ACL Fest: The 2018 schedule is out. These are our toughest conflicts

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The Austin City Limits Music Festival 2018, headlined by Paul McCartney, Metallica and Childish Gambino, takes place October 5-7 and 12-14 at Zilker Park. Festival organizers released the hourly schedule on Friday and sure, it’s a little early to be nailing down exactly where we plan to be when, but these are some of the tough choices we’re facing.

Noname at SXSW 2017. Erika Rich for American-Statesman


2:45 p.m. Alvvays (Miller Lite) vs. Noname (HomeAway). Sonically speaking, there’s a fairly vast gulf between the jazzy spoken word/hip-hop stylings of Chicago artist Noname and the dreamy pop cadences of Toronto’s Alvvays. But both acts feature strong female leads and indulge in sentimental emotional swells and we suspect there’s a fair amount of crossover in their crowds.

6:45 p.m. Father John Misty (Barton Springs) vs. Hozier (Homeaway). This is s showdown of thoughtful male singer-songwriters that will likely confound many fest-goers. Here’s the $265 question: Do you prefer your dudes ironic or sincere? Father John will wrap his melodic entreaties in thorny witticisms. Hozier will aim straight for your heart. (If you like your dudes less singer-songwriter-y altogether, head over to the Miller Lite stage where the best hip-hop boy band in America, Brockhampton, will throw down).

RELATED: Is Paul McCartney the biggest act ACL has ever booked? 


The Breeders perform Saturday, April 21, at Emo’s in Austin. Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman

3:30 p.m. Japanese Breakfast (Barton Springs) vs. the Breeders (Homeaway) vs. Sweet Spirit (weekend one only, BMI). As the New York Times declared last year, “Rock’s not dead, it’s ruled by women.” This is an amazing time slot for folks who like lady rockers. That is, if you can clone yourself. Twice. The tough call for most folks who are into strong front-women will be whether to take in the expressive indie rock of Japanese Breakfast or the fuzzed-out post-grunge of the Breeders. But we’d like to throw in a vote for the home team here. Sabrina Ellis’ glam pop explosion Sweet Spirit is one of the best rock bands in the country right now. Don’t sleep!

7:30 p.m. Nelly (weekend one only, Homeaway) vs. Residente (Barton Springs). Look, it will almost certainly be “Hot in Herre” as R&B rap crooner Nelly takes the stage, but with the blazing new single “Sexo” burning up the charts, we’re confident that Puerto Rican rapper Residente will also drop a steamy set.


6 p.m. Camilla Cabello (American Express, weekend one only) vs. Travis Scott (Honda). These artists inhabit different sonic universes, so this might not be a conflict for aggro-rap diehards and, you know, anyone over 30. But both artists are dialed into a youth movement that makes them superstars. We suspect a lot of teenage girls (and those of us who are teenage girls at heart) will struggle with which side of the field to stake out.

ACL Fest adds Vince Staples, Nelly to lineup; releases daily schedule

Rappers Vince Staples and Nelly have been added to the lineup for this year’s Austin City Limits Festival.

LAS VEGAS, NV – MAY 01: Rapper Nelly performs during the kickoff of The Main Event tour at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on May 1, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nelly will play the first Saturday of the festival and Staples will play on the second Sunday.

RELATED: McCartney to headline night one of ACL Fest

The festival has also released the daily schedules for the event in the official ACL Fest app. The fest takes place Oct. 5-7 and 12-14 in Zilker Park.

Three-day passes and single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday of weekend one are sold out. All tickets for weekend two are still available. More information.

ACL Fest: Another single-day sell out for the massive fall festival

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Single-day tickets for two of three days of Austin City Limits Festival’s first weekend are now sold out.

The crowd reacts as Skepta performs at ACL Fest 2017. Dave Creaney / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Sir Paul McCartney has inspired 75,000 music fans to walk “The Long and Winding Road” to Zilker Park on Friday, Oct. 5, ensuring a capacity crowd for the first day of the 2018 fest.

RELATED: McCartney, Metallica, Childish Gambino headline ACL Fest 2018

This is the second single-day sell out for weekend one of this year’s festival. Tickets to Saturday, Oct. 6, the first night Metallica headlines the festival, were the fastest to go, selling out a few days after single-day tickets went on sale.  Tickets are still available for Sunday, Oct. 7 when Childish Gambino, Janelle Monae, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott and Camilla Cabello are scheduled to perform.

