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Countdown to ACL 2021: 7 things you didn't know you could do at the festival

(Roger Ho/ACL Fest)

What, you think the only thing there is to do at Austin City Limits is to watch your favorite artists? Must be your first time. ACL is more than just a dreamy three-day soundscape in the park—between sets, the festival has so much to offer that it's nearly impossible to get bored.

You're bound to have some downtime while attending ACL 2021, so when you do, make an effort to explore the booths, zones, markets and branded seatbelt forests—you'll be glad you did.

Ice for your Hydroflask

(Katrina Barber for ACL Fest)

Empty plastic or aluminum water bottles are welcomed inside the festival and ACL does a great job of keeping attendees hydrated, so there's no reason to buy water or waste plastic while attending. You have to bring the bottles in empty but there are several filling stations for water bottles located around the park. None of them offer ice, which can be essential during those 100-degree days. Head to any of the bars located in the park and ask for a cup of ice—bartenders are happy to part with it and you'll be cool as a cucumber!

Access to private lounges

(ACL Fest)

Need a break from the never-ending sun? A snack that doesn't cost $30? There are private, shady lounges all over the park—some for exclusive ticket holders, some waiting to be discovered by even the one-day crowd. Take for instance the T-Mobile Lounge, located adjacent to the stage of the same name, offered patrons a wristband to access the lounge in exchange for a social media post back in 2019. If you're an American Express cardholder, the benefits are numerous: a lounge open only to cardholders and complimentary merch awaits those who don the card.

Free prizes, snacks and drinks

(Katrina Barber for ACL Fest)

With dozens of vendors on the grounds, swag is not hard to find. You might have to play a game, answer some trivia or post on social media to qualify but the free merch often comes in handy. Forgot a fan? A vendor has one. Need a bandana? Visit the Tito's stand. Lose your water bottle, sunscreen or earplugs? A vendor has you covered, so be generous with the Instagram tags.

The ACL Art Market

(Roger Ho for ACL)

Support local by visiting the artisans at the festival's art market, located in the center of the park. Artists from all walks of life and levels of success sell their artwork yearly at the festival, so you'll need space to store your new keepsake if you're planning to collect. Blue Lux, Austin Art Garage, Greg Davis and Futurgarb are a few previous attendees. You'll know you've made it when you stumble across the massive, colorful "ART" sign.

Clean up trash for free merch

(Katrina Barber for ACL Fest)

Ensuring that Austin's beloved park stays clean throughout the festival, ACL partners with Austin Parks Foundation for its "Rock & Recycle" program that offers a little something for everyone. Stop by the Austin Parks Foundation booth when you have some free time to pick up a bag, fill it up with littered recyclable items and return the full bag for a free T-shirt—that's it. Plus, you can be entered to win other contests every time you help keep the park clean.

See some interactive art installations

(Honda News)

Each partner at the festival has something up their sleeves, often worth exploring. As ACL partners change, you're likely to see some returns, like the Honda Seatbelt Forest or the Bumble BFF Find Your Bestie Booth. In 2019, Honda gave attendees a colorful backdrop to pose in front of and a break from the chaos, whereas Bumble promised to introduce you to a new friend and gave out merch to those who gave it a go!

Lend your ear (or your wallet) to a good cause

(Roger Ho for ACL Fest)

ACL is more than just a festival—it's a time to raise awareness for local organizations. Stop by the ACL Cares area, where nonprofits and organizations gather to spread the word, and you're likely to find organizations like Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, SIMS Foundation, Austin Music Foundation, Keep Austin Beautiful, The Nature Conservancy and the Love Hope Strength Foundation, where you can register to be a bone marrow donor at the festival.


Tesla says it will preempt "recall" with a software update pushed to affected vehicles


Tesla is not recalling almost 1.1 million vehicles because windows may close with excessive force and pinch a driver or passenger, according to a Tesla filing, which says the windows' automatic reversal system may not react correctly after detecting an obstruction.

The Austin company's internal testing revealed the issue in August. Tesla filed a "Part 573 Safety Recall Report" with the NHTSA identifying the issues, outlining a "recall plan," and listing affected models and years, including "certain vehicles":

  • Model S 2021-2022
  • Model 3 2017-2022
  • Model X 2021-2022
  • Model Y 2020-2022 (including some that were made in the Austin factory)
Instead of requiring vehicles to be serviced in-person, Tesla is pushing a software fix via an OTA (over the air) update. Similar to the process of an iPhone update, Tesla periodically modifies its vehicles' software systems with fixes and enhancements.

Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Nov. 15.

Fall camping: Camp Fimfo Waco offers one-of-a-kind experiences in the heart of Texas
Camp Fimfo Waco

Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!

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