My ACL 2011: Part 1

This year’s ACL festival was a little different for me. I had bought my tickets months and months prior, and was stressing out over how the weekend was going to go – would we plant like the years prior? Would we wander around and get to see exactly what we wanted, but not from the front row? Would I screw up my water input/output ratio and actually have to use a Port A Potty instead of my body efficiently processing everything I took in? There are so many questions… music festivals are NOT easy.

Then, things changed. I came across a contest sponsored by Gizmodo and RadioShack. A friend, Kenneth, filmed me acting like an ass, then cut it together for me so it would meet the one minute max limitation for the contest. Then I waited. And I stressed… but then I won! RadioShack sent me a sweet prize package including an HTC Evo 3D, 2 Enercell battery packs, an iPod Touch, an iPad2, a few pairs of headphones, and a few other treats, all wrapped up in a Targus backpack. So, yeah. I was thrilled. In addition to all those things, RadioShack and Gizmodo would also be hooking me up with 3 days of VIP passes for ACL and a 3 day pass for a friend to come along with me. I’d be tweeting and taking photos for @RadioShackLIVE, and writing a short blog each day for the Radio Shack blog. What?! Yessss, my moment in the sun was here! Granted, it was a smallish sun, with a limited audience, more like maybe a large terrarium than a sun actually, but still so much more sun than I had before (which was none). I would finally be a celebrity! Ok, not a celebrity, but people might kinda know who I was. Or, they would know after I told them… maybe. Well, probably not. But anyway, I was pumped. I snagged Kenneth along for the ride and we took off to Austin.

Thursday night, we arrived at the Sheraton around 8:30pm. We checked in, took our bags up, then headed straight back downstairs to the hotel bar. The bar was between the front door and check-in desk, so it was a perfect place to people-watch. We commented on nearly everyone who walked by as we drank our rum and whatevers (with lime).

“She looks like a bitch. Just look at those shoes.”
“Are tassles in your hair a thing now? What exactly is happening on her head?”
“Is that Gallagher?”

No, seriously. I’m pretty sure Gallagher stopped over in a cushy chair in the hotel lobby to chat on his phone for a bit. I made a trip to the front desk to “get a map” so I could get a closer look. I’m pretty sneaky. From what I saw, he still looked like Gallagher, with frizzy grey hair and one of those hats. I still wasn’t sure, so Kenneth became the sneaky one and “went to get some water” from the water thing near Gallagher, then “went to get another map.” Ok, maybe we’re not that sneaky. Anyway, verdict: maybe it was Gallagher. Still unsure. But maybe.

After a few more rum and whatevers (with lime) and a little bit of bar food, we left the now-crowded hotel bar and headed up for a solid night of sleeps before we had to do a full day of ACL the next day. I was excited to sleep in… but apparently I had the “Christmas morning” nerves and woke up bright and early at about 8:30am. D’oh. Kenneth and I headed downstairs for breakfast, since we had hours to kill. The breakfast bar was alright for a free breakfast… except that it wasn’t free. If I had known prior to getting a bill that this breakfast was costing us $12 each, I probably would have eaten most of their bacon. The eggs were watery like they had been rinsed off before being put in the dish… ew. Anyway, after our brief bout with breakfast-induced sticker shock, we walked the 8 blocks to the Hilton where we’d be meeting my handlers, Alix and Paige. They were sent by RadioShack to be my handlers, more or less, making sure my tweets and photos weren’t about lady bosoms and drugs and being drunk (at least while I was tweeting on the RS account… my personal account continued to deliver that information to the masses). Alix and Paige were both delightful and fun to have around… they had become my only “what if” factor of the weekend. WHAT IF they sucked? WHAT IF they were real sticks in the mud? WHAT IF THEY DIDN’T THINK I WAS FUNNY!? Well, they were great, so no problems there. They handed me the Verizon phone I’d be tweeting/photographing with (HTC Thunderbolt) and we hopped a cab to Zilker Park. To say I was excited about the upcoming days is understating drastically.

To be continued.