Weekend one three-day passes sold out a couple weeks ago, before the festival put single-day tickets on sale.

Three-day passes and single-day tickets to all three days of ACL Fest weekend two are still available.  More information.

ACL Fest: We have our first sell-out for a single day

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Austin City Limits Festival hits Zilker Park on Oct. 5-7 and 12-14 and the festival put single-day tickets on sale on Wednesday.

Jason Arnott and a crowd of fans cheer M83 at ACL Fest 2016. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)

Apparently a whole lot of folks were waiting to see one act: Metallica.

Saturday tickets for weekend one are now sold out.

Rapper Travis Scott, whose highly anticipated album “Astroworld” dropped today, shares the top spot on weekend two (he plays on Sunday during weekend one), but the metal titans are the only Saturday headliner on the first weekend of the fest. Apparently, y’all are ready to rock. Hard.

RELATED: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Childish Gambino to headline ACL Fest

Now we do recognize that Saturday is the easiest day of the festival to attend if you have a family or, you know, a job. So it’s also very possible that a mess of people were holding out to buy into the festival experience without committing to a full weekend.

And there are a slew of other good acts on the bill that day, including electropop act Chvrches, Puerto Rican rapper Residente, electro duo Justice and guitar wizard, St. Vincent. Also, Brandie Carlile, Blood Orange, Highly Suspect and the Breeders.

But we suspect the head-banging promise of Deftones seguing into Metallica drew a lot of fans.

We also suspect the entire city of San Antonio might be coming. Welcome, friends!

Three-day tickets to weekend one of ACL Festival are sold out. Weekend two 3-day tickets are still available. More info. 


ACL Fest: Paul McCartney headlines night one; Gambino to close out the fest

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Single-day lineups for Austin City Limits Festival have been released and rock ‘n’ roll legend Paul McCartney will take opening night headline honors, followed by metal titans Metallica playing the big stage on Saturday and Donald Glover’s electrifying R&B/rap act Childish Gambino closing out the fest on Sunday.

Single-day tickets to the festival, which takes place Oct. 5-7 and 12-14 at Zilker Park, go on sale Wednesday at noon at Three-day passes to weekend one are sold out, but a limited number are still available for weekend two.

RELATED: Is McCartney ACL’s biggest headliner ever? C3 says yes

Houston rap star Travis Scott is the only top-billed act who changes days from weekend to weekend. He will play the second headline stage opposite Metallica on Saturday on weekend two. For weekend one, Metallica is alone at the top of the schedule on Saturday and Scott is billed underneath Childish Gambino and the Arctic Monkeys on Sunday.  Arctic Monkeys are co-headliners for both Sundays, and Odesza will play the second big stage opposite McCartney on both Fridays.

Pop sensations Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes each make a single-Sunday appearance at the festival, with Cabello on weekend one and Mendes on weekend two.

Childish Gambino performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Friday October 10, 2014. JAY JANNER / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

On Friday, McCartney’s opening acts include a host of thoughtful songwriters including brooding rockers the National, Irish breakout Hozier and king of indie rock irony, Father John Misty. Pop star Khalid, ’80s innovator David Byrne and the best hip-hop boy band in America, Brockhampton, are also on Friday’s bill.

Alt-metal heavies Deftones will make a great segue act for Metallica on Saturday. Other acts on Saturday’s bill include Scottish synth magicians Chvrches, ’90s rockers the Breeders and guitar wizard St. Vincent, who blew us away at an ‘Austin City Limits’ taping earlier this year.  Brandi Carlile, Justice and Puerto Rican rapper Residente also play on Saturday.

Finally, dearly beloved, Sunday is a good day for fans of R&B/pop with Janelle Monae, Tinashe and Prince’s band, the Revolution, on the bill. Also playing Sunday are electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso and hometown hero, Shakey Graves.

Passes for ACL Fest weekend one are sold out; single-day tickets coming Wednesday

If you’ve been waiting to buy your passes for the first weekend of Austin City Limits Festival, we’re sorry to inform you that the festival is now reporting that 3-day tickets for weekend one, October 5-7, are sold out. Passes for weekend two, October 12-14 are still available.

