From rock to hip-hop, a playlist in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival 2023

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs stand in front of a yellowed wall

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Photo: Jason Al Taan

Beginning Oct. 6, music fans from all over Texas and the country will pour into Austin’s Zilker Park for the 20th time to revel in the Austin City Limits Music Festival. (The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 iteration.)

As usual, a panoply of A-list artists will be spread across eight stages, three days and two weekends. The first weekend runs Oct. 6-8, and the second weekend runs Oct. 13-15. There are slight variations in the line-ups from the first to second weekends — Shania Twain is a Saturday headliner during weekend one, while The 1975 takes that slot on weekend two — but an abundance of great music no matter which weekend you visit.

There are also plenty of North Texas-bred talents making the trip down I-35: Abraham Alexander, BigXThaPlug, Angel White, Ben Kweller and Jimmie Vaughan will appear during the two weekends of the 2023 ACL Music Festival.

Whether you’re making the trip to Zilker Park, or will be livestreaming the performances via Hulu, here are five can’t miss acts.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Oct. 8 and 15)

The New York-formed trio surged back to life with 2022’s Cool It Down, earning praise for their foundational, art-damaged post-punk as well as Karen O’s landmark role as a dynamic lead singer whose work inspired a generation of acolytes (such as Jenny Lewis, Grimes, and Sharon Van Etten).

Kendrick Lamar (Oct. 6 and 13)

Arguably one of the most influential rappers and singer-songwriters of the last 15 years, the Compton-born Lamar has built a formidable body of work (honored by the Grammys and the Pulitzers alike), the most recent entry being 2022’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Jessie Ware (Oct. 7 and 14)

The evolution of powerhouse London vocalist Jessie Ware has been a subtle one, but over the course of the last decade, she’s moved from the austere beauty of her debut, 2012’s Devotion, to the freewheeling disco pleasures of her latest LP, 2023’s That! Feels Good!

Ethel Cain (Oct. 13)

One of the more arresting singer-songwriters to emerge in recent memory, Florida native Hayden Silas Anhedonia — better known by her stage name, Ethel Cain — has transfixed critics and audiences alike with her emotive, ambient folk-rock of the sort found on her 2022 debut, Preacher’s Daughter.

Foo Fighters (Oct. 7 and 14)

The Dave Grohl-led sextet, still recovering from the sudden, shocking loss of drummer Taylor Hawkins in March 2022, is slowly returning to live performance, in support of its emotionally charged new record, But Here We Are. Already an extraordinary live act, these sets will undoubtedly be poignant highlights each weekend.

The 2023 Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park, Austin. Oct. 6-8 and Oct. 13-15. Tickets for both weekends are still available.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.