By Richard Skanse
Willie Nelson hasn’t graced a stage at the Austin City Limits Music Festival since his early 70s, way back in the Fest’s salad days as a entertainment option for 100,000-some-odd locals and out-of-towners looking for something to do on a weekend when the defending National Champion Texas Longhorns were playing out of town. That was a good 10 years ago (might seem even longer to Horns fans), but the 83-year-old Red Headed Stranger is still going strong — and set to help the now all-grown-up ACL Fest celebrate its 15th anniversary later this summer along with more than 130 other acts, including alt-rock legends Radiohead, rapper Kendrick Lamar, and fellow country/Americana big-names Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves. The Festival will be held at Austin’s Zilker Park over two consecutive three-day weekends, Sept. 30-Oct. 2 and Oct. 7-9.
Tickets for both weekends (three-day general admission and VIP/Platinum packages only) went on sale today at 10 a.m at www.aclfestival.com. Single day tickets will be released at a later date. The three-day general admission passes are $255 a pop (though children 10 and under accompanied by a ticket-holding pop or mom get in free.)
As has been the case ever since the ACL Festival first expanded from one weekend to two, not every act on the lineup will be performing both weekends. Nelson will only be playing on the second weekend, while Stapleton and Musgraves are both slated for the first weekend. But most of the acts will be putting in the double-time, including top-of-poster draws Radiohead, Lamar, Mumford & Sons, LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer.
In addition to Willie, Stapleton and Musgraves (and of course Austin’s own Asleep at the Wheel, who have played every single ACL Fest since Year One), other acts representing the Americana/country/roots sphere this year include St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Margo Price, Nathaniel Ratliff & the Night Sweats, Amanda Shires (weekend two), Maren Morris (weekend one), Anderson East (weekend two), Wild Child (weekend one), Lincoln Durham (weekend two), Shane Smith & the Saints (weekend one), the Roosevelts (weekend two), Matt the Electrician (weekend one), Aubrie Sellers (weekend one), Blue Healer (weekend two), and Luke Winslow-King (weekend one).