A fan cheers during a performance by Angel Olsen on the second weekend of the Austin City Limits Festival Oct. 14. Tom McCarthy Jr. for AMERICAN-STATESMAN

RELATED: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Childish Gambino to headline ACL Fest

If you’ve been holding out because you love a few artists on the lineup, but not the full roster, you’re in luck. The festival is releasing single-day lineups on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Single-day tickets to both weekends of the festival will go on sale Wednesday at noon. More information at

Watch: ACL Fest headliner Paul McCartney’s sentimental ‘Carpool Karaoke’

‘The Late Late Show’ just wrapped up a week of broadcasts in host James Corden’s native London with a trip to the British Midlands where he toured Liverpool with one of the city’s most famous sons, Sir Paul McCartney.

In a thoroughly charming installment of the show’s famous bit, “Carpool Karaoke,” McCartney shows Corden his childhood home, the church where he was a choirboy and the barbershop on “Penny Lane.” While cruising the town, McCartney and Corden duet on a medley of greatest hits including “Help,” “Drive My Car” and a misty-eyed rendition of “Let It Be,” a song McCartney says came to him in a dream about his mother who had recently died.

RELATED: Paul McCartney is the biggest headliner in ACL Fest history

There’s also a surprise pub show for an audience of ecstatic Liverpudlians where Corden slips in a plug for McCartney’s new album “Egypt Station” which is due out this fall. McCartney released two new songs from the album earlier this week.

Paul McCartney performs at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas on Wednesday, May 22, 2013. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Paul McCartney will appear at Austin City Limits Festival in October with Metallica, Childish Gambino, Travis Scott and more. ACL Fest is scheduled for Oct. 5-7 and 12-14 at Zilker Park. More information.

He’ll be at ACL Fest this fall, but Paul McCartney has two new songs out now

What exactly is a double A-side single? Presumably Paul McCartney thinks highly enough of the two new songs he released Wednesday that he didn’t consider either of them a B-side, so that’s how “I Don’t Know” and “Come on to Me” are being marketed.

RELATED: Paul McCartney will headline ACL Fest 2018

McCartney, who turned 76 on Tuesday, is the biggest name on the Austin City Limits Music Festival lineup at Zilker Park in October. Part of his agenda for this fall is “Egypt Station,” his first new album in five years. Today’s double-shot offers a sneak-preview of that album, due Sept. 7 on Capitol Records.

Paul McCartney released two new songs on Wednedsay. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013

In addition to lyrics videos for both on YouTube (see “I Don’t Know” above and “Come on to Me” below), the tracks are available for digital purchase and streaming via sites such as Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.

Our take, after an initial listen to both songs? Feels more like a double B-side single. We’ll hold out hope for the full album, though. As for actual vinyl you could flip: We checked to see if Austin store Waterloo Records had physical copies, but none are currently available. Plans for a 7-inch may be in the works, however, according to a Universal Music rep.

READ MORE: Is Paul McCartney the biggest act ever at ACL Fest?

Is Paul McCartney the biggest act ever at ACL Fest? C3 says yes.

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Festival organizers don’t often traffic in superlatives or absolutes. Much as sports coaches prop up the team over contributions of any single player, they’re more likely to stress the value of the whole package.

Amy Corbin, head of C3 Presesnts’ concert division, has that down when discussing the lineup she booked for this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival. “Two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers,” she says of Paul McCartney and Metallica, but she’s quick to add: “And it’s a nice balance with Childish Gambino and Arctic Monkeys and Travis Scott and Odesza — there’s literally something for everybody.”

Paul McCartney will headline both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2018. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013

When pressed about McCartney, though, she admits that getting the legendary Beatle was an above-and-beyond coup. Would she call Sir Paul THE biggest act ever booked to play ACL Fest?

“I would,” Corbin replies, without hesitation. “I think even if you look at the ‘Austin City Limits’ television show and its legacy acts, I don’t know of any living musician that can beat Paul McCartney. It certainly is the biggest that we’ve ever booked.”

READ MORE: ACL Fest pulls off its biggest-name headliner in years

They’d been after McCartney for years, Corbin confirmed, but the odds went up after they hooked him in 2015 for Lollapalooza, the major Chicago festival that C3 also books. “That was our first, and it was great working with his team. They are the best in the business,” she said. “We knew he would be perfect for ACL.”

Since then, it’s just been a matter of waiting for the stars and schedules to line up. “It mainly comes down to timing,” she said. “Sometimes it takes years of continuing to put that bug in somebody’s ear, like, ‘Hey, we’re still here, we’re still interested.’ And it just so happened that this was our year that the magic happened.”

That 2015 Lollapalooza lineup also featured Metallica as a headliner. Corbin says the fact that both were booked for this year’s ACL Fest was “total coincidence. But we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Metallica.”

