Going Ahead with ACL Festival is Ignorant and Irresponsible


Charles Reagan Hackerman

The continuation of this year’s Austin City Limits festival is beyond risky, and it should be canceled or postponed. Photo courtesy of Charles Reagan Hackerman.

Mallory Milner, Reporter

The day the 2021 Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival lineup was released, I was ecstatic. I had just received all two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and life seemed to be gradually becoming more normal every day. However, that seemingly hopeful pocket of time in early summer was interrupted by an abrupt new crisis – the Delta variant.

As of now, Austin is considered to be in COVID-19 stage five according to Austin Public Health (APH), bringing extreme surges in infections and hospitalizations. An event such as ACL would drastically worsen the state our city is already in. Keep in mind that an estimated 450,000 people attend the festival each year. In the midst of the pandemics’ rage, it is terribly irresponsible to attend the ACL music festival, and I urge everyone to stay home safe. After all, it is up to us to protect not only ourselves but for others as well.

The Delta variant, the current predominant strand of the coronavirus, began its rampage in early June. The variant is far more deadly and infectious than what we had dealt with before, and unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals can be infected. We are all at risk, and we all can spread the virus to others, vaccinated or not. I can’t even imagine the surge we would see after this massive event takes place.

If ACL is not going to be canceled, it should be limited to vaccinated individuals. Not only would this make the event far safer, but it would perhaps inspire people to get vaccinated as well. As of now, the event is open to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Despite their higher risk of receiving and spreading the virus, unvaccinated individuals can attend as long as they have a negative COVID-19 test. This can go wrong in so many ways. With tens of thousands of people attending, it is very likely for people to get COVID-19 right before the festival or for a vaccinated person to spread it to others. Going ahead with this year’s festival “as usual” is beyond risky, and it should be canceled or postponed.

Stevie Nicks, singer for the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac and one of the greatest anticipated artists in the 2021 lineup, recently backed out of the festival due to COVID-19 concerns. Stevie Nicks should serve as a role model to all of us, and this act should send some kind of message to the ACL committee.

“These are challenging times with challenging decisions that need to be made,” Nicks said in a statement. “I want everyone to be safe and healthy, and the rising Covid cases should be of concern to all of us.”

We all want the pandemic to end, and we want to go back to normal life at some point. With this hope in mind, this year’s continuation of ACL is extremely irresponsible and ignorant. In order to create a brighter future, steps such as avoiding city-wide events like this can make all the difference while we wait for the worldwide pandemic to end.