As Saturday morning rolled around, it was immediately clear that the energy was electric in Austin that day. Not only was it the biggest and most attended day of the festival that weekend, but UT Austin’s homecoming game was also held just a few miles North as countless Austinites either split their time between the two events or had their phones out to watch the game in the crowd as the Longhorns hosted the Oklahoma Sooners. Festival Goers channeled all of this passion into their commitment to enjoy the day, which was full of its own highs and lows, and familiar faces onstage to almost all who attended.
The second day of the festival opened with a fright as Brooklyn R&B singer Yaya Bey’s set was cut short. Performing early in the afternoon just as the sun began to beat down on Zilker Park, she was able to get through only a couple of songs before ending her performance prematurely. As she visibly struggled through her first few songs, she commented to the audience about the heat. Within a few minutes, she stopped performing mid-song apparently struggling to catch her breath before her bandmates called nearby medical staff over and she was rushed off stage. Although she did not return to complete her performance, she thankfully was treated and all seemed fine in the end.
The mood immediately elevated as Mt. Joy took the main stage for one of the most uplifting feel-good performances of the weekend. In the minute before the set, a timer onstage counted down from 60 seconds, prompting artists Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper to take center stage alongside the band and calmly start the set with their 2018 hit “Sheep.” Quinn entertained the crowd’s excitement early on, proudly stating “We’re going to try and play as many songs as we can before they kick us off.” This promise was more than delivered as the group played what felt like their whole discography including “Jenny Jenkins,” “Strangers,” and the titular single from their newest album “Orange Blood.” Quinn’s vocal resonance was put on full display as his vibrato synced incredibly with the band’s instrumentals during “Astrovan.” Eventually winding down to a close, the group closed out their set in a true kumbaya moment as they played themselves out with “Silver Lining.”
In one of the most stimulating performances of the weekend, Thirty Seconds to Mars put on a show that truly raised expectations for what was to come. In the moments before the show, a voice came through the speakers counting down from 60. As the audience’s anticipation grew, the voice ended its countdown as it echoed “32-31-30-30-30 Seconds to Mars.” From there, frontman Jared Leto appeared atop the stage to begin singing “Walk on Water,” his presence absolutely captivating, before bungee jumping down to the stage. The band played their hits from a range of decades including throwbacks like on of their first hits “Attack” all the way to inviting up-and-coming country artist Calder Allen onstage to perform one of their most recent singles “Seasons” with the band. Leto’s generosity in providing everlasting memories did not end there, as he then invited all the photographers onstage while he performed the anthem “The Kill (Bury Me)” for which all were overwhelmingly grateful. As the performance began to wind down, Leto’s Dallas Buyers Club costar and all-around Texas spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey, appeared onstage to help close out the set with “Closer To The Edge.”
As the night drew to a close, rock icons Foo Fighters closed down the mainstage in triumphant fashion. Starting the show promptly at 8:00 pm sharp, the band gave the audience the show they deserved as they opened with “All My Life.” After performing a plethora of hits, Dave Grohl chose to acknowledge those close to him, bringing up that it was his manager’s birthday stating “I’m not going to sing him that happy birthday shit,” and instead electing to dedicate their performance of “My Hero” in his name. Grohl got emotional before the band performed “Aurora,” dedicating the song to their late drummer Taylor Hawkins, stating that it was his favorite song that the two had written together. Elevating the mood, the frontman had some jokes. “I hate to say goodbye, so I wont!” Grohl joked with 20 minutes to go in his set. Acknowledging the average age of their fans, he again quipped “If you don’t know the words, just look at that minivan-driving motherfucker next to you.” before playing their 1997 throwback “Monkey Wrench.” In a welcome surprise to the audience, the band brought up a very special guest, Shania Twain, to perform alongside them during “Best of You.” The show ended on a high note, as the band played “Everlong” as the night drew to a fulfilling close.
With full hearts, the audience left Zilker Park with nothing but high hopes for what might come to close out the festival the next day.