In Austin and elsewhere, Facebook albums are published, the voices of local disc jockeys hit the airwaves and (sigh) blog posts invade the public domain—all offering first-hand accounts of the splendor of the 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival. The euphoric memories of humans swaying in unison to today’s trendy and triumphant tunes still linger in our brains like a hangover. Finding amateur reviews of the festival’s performances, the weather, the food, the art, it’s easy. No, it’s beyond that. It’s so abundant it has become hazardous. But what of the fashion?

Yes, ACL is as much about what you wear as who you see. A person’s chosen outfit (or lack of one) immediately places them in one category or another.

Fringe boots, a more-formal-than-appropriate dress and a braided headband—that spells sorority girl. Shirtless, hair-free chest with some kind of abstract flora tattoo? That’s premature hippie dude.

Some go further to make a fashion point than others; take the poor man’s Kid Rock (yes, there is a poor-man’s Kid Rock) or the woman in purple fury boots, bikini and fairy wings who entertains onlookers with yoyo tricks (those clothes say “probably on heavy drugs”). In a place with as much people watching as ACL, it’s easy to make judgments based upon the threads and fibers on the backs of passersby.

And who’s to say it’s a bad thing?  The people (and fashion) watching opportunities unquestionably enhance the festival’s atmosphere, and ACL is as much about the atmosphere as it is the music. Cliché? Maybe. Corny? Definitely. But at the end of the day, fairy wings or no, the festival is about welcoming the differences (fashion included) that make us unique and enjoying the music that brings us together.


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