AU ABROAD

Austin heads to Auckland as the first ever Auckland City Limits is confirmed for March 2016

As the Austin City Limits Music Festival kicks off today in Austin, Texas for the first of two three day weekends, it has been confirmed that the brand will be moving to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, set to run Auckland City Limits as an all age, one day event on 19th March 2016.

The event will carry over many of the elements of the Austin event, though in a reduced capacity - at least for its first year. The event will be held for just one day, instead of three, and the event will feature 40 artists over 4 stages. But it will carry over a lot of the great aspects of the event, too. Like its Austin counterpart, ACL will focus on a variety of genres and feature "Auckland Eats", a gourmet food area featuring a variety of Auckland's best food, curated by Chef Che Barrington.

The festival will also have a kids event within the festival called Auckland Kiddie Limits, which kids 10 and under can get into for free with a ticketed adult, making this a truly family affair - a major point of difference between most events of its kind in the region. It is also set to be affordable. Tickets will start at $99 through a presale offered by joining their newsletter at http://www.aucklandcitylimits.com/.

So, why Auckland?

ACL happening in New Zealand is important for a few reasons. Firstly, it's the first time the ACL brand has been adapted in a new city - which could signal that C3 Presents, who runs the festival, could be using the city as a testing ground for other events around the world - including Australia - as they've been doing recently with their Lollapalooza brand in South America and most recently, Berlin.

Western Springs Stadium and Park will host the event, as they did the Big Day Out before it, and it's important to remember that C3 were the company behind the BDO in its final years. Auckland's 2014 Big Day Out was one of the most successful dates on the run that year, so it makes sense that they'd try and kickstart the brand there - it's also a city that will serve the US dollar well.

What about Australia?

C3 have repeatedly said they would try and bring the Big Day Out brand back to Australia, with many suggesting that would happen in 2016. It's clearly not happening now - at least not to its original schedule. But what has changed since those original comments is that Live Nation now have a 51 percent share of the company, meaning its fate is now in the hands of the international juggernaut.

If ACL is successful in Auckland, we wouldn't be surprised to hear of a similar event announced for Australia later in 2016. Whether that's ACL, Lollapalooza or Big Day Out though is anyone's guess. But in the same breath, who says that just because something is happening in New Zealand means that they need to also come to Australia? It would be interesting in itself to see something happen in Auckland that doesn't happen in Australia - if people are willing to fly to Byron for Splendour, shouldn't they be willing to fly to Auckland for a great festival? It's often cheaper, depending on where you're flying from.

And who will play?

Like the Big Day Out in 2013 and 2014 before it, it's easiest to look into the bands who have played C3 events like ACL and Lollapalooza across 2015. Often, a company like C3 will secure a band like a Foo Fighters or a Sam Smith for a selection of their festivals all at once. They did it with Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Big Day Out, and one would assume they will do the same here. So you'll likely see a mix of bands who have played their events, will play their events in the future and of course, some local Australian and New Zealand content to round it all out. The line-up announcement date has yet to be revealed, but follow them on Twitter to be the first to find out.

Stay tuned to the AU for all the latest on ACL - both in Austin and in Auckland - and for more details head to their official website: http://www.aucklandcitylimits.com/