Update: ACL Fest confirmed Thursday afternoon that Jay Z has in fact been added to the 2017 lineup.
The last time Hova came to Austin was during South by Southwest in 2014, when he played Austin Music Hall with Kanye West, revisiting 2011’s “Watch the Throne” tour. It was beautiful. It was epic. They defended the throne. Check out the review for a taste of what Jay may have in store for festival-goers in six months.
One question remains: Will the queen be joining us? Experts estimate Beyoncé and Jay Z’s twins are due sometime this summer. Could that mean the Carter family could hit the road to Austin together? After all, Solange is playing the fest, too.
Earlier: OK, now the Austin City Limits Music Festival is just trolling us. Reports surfaced Thursday afternoon on Twitter that the festival’s app was sending out notifications reading, “Now, can I get an encore? Do you want more?” — a lyric from rapper Jay Z’s smash song “Encore.” Is he about to be added to the fest lineup announced this morning?
If it happens, it would be a notable boost to a lineup that seems to have so far received relatively lukewarm response on social media Thursday. (KGSR’s Andy Langer suggested the lack of major draws indicated ACL seemed to be taking a relatively passive “go for the festival, stay for the music” approach.)
The Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup is out, and the presence of hip-hop at the top is bigger than ever this year. Two of the six headliners on the bill come from the rap realm: positive preacher of the youth revolution Chance the Rapper, and Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s cartoon rap/rock crew Gorillaz. Rounding out the headliners are the Killers, 1990s rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The XX and Martin Garrix.
Overall, the top tier feels a bit anticlimactic. Chance has fantastic energy and is one of the greatest forces of good in music today, so there’s probably no such thing as too much of him — but it is a little odd that he’s playing another high-profile fest in Austin the same week that this lineup was announced.
The Chili Peppers, who last played ACL Fest in 2012, still clearly have a big draw, with spring and summer dates in arenas and at festivals including Bonnaroo, Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Lollapaloza Paris. But their record sales have dwindled to the point that their latest album, 2016’s “The Getaway,” didn’t go gold. ACL Fest’s bookers apparently didn’t have a problem with recent allegations of 1990s sexual harassment leveled against band members by a former employee of the group’s record label.
Old-school ACL-ers who wish the EDM kids would get off their Zilker lawn may be sorry to see Dutch DJGarrix, who at age 20 calls himself EDM’s youngest superstar, so high on the bill. But fans of lush, textured electropop will be thrilled about the opportunity to see Brit band the XX, who sold out two nights at ACL Live in minutes earlier this year.
It’s no surprise to see Las Vegas rockers the Killers as a headliner. Previously announced for Lollapalooza (also booked by ACL Fest’s C3 Presents), the group has a big buzz building for a new album due out later this year. Also on the rock front, near the top of the bill, is Ryan Adams, who was booked for South by Southwest this year but canceled just an hour or two before his scheduled showtime because of illness.
Other hip-hop acts in this year’s ACL Fest spotlight include Ice Cube, who takes on the throwback role LL Cool J played last year (presumably with less roses), Solange (if not her sister Beyonce, to no one’s surprise), D.R.A.M. (fresh off prominent local appearances at Emo’s and during SXSW), and frequent Austin visitors Run the Jewels.
Among the acts designated only for Weekend One (Oct. 6-8) are Cut Copy, Superduper Kyle, Royal Blood and Alison Wonderland. Acts performing only on Weekend Two (Oct. 13-15) include Glass Animals, O.A.R., Getter and Eagles of Death Metal.
A few other highlights just below the headliners level:
Spoon. Just like in 2014, when Austin’s heavyweight-class indie-rockers released a new album and played ACL Fest, 2017 is shaping up the same way. “Hot Thoughts” came out in March, with a unique three-night residency celebration at South by Southwest. Their summer tour itinerary includes Lollapalooza in Chicago, but the group likely will get preferential stage treatment in their hometown.
First Aid Kit. The Swedish sister duo of Klara and Johanna Söderberg played ACL Fest in 2012 and followed with appearances at Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2014 and Stubb’s in 2015. They haven’t released an album since 2014’s “Stay Gold,” but they’ve been working with renowned producer Tucker Martine in Portland, Ore., on a new disc expected out before the fest.
The Head & the Heart. “Signs of Light,” the third Sub Pop Records release from the folk-rock sextet based in Seattle and Richmond, Va., came out last fall and further cemented the group as one of the top-drawing indie bands of its era. They’ll come to ACL Fest after summer appearances at Bonnaroo, the Newport Folk Festival and Lollapalooza, among other high-profile events. It’s unclear whether co-founder Josiah Johnson, who didn’t appear on the band’s fall dates after the new album was released, will be in the lineup for the fest. The group, which last played ACL Fest in 2014, will be in Austin later this month to tape their second episode of the “Austin City Limits” TV show.
Other locals beyond Spoon are psych-rockers the Black Angels, fresh off a new album released two weeks ago; electronica duo Missio, which played a sold-out show at the Parish Wednesday night in advance of its debut album “Loner” coming out May 19; roots-rockers the Band of Heathens, who returned with a new album this year after a spell working with ultraconservative musician Kid Rock; and of course western-swing kingpins Asleep at the Wheel, the only act to play all 15 previous ACL Fests.
Wheel leader Ray Benson’s duo with Dale Watson, Dale & Ray, got a spot as well. Also of note among Austin acts: Capyac, Paul Cauthen, Melat, Carson McHone, Mobley, Midland, Tomar & the FCs, the Wild Now, Annabelle Chairlegs, Rattletree and the Barton Hills Choir.
A parting observation about the changing nature of the festival: The last time the Red Hot Chili Peppers played, in 2012, other names at the top of the bill included Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, the Black Keys, Florence + the Machine and Iggy & the Stooges.
