ACL 2014's 10 Best Moments: Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Matthew McConaughey & More

Austin City Limits 2014 -- Iggy Azalea
Erika Goldring/FilmMagic

Iggy Azalea performs at Zilker Park on October 4, 2014 in Austin, Texas.  

2014 marked the second year that Austin City Limits stands as a two-weekend festival, and round one (which wrapped on Sunday, Oct. 5) featured larger crowds in Zilker Park and more bass drops than ever, thanks to the noticeably larger influx of dance/electronic acts on the bill this year.

In fact, there were seven acts on the lineup that fell under the EDM umbrella (as opposed to 2013, where it was basically just Kaskade). Artists like Major Lazer and Zedd got crowds moving in the early evening hours, while Calvin Harris and Skrillex found themselves in headlining slots, shooting lasers across the night sky opposite Eminem and Pearl Jam who delivered dazzling sets on opposing stages. The lineup provided contrast to the high-BPM energy as well, as more easygoing acts like Sam Smith and Lana Del Rey also found themselves with prominent time slots and large, appreciative crowds.

The only thing ACL attendees seemed to talk about more than how dense the crowds were this year was Ebola, which was a constant topic of between-band conversation considering that a) an Ebola sample from the Dallas patient was being tested in an Austin laboratory, b) Ebola spreads by sweat and c) the U.N. and the C.D.C. admitted that the virus could go airborne, all in the days leading up to the festival. Nonetheless, festival attendees arrived in droves and weren’t afraid to interact w/ their fellow revelers as Austin was treated to sunny skies and some of the best bands on the festival calendar. Here’s a roundup of our 10 favorite moments from the weekend.

MORE ACL: Live Photos | Iggy Azalea, Lana Del Rey Dazzle

1. Diplo Runs Over the Crowd in a Hamster Ball

Major Lazer played the RetailMeNot stage at 7:30 PM on Saturday and, as usual, brought their insane energy to the stage. Diplo and Switch played many of their hits from their recently released record Free the Universe, with some Rae Sremmurd “No Flex” Zone” mixed in for good measure. And then this happened -- need we say more?

2. Sam Smith Chills Austin Out

Major Lazer and their fellow dance acts brought major beats to ACL 2014, artists like Lana Del Rey, Real Estate and Jhene Aiko brought more laidback vibes to Zilker Park and delighted crowds with tranquil, soothing sets. Leading that pack was U.K. crooner Sam Smith, whose wonderfully delivered set had a massive audience singing along to hands-in-the-air ballads like “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not The Only One.”

3. Matthew McConaughey Drops By

Alright, alright, alright!

4. Outkast Fans Show Austin How to Shake It

Is there a better way to instruct a crowd to “shake it like a polaroid picture” than to have an entire entourage of femme fatales on stage showing how it’s done? Like their previous festival appearances this summer, Outkast brought a bevy of babes on stage to help perform their classic hit, “Hey Ya!”

5. Jack Ü Surprises With Kiesza

The Skrillex spaceship has descended upon many festival grounds this summer, but when it landed in Austin, it arrived with a few stowaways on board. Towards the end of Sonny’s set, Diplo (having just wrapped his set with Major Lazer an hour prior) appeared to introduce buzzed-about newcomer Kiesza, who sang live over the trio’s collaborative track “Take Ü There,” which was followed immediately by her own hit “Hideaway.”

Kiesza, Skrillex and Diplo backstage at ACL

6. Eminem Scores an Encore

With an impressive video intro and a background set to match, Eminem’s headlining set on the Samsung Galaxy stage was one of the most impressive of the weekend, with Marshall Mathers running though his decades of hits. It’s rare for festival acts to receive an encore, but the rabid audience stood firmly in place after Em’s set, chanting his name until he re-emerged to play “Lose Yourself.” And the crowd did just that.

7. Steve Buscemi Sign Trumps All

There were a lot of awesome signs, flags and banners brought in by festival-goers to serve as landmarks in the sea of people. This creepy re-imagining of Steve Buscemi’s face served as one of the most memorable.


 Steve Buscemi Sign

8. Iggy Azalea Helps ACL Go Pop

Mainstream pop music doesn’t always have the biggest presence at summer festivals, but Iggy Azalea brought one hell of a show to the Texas crowd. Complete with twerking backup dancers, the chart-topping rap diva drew a huge audience and dropped a collection of upbeat jams– including her no. 1 singles “Fancy” and “Problem” -- on a crowd that spat back every lyric w/ her animated vocal inflections in place.

9. Chromeo Brings the Funk

Girls were on shoulders as Chromeo’s neon legs lit up the RetailMeNot stage for the duo’s 7PM set. The pair cycled through many hits from their newest album, White Women (a fitting name for the audience that evening), along with classics like “Tenderoni.”

10. Did Someone Say Free Haircut?

Floyd's Barberbus rolled into the ACL artist area and offered VIP attendees free haircuts backstage. Because a 3-day music festival is no excuse to be shaggy.

ACL Haircut Station


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