Musical wanderlust: Texas fests to feed your soul and leave the city behind
Austin is home to a music-loving, festival-going breed of Texan, isn’t it? So often we happily usher in bands from all corners to join us in weekends of musical celebration — and debauchery — where things tend to get muddy, dusty, and are, in general, a cluster.
This weekend offers two Texas escapes for the traveling music aficionado: One in West Texas, and one in a sleepy little village near Kerrville.
Before we get inundated with two of Austin’s biggest music weekends (ACL Fest in October and Fun Fun Fun Fest in early November), maybe it’s time to take your music-loving soul to the road for a weekend of sweet sounds that won’t leave you exhausted, rain-soaked and wandering down Barton Springs in a post-headliner haze.
This weekend offers two Texas escapes for the traveling music aficionado: One in the depths of West Texas, and one in a sleepy little village near Kerrville.
From Thursday to Sunday, the grounds of El Cosmico, Marfa’s famed trendy trailer residence, transform for the Trans-Pecos Gathering of Music + Love. A three-day transcendental celebration, Trans-Pecos offers a relaxed environment of communal camping, sandlot baseball and live music under the wide Texas sky. Camping requires a two-night minimum, because, as the Trans-Pecos organizers say, “it takes two nights to really leave the city behind.”
Music headliners include Heartless Bastards on Friday night, followed by Austin’s first couple of country, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, and Brownout on Saturday night. Given the calm, desert appeal of Marfa, this escape brings together a host of influential artists who call Texas home.
If the trip to West Texas is a little longer of a journey than you can handle, there’s another fest taking place three hours south of what we call home, in a little town aptly called Utopia. A little fest started by some folks with access to land and good taste in music, this year’s UtopiaFest lineup features some of the alt/Americana scene’s most iconic names.
A super-chill camp-where-you-want/bring-your-own-beer environment, the fest includes sets from the likes of homegrown indie-roots darlings, The Wheeler Brothers, all the way to Dr. Dog and Texas’ favorite “drunken poet,” Ray Wylie Hubbard.
While Trans-Pecos may have sandlot baseball as its pastime, UtopiaFest has Black Swan yoga on hand to enhance the communal experience, with sunset yoga Friday and a Vinyasa flow set to music on Saturday. Both fests will feature sets by Ben Kweller and Dana Falconberry, who will get their fill of traversing Texas this weekend.
Whether it’s a Utopian dream or desert escape that you crave, this is a weekend of music transcendence.
All you need is a hankering for the open road.