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Is the ACL Fest 2010 line-up too alt?

2010 May 18

After a week of line-up leaks and rumors, the official 2010 Austin City Limits Festival lineup is finally here. The Eagles ARE playing. Lady Gaga is NOT playing. And once you get past the pachouli-soaked Phish (I just can’t get into them. They’re like a dirtier Dave Matthews band. Sorry.), it’s a pretty solid line-up. In fact, it might be the most alt line-up in ACL history-something entry-level alts, mainstream alts and the hardcore Altty McAltAlts can all enjoy. To quote someone from my Facebook feed: “This might be the first ACL I ever go to.”

To be honest, when I heard some of the leaked bands, I thought the line-up was gonna suck; however, tons of the bands playing at ACL this year have dropped or are about to drop some of my favorite albums of the last 6 months, including MIA, Yeasayer, Foals, The XX, Matt and Kim, Two Door Cinema Club and Edward Sharpe. Alt faves Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem and The National will also be playing. All this is overshadowed by the mega-mainstream alt acts like Muse, The Strokes, Flaming Lips and Spoon. (For the record: I still kick myself for missing Muse and Flaming Lips at previous ACL Fests!). Oh, and did we mention Sonic Youth!

Noticeably absent are alt darlings MGMT and She and Him. There also don’t seem to be any hip-hop acts this year. Kinda expected to at least see Kid Cudi.

The people who are blasting this line-up may not be familiar with all the acts YET.  For me, I’m glad there are fewer mainstream alt bands and more emerging-ish bands. My iTunes playlist is happy, and I think by the end of the summer, people will know a lot of the bands on the line-up. Check out my preliminary ACL Fest 2010 picks here. How do they match yours?

Who are you most excited to see at ACL this year?

Who were you surprised to see on the official lineup?

Anyone missing that should’ve been on the ACL lineup?

Do you think MGMT’s new album just wasn’t cool enough for ACL?

Does Zooey Deschanel’s mainstream past make She and Him not quite alt-enough for ACL?

Did Mos Def ruin ACL fest for hip-hop stars by being too blazed to show up on time and/or sing at 2009′s ACL Fest?

Will you sell your tickets because Shakira didn’t make the 2010 line-up?

BTW: For a full breakdown of the alt landscape, check out Hipster Runoff. Here’s their interpretation of festival concert goers:

Who do u see when u go 2 Music Festivals?

Who do u see when u go 2 Music Festivals? (via

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010

    I’ve been a little down on the lineup and rumors, but then I realize that it’s going to be fun regardless. I’m not particularly looking forward to the heavy-hitters (Phish, The Eagles, Spoon, etc).

    I’m definitely excited for Deadmau5, The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, The National, Broken Bells, LCD Soundsytem and a slew of others. I hear you though, I would have liked a hip-hop act or two.

  2. May 21, 2010

    When did the term “Alt” come back into play? Alt to what? Crappy music?

    • May 21, 2010

      I like to use the word “alt” in the way that has been popularized by Hipster Runoff. It’s a sort of tongue-in-cheek way to lump all the indies, alternatives, etc into one category to show that it’s all basically the same. “Indie” or “hipster” or whatever is just the “alt” of the twenty tens. And apparently it seems to piss off the indie kids.

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