Austin Festivals & Major Events

Festival in Austin TX
Festival in Austin TX

Everybody knows Austin is the live music capital of the world so naturally thats reflected in the festivals and events, with major music events such as Austin City Limits music festival and SXSW drawing huge crowds every year. But Austins got so much more to offer, Take a look…

January


Free Week

Where : Red River District

Local Austin bands perform free concerts at 15 venues in Red River district. The event runs across 4 days usually over the first weekend in January.


February


Austin Marathon

Where : Downton Austin

Run through downtown Austin on a course that takes you past so many landmarks and finishes in front of the Capitol Building. There’s also a half marathon and a 5k.


Austin Oyster Festival

Where : Republic Square
Website : https://www.austinoysterfestival.com/

The always popular Oyster Festival is Oysters cooked just about every way possible, alcohol to wash them down, and music. Everyone know oysters are an aphrodisiac so a good time is pretty much guaranteed in your hotel afterwards.


Carnaval Brasileiro

Where : Changes year to year
Web : http://sambaparty.com/

Dance with wild abandon at the largest carnival Celebration outside of Brasil. The colour. The costumes. The fun. You can’t beat Carnaval, and this is the best you can get without going to Rio.


OUTsider Festival

Where : Various Locations
Web : https://www.outsiderfest.org/

A provocative LGBTQ+ creative explosion of film, dance, music, theatre, performance art, writing, and visual media. This is a where the queer community meets, collaborates, and creates.


March


Austin Kite Fest

Where : Zilker Park
Web : https://www.abckitefest.org/

Go fly a kite. Spring is kite flying time, and Austin Kite Fest is the place to do it. This family friendly festival has been running for more than 90 years. In addition to the Kite competition Kite Fest also includes Mossfest, the popular children’s music festival.


Rodeo Austin

Where : Travis County Expo Center
Web : https://rodeoaustin.com/

This is one of the top professional rodeos in North America. With top rodeo athletes from all over the world competing you’re sure to get get a great show. Running for two weeks, with a carnival, and live music show every night. If you want to get picked up by a cowpoke, ridden by a bull rider, bag a barrel racer, or go cowgirl on a cowboy then Rodeo Austin is the place to be. This is one of Austin’s major events so hotels fill up fast, it pays to book well in advance.


St Patrick’s Day Festival

Where : Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
Web : https://www.stpatricksdayaustin.com/

Everything Irish. River dancin’, fiddle playin’, stout drinkin’, what more could you ask for. This family friendly celebration of everything Irish will bring out the Leprechaun in anyone whose even the slightest bit Irish.


SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival

Where : Downtown Austin, South Congress, Various other locations
Web : https://www.sxsw.com/

The mother of all Festivals. SXSW is a conference, Music Festival, Film Festival, and Comedy Festival all running for 9 glorious days. This has grown to become a major world event, drawing guests from around the globe. Beyond the music, and film there’s also some great technology and visual arts expos. Flatstock will always have a place in my heart featuring the best poster art. And of course the conference with thought leaders from all manner of fields giving keynote speeches. Every nice hotel in Austin will be booked up well in advance so book early if you don’t want to stay in your car.

Johnny Cash performs at SXSW 1994

World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play

Where : Austin Country Club

March 2022 the best golfers in the world will be in Austin for the World Match Play Championship at the prestigious Austin Country Club. This is actually the easiest way to play a round at the course. Simply become one of the worlds 64 best golfers and you’re in. Otherwise it’s going to be almost impossible to play a round here.


April


Austin International Poetry Festival

Where : Holiday Inn Austin Midtown & various other venues

The hottest poets from around the world descend on Austin for readings, workshops, and coffee. Break out the rhyming dictionary and have a go at the open mic. I’m kidding! I know poems don’t have to rhyme all the time.


