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ACL Brings Big $$$ To Austin

Updated: Friday, October 4 2013, 06:25 PM CDT

ACL is one of Austin's biggest money makers. Friday is the first day of the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Three days, eight stages, 130 bands and for the first time Austin is hosting the party for two back-to-back weekends.           

Almost 75,000 people a day will crowd into Zilker Park making the impact of ACL stretch beyond those 46 acres. Outside of Zilker Park, the primary economic impact zone stretches for about a mile and a half. That's where out-of-towners are sleeping, eating, drinking, and buying all things Austin. 

Norm Wieland and his band of ACL veterans know where to go, what to do and how much each of them will spend. 

"Probably $800 or $900 total," said Wieland. 

That's the average amount each out-of-towner spends over the three day weekend. The $800 does not include an ACL wristband. But, it does include --- 

"Beer. Waterloo Records. We always stop in there," said Wieland. 

ACL is an easy sell. 

"I think the music and festival business has become an industry of its own in Austin," said Angelos Angelou.   

Angelou Economics researches ACL's impact on Austin. Last year the festival injected $102 million dollars into the economy. This year, with twice the number of days, the impact isn't doubling, but Angelou says it's very significant. 

"We estimate about 70 percent increase in the economic impact," said Angelou.

That adds up to $175 million and the Bicycle Sport Shop, near Zilker Park, expects to get a piece of it. Stephen Pierce is renting bikes to a lot of out-of-towners. 

"We purchased 30 extra bikes just for ACL," said Pierce. "We are super busy." 

In past years about 50 percent of the ACL music fans were from Austin. This year, with two weekends, the number of locals has dropped. 

"37 percent of attendees are from Austin and the rest are coming from outside. So great increase in the number of visitors to Austin," said Lisa Hickey, C3 Presents Marketing Director. 

Visitors like Norm Wieland, who just arrived from Colorado.  He's setting up for his 10th anniversary at ACL. 

"I recommend it to everyone I know who's into music," said Wieland. 

Businesses aren't just getting a big money bump this weekend and next. Quite a few of the bands, as well as some fans, are making a long week of it. They're sticking around all next week enjoying the city while they wait for round two of ACL.

By Bettie Cross

ACL Brings Big $$$ To Austin

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