Our friends at LiveMom have been covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival for years. We’re thankful for their help providing great tips for parents attending the fest, including this post below.

What to Bring


Photo from the Home Girl Blog Facebook page

It’s worth the time to go through the list of what’s allowed (and what’s prohibited) on the FAQ page. I bring a backpack with a lightweight rain jacket (which I sit on instead of a blanket), two sealed, frozen-the-night-before liter sized water bottles to refill, a printout of notes about the bands I want to see (don’t want to waste battery juice on the ACL app — plus it’s good to have a backup), plus the obligatory cash, sunscreen and sunglasses. My peeps had these sage pieces of advice for festivalgoers:

  • Be prepared. I always bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Depending on the weather, I will throw in a light sweater or windbreaker. Sometimes an umbrella, rain galoshes and a raincoat are lifesavers. Just depends on the forecast. A disposable rain poncho works great to cover both you and your backpack. We always bring sound-blocking headphones for the kids in case the sound gets to be too much. Glow sticks and bracelets are so much fun for kids and adults when the sun sets. – Kirsten Brunner
  • Strollers double as handy storage. I suggest bringing a lightweight stroller than can handle moving over the lawn. You can store extra clothes, wipes and snacks for the kids underneath. The essentials we bring are toilet paper, Lysol wipes, wet wipes and hand sanitizer spray. Bring lots because people will ask you for some. Don’t forget cash or use the new cashless system. A portable charger for your phone is a must. If you have kids, bring what you need if you were going hiking. Also, a blanket or umbrella to keep the sun off them or so they can nap. – Michelle Mattalino
  • CamelBaks all around. My husband and I each have a 3.0 Liter and we fill them up about three times a day out there.  My husband’s is a bare bones model, but mine is a backpack that also has a CamelBak pouch, so this doubles as my diaper bag at the festival. Our kids also have their own 1.5 L CamelBaks. They are 3.5 and 5 years old and can carry them around. – Amanda Bofferding
  • Strollers can be saviors. Even when kids are older, it’s nice to have a stroller to stash all of your things. Bring the biggest stroller with the most room. If you can, bring one with cupholders, since you’ll use them. We always bring refillable water bottles and koozies for the adults. Put a pack of Kleenex in your back pocket so it’s with you all day long, in case you need it. I also find that bamboo mats are easier to carry than blankets. For the kids, we always bring a soccer ball and a frisbee. For littles, it’s much safer to have your child nap in the stroller instead of on a blanket. I was surprised when my older kids all climbed into the stroller at the end of a long day. – Coni Stogner
  • Master the perfect setup. We really only spend a few hours at AKL and spend the majority of our time at the adult concerts. We stay further back in the crowd, use ear protection, spread out a blanket between our camp chairs for the kids, and stretch a UV proof blanket between the chairs to keep them out of the sun. – Amanda Bofferding
  • Give your kids a boost. Last year when I took my older kids (11 and 9) I brought collapsible stools that fit in my messenger bag. They gave them enough of a boost to actually see who was playing on stage! – Liz McGuire

You might also want to check out:

Austin City Limits Festival Parent Survival Guide
With everything from what to put in your MomGyver bag to DIY port-a-potties, here’s pretty much every detail. This is a must-read if you’re heading to Zilker one of the next two weekends.

Getting to ACL
Taking the bus, parking, Cap Metro? What’s your plan? Read these tips first.

Kid Time vs. Grown-up Time
Sure you want the kids to have a good time, but you really, really want to hear your favorite band. Here’s some tips on how to balance out the experience.

Many thanks to Nicole Basham for sharing this post from LiveMom. You can keep up with LiveMom’s coverage of this year’s festival on their blog and over on Facebook, Twitter, their ACL 2014 Pinterest page and Instagram.