By the time the final day of the final weekend of Austin City Limits 2016 rolls around, I realize just how well-oiled the machine of the festival is. Just about every set is on time. The lines for food and merchandise, while predictably long at peak hours, are never so slow that waiting in them is prohibitive to experiencing the music. Because Austin traffic moves centimeter by centimeter, the shuttles to the festival are slowed down, but they are free and efficient.
Those who don’t like doing many of the things that attending a music festival requires – standing to get a good view, being out in the hot sun for several consecutive hours – won’t be sold on ACL or any festival like it. Provided one is adaptable to those elements, however, she’ll find ACL to be a high quality music experience. I know that well after this weekend, the scorching sun and occasionally claustrophobic crowds won’t be the things I remember. Cannons of fire shooting in sync to the beats of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Prinze George’s underrated afternoon set, and an incredible view of the Austin skyline as Radiohead takes to the stage: I don’t have to think hard to see the things I’ll take with me after this weekend.