Music for the masses

ACL Music Fest sets the stage for epic return with must-see performances for weekend one

ACL Fest sets stage for epic return with must-see acts for weekend one

Doja Cat
Doja Cat takes the Lady Bird Stage Saturday evening.  Doja Cat/Instagram
Black Pumas
Austin's own Black Pumas perform this Friday at the fest. Black Pumas/Facebook
Phoebe Bridgers
Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers plays the fest Saturday afternoon. Phoebe Bridgers/Instagram
Doja Cat
Black Pumas
Phoebe Bridgers

Calling all music fans. Austin City Limits Music Festival is here! Double-check the festival’s COVID-19 safety protocols and then jump below for 10 non-headlining acts (and our daily headliner picks) that you don’t want to miss during the fest’s first weekend, October 1-3.

By the way, check back with CultureMap next week for our weekend two music picks.

Friday, October 1

Nané, 1 pm, Lady Bird Stage
Nané will kick off ACL Fest this Friday afternoon on the Lady Bird Stage. Part soul, part indie rock, and thoroughly fun, this Austin band is poised to be one of the breakout acts at this year’s festival.

Claud, 1:45 pm, VRBO Stage
Phoebe Bridgers has more than just her own music at ACL Fest. She also has Claud, the first signee to her record label, Saddest Factory. Fans of hooky indie pop would be wise to catch Claud’s set this Friday on the VRBO Stage.

Tkay Maidza, 5 pm, T-Mobile Stage
Coming in hot from Australia, it’s singer/rapper Tkay Maidza. With a slew of high-concept songs that showcase a versatile sound, she’s sure to have one of the more interesting and engaging sets at the festival.

Black Pumas, 6 pm, Lady Bird Stage
If you weren’t able to attend the band’s multi-night run at Stubb’s in Austin recently, then this weekend is your chance to finally indulge in the soulful sounds of Black Pumas. The oft-championed Austin act will play this Friday evening on the Lady Bird Stage. They’re opposite Megan Thee Stallion, but you should still expect a big crowd.

Headliner pick: George Strait, 8 pm, Lady Bird Stage

Saturday, October 2

Phoebe Bridgers, 4:20 pm, Lady Bird Stage
Considering just how popular Phoebe Bridgers has gotten in the last year or so, it’s hard to believe she’s playing in the afternoon and not at night at the fest. In any case, the singer-songwriter will perform this Saturday on the Lady Bird Stage. Expect the crowd to know every single word from her acclaimed 2020 album, Punisher.

Doja Cat, 6:20 pm, Lady Bird Stage
Fresh off hosting the 2021 MTV VMAs, it’s the always entertaining Doja Cat. If you’re on the hunt for what’s sure to be a colorful performance, don’t miss this singer/rapper, who has skyrocketed from viral sensation to superstar in the last year. Watch her perform this Saturday on the Lady Bird Stage.

Dayglow, 7:20 pm, VRBO Stage
Dayglow (aka Sloan Struble) is an Austin-based indie pop artist, and his ACL Fest performance is happening this Saturday evening on the VRBO Stage. With one of the year’s best singles, “Close to You,” in his repertoire, his set will definitely be a dance-worthy good time.

Headliner pick: Billie Eilish, 8:30 pm, Lady Bird Stage

Sunday, October 3

TC Superstar,  2:15 pm, Tito’s Stage
Electronic act TC Superstar recently released a very good album titled As Seen On TV, and now they’re following it up with a weekend-one-only appearance at ACL Fest. If you want to dance or would at least like to just observe the band’s plethora of dancers, don’t miss their set this Sunday afternoon on the Tito’s Stage.

Tierra Whack, 7:30 pm, VRBO Stage
Tierra Whack, the rapper and R&B star behind the acclaimed album Whack World, will play the fest this Sunday evening on the VRBO Stage. This will surely be an inspired, creative set.

St. Vincent, 7:30 pm, T-Mobile Stage
The goal was to avoid schedule conflicts in these recommendations, but with St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) only playing weekend one of ACL, she warrants a mention here. She takes the stage this Sunday evening. She’s got a ton of material to choose from, but the songs off her 1970s-inspired new album, Daddy’s Home, should sound particularly great at Zilker Park.

Headliner pick: Duran Duran, 8:30 pm, Honda Stage