TBT: Hurricane Rita almost puts hold on ACL 2005

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Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Two years ago, heavy rains caused Austin City Limits to cancel the final day of festivities. But in 2005, when a Category 5 hurricane hit Texas, the show went on.

That same year, The Daily Texan staff writer Patrick George wrote an article concerning local Austin meteorologists’ and students’ worries about the hurricane named Hurricane Rita. The National Weather Service anticipated 65 mph winds and flooding would hit Austin on the Friday of ACL.

Joe Arellano, the National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio meteorologist, said in the article that severe weather conditions on Saturday would not be conducive for any type of outdoor events, especially with large groups of people.
Daily Texan staff writers Adam H. Covici and Craig Whitney wrote in a second article that Hurricane Rita overshadowed much of the excitement about ACL. Many residents were coping with issues such as shortages of gas and water as a result of Hurricane Rita.

“Gas and water sales have spiked,” Covici and Whitney wrote. “The 7-Eleven on 26th and Guadalupe ran out of gas Wednesday. HEBs all over the city are struggling to keep their shelves full of water.”

Mark Higgins, the director of ACL’s producer, Capital Sports Entertainment, wasn’t concerned about cancellation and didn’t foresee the hurricane affecting attendance.

“People are fired up about this,” Higgins said. “Rain didn’t hurt attendance back in 2002.”

As ACL approached, Rita reached Category 5. George wrote that students were left in suspense, debating whether they should buy tickets. In the article, studio arts freshman Sarah Jane Jornayvaz, said she might change her mind about attending if the weather was too bad.

“I wouldn’t go if it flooded,” Jornayvaz said. “I love music, but I’m not that hardcore.”

The day before the festival began, ACL coordinators announced the festival would go on and Austinites rushed to buy their tickets that Thursday night. The festival featured performances by Coldplay, Spoon, Arcade Fire and the Black Crows. Staff writer, Avimaan Syam wrote an article about Arcade Fire and their success as performers.

“Arcade Fire’s tour in December is what’s caused their name to spread like wildfire across the country,” Syam wrote. “With reports of their rocking shows ranking up there with cat’s pajamas.”

The festival ended with a performance by Coldplay who had just released their latest album, X&Y. Staff writer, Tito Belis wrote in an album review that their new record differs from the meticulous nature of past records.

“Coldplay’s third full-length album is intended to solidify the band’s place within the upper echelon among the finest music makers of our time,” Belis said. “Coldplay has undeniably created an album suitable for the arena and festival circuit of 2005.”