Austin Reggae Fest

Where : Auditorium Shores
Web : http://www.austinreggaefest.com/

Put a tea cozy on your head, roll a fat joint and head for Auditorium Shores for 3 days of Reggae. Proceeds go the the Texas Food bank so get out and support those in need and have a great time doing it. Reggae fest includes World music and Dub as well as some great reggae acts.


Fusebox Festival

Where : Downtown Austin
Web : https://www.fuseboxfestival.com/

Fusebox Festival is a celebration of live performance of almost every kind. From spoken word to interpretive dance


May


Cine Las Americas International Film Festival

Where : Theatres around Austin

Films made by or about Latinos, and indigenous people from around the Americas. Expand your horizons and see a little more of the world without leaving Austin.


Hot Luck Festival

Where : Various
Web : https://www.hotluckfest.com/

Food and Music. Need we say more. Hot Luck Festival spans the globe. In 2022 it’ll be in Austin TX. Get ready for innovative food offerings from top chefs and even more great live music. Held memorial day weekend.


Pecan Street Spring Arts Festival

Where : East 6th Street
Web : https://pecanstreetfestival.org/

Hand made art, metal, stone, glass, leather wood. This showcases local and national artists work, and because it’s Austin there’s live music and food trucks too.


June


ATX Television Festival

Where : Downtown Austin
Web : https://atxfestival.com/

TV for all y’all. That’s the ATX way. The festival is 50% focused on TV viewers and 50% focused on the industry. It’s kind of like a film festival but not really. There’s screenings of new shows with a Q & A after. And there are screening of old favorites too. Never seen before pilots that didn’t make it to air and cancelled to soon favorites. This celebrates everything TV.


Austin Asian American Film Festival

Where : All over Austin
Web : https://www.aaafilmfest.org/

A selection of Short and Feature Length Films from Asia and Asian American films. Telling the stories of Asia to the world. Get out and broaden your worldview.


July


Fourth of July Fireworks and Symphony

Where : Auditorium Shores

Free live music from the Austin Symphony followed by fireworks over Lady Bird lake. Food vendors open from 4pm. Concert starts at 8pm, Fireworks 9:30pm to 10pm. These fireworks are great from the park but they’re also magnificent from the balcony at Hyatt Regency.

Hyatt Regency Austin
4th of July Fireworks Hyatt Regency Hotel in foreground.

August


Prism Film Festival

Where : All over Austin

The most inclusive film festival in the world run by aGLIFF this shows fils by for and about all genders, lifestyles, and identities.


Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival

Where : Fiesta gardens

What started out as a small hot sauce contest is now a huge celebration of capsaicin. More than 10,000 visitors and more than 350 different sauces. This festival is pure fire. If you want to spice things up then it’s a must do.


Austin Pride Parade

Where : Downtown Austin
Web : https://austinpride.org/

There are two ways to destroy your asshole in Austin in August. If the Hot Sauce Festival didn’t do it then the festivities after the Pride Parade just might. This is a huge event with a giant Parade down Congress Avenue and some truly spectacular parties afterwards.


Bat Fest

Where : Congress Avenue Bridge

Get out your sexy bat costume and head to South Congress bridge for Bat Fest. Bats, bands, and food trucks. 4pm to midnight. GA ticket gets you into everything. Please do not eat the bats. Thank you.


Capital City Black Film Festival

Where : Austin Convention Center

Celebrate everything great about black filmmakers. This is one of the best film festivals around with a huge array of films from drama to horror. There’s no crappy sequels or remakes of remakes. This are quality original films that’ll make you laugh, cry, scare the livin’ shit out of all y’all or just entertain you.


Hot Summer Nights

Where : Red river District
Web : https://www.facebook.com/redriverculturaldistrict/

Hot Summer Nights is a free music festival in downtown Austin’s Red River District. Band play in venues throughout the area, while food trucks swam. This is a great way to discover new music. it runs for 4 days in August.


