Despite 108 Degree Temp: Austin Rocks

by clorenz1 | September 27, 2005 at 07:06 pm | 523 views | add comment

The sea of umbrellas at Zilker Park on Sunday had nothing to do with rain and everything to do with beating the heat, as festivalgoers braved a record-setting 108-degree day to attend the final day of the sold-out Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Those without umbrellas sought refuge in whatever shade they could find, doused themselves with water and ate plenty of ice cream.

"We're like cows migrating under the trees," said Adriana Cantu, an Austin resident whose preferred cooling method involved lots of water and shade supplemented with shaved ice two times a day.

Lines were longest in front of concession stands that specialized in cool treats: Sweet Leaf Tea, Sun Garden Shaved Ice, Best Lemonade and Amy's Ice Cream.

"Pretty much anything cold is doing well," said Kori Blankenship, manager of an Amy's Ice Cream booth. Mexican Vanilla was the top selling flavor, but Oreo wasn't far behind, she said.

While conditions were brutally hot and dusty for fans, who crowded aboard the precious few slivers of shade like shipwrecked passengers on a raft and tied neckerchiefs over their faces like kids playing stagecoach robbers, the accomodations for artists were relaxing and luxurious. The Artists Lounge, where bartenders served free drinks until late in the night, was a hub of hangout.

John Bell of Widespread Panic said one of the best things about his band's first appearance at the ACL fest was the way artists were able to interact and see the other performers onstage. "In other festivals you're stuck in your dressing room all day," he said Saturday. ACL's fenced concourse and fleet of golf carts and trams allowed the acts to see whomever they wanted during down time.

The schmoozing also had good results for fans, especially when Robert Randolph joined Panic on Saturday night for a scorching version of Robert Johnson's "Stop Breaking Down."

More than 200 people had stopped by the South West Emergency Action Team's medical tent by 5 p.m. Sunday, said team leader Tannifer Ayres. Most of the ailments were either heat- or asthma-related, thanks to the sizzling sunshine and dusty haze that enveloped the concert-goers.

No one needed to be taken to the hospital, but a few people decided to go on their own or with friends, she said.

"People are probably hydrating as best they can; it's just really hot," Ayres said.

But the extreme conditions did not seem to affect attendance for the festival's finale. And the crowd was calm, with no arrests reported Saturday night or Sunday during the day, said Sarah Russ, ACL spokeswoman.

"We've gotten great feedback," she said. "They love the fest, but they would like us to turn the temperature down a bit."

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September 27, 2005 at 07:06 pm by clorenz1, 523 views, add comment

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