ACL app or the map/schedule from the festival entrance, knowing showtimes and stages helps you plan your group rendezvous using ACL landmarks, such as the picture frame,


HYDRATE // Water refill stations are scattered throughout the park, making it easy to stay hydrated. Having your own bottle also saves money if you don't want to break the bank at the vendors.

FLASHLIGHT // If you're staying for any of the headliners, it will get dark quickly. To navigate your way out of the park, use a small flashlight and not your phone to save those precious cellular juices.

BANDANA // If you're being a savage and going to all three days of the fest, help keep your allergies to a manageable minimum by having a bandana or cloth to cover your nose and mouth. This is a pro tip that nearly everyone working on the production side uses.

BLANKETS & CHAIRS // You'll do a lot of walking, but you may want to post-up with a section and relax. There are many areas to squad-up outside the "No Chairs" area. The more people you have, the more likely you can kickback in comfort by setting up chairs and blankets. The earlier you set up, the better.

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR // There are levels to this ish. General admission will only get you so far. With different passes – like Backstage, Artist, and Platinum – you gain access to lounges with complimentary drinks, Wifi, rest areas, golf cart transportation, and even catering in some instances. There’s no comparison between the experience of General Admission and upgraded passes. If you want to really enjoy the fest, spend that little extra or find you a hook up.


VETERAN TIP: WALKIE TALKIES // If you are not new to this but true to this, walkie talkies are a clutch addition to your utility belt. Keep in contact with your peoples and save your phone battery while everyone else is struggling for those bars.


I want to express the magnitude of the Austin music influence. The following is a true representation of my experience at ACL 2017.

After hitching a ride with an Uber Pool, the first pick up was here from Madison, WI. As Ed Sheeran served as the soundtrack for the ride, I could only count this as a sign that there would be more good music to come.

Surprisingly the aroma of jasmine and patchouli filled the air with a hint of marijuana as I walked past the vendors market. From Trudy’s brisket nachos to the pyrotechnics on the stage, all the senses are stimulated during this festival. Even the tunes that we all love flood the air from the moment you step outside your front door.

Snoop’s gin and juice is playing in the club as I walk down the street, there is pop music playing from the pedicabs as they peddle by, and “Singing’ in the Rain” is displayed on the side of the wall; a fair sign that the Austin music scene loves all genres.

A day full of music came to a much needed restful end when the sounds of the sirens gave me life by interrupting the night air. Tees with phrases such as “Try our spicy cock sauce” gave a bit of comedic entertainment on the way home.

Then he says, “Do you want to look at the moon?” I stopped and realized how full and bright it was. Funny, I didn’t even notice before the random star-gazer brought it to my attention due to the constant sounds of distraction from earlier that day.

Although ACL is one of the most anticipated music festivals lucky to be held in Austin, nothing can compare to the ride there and back. So, take it all in and maybe next time I will see you there. Now #vibethis.

Words by Monae Miller.

Valerie June // Photo by Stephanie Devon Warren

Everybody at ACL on Friday is here to see Jay Z. That’s what every person you’d speak to said: “I’m here for Jay Z.” But, as he wasn’t scheduled to come on until the end of the evening, his fans were checking out what else was on offer. One festival-goer mentioned he heard that VALERIE JUNE was good and was told not to miss her.

Mid-set, he was happy he had taken that advice. Valerie June’s own unique blend of showmanship and bluegrass punk caught up the packed tent and had them dancing along with her. She entertained the crowd with her emotional songs. She’s a talented musician, and played several instruments during her set. Her sequined pants highlighted her dance moves and she rocked that tent.

Words by Ellen Elmore.

ACL 2017: Free shuttles & quick food lines

The free ACL 2017 shuttle to the festival from Republic Square at 4th and Guadalupe Streets was quick and painless. The people watching is always entertaining and a reminder of why this is such a coveted festival. Everyone was out with the family and friends with their chairs and blankets…just kickin it.

The vibe and energy in the air just felt right. At the ACL Eats food sections, the lines were moving with quick and efficient vendors.


Who runs ACL 2017? The women of D.O.C. that’s who.

First appearing at ACL in 2015, the Disciples of Christ (D.O.C.) are back this year by popular demand from Houston, TX. I’m feeling the quartet gospel vibes these ladies express. Their sound can only be described as a mixture of foot-stomping worship tunes and ballads that will have you raising your hands in adoration to the holy father.

Singing his praises with “Everything is Gonna Be Alright,” “Trust and Believe,” and “Thank You Lord.” All was made complete with a banging drum solo where I could feel the bass in my soul, right in tune with the beat of my heart.

They even sang my own personal testimony of how “I learned how to stand still and wait on the Lord.” I mean who can’t connect with a lyric like that? As the leader said, “Come on up a little closer and get your groove on…y’all can rest later.” And rest was far from my thoughts when the Disciples of Christ hit the stage.

Heavenly harmonies filled the air with the anthem “Rock Me Lord” and the set closed with that funk groove only a true music lover can appreciate. They came, they ministered, and left their mark on the hearts and minds of ACL fans by reminding them when it comes to ACL and D.O.C., we’ve come to #vibethis.

Words by Monae Miller.


SOLANGE is the cousin that finally gets a break after years of selling mixtapes out of her trunk.

There was no trace of her sister’s shadow as Solange stepped gracefully into the spotlight of the newly relocated Barton Springs Stage. It was truly a soul-feeding performance that was worth the additional 20 minute wait for the sun to lower so the lighting could be seen.

Solange and her band came out onto a red stage bathed in red light wearing matching red outfits, giving life to those in need. Every movement was art down to Solange’s full on twerk session mid-set and moments of ecstatic dance.

And her voice! My God it was clear and full as she worked her way from her past works to her most recent hits with A Seat at the Table.

It was fun watching her career take on a life of its own and seeing her take in the energy of the crowd. At one point she was reprimanded by security for making what looked to be an unplanned trip from the stage down to the crowd barrier to bless the masses. She walked down the row and looked directly into the eyes of every Black woman . It was powerful, especially since she was in the throws of singing “F.U.B.U”

Words by Monique Hatch. Photo by Stephanie Devon Warren

Photos by Stephanie Devon Warren
Photo by Stephanie Devon Warren


By 7 p.m., the crowd had already started making its way to the American Express stage to see Jay-Z; however, Solange’s 3 minute overlap left most of us sprinting for it. By 8:20, The crowd stretched from the headliner’s stage backdropped by the city to cover almost 3/4 of the festival grounds.

Jay-Z is undoubtedly a legend in the rap game. His shows usually live up to expectations, but this was a weird show. The stage was bathed in orange lights with what looked like a 10-foot tall balloon animal in the middle. The thing looked like it was baking in an Easy Bake.

It also stood out as weird to me that Jay wasn’t building his signature rapport with the audience. The first half of his set was a few of his early songs in rapid fire with only a “Yeah” or “Huh” in between. I was worried that he would continue in this manner until the lights turned white and he moved into performing his top hits: Big Pimpin’, Hard Knock Life, New York, etc. He seemed to be more energetic at this point and the crowd responded accordingly by following his every instruction.

What really placed a damper on Jay-Z’s show was the specter of Beyonce. The crowd was buzzing on all ends anticipating a two-for-one featuring the Queen Bey herself; however, when she didn’t appear for the encore, the disappointment was thick in the air and people’s conversation.

Instead of encore, the crowd around me sent Jay off with a chorus of “Bring us the Yonce.” This is why we can’t have nice things.

Words by Monique Hatch

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