Still pending a special events permit from the city of Austin, Austinites are buzzing with excitement and less than worried that Austin City Limits Festival 2021 won't return.
With only three more weekends until the iconic music festival, headlines have circulated speculating a cancelation for the festival, especially after Pecan Street Festival and Bat Fest were denied their permit. Every year ACL is required to obtain a special events permit since it operates on city grounds.
This year's events application—with more than 2,500 outdoor attendees—requires that event organizers take precautions against COVID-19 and submit a safety plan beforehand. The precautions include acquiring a negative test from all attendees, regardless of vaccination—a rule ACL has yet to update in its own policy. ACL's health policy still reads that those who are fully vaccinated may show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination instead of proof of negative test.
However, ACL began setting up in Zilker park this week and shipping out wristbands.
Rio Grande Valley native and five-year Austin resident Maggie Palacios struggled to get her weekend one ticket but she said seeing crews setting up has made her confident that the show will go on.
Palacios' first concert was Vance Joy at ACL 2017, so she has a soft spot for both the park and the festival.
"I was definitely in that queue, trying to get a ticket for a while. It was really stressful and I was really excited once I got it," Palacios said. "It's definitely comforting to see something normal like ACL go on. It's also just really exciting to be able to experience something again."
According to Austin Center for Events Public Information and Marketing Program Manager Sara Henry, ACL didn't get approved for its permit until Sept. 26 in 2019. The office hasn't made a concrete decision yet so speculation may be fueled by suspense.
"It is not unusual for special events permits to be approved a few days before an event begins," Henry told Austonia. "As always, Austin Center for Events, which includes Austin Public Health, are working closely with event organizers to help them navigate the evolving requirements for COVID-19 health and safety during events."
After a hard year-and-a-half on the food service industry, ACL businesses are betting their chips that they'll be able to serve the crowd this year.
The JuiceLand booth has been an ACL staple for the past consecutive nine years—this year they are upgrading to two separate booths and bringing back the blue raspberry lemonade. (JuiceLand)
With not one but two JuiceLand booths coming to ACL this year, CEO and 20-year ACL attendee Matt Shook said he and his team have been waiting for the festival with bated breath after more than a year of playing it safe.
"There are a lot more JuiceLanders hoping that the festival happens this year than ever before," Shook told Austonia. "We see a lot of old friends and old fans of the brand that come to Austin maybe once a year just for ACL, so it's sort of a homecoming. It's a really good time and everybody looks forward to it."
JuiceLand will have double the staff at the festival this year. (JuiceLand)
APH officials said on Friday morning that for the time being, they are working with organizers to make sure the festival can go on safely. However, APH Interim Health Director Adrienne Stirrup said circumstances could change at the drop of a hat.
"You can go to bed on a Friday night thinking that we're on this smooth trajectory to Stage 4 and wake up on a Monday to find out that something happened over the weekend, and those projections say that it's going to take us a little bit longer," Stirrup said.
No matter what happens, Shook said he and his JuiceLand family will try to see the silver lining while looking forward to ACL 2022.
"If Zilker Park is open for people to play in it for a month more than usual, which would be the case, that's a pretty good thing," Shook said. "You got to be more safe than you are sorry. So, if the powers that be decide that the festival is canceled, we'll just roll with the punches and make lemonade out of lemons."
You know what they say, good things come to those who wait.
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Samsung might soon be making more moves in the Austin metro.
The tech giant, which made waves as it announced plans to build a $17 billion chip plant in Taylor in late 2021, might be looking to expand in the Northeast Austin area, according to an Austin Business Journal report.
ABJ said the South Korean company is seeking more tax breaks from nearby Taylor and Manor school districts. The company filed documents requesting Chapter 313 incentives related to the breaks Saturday, and ABJ said each district will review the requests separately on Tuesday.
"While we do not have specific plans to build at this time, the Chapter 313 application process is part of our long-term planning to evaluate the viability of potentially building additional fabrication plants in the U.S.," Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLC.'s director of communications, Michele Glaze, told the ABJ.
But Samsung has made headlines for more than just the $17 billion plant: In early 2022, the company caught heat for two separate spills of millions of gallons of wastewater into tributaries near its semiconductor plant.
While no expansion is promised, ABJ speculates that expansions could occur at the 1,200 acre planned Taylor factory or near the chipmaking factory on Austin's East Parmer Lane. Both expansions could bring even more revenue and job opportunities to Samsung's Texas home.
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A first minute error gave Austin FC an early setback, but with the help of two red cards and two second-half goals, the Verde and Black still forced a last-minute tie in a messy home battle against Orlando City SC Sunday night.
With the 2-2 draw, Austin dropped from No. 1 in the MLS West conference but still earned a point in the standings thanks to a penalty kick goal from Sebastian Driussi and a breakthrough shot from striker Moussa Djitte, who scored his first goal with the club in the final minute of play.
Here are the top three takeaways from the match:
A fateful mistake
Just days after his highlight reel-worthy LAFC performance, Austin keeper Brad Stuver scratched heads as he gave away a goal seconds into the game. Stuver's fateful pass went straight to Orlando's Junior Urco, who was already in the box and tapped a quick pass to Ercan Kara to score the first goal of the match.
The mistake forced Austin to chase a tie for the rest of the match, especially as center back Ruben Gabrielsen benched himself in the 20th minute. The team later said Gabrielsen has come down with something similar to a stomach bug.
Orlando would score two minutes later, and Austin FC left the first half looking like the opposite of its "Best in the MLS" self from just days prior.
The two red cards
By the 60th minute of the match, however, the tides had turned. Orlando's Rodrigo Schlegel, who had already racked up a yellow card on a handball, was ousted from the game two minutes later for yet another handball, this time in the penalty box.
Austin's main man Sebastian Driussi took the kick and sent it in for his eighth goal of the season to make it 2-1.
And just over five minutes later, Orlando's Cesar Araujo was the second man in purple kicked out of the match after he kicked Alex Ring on a slide tackle near the box. Austin was left with just over 20 minutes, and just nine opponents left, to try and tie it up.
The 'Mouss' is loose!
As the whistle blew and regulation time ran out, Orlando seemed to have won the match. The team had withstood many, many close calls—including two shots off the post from Austin FC's Diego Fagundez and Maxi Urruti—as Austin FC flooded the box with 22 cracks at a goal.
But thanks to the chaotic nature of the game, Austin FC was given nine extra minutes to tie it up. Moussa Djitte was the one who finally broke through five minutes into stoppage time, earning his first goal in Verde to put a 2-2 cap on the wild home match.
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