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How We Fell in Love with Austin

by Darlene Fiske

Austin, Texas highlights through the eyes of a local

austin city limits_slideshow 1Likely you’ve heard of one of the biggest music festivals in America, blending cool vibes, spectacular views of the downtown Austin skyline and some of the best people-watching in the Live Music Capital of the World? 

We’re talking about the Austin City Limits (ACL), a three-day times two-weekend event, masterfully executed by C3 Presents. But did you know that ACL also has benefits of the green variety? 

When Organic Spa Magazine hit the 46-acre grassy lawn of Zilker Park for weekend one, October 3-5, we discovered that being kind to the earth is just as important to the event producers as being kind to music aficionados’ ears. And we look forward to going back this year!

Acts filled eight stages for three days and fused music legends like Jimmy Cliff and Pearl Jam with EDM superstars Skrillex, Calvin Harris and ZEDD, while welcoming a smorgasbord of music genres with impressive performances from Lucius, Real Estate, Iggy Azalea, Juanes, Turnpike Troubadours and Trombone Shorty from New Orleans (who jumped off the stage into the crowd to sing a few notes literally right before our eyes).

austin city limits_slideshow 8A portion of the ticket sales from the festival is donated to the Austin Parks Foundation, providing a lush landscape for sports, picnicking and lounging year round in Zilker Park, also home to the popular spring-fed Barton Springs Pool. Proceeds from the event also provide grants for local park improvements year-round, ranging from $500 to $50,000. 

Colin Wallis, executive director of the Austin Parks Foundation explains, “The ACL Music Festival has donated over $10M to support Austin’s parks over the last 9 years.  Those funds have largely been given as Community Grant Awards—projects that communities want to see in their parks like playscapes, renovations, tree plantings, park benches.” 

But more evidence of a green heart was woven throughout the festival in ways that cultivated conservation and a sense of community.

Encouraging festival-goers to ditch the disposable water container was made easier from Camelback’s free water-filling stations where people lined up to have their personal water bottles (or camelbacks) filled by happy hydration helpers.

austin city limits_slideshow 9Enthusiastic recyclers were given free ACL swag as an incentive to fill a Rock and Recycle trash bag with aluminum cans and other recyclables. And even though there were recycling stations set up throughout the park, the Rock and Recycle campaign turned it into a challenge and sent the younger generation on a scavenger hunt—all in the name of helping the environment.

Local restaurants made graze-time seamless as well as delicious. (As did the ability to charge items to your credit card via your wristband.) Austin food favorites included East Side Kings, Goodpop, Tino’s Greek Cafe, Stubbs, P. Terry’s, High Brew Coffee and Tiff’s Treats. Vegan and gluten-free menu items were marked clearly on the menus and corn dogs and overly salted mega pretzels were replaced by Brussels Sprout salad, pulled pork sandwiches, melt in your mouth tamales and watermelon-agave frozen pops. 

An afternoon stroll through the art market led to a discovery of antique treasure-trove hunter Edgar Diaz who makes statement arm candy with found objects. His Austin-based company, Vintage Ware, sells rocker chic cuffs worthy of their own stage performance. Ornamental Things owner Natalie Tischler showed off her charm bracelets with dangles from the past while artists, organic clothing makers, jewelers, hat makers and other craftspeople sold their wares under tents in the perfect 80-degree weather.

austin city limits_slideshow 6It was Edgar’s cuffs that took our breath away, but the chair massage by Michelle Hittner’s Austin Massage Company stole our hearts. After all, what’s a three-day festival without magic hands working wonders on your shoulders and back? ACL, we are officially smitten. 

How to Get Around: Electric Cab of Austin Call or text your intersection to 512.900.7734. Best for flat streets and getting to and from short distances downtown.

When in Austin: A jaunt through the 80,000-square foot Whole Foods flagship store on the corner of 6th and Lamar is a must. The prepared foods department is heavenly (and the Tres Leches Parfait will send you over the top).

What to Wear: Don’t leave home without your FlashTat. Austin-based jewelry inspired temporary tattoos left an impression and banded the arms, necks and fingers of many a female hipster. Five percent of the proceeds from the Goldfish Kiss H20 collection goes to Waves for Water, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water to people living in impoverished areas.

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 Purchase tickets for Austin City Limits 2015 music festival here.

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