Thousands Pour In For Start of Austin City Limits Music Festival

(KXAN) - Thousands of music lovers poured through the gates and into Zilker Park on Friday for the start of the 2013 Austin City Limits Music Festival.

The music started at 11 a.m. as the festival kicked off the first of two weekends, a first for the festival.

"It's crazy," Greg Sokolosky said of the event. "This our fourth or fifth ACL we've been to (in a row)...our daughter comes too, it's just one big family affair."

According to the City of Austin, about 40percent of fans attending the festival are from Texas, most coming from Houston. Of those coming from across the U.S., California brings in the most.

Last year, ACL raked in more than $102 million dollars for the city. The city hopes adding a second weekend will equal double the economic impact.

" I dare say if we didn't have these events our citizens would have to pay more in taxes to get the same services," mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

The city says C3 Presents, the company putting on this big party has spent more that $7 million dollars since 2006. The money went to improving, renovating and restoring the park after undergoing a lot of wear and tear during the festival.

Temperatures Friday climbed into the 90s, presenting problems for some festival-goers who had to be treated for heat-related illnesses.

Austin-Travis County EMS have motorcycle medics on standby. Crews started planning for the event six months ago and have an area set up at the park with the supplies they need to treat minor injuries on site.

"We run ACL like a city within a city, so we minimize the impact to the 911 system," said Cmdr. Wesley Hopkins with ATCEMS. "We come self-sufficient with power, water, fuel, so our assets can take care of the patrons, get them to the hospital so they get better and can come back and enjoy the show another day."

While there is a lot of medical manpower, emergency crews can only do so much. They're counting on music fans to be smart, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and find shade whenever possible.


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