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How Austin City Limits Food Vendors Responded to Rain and Flood Damage
A VIP area at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, flooded after heavy rains this weekend.

When Sunday of this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival was canceled, concert promoters were widely congratulated for finding alternate venues for many of the day’s headliners.

But what about another collection of festival talent: the food vendors that kept crowds fed?

While Sunday headliners Atoms for Peace rocked a capacity crowd after a last-minute rescheduling – and Lionel Richie played for a lucky, select few – there were no rebookings for the nearly 40 food vendors at ACL’s Austin Eats food court. Instead, vendors were left to rely on their wits alone to salvage such a potentially devastating blow.

How bad was it? You’ve seen the pictures of Zilker. And while the food court didn’t take the worst of the flooding, Chef David Bull of Second Bar and Kitchen posted this video to his Facebook page, showing the damage wrought by the storms:  

Here’s how three food court vendors responded:

  • Korean-Mexican fusion foodies Chi’Lantro lost mainly paper products like napkins and cardboard boxes – but they didn’t have an easy time.

Chi’Lanto’s Jae Kim waited until noon today for pumps draining about a foot of water to salvage. “The weight of the water destroyed the that tents we had,” he says. “We moved everything inside the secure tent ACL provided for us.”
ACL attendees will receive a partial refund for their tickets, but Kim doesn’t expect vendors will receive anything. “We understand it’s the nature of our business,” he says, adding “overall, [ACL] was a huge success.”

  • Coolhaus salvaged its ice cream by putting it on dry ice overnight.

The central food court areas flooded more than its edges, says Coolhaus manager Caitlin Close. Luckily for them, Coolhaus was on the southwestern corner.
When I got there, they had vacuumed out a foot of water about 20 feet behind our area,” Close says.

  • Daily Juice distributed at the festival and from its homebase in downtown Austin. The storm affected business at both locations.

Taylor Channing, who manages the downtown location, saw damp spirits and few travelers at their brick-and-mortar store.
“It definitely slowed traffic,” Channing says. “I was thinking we’d probably get a little more business because traffic would be diverted from Zilker.”

Still, all three vendors agreed ACL’s two-weekend expansion boosted business despite the rain out. “They are hardcore fans,” said Kim. “We do it for them on a rainy day.” 

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