Backstage Pass to Austin City Limits: Weekend 1 Recap

Deep in the heart of Texas lies one of the most vibrant and longstanding live music traditions in all of the world.

Austin, for Texas natives, has been known for decades as the “live music capitol of the world” and that has never been more evident than it is during the two weekends of Austin City Limits (better known as ACL to festival goers).

During the two weekend long event, Product of Society was able to secure a backstage pass to all of the festivities and we want to provide a guide to enjoying the endless supply of entertainment and help maximize the unique live music experience.

Best Performance

Due to the timing conflicts of some of the shows we forced ourselves to check out a wide variety of artists across all musical genres.  What we found is that no one over the three day festival provided a more energized performance than Chance The Rapper & Social Experiment.


This group of innovative and extremely talented musicians brought a stage presence and energy to the crowd that could be visibly seen from the other side of the festival grounds (held at Zilker Park in downtown Austin) and let to rave reviews from longtime Chance fans and newbies alike.

Product of Society also caught up with Peter Cottontale, one of the two esteemed producers and musical influences that drive Chance’s musical output as well as Social Experiment as a band.  Both he and Nate Fox can be seen swinging their hair, jamming out in support of their friend Chance on practically any stage you see him on!

Much love and respect to Mr. Cottontale (who is notoriously known for his love of bunny rabbits & carrots) and the rest of the Social Experiment band for providing a great set and being so kind to talk with us backstage post show.

Breakout Artists

Every year their are a few artists that stand above the rest and truly “WOW” their audience in the process.  This year, it was easy to see that both Sylvan Esso and Glass Animals did a fantastic job of this.  Both artists have captured a unique sound and use a mix of awesome production and unbelievable vocals to attract fans who may have not ever heard of them.

Glass Animals did an unbelievable cover of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown” while Sylvan Esso blessed the crowd with terrific cuts from their only project thus far.  Check out a short clip of Sylvan Esso on our Youtube Page!  Until then, check out a live set they recently performed to give you an idea of how talented the duo of Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn truly is.

Honorable mention in this category goes to Vince Staples who took the stage only hours after losing a close “brother” to a drug overdose but still put on an awesome performance and even worked in some #BlackLivesMatter messaging, which we respect!

Drake, Shakes, The Weeknd and more!

Of course, months ago we covered The Alabama Shakes at Coachella and couldn’t stop raving about their performance (check out that review here).  The band has since blown up and took the stage this past weekend to a considerably larger crowd in Austin.  They did not disappoint and have even developed an established stage presence that comes with the experience of performing in front of thousands on a consistent basis.  Shoutout to the Shakes!

Backstage Access ACL Weekend 1
Backstage Access ACL Weekend 1

The Weeknd put on a set that solidified his status as a pop/R&B superstar doing his greatest hits from his classic first mixtape House of Balloons as well as his latest hit album Beauty Behind The Madness.  The Canadian born vocalist has truly become a worldwide phenomenon and there isn’t a critic or music blog that can make a legit case against it.

And finally, Drake…. Drake is Drake ladies and gentleman.  At this point, if you’ve not had a chance to see the man perform, you need to!  Drake commands the audience in a way that is very different from any artist of our generation, and when he calls out (arguably) the hottest artist in the game to the stage to perform a few cuts off their new mixtape, it obviously takes the energy to another level.

Thats right,  Drake brought out his collab partner Future to perform a few solo tracks in addition to the What a Time to Be Alive   tracks the two artists hyped the crowd with (most specifically Jumpman)  these two are on a roll and their performances at ACL did nothing but throw another log on the fire.


All in all, the festivities around Austin are some of the best around and we would encourage anyone with passion for music, entertainment and an overall amazing atmosphere to make a point to be in attendance next fall!