The two Hall of Famers notwithstanding, Gambino — the musical persona of actor and comedian Donald Glover — might end up generating just as big a buzz at the fest, which runs Oct. 5-7 and Oct. 12-14 in Zilker Park. (Tickets to each weekend, $255 plus fees, are available via the fest’s website.) A few days after he was announced as an ACL Fest headiner, Glover hosted “Saturday Night Live” and released a new single, “This Is America,” that quickly topped the charts after its video went viral on YouTube.

Childish Gambino will make his third ACL Fest appearance this fall. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014

“I mean, I woke up on that Sunday just elated,” Corbin recalls. “We’ve had Gambino on (ACL Fest) twice before, so we know he’s a great performer and he’s super talented. But that performance, and hosting SNL and that video, was spectacular.”

As for whether McCartney, or Gambino, might tape the “Austin City Limits” TV show while they’re here, Corbin offered no clues, saying simply that “I have no idea what they’ve got up their sleeve.” (The festival and TV program share a name but are separate entities with different production crews.)

Corbin’s clearly pleased, though, that after a somewhat bumpy 2017 rollout that included the addition of Jay Z after the main announcement, this year’s lineup seems to have been met with broad approval.

“Not many people will reach out and tell me anything that isn’t positive,” Corbin admitted. “But from what I saw on socials and everything, it was overwhelmingly positive.”

That’s the value of getting McCartney. “I can’t wait to see him performing on that stage with the city skyline in the background,” Corbin said. “And just (playing) hit after hit after hit after hit. It’s going to be special.”

READ MORE: See all our ACL Fest 2018 coverage

ACL Fest preview: Don’t ‘Fear the Future,’ St. Vincent will help us break free

It was the second “Austin City Limits” taping of St. Vincent’s career and her third concert at ACL Live since February, but on Monday night, “ACL” executive producer Terry Lickona introduced her by remarking about what a unique experience the 35-year-old Dallas artist also known as Annie Clark had in store for the audience.

Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

“We’ve never seen anything like it in front of our cameras,” he said.

For her tour dates earlier this year, Clark appeared solo, taking the stage with nothing but her guitar. This time, she performed the same set she played at Coachella (Coachella setlists with “ACL” scrawled across them were handed out to media before the show) with a three-piece backing ensemble that included Toko Yasuda on bass, keys and vocals and two male artists, rendered as faceless mannequins, on electronics and drums.

ACL Fest: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent on 2018 roster

The band eschewed the standard “Austin City Limits” stage, instead performing on a wide narrow plank with a high bank of flashing lights at their back, creating a “Tron”-like fantasy world where humanity must battle technology to prosper. Dressed in bright orange, thigh-high stiletto boots with an artfully cut bodysuit to match, Clark took the stage as the guitar-wielding anime heroine leading the fight.

Human emotion vs. digital coldness was a motif she returned to several times during a set that mixed in older tracks, while drawing heavily from her excellent 2017 album “Masseduction.” She moved like a wind-up doll at the beginning of “Pills,” and robotic voices announced the  beginning of “Digital Witness.”

Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV

On “Masseduction,” which began the same way it does on the album, with Yasuda yelling “Power corrupts” in Japanese, a flurry of strobes underlined the futuristic hellscape while Clark unleashed furious guitar licks, fighting to break free.

Even on “New York,” the drummer led the audience in a fast clap, creating a driving pulse behind the most vulnerable song on the new album, adding an extra level of poignancy to the emotion breaking through Clark’s voice.

Photos: St. Vincent at ACL Live, February 2018

And this was the key to the show’s brilliance, the way it explored the power of contained emotion when it breaks free, through the defiant guitar wailing on songs like “Cheerleader,” “Rattlesnake” and “Fear the Future” and her vocal explorations on “Cruel” and the haunting cinematic harmonies on set closer “Slow Disco.”

Clark didn’t speak much during her main set, which is almost surely the set we’ll see at the Austin City Limits Music Fest later this year, but when she returned to the stage after a raucous call for an encore, she graciously talked about the “mind blowing performances” she’s seen on “ACL” and what an honor it was to be invited back. After blasting through “Hang On Me” with the band, she treated the audience to a few old tracks from her early days in Dallas playing “coffee shops, bad bars and, on a couple of occasions, a pizza parlor.”

“What a wonderful way to come back to the home state,” she said.