Austin City Music Festival Review

Music is more important to me now than it ever was in my twenty’s. I am about to be 40 years old!! In my twenties and early thirties, I was consumed by sports, T.V. and other pointless means of entertainment. In hindsight, it was all a distraction from what was really going on in the world. While reading Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”, I was reminded that we are hard-wired to function as a clan or group. This ideal seems to be lost in our society, we are reminded to find our individuality through the ownership of things. Every aspect of our society serves as a mechanism for separation i.e.; politics, religion, sports, war, class and even clothing. Music can be the bridge between these inherent divisions.

The 2009 Austin City Limits Music Festival was an opportunity to revisit those evolutionary instincts. There were so many like-minded people, and the energy was intoxicating. No, I was not high or drunk, but I think that everyone checked their egos at the main gate. The collective energy was flowing and giving us a small taste of the power of music. The soothing vibration of the beats and guitar licks seemed to satisfy my primal need for connection to my fellow humans. It also seems to free up stagnant electric energy throughout the body and definitely serves as a form of therapy for me. That is what music in general and the festival experience mean to me.

There were many highlights of this event, but the set by Pearl Jam left an unforgettable burn on my pleasure sensors. With the exception of moving forward little bits at a time, we stood in the same spot for nearly six hours. It was muddy, we were barefoot, and that added a certain feeling of connection to mother earth. Eddie Vedder addressed the crowd at the beginning of the set and said, “I’m not leaving until I’m f—in muddy!” Yeah right, he wouldn’t dare! To my surprise at the end of their set, he came down from the stage and ran up the center toward the sound booth, then back to the opposite side of the stage. He did a mudslide at some point and we were in awe at the live video from the big screen. He was running toward our side of the stage and we were about 10 feet from the barrier. My heart was racing, a magnificent surge of bodies moved toward the stage in an attempt to touch him as he went by. He was muddy and had a child-like grin from ear to ear as if to say, “I’m one of you.” I will never forget that moment.

Would I do it again? Did it the next year! If the love of a Chick-Avo doesn’t creep up on you, then the love of music will with 8 stages, 100+ plus bands in 3 glorious days of ACLMF. The Chick-Avo from The Mighty Cone vendor comes in a cone and layered, a ¼ of Avocado(deep fried), Chicken Breast(deep fried), and coleslaw on the bottom with a drizzle of sauce to top it off. Don’t miss the chance to get out amongst em’, put the ACLMF on your bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list, start with a Dixie cup.

Chad Shahan