“F *** Greg Abbott”: ACL Music Festival Served Breathtaking Performances With A Side Of Political Unrest
By Taylor Kamnetz
Austin, Texas – Austin City Limits (ACL) Music The festival unfolded, marking the city’s first major event to go off without a hitch since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here is how it turned out.
After having to cancel the festival in 2020 due to the ongoing pandemic, ACL Music Festival returned to the heart of Texas for the first two weekends of October.
To say that it was obvious how much live music fans missed seeing their favorite artists perform would be an understatement.
But nothing was more blatant than the mutual disgust of festival-goers and performers for Texas politics, particularly the state’s ban on abortion.
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Many artists took the time from their sets to lead the crowds in various “F *** Greg Abbott” chants, with some promising to donate all of their festival income to organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
Politics aside, ACL has proven that its roots continue to be firmly rooted in bringing people from all walks of life together around their common interest and love for live music.
Self-expression reigns supreme
Considering how many hurdles festival organizer Live Nation had to overcome in order for the festival’s two weekends to take place, it’s pretty impressive how smoothly things went.
This can be partially attributed to those who attended the festival. Given that ACL is deeply rooted in the long-standing expressive and tolerant culture of Austin, Texas, it was heartwarming to see so many people dressing the way they wanted, dancing the way they chose, living their lives. simply their best life.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States and sent most of the country – and the world – into lockdown, those who attended concerts frequently were forced to make do with live performances broadcast on YouTube or live streams. Instagram Live videos.
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Without the ability to physically attend concerts, people found themselves stranded in their homes, probably dressed in some sort of sportswear, watching their favorite artists perform on a screen.
ACL has not only been an opportunity for live music enthusiasts to come outside the confines of their homes, but it has allowed everyone from diverse backgrounds to express themselves in avant-garde ways.
From people dressed up as Teletubbies, burgers and slices of pizza to those wearing 70s-inspired disco outfits or strappy leather jumpsuits with Doc Martens and chains; festival goers have seen it all – and that’s how they like it.
Texas politics in the spotlight
While politics wasn’t the only topic of conversation at the ACL, it was certainly a focal point for many artists on both weekends of the festival.
The second weekend festival-goers may have missed the first round of politically charged speeches that took place during the ACL’s first weekend, but many performers have rearranged their words for the new crowds.
The most memorable speeches were given by Megan Thee Stallion, Billie Eilish, Finneas and YouTuber Marc Rebillet, who orchestrated a loop pedal with face-melting harmonies who pronounced “F *** Greg Abbott” for nearly five minutes in a row Sunday night.
During his Friday set at weekend two of the festival, Finneas doubled down on his initial promise of weekend one, telling the crowd, “If you know who I am, you know how I feel about all this. Shit. And I said last week, which remains true, that I will donate all my salary from this festival to Planned Parenthood of Texas, and I said something like telling Greg Abbott to go fuck yourself. “
The artist’s sister, Billie Eilish, reflected her feelings during her set on Saturday night, calling Governor Greg Abbott a “dirty old man,” before leading the crowd in a middle finger chant of “My Body, My Choice” . .
She kept screaming “Fuck it up, your body, your choice, fuck shit! F *** ’em”, which was greeted with roaring applause from the thousands in the crowd.
Festival organizers finally figured out the long-standing bathroom problem
From a logistical standpoint, it looks like festival organizers have finally mastered one of the biggest headaches ACL enthusiasts have faced in over a decade – the toilet situation.
In years past, it was not uncommon for the queues at glorified porta-pots where the fresh air dies to become astronomically long – forcing festival-goers without Platinum or VIP bracelets to wait at least half an hour. just to use them.
Much to the delight of those in attendance, it couldn’t have been further from the truth this year.
For a music festival that attracts a few hundred thousand attendees each year, it never made sense that there were only four designated toilets for the majority of festival-goers, nor has it ever been. meaning how the festival came out. having three hydration stations for most of the last decade.
Whoever made the logical decision to add a whole new bathroom and increase the number of hydration stations for free water refills should receive all the gold stars for doing people’s jobs.
While Texas continues to face political turmoil and division, ACL has reminded everyone that Texans are more than state politics.
Not only that, but it also proved to many that we have a lot more in common than some might think, and it just took two weekends of live music to remember.
Cover photo: Taylor Kamnetz