Austin's first (and certainly not last) year as an X Games host was successful, to say the least. The weekend delivered—by hand, foot, two and four wheels, via ramp, a mighty stellar observation tower, by grass and amphitheater—a remarkable lineup, optimal weather (albeit a bit humid, though it's June in Texas), and back-to-back action sports that kept everyone dancin', taking illegal dips in the venue's pond, and on the edge of their seats.
Night one was particularly epic when the lawn crowd took over the empty section of seats and the GA floor section in one perfect, organic unison—an EDM-sparked (nonviolent) stampede that may have been one of the most exciting moments I've watched. The fire marshall muted Dillon Francis's performance while determining that it was, in fact, a friendly takeover. Then the grooves resumed following a personal thank you from Francis, certainly grateful for the energy his beats led to. Pretty Lights threw down another colorful DJ set with his always impressive light show, closing out the first night, with a pit full of very happy fans.
Mac Miller and Kanye West owned night two, prompting an impressive number of #YEEZUS hashtags floating around the Interwebs. On the action sports side of X Games Austin, Big Air seemed to be a crowd favorite, with skateboarders flying through the air, backdropped by a setting Hill Country sun. The kicker for locals, however, was Austin-native Chase Hawk taking home the gold medal in BMX, which was a perfect closing to the sports section of X Games before an epic final round of music.
And Austin's very own Gary Clark Jr. played Sunday afternoon, followed by a wacky, rockin' Flaming Lips performance that, as expected, wasn't shy on production. Confetti showers, spandex muscle suits, inflatable woodland creatures that must've been imagined on psychedelics, tinsel coats and a slew of other colorful, creative and crazy stage additions—all to be expected by the vibrance of Wayne Coyne's creativity who let the crowd know he'd partaken in some "really fuckin' cool sports that day" [go-carts].
All-in-all X Games Austin was an absolute hit, and locals imagine it'll be a recurring event at Circuit of the Americas. I'm pretty sure consensus says the event is welcome back as well. COTA and the city should chock that up as a win. And next time—let's hope they set that badass ramp up in front of the Capital on Congress Avenue for a pre-party that kicks the weekend off right.
-Ashley M. Halligan