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Construction starts on a new layout for the ACL Music Festival

Construction started on Monday on one of eight stages that are part of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. (Photo: Bettie Cross)

The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) is taking over Zilker Park. Construction started on Monday on one of eight ACL stages. The number of stages is the same as previous years, but the festival's layout is being completely reworked.

Changes in 2017 include shifting several stages on Zilker’s Great Lawn and relocating one from the north-side of Barton Springs Road to the south-side. The area that was used for the ACL Fest Box Office will be incorporated into the main festival grounds. It will host a main stage as well as food and bar vendors. In addition, a third entrance gate is being added on Barton Springs Road.

The new ACL layout will make the two weekend festival an even bigger presence for businesses along Barton Springs Road.

Cody Rogers does whatever it takes to keep 350 bikes on the road. In addition to fixing flats he is the lead tour guide for a bike shop that sits just outside Zilker Park and the ACL Music Festival.

“It's going to be busy. Most of these bikes are rented out,” said Rogers.

Cody bikes up to 27 miles a day taking tourists on tours. He says ACL's new expanded layout to the south-side of Barton Springs Road has forced Barton Springs Bike Rentals to reroute tours that leave from the shop three times a day.

“It will be rerouted due to the new layout. I'm looking forward to it though because it will be a little less legwork for me,” Rogers laughed.

Across the street at the Mighty Cone food truck workers are hoping a bigger ACL will be better for the festival and all the businesses around it.

“We're willing to give anything a shot, absolutely,” said McCaily Cranna.

Cranna has worked at Mighty Cone since 2002. After all these years she knows Barton Springs can't handle more traffic congestion and less room to park. But for now she's withholding judgement on the potential impact of ACL's layout changes.

“I don't know. We're going to have to wait and see. It's the first year and we need to see how it goes,” said Cranna.

The ACL layout changes are designed to improve crowd flow and reduce sound bleed from one stage to another. ACL runs for two weekends on October 6-8 and 13-15.

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