Music lovers are lucky to live in the Lone Star State. In Texas, you’ll find dozens of annual music festivals to transform any old weekend into a frolicking good time with friends, and no matter what genre of music you love, there’s a festival for you. Here’s our list of hype-worthy Texas music festivals in 2019 to mark on your calendar.
1. South by Southwest Music Festival
South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is a massive and significant event for both fans and musicians alike. As a conference and festival combined, SXSW draws thousands of attendees to Austin every year. It also includes a film festival and an interactive festival for a mega artistic event that can’t be beat.
SXSW music festival was founded in 1987 to foster growth for Austin creatives and bring the global music industry and film and tech professionals together. Held every March in downtown Austin, the 2019 SXSW music festival will take place from March 11 to March 17.
What’s most important about SXSW is it gives artists a chance to get their name out there. At SXSW, fans get to enjoy world-class music and discover new names while musicians get to make professional connections. You can expect to see a variety of music styles not limited to any particular genre. Every year, more than 2,000 performers from over 60 countries take the stage at this event. The 2019 lineup includes bands like Deerhunter and the indie-pop group Japanese Breakfast.
2. RedGorilla Music Festival
If you’re looking for a music festival in Austin that’s a bit more low-key and budget-friendly, head to the RedGorilla Music Festival. RedGorilla is a free event which takes place in venues throughout downtown Austin. RedGorilla strives to get emerging artists noticed, and has helped artists like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit the road to success. The festival started 15 years ago as the DreamScapers Artist Showcase and was renamed RedGorilla in 2007. Since then, the event has grown to showcase over 500 artists every year and is an important part of Austin’s music week. This year, the festival will run from March 11 to 16.
3. Texas Indie Fest
If you’re still craving live music after SXSW or RedGorilla, Texas Indie Fest will be waiting. This event features four days of free music showcasing Austin’s rising stars and takes place in the venue Texas Mist. Also a part of Austin’s music week, this year’s Texas Indie Fest will feature 20 artists selected through Reverbnation and 24 up-and-coming artists from across the U.S. This event is scheduled to take place March 13 to 16. Free music in a relaxed, old-school venue? Who doesn’t have time for that?
4. Old Settler’s Music Festival
Old Settler’s Music Festival is about good times for everyone. From April 11 to April 14, you can kick back with friendly faces in Tilmon, Texas, and listen to a diverse and brilliant array of genres. Even though Old Settler’s is known for featuring top roots and Americana bands, the 2019 lineup includes everything from indie-pop acts like Austin-based Wild Child to the psychedelic soul group Black Pumas and plenty of other pleasant surprises.
You’re also invited to camp out, shop local artisans and nosh on tons of yummy food options. At Old Settler’s Music Festival, everyone’s a happy camper.
The Homegrown festival is all about highlighting Texas’s musical talents and is Dallas’s first all-local music and arts outdoor festival. Celebrating its tenth year and featuring 10 acts, festival goers get to experience a range of genres all with Texas ties. Located at Main Street Garden Park, you’ll also get the chance to chill out on a blanket surrounded by impressive buildings. Or you can choose to stand up and stomp your feet to Toadies or The 40 Acre Mule. Art lovers can enjoy live art demonstrations or pick up treasures from one of the local vendors. Homegrown will take place on April 13 this year.
6. Fortress Festival
Looking for a must-see music festival in the Dallas area? Head to Fort Worth to attend the Fortress Festival. Although Fortress Festival is a baby compared to other Texas music festivals, it has a promising future and offers a variety of indie music for you to enjoy. The festival is going on its third year, so make sure to attend and celebrate its progression. You’ll get to see rapper-on-the-rise Bobby Sessions, hip-hop artist Abhi the Nomad and feminist punk rock group Sailor Poon plus many others.
The festival will take place on April 27 and April 28, and is presented in partnership with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Festival-goers also have access to art within Fort Worth’s Cultural District for an all-around inspiring weekend.
7. Cinco De Mayo Accordion Festival
If you’re looking for music festivals in Houston, you may be bummed out to find that some of the largest festivals like Free Press Summer Fest and In Bloom have come to an end. Houston residents know there’s still no shortage of live music in the city, and you’re sure to find live entertainment in the city’s many food and art festivals. However, we found a music festival you may not want to miss this spring — the Cinco de Mayo Accordion Festival.
The Cinco de Mayo Accordion Festival is a great way to celebrate culture and music during Tejano History Month. For a mere $10 you’ll get to enjoy accordion and conjunto band music at the Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH) cultural arts center. The festival will take place from May 3 to 5.