ACL Fest 2017 takes place on October 6-8 and 13-15. Three-day passes to the festival, $255, go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday at aclfestival.com. Daily schedules and single-day tickets will be released sometime this summer.
In a textbook case of “ask and the internet will provide,” a “leaked lineup” began circulating on the Twitters yesterday. It’s a screenshot of a document that looks like the ACL lineup poster with the word confidential overlaid. It places Frank Ocean, Gorillaz and Elton John in the top slots and includes a lot of heavy hitters down ticket.
Naturally, it’s been received with both breathless excitement and derision. Finally, one festival fan reached out to the festival’s official Twitter account to ask if it was real and received a beautifully dry-witted response, “this is a fake (and a design disaster).
UPDATE: 4.25.17: We’re not saying Paul McCartney is playing Austin City Limits Fest.
If the former Beatle was to play Zilker Park it would be a tremendous “get” for the fest. We are not saying that is happening. But it is our duty to inform you that Sir Paul just announced a string of U.S. arena tour dates that end on October 1. The first weekend of ACL Fest kicks off on Oct. 6.
Also, the press release for the tour mentions that Macca’s Chicago show will be his “first appearance in the region “since his now-legendary 2015 Lollapalooza headline.” Lollapalooza is produced by C3 Presents, the company that also produces ACL Fest. Again, we’re not making promises, but there’s that.
There’s a break in the tour between October 5-11, which would leave the band free to play the first weekend of Austin City Limits Festival which takes place from Oct. 6-8. There is a hitch though. The tour schedule has the band in Miami on Oct. 13-15 for the III Points Festival. If they are actually playing all three days, that would mean they are out for weekend two of ACL Fest which takes place on those same dates.
It doesn’t seem likely that the band will play III Points more than one day and even if they did, it wouldn’t necessarily put them out for the fest as a whole. There is a possibility the band might be able to fly in play a set and fly out again, or the festival might swap headliners from one weekend to the next, like they did in 2015, when the Strokes closed weekend one and Florence and the Machine closed weekend two.
Another band that seems likely to make an appearance on the lineup is Foster the People. A few weeks back, the band announced a run of tour dates that take them through Texas, with May stops in El Paso, Dallas. But they skip up to Tulsa, missing our part of the state. Their tour cuts off in early August with stops at Lollapalooza in Chicago and OSHEAGA in Montreal.
ORIGINAL POST: 3.22.17:
The 2017 Austin City Limits Festival roster won’t be out til May, but with the lineup for Lollapalooza out today, we’re getting a sense of which acts are working the mega-fest circuit this year. As local production house C3 Presents produces both the massive music fest that takes over Grant Park in Chicago for four days in August and ACL Fest, the Lollapalooza lineup, gives us solid grounds to speculate which artists might make an appearance in Austin this fall.
Let’s start with the headliners. The top billed artists for Lollapalooza are Chance the Rapper, the Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, the XX, Lorde and Blink-182. The longshots? Chance played ACL recently, in 2015. He’s also headlining Scoremore’s JMBLYA in May. Muse, a band that’s put in more than one spectacular headline set, plays the Austin360 Amphitheater in June and wraps their North American tour in September. Blink-182 plays the amphitheater tonight and there are still tickets available.
Lorde, whose fans swamped the field for a side stage set a couple years back, will almost surely return this year to become the fest’s youngest headliner. The Killers and Arcade Fire have not yet released North American tour dates for this year, but both acts seem likely to appear on the ACL lineup. The XX has a pair of Austin shows (promoted by C3) in May, but as they sold out in under five minutes, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them reappear at ACL Fest.
Other big names that might appear? Ryan Adams, who last week, canceled a South by Southwest appearance due to illness and doesn’t have an Austin date on his current tour seems like a good bet, as does rapper Big Sean, who didn’t make an appearance at SXSW, despite staging his tour kickoff in Houston on March 17. Glass Animals, who played the fest in 2015 and have a sold out Stubb’s show on the books next month, seem like a good possibility. Austin’s fave indie rock outfit Spoon, who dominated SXSW last week is also a solid bet.
The lineup for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., the first big event on the annual American outdoor music festival calendar dropped today and the big news is that Texas soul queen, Beyoncé is headlining, alongside last year’s Austin City Limits Fest headliners Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar.
Many artists use an appearance at Coachella as the beginning of mega-fest blitz, which has us wondering. Could Beyoncé play ACL Fest this year?
Her last few tours, which swiftly sold out stadiums in Houston and Dallas, skipped Central Texas. The last time she hit San Antonio, was on the “Beyoncé Experience” tour in 2007. As far as Austin performances, she hasn’t been here since Destiny’s Child played the Star of Texas Rodeo, now Rodeo Austin, in March of 2001. (h/t Andy Langer) Even as superstar compadres, including her husband Jay-Z, have made high dollar pop-in appearances at South by Southwest in recent years, Beyoncé has been so conspicuously absent in the capital of her home state that suggesting an ACL appearance seems, at first blush, ludicrous.
But as we all know, Beyoncé plays by her own rules and the Coachella appearance could easily be a one off. Or the launch of a new surprise album that will be revealed at the show. Or the next great industry disruptor, when she sells special glasses for $18.99 that will create the sensation that you’re dancing with hologram Beyoncé in your living room while you watch the live stream, because, after all, this is Beyoncé we’re talking about.
But maybe, just maybe, 2017 will be the year Beyoncé plays ACL Fest.
ACL Fest 2017 is scheduled for Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15 in Zilker Park. The lineup is generally announced in late Spring when passes will go on sale.
Update: This blog has been updated to note Beyoncé’s 2001 rodeo appearance in Austin.