As Austinites switch gears for arguably the busiest time of year — the dreaded or celebrated festival season, depending on how you feel about it — we’ve curated a selection of September’s top music events for those who want to bask in Austin’s musical glory.
With local and international acts playing at a variety of venues, festivals, and fundraisers, this month is one giant party that will prepare you for fall’s nonstop action.
Unplugged at the Grove
Thursdays, 8 pm
KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove is the longest-running free concert series in the city. September marks the closing month for the 22nd Unplugged season so make sure to stop in on a Thursday evening to enjoy $3.50 Ziegenbok drafts and $6 cans of Infinite Monkey Theorem Wine, as well as food offerings, under the beautiful pecan canopy of Shady Grove. It’s always packed, but in true Austin fashion, it's always laid back. Don’t miss your chance to listen to and support some of our city’s best musicians at an iconic Austin establishment.
September’s schedule is as follows: Walker Lukens, September 10; Doyle Bramhall II, September 17; Jimmy LaFave, September 24.
White Ghost Shivers 15th Anniversary Party
Friday, September 11, 9 pm; Saturday, September 12, 8 pm
White Ghost Shivers thrives on throwing theatrical shows you won’t soon forget. Always drawing a diverse crowd, the wacky Austin band is known for vaudevillian performances and will have you dancing in no time. White Ghost Shivers is ringing in 15 years together with not one, but two nights of music at The Continental Club accompanied by other oh-so-talented musicians. Friday’s highlights include ‘70s-surfer-rock band Sounds del Mar and the psych-Russian-gypsy group Flying Balalaika Brothers, while Saturday promises an action-packed evening from groups like Wino Vino and the Shivers themselves. Tickets are $15 at the door each night.
Wobeon 2015: World Music and Jazz Fusion Festival
Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13
This international festival marks its third year in Austin. Initially a world music festival held at Ironwood Hall downtown, this year Wobeon has added a jazz component with acclaimed drummer Billy Cobham of Mahavishnu Orchestra headlining Sunday evening. Guitar virtuoso Scott Henderson will also play Sunday. Other must-see acts from the weekend include Malian guitarist Vieux Farka Toure, referred to as the “Jimi Hendrix of the Sahara,” who will play Saturday evening. The festival also includes speakers and panel discussions on art, culture, and global issues. This is the perfect way to experience jazz and world music without leaving Austin’s backyard.
Austin Music Video Festival
Wednesday, September 16 through Saturday, September 19
Remember the good ol’ days of MTV’s Total Request Live, VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown, and BET’s 106 & Park? Well, the art of the music video is not dead, my friends! In fact, it is very much alive with many skillfully produced videos popularizing a song with an accompanied visual storyline. This year’s Austin Music Video Festival promises a fun lineup of more than 200 music videos, panel discussions, awards, DJ battles, live music, workshops, and parties at a variety of venues including Alamo Drafthouse, The North Door, Empire Control Room, and Holy Mountain. Featured videos include Austin’s Spoon, The Bright Light Social Hour, The Black Angels, Gary Clark Jr., Wild Child, Holiday Mountain, Shakey Graves, and many more. Early bird tickets are still on sale, which are only $25 for the four days.
Blue Lapis Light: Edge of Grace
Wednesday, September 16 through Sunday, September 20, 8:30 pm; Thursday, September 24 through Sunday, September 27, 8:30 pm
Celebrating its 10th anniversary and the grand opening of a brand-new studio space, Blue Lapis Light will perform Edge of Grace over two weekends in September. If you’ve ever been to a Blue Lapis Light show before, then you know it is one incredibly powerful sight to behold. As aerial dancers defy gravity on a 48-foot-wide by 25-foot-high scaffold, sit back in awe of the intensely beautiful stunts set to an incredible score. Tickets are $18.
Saturday, September 19, 7 pm
From down under, Aussie transplant Penny Loafer PR is celebrating one year of business at Empire Control Room with more than 10 local acts. A music public relations company based in Austin, Penny Loafer aims to bridge the gap between international music and independent bands, while developing their influence within the music industry as well as the U.S. and Australian markets. Performances from the evening include Purple, The Rocketboys, Buhu, Residual Kid, That Girl Dre, Messages, and many more. Tickets are $8 presale and $12 day of.
Fool’s Gold Day Off
Saturday, September 19, 5 pm
Also taking place September 19 is Fool’s Gold Day Off. Stubb’s outdoor stage provides an adult playground for this multi-city fest held by record label Fool’s Gold. Hip-hop and electronic acts such as Meek Mill, A-Trak, Earl Sweatshirt, Flatbush Zombies, Skepta, and Post Malone, will play the fifth annual festival. This is your chance to catch up-and-coming national acts for a fair price ($35) before they hit it big time. Alternatively, purchase the VIP package for $135 for access to VIP room and elevated viewing platform, express entry, private bathrooms, and complimentary food.
Thursday, September 24 through Sunday, September 27
The 10th annual Trans-Pecos Festival, while dedicated to music and love, isn’t exactly in Austin. In fact, it’s about a six-hour drive from the city limits, but that hasn’t stopped Austinites from making the journey to the El Cosmico grounds. Music starts at 6 pm nightly and goes until midnight or later. Thursday’s notable performers include Jenny Lewis, David Garza, and Ben Kweller, with Phosphorescent and Portugal. The Man closing out the fest Saturday night. With camping options, yoga workshops, tarot card readings, and eclectic shopping, grab a group of your friends who are up for a party and make the trek for a weekend of a lifetime. Tickets for music start at $165 for the three days, or you can purchase $220 camping tickets and stay at one of El Cosmico’s deluxe furnished tents.
35th annual Pecan Street Festival
Saturday, September 26; Sunday, September 27
Pecan Street Festival takes over 24 blocks along Sixth Street for its semiannual affair. With delicious street food, artisan shopping, and incredible live music on three different stages, the family-friendly block party is an Austin staple. From Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda and rap group Magna Carda to funky Soul Track Mind and jokesters Flavor Raid, Pecan Street ensures there’s something to enjoy for everyone in attendance. Entry is free, so take advantage by attending one of the largest arts-and-crafts and music festivals in the country.
Party for the Parks
Wednesday, September 30, 5:30 pm
With an abundance of green spaces in our fair city, it’s vital we do our part in keeping them beautiful, well maintained, and most of all, funded. Party for the Parks is a great way to show support for the Austin Parks Foundation. Tickets are $80 until September 18 and include food from Taco Deli, cocktails from FBR Management, as well as live music from jazz band Rent Party and Texas music star Bruce Robison. Held at Brazos Hall, grab a date and enjoy an entertaining night of auctions, raffles, patio games, and music.