Photo by Melanie van Leeuwen

The scene of Austin City Limits is absolutely fanatical every single year, and 2017 was no different. People danced till their feet hurt and yelled lyrics until their lungs couldn’t take it anymore.

For many, ACL is the highlight of their year! But have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes? What do the inner workings of a festival that massive look like? Feel like?

Well, I can tell you. After six years of attending ACL as a concert goer, I spent this year behind the fence, working.

As an 18-year-old, I was by and large the youngest employee, at least that I ended up interacting with. ACL itself has so many employees that there is no way you could manage to interact with even half of them before the two weekends are up!

Personally, I worked for Platinum, which means I was a host to the guests who paid upwards of $3,600 per ticket. This ticket included a Platinum Viewing Area right up close to the stage, a Platinum Lounge with air conditioning, an open bar, and catering done by a different celebrity chef each day.

I, however, was a Viewing Area Host, meaning I did most of my work up near the front of the two main stages, catering to the every need of the guests, and catching as much of the concerts as I possibly could.

Sounds pretty cushy, right? It was… but it also wasn’t at the same time.

We arrived around 8 a.m. every morning and would work through about 11 p.m. most nights. During the shifts, movement was almost constant, running from stage to stage to stage, helping guests and solving whatever problems arose.

I would be on my feet for so long that they just went numb, and I was so exhausted at points that I felt like a zombie running off caffeine…

But then there was the upside. You get lost in the moment during the shows. Sure, I was working very, VERY hard, and I almost never sat down… but seeing acts such as Milky Chance, Ice Cube, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Vulfpeck, Jay Z, The Killers, Gorillaz, and Chance the Rapper from about 15 feet from the stage made it feel weird to be accepting money for the work. In my mind, that was pay enough!

I shared a moment with Chance the Rapper (my favorite artist) during his song Sunday Candy, and I was so happy my world shattered. Hard work aside, I’d say it was a pretty great gig…

Also I met Matthew McConaughey.

(For real.)

Written By Jaxson Thornton, Editor-In-Chief