8. Pecan Street Festival
Presented by the non-profit organization the Pecan Street Association, the Pecan Street Festival is one of the longest-running and biggest music and arts festival not just in Texas, but in the nation. It’s a free two-day festival located on 6th street in Austin and is scheduled for May 4 and 5 this year. If you miss Pecan Street Festival in the spring, have no fear — the festival will roll around again in September. At the festival, you’ll find hundreds of local and national artisans, almost fifty musical acts and dozens of food vendors serving everything from fair classics like funnel cake to refreshing smoothies.
9. Neon Desert Music Festival
Neon Desert is a popular annual music festival that takes place in downtown El Paso. Neon Desert features national names as well as emerging artists. Every year, thousands of fans gather to watch hip-hop, electronic music, rock, indie and Latin acts. Last year’s headliners included Dillon Francis, At the Drive-In and Martin Garrix. The 2019 dates are not yet confirmed but expect the festival to take place in May.
10. Wildflower Arts and Music Festival
The Wildflower Arts and Music Festival will run from May 17 to May 19 this year. Located in Richardson at Galatyn Park, this festival is made for rocking out with bands big and small. This year’s headliners include Fitz and the Tantrums, Neon Trees, Good Charlotte, Grand Funk Railroad, Blue Oyster Cult, Quiet Riot, Ratt plus dozens more.
If you work up an appetite, you can chow down on classic festival food like kettle corn or snow cones, or fill up on pizza or smokehouse specialties. You can also listen to rock while you shop for local and regional goods. Vendors are yet to be announced but last year’s vendors included everything from specialty clothing and jewelry to art pieces and home decor.
11. Hot Luck Festival
Would you agree that good food and awesome music should get married? The creators of the Hot Luck Festival seem to think so cause that’s what this party is all about. Inspired by family reunions, tailgating and other reasons to get together and enjoy soul-warming comfort food, Hot Luck Festival will make you feel like you hit the jackpot. Hot Luck pops up in Austin every Memorial Day weekend and also travels to cities all over the country year-round. Here you’ll find hearty mouthwatering delights like barbecue, ramen, wings, kebabs and steamed buns. You’ll also get the opportunity to dine to spicy tunes from bands like post-hardcore Hot Snakes or indie-rocking Twin Peaks.
Hot Luck believes in “food, fire, music and camaraderie,” and is not to be missed. The festival also donates part of the proceeds to the SAFE Alliance — you going?
12. Kerrville Folk Festival
Are you an aspiring singer-songwriter or a big fan of haunting folk songs? Disconnect from technology and head to Kerrville for a transformative and relaxing folk music getaway. Artists are sure to leave feeling more inspired, and they may pick up some tricks of the trade.
The Kerrville Folk Festival involves 18 days and nights and hundreds of intimate musical performances. Located at Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, the festival was founded by Rod Kennedy in 1972. It’s celebrated as the country’s longest continuously running music festival. Expect to find activities for all ages to foster artistic expression, particularly songwriting, and a family-friendly environment.
The festival is about an hour drive from San Antonio and two hours from Austin, but thousands of guests from all over the world attend. Artists such as Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and Lyle Lovett have played the festival early in their careers. The stage has also seen David Crosby, Arlo Guthrie, and Peter, Paul and Mary.
Many come to join and jam out with fellow musicians around the campfire or get to know each other and share tips. If you want nature to inspire your creative work, you can also partake in outdoor activities during the event like guided nature walks. If you’re interested, mark your calendar to feel the love, musical magic and positivity from May 23 to June 9. The 2019 lineup includes an incredible array of artists across all genres.
13. The National Polka Festival
Everyone needs a reason to waltz their worries away sometimes, and Texans know how to do it right at the National Polka Festival. For 53 years, the National Polka Festival has been bringing people to their feet to dance and celebrate a Czech heritage. If you want to enjoy polka dancing, comforting Czech foods and 13 different live polka bands, then you won’t want to miss this event in Ennis, Texas.
There will also be a parade complete with floats, bands and vibrant costumes to kick things off. Make sure to attend the kolache eating contest, sip some Czech beer and build up the confidence to unleash your dance moves. You can also shop for art, clothes and other souvenirs. The event will run from May 24 through 26.
14. Lone Star Jam
Want to keep country music alive and well? Put on your cowboy hat and head to the Lone Star Jam in Austin from May 25 to May 26. The Lone Star Jam will take place at Rodeo Austin where you can hang out with friends in the fresh air and listen to country rock artists like Turnpike Troubadours, the Josh Abbott Band, Granger Smith and Casey Donahew. Proceeds benefit Young Texans Against Cancer.
15. Float Fest
If the idea of drinking beer while tubing down a river pre-concert floats your boat, you won’t want to miss Float Fest. Float Fest is a popular festival in San Marcos, especially with the college-age crowd. It’s all about tubing in the San Marcos River with drinks and friends, then hopping over to Cool River Ranch to listen to live music.
Here’s how it works — you buy a floating pass and bring your own tube. The pass buys you a shuttle ride and takes you upstream so you can float your way to the music festival. The artists are yet to be announced for this year’s lineup, but last year fest-goers partied to Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse and Lil Wayne among many other rock, hip-hop and indie-pop musicians. The festival is set to take place on July 20 and 21.
16. Viva Big Bend Festival
Viva Big Bend is a music festival and music industry conference combined. Produced by the magazine Texas Music, the festival takes place in several different venues from bars to barbecue joints in Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis and Marathon. Expect to see around 50 acts covering a variety of genres including bluegrass, blues, mariachi, pop and western swing.
Viva Big Bend will go from July 25 to 28 this year, and the lineup will be announced in May. You can make a trip out of it and head to beautiful Big Bend National Park while you’re in Texas backcountry.
17. River City Rockfest
River City Rockfest is a huge music celebration featuring well-loved rock bands as well as smaller groups. This rock festival takes place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
The 2019 lineup is yet to be announced, but expect to see names like Nine Inch Nails, Primus, Stone Temple Pilots, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts among other hard rock acts. The unconfirmed date for this single-day event is September 21, but you can sign up to receive updates and other info to make sure you don’t miss it when September gets here.
18. Austin City Limits Music Festival
Every year, the Austin City Limits (ACL) music festival treats music fans to eight stages showcasing over a hundred performances. This event takes place over two weekends at Zilker Park. This year, ACL is scheduled for October 4 through 6 and October 11 through 13.
The 2019 lineup isn’t up yet, but you can join their mailing list for the latest news. Expect a colorful music concoction with genres ranging from rock to hip-hop and everything in between. Also, expect some big names in the mix. For example, the 2018 ACL featured Paul McCartney and Metallica. You won’t go hungry either. ACL’s food court offers some of Austin’s tastiest eats.
Lovers of psychedelic heavy metal won’t want to miss Levitation, which is scheduled to take place in Austin from November 7 to 10 this year. What used to be called Austin Psych Fest, Levitation was renamed to honor the psychedelic rock band The 13th Floor Elevators. This event is proud to be an intimate community-centric festival held in downtown music venues and art spaces. Attend Levitation for a transcendental experience brought to you by groups like Electric Wizard and Slowdive. You can sign up to stay informed about the 2019 lineup and get your tickets early.
Utopiafest isn’t just a music festival — it’s a chance to follow your creative bliss in the great outdoors. There are so many ways to have a great time at Utopiafest from viewing art installations to learning something new through a fun workshop. There will also be local food vendors to inspire your taste buds, as well as craft beer and wine. And, of course, plenty of live music acts to add to the groovy vibe.
This year’s Utopiafest will be held from November 14 to 16 at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet. You can camp out all weekend or enjoy a ride through Texas Hill Country.
21. Lights All Night
For a spectacular light and music show, don’t miss Lights All Night, the longest-running electronic dance music show in Texas. Lights All Night is usually held at the end of December to welcome the new year with unforgettable light shows and musical performances. Last year featured acts such as Diplo, Excision and Gucci Mane. There were also immersive and electrifying art experiences like a room filled with mirror balls and a ceiling of moving lights. If Lights All Night is anything like last year, there will also be no shortage of stilt walkers, fire breathers and other specialty performance artists. There can’t possibly be a better to way to welcome 2020, so plan to dance in Dallas this December.
Contact Smart City Locating Today
When it comes to great music and fun experiences, Texas doesn’t disappoint. But that’s not all that Texas has to offer. You’ll also find a booming economy, undeniably friendly people and gorgeous and affordable housing. If you’re thinking about relocating to Austin, Dallas or Houston and need help finding a mind-blowing apartment in a hopping part of town, contact us at Smart City Locating. Our free and hyper-personalized service will help you find a new apartment that will instantly feel like home.