Almost There: My Digital ACL Festival Experience

Categories: Digitalia

Knowing what's happening at a major music festival is easier than ever. Bloggers post daily recaps, people tweet updates round the clock, and Instagram provides a world of images for those that can't afford to make the trip.

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Even better are the live video streams that many of the major festivals have started to provide. From the live stream that brought the world hologram Tupac at Coachella to the stream that allowed my friends to see this humble blog writer rocking out to Big Freedia at Fun Fun Fun Fest, these streams take the festivals into the digital realm and turn them into a global celebration.

If you were following Rocks Off over the weekend, you've seen our on-the-ground coverage of the Austin City Limits Festival. While Craig, Brittanie, and Marco did the real work covering the show in person I decided to take a look at what the ACL experience was like for those who could only make the trip through the Internet.

FRIDAY

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Not the best start to the streaming experience.

1:30 p.m.: There are technical problems right at the start of the day. After enjoying a few minutes of First Aid Kit on channel 1, I decide to switch over to channel 2 to catch a bit of He's My Brother, She's My Sister. While the band look good I have no idea how they sound; channel 2 is mirroring channel 1's audio. Maybe someone at YouTube just really likes First Aid Kit.


1:43 p.m.: The singer from First Aid Kit yells out, "this goes out to freedom of speech and Pussy Riot!" The live stream goes down seconds later. It comes back just as the song is finishing. That certainly was an interesting technical difficulty;- I'm sure more conspiracy-minded individuals think it was on purpose.

4:32 p.m.: Finishing up my work day while listening to Tegan and Sara. The feed looks good other than the occasional bit of pixilation and but the sound leaves much to be desired; not only is it pretty low but the band is mixed weird. I can't complain too much: it looks hot outside and I'm sitting in the A/C listening to "Hell". This is pretty much a win for me.


8:09 p.m.: A decision to experiment with streaming the fest through my phone and into my car radio leads me to driving home while listening to Florence + the Machine. The feed takes a while to load but once it does it's sturdy. Without the video, it's glorified radio but that doesn't stop me from taking the long way home so I can listen to all of "Shake It Out."


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