September


Fantastic Fest

Where : Theatres Around Austin
Web : https://fantasticfest.com/

Fantastic Fest is all about “supporting film in its most provocative, ground-breaking and underseen forms, and giving the audience a chance to find new favorites and future genre classics.” It’s hands down the most fun film festival in Austin. It’s seen the premieres of some great films such as Zombieland, John Wick, There will be blood, and so many more.


JMBLYA Music Festival

Where : Circuit of The Americas™
Web : https://jmblya.com/

Austin’s biggest hip hop festival, past headliners include Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Migos, and Chance the Rapper. This is a great time y’all really should go.


Lonestar Round Up

Where : Travis County Expo Center
Web : https://lonestarroundup.com/

The Lonestar Round Up is a car show. A fucking huge car show. And because it’s Austin, there’s live music too. So if you love vintage hot rods and sweet custom rides, this is heaven. Held at the Travis County Expo Center, it’s less than a half-hour drive from any downtown Austin hotel.


Moontower Comedy Festival

Where : The Paramount Theatre + Other Venues

Four days of funny, centred around shows at the Paramount Theatre by local acts and national headliners. Moontower comedy is good time. With Austins comedy scene growing quickly expect to see more impressive lineups in future years. And don’t miss the great young talent coming up.


Out of Bounds Comedy Festival

Where : Various Downtown Comedy Clubs
Web : https://oobfest.com/

A week long celebration of Stand-up Improv, and sketch comedy. This is a great place to see the stars of the future today. With a genuine focus on finding up and coming talent from around the country and giving them a platform to shine.


Pecan Street Fall Arts Festival

Where : 6th Street

This is the fall installment of Pecan Street Arts Festival. Artists sell all manner of beautifully made objects, while musicians play, and chefs cook, and drinks flow.


Texas Tribune Festival

Where : Downtown Austin
Web : https://festival.texastribune.org/

Some festivals are fun, and then there’s the Texas Tribune Festival. Politics, policy, and news. If you like people in suits telling you what to do this could be your thing. I know it’s somebody’s idea of a good time but honestly it’s not mine.


October

October is a huge month for events in Austin with Austin City Limits, The United States Grand Prix, Austin Film Festival, LEVITATION, Old Settlers Music Festival, and iHeart Country Festival all drawing huge crowds. S be sure and book accommodation early.


Austin City Limits Music Festival

Where : Zilker Park
Web : https://www.aclfestival.com/

6 days of music. Over 140 acts. Austin City Limits Music Festival is one of the world’s premier music Festivals. People travel from every corner of the globe to attend this. If you can’t go at least get the t-shirt.


Austin Film Festival

Where : Paramount Theatre + other venues
Web : https://austinfilmfestival.com/

Austin Film Festival encompasses 8 days of Film and a 4 day conference. It’s not quite Cannes or Sundance yet but it’s growing quickly in prestige and is now recognised as one of the major Film Festivals in America.

United States Grand Prix – Formula 1

Where : Circuit of The Americas

Yeehaw, one a year Formula 1 racing comes to little old Austin. this is your only chance to see the pinnacle of world motorsport live in the united States. These are best drivers in the world, racing the most advanced cars on the planet. You simply have to go. See the action from 2019 https://youtu.be/QLx2WZWilBc


LEVITATION

Where : Red River District & East Austin
Web : https://levitation.fm/

LEVITATION is one of the most interesting Music Festivals anywhere. It’s a beautifully curated selection of psychedelic rock, garage bands, post punk, it’s a super interesting mix of stunningly talented musicians a little out of the mainstream. You can get a great feel for what to expect by watching some past performances here https://levitation.fm/pages/live-at-levitation This is fucking great festival and you need to be there, so find a cheap hotel and book yourself a spot.


Old Settler’s Music Festival

Where : An hour out of Austin in Tilmon
Web : https://oldsettlersmusicfest.org/

4 days of camping and American Roots music. Over 16,000 fans. This is Austin’s biggest roots music festival. It’s managed to grow without losing it’s soul. This is a genuine grassroots festival, led by a team more passionate about the music than the money and it shows. A true family safe festival, it’s not to be missed. If y’all are fans of roots music it’s worth traveling from anywhere in the world for this event.


