After two days of hanging around mostly with Miss Mary Mack at the Austin Kiddie Limits stage (not to mention the Family Music Meltdown 2), I thought it was important that she experience some other genres of music in other parts of Zilker Park. So after getting to the park after noon, we went over to the AT&T stage on the east side of the park to catch Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck. I thought she might dig the violin and banjo action. It was also early enough in the day that I felt like I could put her on my shoulders without offending the people behind me (because, at 12:30, I could still get close enough to feel, well, close, even at the back of the non-chair-sitting crowd). Washburn has spent a number of years in China, and so when she sang Chinese folk songs in a bluegrass arrangement, it didn't sound anywhere near as pretentious as you might think reading that description. In fact, it sounded, well, cool. But by about halfway through their set, we were getting hungry, so we left as the quartet riffed their way through "Eleanor Rigby."
I was a little disappointed that we never took advantage of the WaMu Tent's shade and gospel leanings at points earlier in the festival, but after snagging lunch at the Food Court next door... and a minute here to digress and praise the Food Court. Unlike many food courts at festivals and fairs, the Food Court at ACL is chock-full of high-quality local favorites -- I had some Stubbs' BBQ on Friday and had a Hudson's on the Bend wrap Sunday. Miss Mary Mack had a hot dog. And we got some kettle corn -- but organic kettle corn -- for dessert. The food is overpriced, of course, but not horribly so. And the selection is tremendous.
Anyway, we got our food and listened to the Southern soul of Nakia and His Southern Cousins for about 30 minutes until Miss Mary Mack wanted to head back to the Austin Kiddie Limits area, so we made our way aroudn the beach (volleyball courts) in time to hear most of mr. RAY's set (fairly similar to his set the day before) and then the Jimmies' set (who had I think a couple different songs in their set). The crowd might've been ever so slightly smaller than Saturday's crowd, but it was still pretty packed in their under the tent. And bringing beach balls and shakers and free t-shirts to fire into the crowd? Kids' music gold, I tell you. (For those of you wondering about the new stuff the Jimmies played, based on what I heard, I think the new album will be every bit as good as Make Your Own Someday.)
After the Jimmies' set, Nicole Atkins and the Sea stopped by. She sangs three songs accompanied minimally by a couple of bandmates and a couple kids making animal motions during her rendition of the folk standard "The Unicorn." That song was followed by her original "Brooklyn's On Fire" (meaning, fireworks on the Fourth of July) and showed off her incredible voice on her cover of "Dream a Little Dream."
Finally, the Paul Green School of Rock All-Stars came out and played some classic rock, a lot of which was recorded before 90% of the crowd (and 100% of the band) was even born. But by that point in the afternoon, I had listened to maybe 23 hours of music in a 50-hour time span, and Miss Mary Mack had listened to maybe 16 or 17 hours. We were at our limit.
Well, that and we had to get to the airport because our flight was leaving in 3 hours.
We had a blast this year, more so than last year (maybe because of last year), but I need another day or two to process everything into a nice, tidy summary post. Look for more ACL Festival 2008 stuff throughout the week. And thanks for reading.