ACL Backstage: A 360° Experience

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

Taking fans behind the scenes of the 43rd season of Austin City Limits.

About the project

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 Cyndi Lauper to Ray Charles. After decades of captivating performances, 2017 marks the 43rd season of the weekly series, distinguishing it as the longest-running music television program in the world. 

To celebrate this major milestone, our team at SubVRsive partnered with the ACL crew, Google, and Apple Music to bring fans of the show ACL: Backstage; a 360° music documentary series that tells the story of the musicians, the crew, the city, and the fans that make it all possible. With unparalleled access, this VR series gives an up-close look at some of the season’s most iconic performances and takes viewers backstage to hear from the artists before they step under the lights at Austin’s famous Moody Theater.

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


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

Episode list

S01 E01: Ed Sheeran

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. Watch now.


S01 E02: Zac Brown Band

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. Watch now.


S01 E03: 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. Watch now.


S01 E04: Father John Misty

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. Watch now.


S01 E05: Run the Jewels

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. Watch now.


S01 E06: Shinyribs

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. Watch now.


S01 E07: Dan Auerbach

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. Watch now.


S01 E08: 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. Watch now.


S01 E09: 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. Watch now.


S01 E10: Spoon

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. Watch now.

ACL: Backstage - Ed Sheeran
ACL: Backstage - Ed Sheeran

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

ACL: Backstage - Ed Sheeran Poster

Ed Sheeran by Andrew Vastagh.

ACL: Backstage - Zac Brown Band Poster

Zac Brown Band by Southern Reel.

ACL: Backstage - Unsung Heroes Poster

Father John Misty by Sasha Barr.

ACL: Backstage - Unsung Heroes Poster

Run the Jewels by Jermaine Rogers.

A conversation with Director Nathan Christ and Producer Ty Root.

ACL: Backstage - Google Daydream

How to watch

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.

ACL: Backstage - Camera operator
ACL: Backstage - Behind the Scenes
ACL: Backstage - Guitar

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