Day 2 – 2004

If you’ve never lived in Austin, let alone visited here, it’s hard to explain why people from Austin love it so much. I usually get blank stares when I try to describe all of Austin’s wonders. They just don’t get it. They say, “What does Austin have that (insert your city here) doesn’t?” I could name off a bunch of my favorite restaurants, trails, stores, neighborhoods, drives, and still it just doesn’t explain it. So here I am sitting down to tell you all about our second day here at the festival, and to be honest, it was sooo Austin. Andy and I found a sweet place to park down by Zach theater, which is off Lamar, very close to where I used to live. We could have taken the trail along the river all the way to Zilker Park (the festival location), but we decided to head up to Restaurant Row and have lunch at Chuy’s. Restaurant Row is also known as Barton Springs, and Chuy’s just happens to be my absolute favorite Aus-Mex. We actually zipped in (its usually standing room only), had our chips and salsa (standard at most Austin restaurants, no matter what they serve), and ordered our favorite meals. Chicken soft tacos for me and Deluxe Chicken Enchiladas for Andy, and don’t forget the margaritas.
Anyway, then we headed down to the festival. Scores of people were walking down Barton Springs… or riding their bikes. You should have seen the number of bike racks set up for bicycles. You wanna talk bike friendly? It’s a cyclists dream come true! But I digress. The music was fabulos today! We saw a little of Cat Power, then headed over to the SoCo Art area to buy a couple of hats… we bought cowboy hats to keep the sun off our face and neck. While we were there, we stopped in the Gospel tent for a little “revival.” I heard two acts, one of which was called Shield of Faith. They were pretty good! Tony told us the Old 97’s would be good, so we went back up to the Cingular stage to hear them. They defienetly had a rock/western sound to them. I liked it! Anyway, we also saw The Gourds, which are very Western sounding… kind of like western bar music… Modest Mouse (they were good, but their stuff started to sound all the same afer the first few songs), My Morning Jacket, and Dashboard Confessions (neither of which impressed me much). We chilled until the Pixies show. We got up close to the stage for that one, and stood there waiting, with people crowded all around for a hour. Then the Pixies came out, and the energy was intense! I forgot about time and just felt the music. It felt like the show was too short, but they were something to see. I’m so glad we came… because really, the Pixies show is why we bought tickets in the first place. I think it was the same for a lot of people. I can not even come close to describing how MANY people were at the show. There had to have been 100,000. Seriously. There were so many people at the festival, Andy and I eventually gave up trying to go to other stages to see bands, we just sat where we were, because there were too many people to move through. We didn’t eat dinner, and avoided the lines to the bathroom as long as we could (EEWWWWWW). But you know, for that many people, the event was really low-key. Everyone was friendly, cool, and in control. Now that’s uniquely Austin. And leaving tonight… wow. The mass of people walking down Barton Springs was something you just don’t see everyday. Andy and I cut off from the main goup to take the trail back to the car. As we walked across the footbridge, we glanced over at the Barton Springs bridge, and it was really amazing to see so many people walking across it. It was a beautiful night, walking back along the trail, with the Downtown skyline visible across the river, and the UT (University of Texas, not Tennessee) tower shining off in the distance.
As you can imagine, we’re wiped. We both suffered from headaches today… mine from not eating when I should have, and Andy’s from caffeine withdrawal…I’m going to finish up this post and crash. We’ll do it all again tomorrow.