ACL Backstage: A 360 Degree VR Experience | Subvrsive


Brands: Google, Apple Music, Austin City Limits | Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.



Creating a 360° Experience for Austin City Limits


Since 1974, the legendary PBS music show, Austin City Limits, has captured intimate performances from some of the world’s most beloved artists, hosting everyone from Willie Nelson to Lauryn Hill to Ray Charles. After decades of captivating performances, 2017 marked the 43rd season of the weekly series, distinguishing it as the longest-running music television program in the world.

To celebrate this major milestone, we partnered with the ACL crew, Google, and Apple Music to bring fans of the show a 360° music documentary series called ACL: Backstage.

The Idea:

Create an immersive documentary experience to accompany the 43rd season of Austin City Limits.

The Work:

Our crew filmed ACL concert footage, artist interviews, the local Austin music scene, and more to create the first-of-its-kind 10-episode series.

The Result:

A 360° music documentary series that tells the story of the musicians, the crew, the city, and the fans that make Austin City Limits possible.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.


10 Unique Stories

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E01

Ed Sheeran in ACL: Backstage

It’s Ed Sheeran’s second Austin City Limits performance, and since he first took the stage in 2014, his career has skyrocketed. Now, multiple Grammy wins and three platinum records later, Sheeran reflects on his signature style, die-hard fanbase, and what it means to be authentic in the modern music industry.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E02

Zac Brown Band in ACL: Backstage

Three-time Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum artists Zac Brown Band make a stop on their 2017 Welcome Home Tour to grace the ACL stage for the very first time. Sit backstage with the tight-knit band as they chat about ACL’s rich history, and join them onstage for their lively show.

S01: E03

ACL: Backstage – Unsung Heroes

Many of the crew members of Austin City Limits have been working the show for decades. Hear them recount classic ACL stories and explain the ethos and philosophy behind what makes the show so popular among musicians.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E04

Father John Misty in ACL: Backstage

Josh Tillman returns to ACL for the first time under the moniker Father John Misty, bringing with him the largest on-stage ensemble of the season. In this intimate episode, Misty reflects on his role as an artist while living in perilous times.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E05

Run the Jewels in ACL: Backstage

Hip hop superstars Run the Jewels hit the ACL stage with an explosion of socially conscious lyrics and slamming beats. In this episode, rappers Killer Mike and El-P talk about preaching unity in an increasingly polarized country.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E06

Shinyribs in ACL: Backstage

Shinyribs embodies the essence of “Swamp Pop,” a genre of music that promises a wild night. Their music not only sparks a surefire party; it is a celebration of true regional music in an increasingly homogenized culture. In this episode of ACL: Backstage, Kevin Russell (aka the Pavarotti of the Piney Woods) brings down the house with his soulful big band.

Photo courtesy KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits. Photo by Scott Newton.

S01: E07

Dan Auerbach in ACL: Backstage

Dan Auerbach travels to ACL with a motley group of Southern rockers as his backing band, including legendary session players the Memphis Boys. Dan reflects on the legacy of ACL, the Austin-Nashville connection, and the pleasure of working with his musical idols.

S01: E08

ACL: Backstage – Austin Music Scene – Old School

The Continental Club in South Austin is one of the last vestiges of a bygone era. Its longtime resident icon Dale Watson is up on the stage banging the gavel every week in service of pure country music, sometimes playing 4 hours at a time. Here Dale and Continental owner Steve Wertheimer ruminate on the importance of original songwriting, cultural preservation, and chicken shit bingo.

S01: E09

ACL: Backstage – Austin Music Scene – Homegrown

Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World not just because of SXSW and ACL. It’s the grassroots local musicians who put in the hard work week after week. In this episode, visit a backyard show with local bands Wild Child, Dana Falconberry, and Folk Uke – daughters of Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie.

S01: E10

Spoon in ACL: Backstage

When you’re Spoon playing in front of a passionate crowd at Stubb’s, you better bring your A-game. Watch exclusive footage of Spoon bringing the house down at this hallowed venue and get a deeper glimpse into the Red River music scene.


A Conversation about ACL: Backstage

“ACL: Backstage gives viewers a truly immersive look into what goes on behind the Moody Theather stage doors. The idea is to transport people to these roped-off places and give them an intimate look at the inner workings of the show. And that’s what VR is really all about – immersing people in places they’d usually never get to go.”

– Ty Root, Producer, Subvrsive


See for Yourself


Season One of ACL: Backstage is available for free on ACL’s YouTube channel. Viewers can watch via web, mobile, or for the best experience, with a Daydream View headset.