Events and Festivals in Austin
One of Austin’s nicknames is ‘The City of Festivals’ and that’s no exaggeration! The city has multiple festivals every single month, ranging from international musical events, film fests, clean up drives, local food and art gatherings to quirky, kitschy mini-fests which promote ice creams, bats and sauce! No matter when you come, there will be something underfoot! Here’s a list of the most famous and popular Austin festivals that hit the streets during the year.
- February: CarnavalBrasileiro (28th): This is a sultry, symphonic, feverishly rhythmic festival of dynamic proportions and possibly one of the biggest Brazil festivals outside the country! Music, delicious food and dancing make this a very special event.
- March: South by Southwest (SXSW)(7TH-16TH): This is probably Austin’s most famous festival and draws in festival goers nationwide, even internationally! Music, film and technology come together to make a colourful, throbbing hive of activity, freebies and party vibes. The crowd is young, hip and super excited. Expect to see big bands and famous guest speakers, expect to hear a lot of loud music and laughter and get ready to grab a taste of Austin’s most vibrant festival!
- Zilker Kite Festival (8th): Visit the massive Zilker Park and fly kites, as the wind tickles your arms and children laugh and play around you! This wholesome festival is really fun and keeps us in touch with the art of flying a kite.
- April: Moontower Oddity and Comedy Festival (2rd-26th): Famous stand up comedians take the stage, year after year, splitting sides and spreading smiles.
- May: Austin Psychfest (2nd-4th): Trip on psychedelic lights and distortion at Austin’s Psychfest! This tripped out musical ride has seen the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre on its stage. Old school hippies, hipster kids and psychedelic rock enthusiasts make up the audience.
- June: X Games (5th-8th): A tidal wave of adrenaline is going to hit Austin in the form of the X Games, where the world’s best skate boarders, cyclists and extreme sportsmen show everyone exactly why they’re the best.
- Keep Austin Weird Fest (28th): This festival is all about local love. There’s a costumed competition, a marathon race and loads of oddball antics that people get up to, all in the spirit of keeping Austin true to its colours. This festival is a time when all Austinites have a giant party on the streets to celebrate the most unique trait of the city.
- The Republic of Texas Biker Rally (12th-15th): Crazy concerts and food stalls supplement the real stars of this show: lean, mean tarmac-burning machines! If you’re a fan of biking and motorbikes, this is the Austin event is for you.
- August: Bat Fest (23rd): Because Austin is home to the largest bat colony in the world, it’s fitting that this noble creature is considered one of the city’s most loved inhabitants. This is clearly expressed in the Bat Fest, where locals throw a festival in the Congress Avenue area to commemorate their flying, fuzzy neighbours.
- September: Fantastic Fest (18th-25th): The Alamo Drafthouse curate and organize the Fantastic Fest, the largest ‘genre’ film festival in the area. It’s known as the ultimate fringe film festival and is anchored by quite a few big Hollywood names. Expect to see a lot of artsy people, film makers and film lovers, besides some top notch movies.
- Pecan Street Festival (27th-28th): This is one of the Austin’s oldest and most famous festivals, though it’s more sweet and modest in comparison to some of the big name music festivals the city also plays home to. It’s a free two day arts festival held down in the city’s party hub 6th street.
- October: Austin City Limits (3rd-5th): This is one of the city’s most famous and popular music festivals and attracts big name indie bands and hipster filled crowds. Local food, free games for kids and an acute sense of responsibility towards the environment make this a forward thinking, progressive festival filled with art, music and energy.
- Austin Film Festival (23rd-30th): Unlike the Fantastic Fest, this movie festival caters to big names and big production houses. Expect more mainstream movies, even more celebrities and a more diverse audience.
- Formula 1 (31st- Nov 2nd): This world famous car race needs no introduction. Expect fancy cars and an even fancier crowd, all pumped up.
- Austin Fan Fest (F1 weekend): This coincides with the Formula 1 races, so it’s double the fesitivities!
- November: East Austin Studio Tour (15th-16th): This is a celebration of the local arts culture, with more than a hundred studios and art installations up for the viewing pleasure of whoever desires some visual stimulus. This is one of the city’s most eclectic and locally centered festivals and a great way to support the local scene.
- December: Trail of Lights Festival (7th-21st): ‘Trail of Lights iconic displays have told Austin’s story in a truly unique way and delighted visitors young and old, new and native Austinites for 50 years.’ This Christmas festival is an absolute beauty and fun for the whole family.
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