Texas Book Festival

Where : Texas State Capitol Grounds

If you love books and talking about books then y’all are gonna like book fest. It’s all about connecting authors and readers, and encouraging a love of reading. A great place to get your book signed by the author.


Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Where : Fiesta Gardens
Web : https://texascraftbrewersfestival.org/

As you can imagine there’s craft beer, there’s food trucks, and you guessed it live music. Y’all know your gonna have a good ol’ time. It’s organised and run by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild for the Texas Craft Brewing Community. But y’all are welcome too.


Viva La Vida Festival & Parade

Where : Parade 6th Streets & Congress Ave / Festival 4th & Congress
Web : http://mexic-artemuseumevents.org/viva-la-vida-2019

Who doesn’t love the day of the dead? Celebrate with Austins Mexican community. After the parade there’s low riders, traditional food, and music of course.


iHeart Country Festival

Where : Frank Erwin Center

Some of the biggest names in country music perform in Austin at the iHeart Country Festival.

November


Austin Celtic festival

Where : Pioneer Farms in North Austin
Web : https://www.austincelticfestival.com/

Celtic music, Celtic dancing, Celtic animals, Highland games, Scotch tastings, Celtic history. It’s basically a celebration of everything Celtic. You do not have to be Celtic to attend the festival but your dog does. There’s no pets sorry, just a parade of Celtic animal breeds – if you’ve got a Celtic dog enter it in the parade.


Austin Food & Wine Festival

Where : Auditorium Shores
Web : https://www.austinfoodandwinefestival.com/

Sample food from top Austin Chefs, and sample wine and spirits from Austin and around the world. Watch cooking demonstrations and get drunk one taster at a time.


Texas Monthly BBQ Festival

Where : Long Center lawn

The confusingly named Texas Monthly BBQ Fest is in fact only held once a year. Which is unfortunate as it’s so good I’d go every month. Texas Monthly magazine is the organiser hence the confusing name. They invite the “Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas” to cook up a feast at the Long Center for the Performing Arts (It’s actually outside on the lawn).

If you love BBQ this is a must visit event in Austin.


Austin Area Jazz Festival

Where : MYEC, and MACC
Web : http://austinareajazzfestival.com/

Run over 2 days this is a must for Austin Jazz lovers.

December


Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Where : Palmer Events Center
Web : https://armadillobazaar.com/

Shop and Stroll, Rock & Roll. What better way to find Christmas presents than Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. This is fine art and exhibitors have to apply to have a stall so it’s not full of shit like so many ‘art’ sales tend to be. Well not in Austin. Armadillo Bazaar is real artists sell original art pieces. There’s also 2 bars (it’s easier to sell art if the people are a little drunk). And live music. This runs for 10 days leading up to Christmas and should be on the must do list for locals and anyone visiting Austin at that time.


Austin Music Video Festival

Where : Various venues around Austin
Web : https://www.amvfest.com/

If short films are to long for you then this could be just your thing. Or maybe you’re like me and grew up when MTV actual still played music videos and you love them. This festival is definitely not all about the music. It’s about the videos. There’s premieres, panel discussions, and parties. Plus the awards show. If you’re serious about making a career making music videos this is the place to be.


Austin’s New Year Celebration

Where : Auditorium Shores

Thm.e city of Austin celebrates New Years in style with a free family event at Auditorium Shores (pandemic allowing), with 4 stages and 20 plus bands, visual art, juggling performers, and more. This alcohol free event is for the whole family and ends with fireworks at midnight. The perfect way to see in New Years in Austin. The fireworks are also great from a lakeside hotel room.


Trail of Lights

Where : Zilker Park
Web : https://austintrailoflights.org/

Every December the Trail of Lights Foundation work with sponsors to light up Zilker Park. This is an awesome event and worth travelling to Austin for. It’s great for families and not a bad date night on a romantic couples weekend in Austin.