Editor's note: A previous version of this story listed Chocolate and Art Show: Austin Edition at Fair Market among our top weekend picks. Organizers have since rescheduled the event for September 7-8.
In defiance of the season’s most epic heatwave yet, we uncovered the five coolest things to do in Austin this weekend. Tube and chill while watching live musical performances at Float Fest or check out groundbreaking work during the inaugural Contrast Film Festival. For a full list of events, visit our calendar.
Friday, July 20
Contrast Film Festival
Austin welcomes a new film festival with a barrage of screenings, events, and performances at venues across the city. Attendees can check out feature length films, shorts, comedy shows, as well the Texas premieres of three queer and female-focused films. Get passes and the entire lineup for all three days on the festival website.
Montopolis Productions presents The Legend of Big Bend
The crown jewel of West Texas is the star of this unforgettable evening of music and storytelling. Montopolis takes over Stateside at the Paramount with a musical performance inspired by Big Bend National Park. Discover stunning visuals from filmmaker David Barrow and listen to artists, historians, scientists, poets, and tour guides discuss the magic and mystery of Big Bend. Tickets are $21 and available here.
Saturday, June 21
Grab a tube and head to the San Marcos River for nonstop musical greatness during Float Fest. The two-day event at Cool River Ranch is the chillest music festival in the 512 and features a roster packed with the hottest artists in hip-hop, electronic, rock, and more. This year’s performers include Tame Impala, Bassnectar, Lil Wayne, Run the Jewels, and Modest Mouse. For passes and a full schedule, visit the festival website.
Counting Crows in concert with Live
Counting Crows continues their 25 Years and Counting tour with a show at Austin360 Amphitheater. Experience top hits like “Mr. Jones” and “Round Here” as if for the first time under the Texas night sky. Fellow '90s rockers Live will join Counting Crows as the opening act.
Sam Smith in concert with Cam
U.K. crooner Sam Smith makes a stop in Austin as part of his North American tour. After rising to fame with top hits like “Stay With Me” and “I’m Not the Only One,” Smith is back on stage at the Frank Erwin Center supporting his newest album, The Thrill of It All. A select number of tickets are still available.