Austin City Limits Lineup History & Past Performers

Austin City Limits is a famously popular music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas over the course of two weekends in October. With 17 years of performances under its belt, the festival now features an array of genres and artists from country music to hip hop to electronic. Austin is an eclectic city and ACL follows suit by covering all the bases when it comes to live music. And it’s gotten so big that the festival even has two spin-offs happening across the globe in New Zealand and Australia – Auckland City Limits and Sydney City Limits.

With over 140 acts, this year’s lineup in Austin is sure to be just as exciting as years past – maybe even more! – but before we get into what’s happening in 2019, why don’t we reminisce a little? Here’s a look at some of the highlights of Austin City Limits lineups and past performers since 2002…

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Austin City Limits Lineup 2002 – The First!

Ahh, the inaugural year. The first-ever Austin City Limits featured performers that displayed its Texas country and bluegrass roots as well as its alternative, indie, jam band, and mainstream potential. ACL 2002 featured five stages and 67 bands – not bad for a debut festival with no resume! Fans saw artists like Ryan Adams, Cross Canadian Ragweed, G. Love and Special Sauce, Pat Green, Emmylou Harris, Los Lobos, Nickel Creek, Robert Randolph, The String Cheese Incident, and Wilco. The success of the downtown Austin festival ensured it would live to see another year.

Austin City Limits Lineup 2004

A couple years later, attendance at Austin City Limits grew to a record 75,000 attendees on the second day of the now three-day festival. Neighborhoods surrounding the area complained about capacity but it was clear that its coordinators were onto something big. With eight stages, 130 acts, and tickets selling rapidly, fans flocked to see Ben Harper, Cake, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Dashboard Confessional, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Jack Johnson, The Pixies, Reckless Kelly, Slightly Stoopid, and more. ACL alumni like Ryan Adams, G.Love, and Wilco were there again too!

Austin City Limits Lineup 2007

2007 continued to be a big year for Austin City Limits. The event had already racked up acclaims like Pollstar’s Festival of the Year Award back in 2005. This time, however, wasn’t without its issues. They encountered difficulties when Amy Winehouse and The White Stripes canceled their appearances in the headlining spots. But if fans were disappointed, they quickly recovered with performances by the superstar that is Bob Dylan, as well as Muse, Bjork, Wilco, The Killers, and Arcade Fire up on stage as headliners over the three days of the festival. The Arctic Monkeys, Indigo Girls, Robert Earl Keen, Queens of the Stone Age, Ziggy Marley, Spoon, and Amos Lee also performed… along with over 100 others.

Austin City Limits Lineup 2011

During ACL’s 10th anniversary, it pulled out the big guns for headlining acts. These three days included Kanye West, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, and Manu Chao. Over the previous few years, Austin City Limits had started to take on more and more rap and electronic artists in addition to the country and rock niche it began with. Festivalgoers saw artists like Cee Lo Green and Big Boi alongside Pretty Lights and Skrillex. And fans had their pick of the soulful sounds of Alison Krauss, Sara Bareilles, and Brandi Carlisle in addition to the indie grooves of Bright Eyes and punk rock jams of Social Distortion.

Austin City Limits Lineup 2013

This was the year the Austin City Limits got too big for its boots and busted out a lineup that would span across two weekends to reach more fans than ever before. Of course, not every act can commit to two separate festival dates, though most of them gave it their best shot. 2013 featured The Cure, Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar, Eric Church, Wilco, Jimmy Eat World, Kaskade, Tame Impala, Lionel Richie, and a returning favorite, Muse. Unfortunately, a massive downpour of rain canceled Day 3 of the second weekend. Hey, ya win some, ya lose some!

Austin City Limits Lineup 2017

In 2017, it was clear that Austin City Limits was determined to cater to fans from all walks of life. With headlining acts like Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Killers alongside Chance the Rapper and Gorillaz, they also covered their bases when it came to Top 40 tunes and radio favorites. Ryan Adams returned, and so did Spoon. Ice Cube showed up, as well as The xx, Solange, Foster the People, Portugal. The Man, OAR, and Run the Jewels, and oh so many more over the course of the two weekends.

Austin City Limits 2018 – Last Year’s Lineup!

Last year’s Austin City Limits turned out quite a crowd with yet another diverse and exciting list of headliners, including the legendary Paul McCartney and Metallica, as well as the Texas rapper Travis Scott, electronic duo Odesza, rock band The National, and the English, indie Arctic Monkeys. Childish Gambino canceled due to an injury, but it’s safe to say the crowd was still pumped with a lineup featuring Nelly, Justice, CHVRCHES, Khalid, Hozier, Father John Misty, Janelle Monae, St. Vincent, and more. Lil Wayne even came to fill in on the second weekend of the 2018 festival! Not a bad fallback option, right?

Wanna hear what we think about the 2019 Austin City Limits lineup? It’s packed with so many big names that people are calling it one of the best in years! More on that in another post

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