Feel that? It’s the waning of summer. Admittedly our fall isn’t as glorious as that of our friends to the north, but cooler temperatures sure do have us feeling a lot more like being outside. And since we’re Austinites, we’re practically obligated to include live music. In Austin and beyond, here are our picks for fabulous fall music festivals.
Utopia, September 22-24
Now in its ninth year, this festival has managed to retain the magic of its first year. With a cap on attendees, a BYO policy, a cool artisan market, late-night acoustic events at Tank Good Times, and a lineup that spans everything from Dr. John to Suzanna Choffel, it’s no wonder that Utopia Fest inspires cult-like devotion. This is the final year it will be at Four Sisters Ranch. Limited tickets are still available, and it’s kid-friendly.
Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love
Marfa, September 28-October 1
This weekend is an amalgamation of music, camping, star gazing, art, and magical mystery under the big stars of Marfa. The festival happens at El Cosmico and reflects the bohemian nature of the place — think Burning Man meets the Wild West. Workshops; free Topo Chico; and the opportunity to stay in a yurt while listening to the likes of Jenny Lewis, Roger Ellis, and Lee Ann Womack.
Gruene Music & Wine Festival
Gruene, October 5-8
Gruene is that small town with mass appeal. Just an hour's drive from Austin, it’s the kind of place you stroll around, glass in hand. The music is Americana and Texas country, featuring Ray Benson, Cory Morrow, Walt Wilkins, Jack Ingram, and a host of other similar artists. You can buy into the whole weekend or pick a day. Wine lovers will want to hit up Tastings and Tunes, while craft beer aficionados may prefer Sunday. Proceeds benefit the United Way and Hurricane Harvey victims.
Austin City Limits
Austin, October 6-8 and October 13-15
Two jam-packed weekends with multiple stages of music, vendors, booze, Austin food trailers, and a lot of out-of-town visitors. And who wouldn’t want to descend upon our Zilker Park to laze about in the sun and listen to some sweet jams? Approximately 450,000 folks attend the festival each year, and the headliners just keep getting bigger. Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Killers close out both weekends.
Houston Open Air
Houston, October 14-15
Sister to Chicago Open Air, the recently debuted Houston Open Air is every metalhead's dream. This year, the high-profile lineup features Avenged Sevenfold, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch, Prophets of Rage, Marilyn Manson, and lots of headbanging heavy rockers at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Mala Luna Music Festival
San Antonio, October 28-29
San Antonio brings us a Halloween weekend rap and EDM fest at Nelson Wolff Stadium. Only in its second year, Mala Luna attracts big acts like Future, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa; multiple food vendors; and art installations. As you might expect, attendees get creative with costumes, especially those inspired by Dia de Los Muertos. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Network for Young Artists (NYA.)
Sound on Sound Fest
McDade, November 10-12
Three full days of music and camping in Sherwood Forest via Austin's favorite new fest. All genres take the stage at Sound on Sound festival — indie, punk, hip-hop, metal, dance — along with comedians, podcasts, and panel discussions. Big names this year are Grizzly Bear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Iggy Pop, and The Shins. In order to get the full experience, pop up a tent, rent a glamping spot, or bring your RV. Campgrounds include hot showers, water refill stations, and late-night performances.