From underground indie to pure traditional country, there’s a music festival in Texas to suit all your musical genre predilections.
Texas has an incredibly rich musical heritage. From being the birthplace of Western swing and its own distinctive style of the blues to fostering musical communities as diverse as hip-hop in Houston and indie-folk in Austin, the state thrives on independence, originality, and great songwriting.
Enjoying the music scene in the Lone Star State is as easy as hitting a dancehall, dive bar, or a state-of-the-art venue any night of the week. But if you’re after total-immersion aural overload, there’s many a music festival to check out. A couple of the majors take place in the state capital. Austin City Limits Music Festival, the “Coachella of Texas,” boasts some of the world’s top performers hitting eight stages in Zilker Park for two consecutive three-day weekends. And SXSW hijacks the whole town for more than a week of performances by established and emerging musicians of all stripes from all over the world, alongside a similar convergence of the film and interactive industries.
In Tilmon, outside the barbecue Mecca of Lockhart, the annual Old Settler’s Music Festival draws country and camping fans for four days of live music, art, and food. Also in the Hill Country, you can get your fill of superb songwriting for 18 consecutive days at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Farther afield in genre and geography, there’s West Texas’ newish Marfa Myths, a music, visual arts, and film fest that draws indie-cool adventurers who don’t mind being 26 miles from the nearest town and 280 miles from the nearest domestic airport if the music’s good and the scene’s cool.
Photography (From top): Gang of Youth at Austin City Limits/courtesy Candice Lawler, Alex Marks/courtesy Marfa Myths, Kieth Urban by Jessy Ann Huff/courtesy SXSW.com
From the July 2019 issue.