Now that South by Southwest has come and gone, music festival season is officially upon us. New festivals seem to be cropping up every day, each branding their own aesthetic appeal while trying to outdo one another with elaborate lineups, stage designs, light shows and visuals. Some music writers have criticized the commercialization of big-name festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella, arguing that their lineups have been homogenized in the effort to attract larger audiences. At the same time, numerous advancements have been made to improve the festival experience, from official apps and electronic wristbands to virtual festival tours. Here are four Texas-based festivals that are attempting to break the commercial mold.
With numerous on-campus representatives, Euphoria has certainly been working to generate buzz here at Rice. Chances are you’ve seen some of the posters and pamphlets, littered with eye-catching band names including “Broccoli Samurai,” “Pigeons Playing Ping Pong” and “Space Jesus.”
“What is perhaps Euphoria’s greatest asset is the vast range of electronic subgenres represented by so many quality producers,” Sean Horning, an on-campus rep, said. For groovy jam bands, Horning recommends acts like Lettuce, Twiddle, STS9 and the Motet. If hip-hop is more your style, catch Juicy J, Waka Flocka and Azizi Gibson.
Once Euphoria moves out, Levitation (formerly Austin Psych Fest) will also be setting up at Carson Creek Ranch for its ninth year. This three-day psychedelic music festival has rapidly worked its way up to international recognition. The lineup is selected by a group of music artists called the Reverberation Appreciation Society, which is anchored by a love for the weird sounds of the 1960s. This is reflected in their choices for this year’s lineup, which includes Brian Wilson (performing the Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds”), Flying Lotus, Caribou and Courtney Barnett. Alongside music performances, festival goers can also expect light shows, art galleries and poster shows.
If Free Press is too mainstream for your taste, check out the Solstice Festival later in June, which offers a taste of the local Austin music scene. Located in Pan Am Park, Solstice is unique in that it lacks big-name headliners and instead features primarily Austin-based artists and a low ticket price. Along with main-stage acts, the festival will host club shows at locations around town including the Vulcan Gas Company, Empire Control Room, Stay Gold and many others.
It takes guts and a lot of sunscreen to brave the mid-summer Texas heat, and it’s no wonder most Texas music festivals are all clumped together in the spring and fall when temperatures are more temperate. The hot weather doesn’t phase Float Fest, which happens annually around mid-July. To cool things down, the festival features a tubing trip down the San Marcos River, followed by an afternoon of concerts at the Cool River Ranch. The lineup has yet to be announced, but last year included several popular acts, including Phantogram, Local Natives, Dr. Dog and Bun B.