Keep Austin Dancin': Austin’s 10 Must-See Music Festivals

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3 things we happen to love: shoes, music, and Austin, TX (our hometown). So...we wanted to highlight some of the best music festivals in Austin, Texas that take place over the course of each year. We recommend wearing Fortress of Inca shoes to all of them...

Listed in no particular order:

Keep Austin Weird Festival

With a motto like “Embrace the WEIRD in you…”it’s hard to pass this one up. The festival is a quintessential commemoration of the quirkiness that is Austin. It grows with each coming year and cultivates a sense of comradely among people from all walks of life. In terms of music, this year’s lineup will include acts such as Twin Forks, Riders Against the Storm and Austin’s very own Uncle Lucius. As an added bonus, guests are encouraged to dress up in wacky costumes for a chance to win free ice cream for an entire year. What could be better? (Free shoes, of course!)

Pachanga Fest

Pachanga Fest explores all things Latino. Its mandate is to immerse Austinites in Latin-based musical talents, dishes, and artistic showcases. Pachanga demonstrates how these wonderful things have impacted and shaped mainstream American culture. Festivalgoers have the privilege of experiencing genres such as mariachi, electronic funk and alternative (among many others). They also have access to the hottest after-parties at discounted rates. It is interesting to note, Pachanga has put a twist on the traditional VIP ticket system by introducing the VIT (Very Important Taco) Pass. This package includes all-inclusive tacos, alcoholic beverages and a salsa bar. Muy beuno! 

Batfest

The main event involves, you guessed it, bats! And not just any bats for that matter. As the official flying mammal of Texas, the Mexican free-tailed bat generates an impressive amount of attention at this festival. Each year, over a million are released from under the Ann Richards Bridge while audience members enjoy live performances from a wide array of bands and artists. Last year’s festival was a star-studded event as Pete Yorn and J.D. King performed together in their musical duo called The Olms. Best of all, Batfest is sprinkled with an element of unpredictability. The furry flyers can take anywhere up to half an hour to emerge but are well worth the wait.   

Austin Psych Fest

This mind manifesting experience is one worth sharing with friends! Austin Psych Fest condenses the psychedelic era into a jam-packed three-day bash. The creative masterminds behind the festival put the spotlight on some of the finest local and international talent to date. Aspiring yogis are urged to come out and partake in meditation sessions that are conducted on site. Those who don’t want to miss a minute of the action can purchase camping passes and bring the whole family. Ultimately, if you have a passion for pop culture, music devoted to political revolt or thought-provoking artwork, this is definitely where you want to be. 

Austin Pride Festival

Considering Austin has a flourishing LGBT community, including it on this list seemed like a no-brainer. Thousands of Texans come together during PRIDE Week to celebrate, spread awareness and embrace sexual diversity. The entertainment for the occasion goes above and beyond. There are two amazing stages to be occupied by local and world-renowned DJs and performers. But if you still aren’t sold on the idea, what if I told you that the Austin PRIDE Foundation donates remaining festival proceeds towards non-profit causes? Truly remarkable. 

Fun Fun Fun Fest

Looking to discover up-and-coming bands or fan favorites? FFF Fest has a ticket with your name on it! Best understood as a smorgasbord of musical genres, it compiles alternative, rap, indie rock and everything in between. Attendees sporting fanny packs, mullets and smiles are not uncommon (some have all three). There’s also a sweet collection of festival swag that can be purchased online. You can forget about throwing your FFF logo tank in the wash and wear it the whole weekend long while you attend. After all, just about anything goes at Fun Fun Fun Fest. 

Austin Urban Music Festival

Those who had their hopes set in attending AUMF 2014 missed it by a whisker! Don’t worry though, next year's Urban Music Fest will be even more fun(k) to look forward to. The event is dedicated to enriching the lives of music-lovers through R&B, soul, and gospel performances. Font man of The Time and king of dance-funk, Morris Day, was the headliner at this year’s show. In honor of their forthcoming 10th anniversary, Austin Urban Music Festival recently held a “$10 Ticket Blast” from ten in the morning until 10 pm. If you or someone you know is interested in attending, head on over to the official Twitter page for regular updates as they begin to release 2015 festival details. 

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Nested in the heart of South Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park is not your average venue. The green stretches across 351-acres and is the perfect space for special events and recreational activities. Enter, ACL. Though it is one of Austin’s most recognized festivals, I feel obligated to remind you why. Just look at the numbers. This year alone, over 130 international performers are set to take the stage. Add tens of thousands of loyal fans who will be there cheering them on. If you did the math correctly, that should equal a raging good time.

Austin Reggae Fest

For more than two decades, Austin Reggae Fest has been bringing us unique sights and sounds from around the globe. With the recent relocation to Butler Park, ARF is now next door to the original Auditorium Shores venue. What hasn't changed is the quality of performances and audience reception. One of this year's headliners was legendary reggae artist Everton Blender. He has helped to pioneer a movement in musical hybridization by bringing together the likes of dancehall and roots reggae. Each day of the festival, at 4:20 pm, the crowd throws up festive flags and releases shrieks of hysteria in honor of the late Bob Marley.  

South by Southwest

South by Southwest is the epitome of what comes to mind when someone says “music festival”. It is a media conference by day and a musical jubilee by night. With more than 100 stages and well over 2000 performers, SXSW is unarguably a showcase of the past, present and future of music. Big names such as Neil Young, Blondie, Tegan and Sara, Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z have all graced the stage. Attendees are involved in fascinating panels, talks conducted by industry experts and plenty of networking opportunities. This festival reels in crowds from every part of the world and puts Austin on the map as a must-see tourist attraction.

So, what are you waiting for? Throw on the shades and your favorite pair of Cameron Oxfords, and head down to Austin, Texas!