See Photos from Austin City Limits Music Festival. Words and Photography by Dan Garcia.
After an extended hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Austin City Limits Music Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in Austin’s Zilker Park this past weekend.
The Texas music festival, which will return with a nearly identical lineup this upcoming weekend, shined with memorable performances from some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop including Tyler, the Creator, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat to name a few.
Kicking things off on Friday, the festival got off to a delayed start after rainy weather and muddy festival grounds forced organizers to delay ACL’s start time. Once things got rolling though, ACL hit the ground running with great consecutive sets at the Honda Stage. Up first with the updated set times was Machine Gun Kelly, who left most of his rap songs in the rearview for a rock performance of his latest album.
Moments later, Megan Thee Stallion, a headliner in her own right, hit the stage for the best set of the evening. To no surprise, Texas and all of her hot girls in attendance showed infinite amounts of love for Tina Snow’s set. Megan’s performance was full of her biggest hits and even more twerking, including a surprise visit from the night’s headliner, Miley Cyrus, who joined Megan’s fans on stage to twerk alongside Megan.
After a great first day, fans on Day 2 saw performances from Freddie Gibbs, Doja Cat and Jack Harlow.
Gangster Gibbs hit the T-Mobile Stage on Saturday and did not disappoint. Dropping into the photo pit early on in his set, the Indiana legend got up close and personal with his biggest Texas fans in the front row. Across Zilker Park, Doja Cat brought her show to the main stage for a sea of fans, complete with her team of backup dancers and tropical set design. After closing her set with her hit single, “Say So”, fans sprinted to the other side of the festival to catch the beginning of Jack Harlow, another rapper who has become a household name since the pandemic. Harlow performed a number of songs from his latest album, “Thats What They All Say”.
And if a lineup of great musicians on the festival grounds was not enough for music fans in Austin, the ACL family also treated fans to a surprise and intimate performance from Olivia Rodrigo. Performing just her second ever concert for fans, the “Good 4 U” singer hit the stage less than two miles away for a taping of PBS’s iconic ACL Live. Rivaling Billie Eilish who headlined Day 2 of the ACL Festival, Rodrigo’s newly announced performance was an added treat to the city’s lineup of events.
Sunday brought the weekend to a close with sets from Tyler, the Creator, Polo G, Erykah Badu and Toosii. Toosi and Polo G kicked the day off at their respective stages for the festival’s rap fans, a couple hours before the fashionably late Erykah Badu blessed ATX with the presence of an R&B legend. And to end the weekend on a high note, Tyler, the Creator made a pit stop in Austin on his mini festival run which precedes his forthcoming arena tour. Tyler replaced DaBaby on the ACL lineup after public backstage caused a number of festivals to cancel DaBaby’s appearances over his controversial comments on HIV, and with the energy he brought to ACL on Sunday, there was no better rapper to fill the vacancy.
Check out our gallery of photos from weekend one of the 2021 Austin City Limits Music Festival: