Going by what the locals say, everything is bigger in Texas, and that isn't just limited to BBQ Tomahawk steak chops. The music festivals in Austin and the surrounding area are some of the best in the country, and many have been waiting a long time for them to make a comeback following the last year and a half.
A big part of Austin's culture is music, and the festivals that have been created out of this are magical. The Great Outdoors has never sounded so good, and bonding over Austin locals over beloved bands is definitely an experience that any newcomer should take part in. If nothing else, it's worth it just to explore the city's local food scene and listen to some top-notch tunes... But for those who need more proof, these Austin music festivals are it.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
The Austin City Limits festival is nothing to shake a stick at, as it's grown to become one of the most well-known in the entire country. While Lollapalooza and the Governor's Island Music Festival may have captivated the hearts of many, there's just something about Austin City Limits that makes it stand out from the rest. The festival first made an appearance on the scene back in 2002 and has only grown since then, spanning over four weekend days just to fit in every performance. Artists come from all over the world just to be part of the festival lineup, and, of course, guests can expect the best of Austin's food scene as well as art exhibitions by local artists.
- Details: Two weekends, 130+ bands, eight stages
- Date for 2021: October 1st-3rd & October 8th - 10th
- Tickets: Ranging from $250 for one day to $2,350 for hotel packages
South By Southwest
When it comes to music festivals and their sheer size, South by Southwest is undoubtedly the largest in Austin. This festival becomes one with the city of Austin for a whopping nine days and doesn't just feature music. Along with some incredible bands, guests can also expect to see comedy performances, film screenings, exhibitions, and artwork. The event is so massive that networking is encouraged, and many people end up leaving the festival having learned more about a specific creative area than when they'd originally purchased tickets. It's the largest, and most diverse, festival to come to the Austin area.
- Details: Nine days
- Date for 2021: March 11th - 20th, 2022
- Tickets: Registration opens in late summer 2021
If the Austin area could win an award for having some of the most unique festivals, then the Float Fest would likely win it for them. Not only is this a music festival but it's also a free-floating weekend... literally. While the festival isn't actually held in Austin, it is held in San Marcos, which is only about an hour and 20 minutes south of the city. The reason Austin locals would be interested in making the drive is that only are the hottest artists in rap, EDM, and rock present and in attendance as performers, but they'll also be tubing down the San Marcos River while listening to them all. It's held every year for one weekend during the hot Texas summer, and it's worth suiting up (bathing suit, that is) for.
- Details: Two weekend days
- Date for 2021: New dates for 2022 TBD
- Tickets: TBD
Only an hour northwest of Austin sits the small town of Burnet, but this town is home to a pretty big festival. Utopia is held every year in the fall and it's the perfect music festival for everyone - families included. It's BYOB, family-friendly, open for camping, and also features fun pasttimes such as disc golf, yoga, and mountain biking.
- Details: Two weekend days with a pre-festival party on Thursday
- Date for 2021: October 15th - 16th
- Tickets: Ranging from $30 for a day pass to $179 for a weekend pass
LEVITATION Music Festival
Another fall favorite is the LEVITATION Music Festival which happens every year in Austin. The goal of the festival, according to its website, is to 'create a walkable, intimate and community-focused event that showcases the city’s world-renowned music venues.' With a wide range of artists and events, the festival is retuning this year in October. Spanning throughout Austin, various artists perform at the city's best venues, creating an interactive experience that brings music to every corner of its art district.
- Details: Four days
- Date for 2021: October 28th - 31st
- Tickets: Ranging from $20 for single performances to $365 for weekend passes (currently sold out)