While procrastinating on working on film edits for my journalism class this past spring, I see a post on Facebook about the new Austin City Limits lineup. The previous years’ lineup didn’t impress me and I was over the whole scene of thousands of sweaty people huddling together to hear an impersonal show, but I quickly let go of my hate for festivals when I saw The Strokes were headlining. I got so emotional I didn’t know if I should cry, run, scream, jump so I just stared at the screen in disbelief. Why this band of five New-Yorkers means so much to me, I don’t know but I just instantly dropped $250 and had to eat Ramen and my roommate's leftovers for the next few weeks. ACL finally arrived this past weekend and I had spent months mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the experience. I also knew I had to camp out all day and witness The Strokes from front row. And I did.
7PM on Saturday: Zyrtec is delivered to my door because I’m lazy and needed the allergy medication because I knew my allergies would be insane at the park and my asthma was going to freak out and I couldn’t die before the show I've been waiting months for.
3AM on Sunday: Stumbled into my apartment already regretting how much alcohol I consumed. Set 20 alarms spaced out every 2 minutes from 5-6.
5:40ish: Wake up to the second to the last alarm
6AM: “Belicia you idiot” is what I thought to myself as I realized time moved forward so now I have to rush because my phone clock was off and while I thought it was 6am it was actually 8 and I planned on arriving at 7:30am.
8:30 Kill two bowls of cereal, put on the an outfit I think would provide cool vibes but still be comfy enough to withstand the festival. Applied face glitter to represent the sparkles and happiness I was feeling on the inside. Decided against wearing my usual blue-wig because I didn’t trust the other insane people who would destroy it within the first 10 seconds the show began.
9AM: Walk to the nearest 7/11 for two water bottles because dying of dehydration and leaving my spot to get water didn’t sound attractive. Called an Uber as soon as I got there and he picked my up shortly.
9:30AM Tried not screaming at my Uber driver as he made casual small talk and was not visibly rushing, did he not know I have two tattoos dedicated to The Strokes and would die if I wasn’t as close as possible?
9:48AM: Dropped off at the Uber/Taxi drop off station, get hit on at 10AM by creepy employees directing me where to go.
9:51AM: Walked about a mile but finally made it to the line for the entrance and met up with my classmate in Italian who I’ve never talked to before. I overheard him talking about camping out so I invited myself to his waiting party for The Strokes
10:30AM: Every single person was talking about Julian and how we hope he’ll be his usual carefree self and forget the lyrics or screw up a song.
10:59AM: Everyone started getting antsy as the security started lining up. I unzipped my fanny pack to make security checkout quick and made sure the cereal bars I was sneaking in were properly taped under my shirt.
11AM: The Star Wars theme song blared and everyone dropped whatever they were talking about, cleared through security, hastily scanned their way in, and bolted to the Samsung Galaxy stage
11:01AM: “Oh dear god why are there people recording us running?? I look like an idiot when I run. I swear I have chill and am not insane. Wait I am insane but don’t care because I need to see The Strokes.”
11:02AM: “Yeah this run is further than I thought, I’ll speedwalk it from here.” Made it to the front and smack down in the center.
12:52PM: Jedinna started the stage and they killed it. I was sweating in my crop top but here these suave guys rapping in colorful suits with mad beats and slick coordinated dance moves. Definitely woke us all up.
1:44PM: Built trust with those surrounding me and the place wasn’t too crowded so I decide to risk it and refill my water bottle. Made it back safely.
2:32PM: Lord Huron played next and were not impressed. They were the usual generic folk/rock band that tried too hard to seem cool. I sat down through half their set to conserve my energy and nap.
3:46PM: While waiting for Ben Howard I could hear Halsey from the distance and sadly sang along to “New Americana” and “Hurricane.”
4:28PM My friend says it’s funny how insane Mexicans are about The Strokes. I then realized everyone around us looked Hispanic or talked with a thick accent and a dude behind me was waving a Mexican flag so I guess he’s right. VIVA!
4:31PM: I do my best during Ben Howard’s set to grab pictures of Jensen Ackles (Dean of Supernatural) standing in the VIP section because I’m an intense Supernatural fan and was not vibing with Ben Howard’s set. Ben also left early without letting his bandmates know and left them confused, weird.
4:55PM Zyrtec is starting to wear off. I clutch my inhaler and hope my lungs hold out for the rest of the day.
5:50PM: 7 hours had passed and all of us waiting together formed a small community at this time. Spots were saved, food trips were made, and we all started sharing snacks and water. This guy named Jorge drove from Phoenix when his neighbor gave him the extra ticket just the night before. Mad respect for Jorge.
7:20PM: “Hey I know this song!” Monsters and Men close with their hit song, Little Talks, the only song I recognized.
7:29PM: Water source has been depleted throughout our little community but The Strokes were the next band so no chance we could make it in and out of the crowd. We must stay strong.
7:43PM: Fab’s drumset is brought on stage and everyone goes insane. Many around me have been Strokes’ fans their entire lives and finally get to see them. All chill was lost.
8:40PM: They were 10 minutes late and if I didn’t love them so much I would have been angry, instead we were all terribly anxious, most have waited since childhood for this moment
8:43-10PM: The most magical, uncomfortable, surreal hour of my life. They all oozed such cool vibes that I could only dream to achieve. Julien’s raspy voice made the 10 hour wait worth every minute, Nick’s and Albert’s guitar-shredding skills killed me, and Fab’s drumming is still ringing in my ears. I slightly cried during “You Only Live Once,” their best song. The Strokes played an exhilarating show and were everything I dreamed of and more. Their entire setlist was the Is This It album with some other album songs sprinkled in the mix. They left us after an intense play of “Take It or Leave It” where I received a bruise on my neck from the elbow of an over-excited fan.
10:05-?: I floated to the car doing my best to process the show.
October 7th (Present): The Strokes have ruined my life for the second time since their last show in New York’s Governors Ball, I still can’t listen to their songs without getting emotional.