By Matthew Budkofsky
This Thursday, Austin City Limits organizers announced attendees will need to provide proof of a Covid-19 vaccination or a printed copy of a negative Covid-19 test.
The negative test will need to be obtained within 72 hours of the festival, currently scheduled for October 1st through October 8th. While attendees may show proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination instead of proof of a negative test, the vaccination is not required to attend the festival.
The announcement comes in lieu of Texas Governor Greg Abbott — currently in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 — issued an executive order barring mask and vaccine mandates in the state. The governor also threatened the liquor license of any establishment or concert venue that institutes mandates. However, many establishments, businesses, and school districts have defied the governor’s executive order, especially in light of the state’s dire ICU situation.
Organizers said information about masking will be released closer to the festival dates. However, because Zilker Park is City of Austin property, the mayor’s office says it does currently fall under Mayor Steve Adler’s current mask mandate. His office says it cannot predict if that order will still be in effect by the time the festival rolls around.
“The City of Austin continues to work with organizers to ensure proper protocols, and measures are being taken to protect individuals attending events from COVID-19,” a City spokesperson said. “We need people to determine their risk of attending any event or gathering. Under Stage 5, we strongly encourage those who are high-risk or partially/unvaccinated not to attend events as they are most vulnerable. For those who do attend events, being vaccinated and wearing a mask are the best ways to protect you, your family and your community.”
In addition to the Covid-19 announcements, ACL released it’s daily performance schedules for both weekends. You can see the complete schedule here. This year’s lineup is set to include George Strait, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion, Machine Gun Kelly and many more. In recent weeks, DaBaby was removed as a headliner due to homophobic remarks he made at a recent music festival. He was replaced by Tyler, The Creator.
The updates come as Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in the Austin area. As of Wednesday, August 18th, the 7-day moving average for new hospitalizations in Austin-Travis County is 76. An average of 601 people are hospitalized as of Wednesday. Austin is currently in Stage 5 of the area’s risk-based COVID-19 guidelines.
Austin music fans have proven eager to return to Zilker Park for an in-person ACL Fest this October after over a year of isolation. When three-day general admission tickets first went on sale, the first weekend sold out in an hour. Both weekends were sold out by the end of the day. Five days later, single-day tickets were released and completely sold out in less than two hours. ACL officials said the 2021 festival sold out all tickets in record time.