ACL pushes back start time Friday, opening gates at 3 p.m. instead of noon due to weather

ACL

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Limits organizers are delaying the start of the festival three hours, now opening the gates at 3 p.m., due to heavy rain overnight. The music festival was originally set to open at noon.

The delay knocked out most of the beginning performances, including local performers like Asleep at the Wheel, Nané and Darkbird.

See the new schedule below.

City of Austin officials told KXAN that weather preparations are made months in advance. They said if the weather presents issues before and/or during the event, city staff will discuss and provide resources and information to the event organizer on how to suspend, delay or cancel the event.

In events of flash flooding, decisions are made in real-time. The Parks and Recreation Department requires all Special Events Organizers to submit a weather plan that lays out the response process and protocols.

Several food vendors spent Thursday at the festival venue and planned to get to the park early Friday to make sure they’re ready for the thousands of people they will feed this weekend.

Shawarma Point has been a vendor at the Austin City Limits Festival since 2015. (Source: Faraz Vohra)

“Only plan I got is my rubber boots, so I’m ready to trek through the mud and have barbecue,” said Barrett Black, fourth-generation pitmaster for Black’s BBQ. “Either way, you know people have been waiting a long time for this.”

Black said their stand at ACL is equipped with their essentials to handle a massive number of customers, including a smoker, kitchen sinks, and cash registers.

Food vendor Shawarma Point said some of their staff went to various stores Thursday in search of tarps, tents, ponchos and anything that can help keep them dry.

“It’s an outdoor event — people are going to be prepped,” said Faraz Vohra, partner at Shawarma Point. “Everyone’s ready for it, everyone’s going to have ponchos. They’re going to eat and they’re going to have fun and watch live music dance. I think it’s going to be a good weekend overall.”

Vohra said he is thankful Shawarma Point is able to continue as a vendor for ACL as many food businesses struggled during the pandemic.

“Our only goal was to stay afloat, and hopefully be able to see this day,” Vohra said. “I feel sorry for a lot people in this industry that I know that weren’t able to make it through COVID-19.”

According to their standard weather protocol, CapMetro transportation officials said they will take alternate routes to the event if there is minor street flooding. Transportation routes will depend on street closures that keep buses from dropping off people closer to Zilker Park. CapMetro is also offering free rides this month with the exception of Metro bikes.

Austin City Limits is offering a free shuttle from downtown Republic Square. Other options for attendees include rideshare, taxis, or scooters. Pedicab operators said they will be transporting attendees to and from the park. They are working on getting as many canopies for their pedicabs as possible to keep riders dry. They said ACL is their biggest event.

Street closures are in place this weekend for the festival surrounding the park and around downtown. ACL officials have said umbrellas are not allowed, but attendees will be allowed to bring rain ponchos. Those who plan to attend must also bring a printed copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card, pictures on attendees’ phones will not suffice.

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