Photo courtesy of MOCO Music & Arts Festival

You should be sitting down for this: A music festival doesn't have to be a 100,000-person affair. Austinites may have been led to believe this kind of thing is non-negotiable in 2023, but one breakout festival produced by locals is challenging that notion by keeping its capacity at 500 — and offering day passes for the first time.

MOCO Music & Arts Festival is drawing Austinites about an hour northeast of home on April 28 and 29 for two days of small-festival jams, eats, hammocks, and more. Formerly MoFest, this mysterious outdoorsy event takes place at a "secret location" in Lexington, Texas, and is only in its third iteration. Still, the lineup doesn't betray any disorganization, offering near-constant opportunities for music and activities.

Paul Cherry, a Chicago-based jazz and indie rock solo artist, headlines the 2023 festival, offering the following credo in a release: "I love playing festivals like this because this is where the real heads stay; and I’m only interested in where the real heads are at."

“From the crew, to the bands, to the audience members, everyone was crazy kind, and the whole experience was a blast,” said 2022 headliner Kelsey Wilson of Sir Woman. “The location is perfect too! Would recommend – 10/10.”

Other notable musicians in 2023 include some of Austin's own: boisterous punk femmes Die Spitz, Colombian funk jammers Superfónicos, and synthy pop duo Flora & Fawna. Momin Ahmad, co-founder of MOCO with Alexandra Arteaga (as in, Mo and Co.), will play bass in one of the groups: a high-energy, charismatic, and funky bluegrass group called Texas String Assembly, which is already popular among the indie and Americana fans that frequent longer-established camping festivals.

Daily happy hours are sprinkled in, plus something called a "Vibe Barn" to close out Friday's festivities, and a late-morning yoga class on Saturday to recover. The converted barn will essentially become the rustic version of an Austin warehouse party with live DJs and live painters from 10 pm to 2 am.

Off the schedule, there's a 300-acre ranch to enjoy, including "unofficial after hours DJ experiences on the property," so it sure sounds like anything goes. Although campers will have to pack their own tents, they certainly won't be roughing it at the bathroom and shower trailers. (Nor will they be hiding their booze at this 21-and-up event.) Most of the shows overlook a lake, but this is the only clue about the hushed locale.

Feels So Good (FSG), an Austin screen printer and record label, will be onsite making merch on Saturday, joining food trucks Four Brothers Venezuelan Kitchen, Gardner Barbecue, Buddy’s BBQ & Crepes, and possibly more, plus art and vintage vendors. If bringing a tent is already a chore, look forward to a break in the 8-person hammock installation by Kammock. One other partner headed by an Austin "epicurean entertainer," Wine Rack Soundtrack, will offer wine pairings for whatever music is playing between sips.

Fetii, a ride sharing service with 15-passenger sprinter vans Austinites may have seen parked around town, offers a 25 percent in-app discount with the code MOCO25. Whether via Fetii or another service, the festival recommends carpooling when visiting for a single day to save the limited parking for those who have reserved it with a camping pass.

\u200bTexas String Assembly playing at MOCO Music & Arts Festival

Photo by Alexandra Arteaga

MOCO Music & Arts Festival was started by Momin Ahmad of Texas String Assembly (pictured at the festival on bass) and Alexandra Arteaga.

Tickets (starting at $90.17) are available at dice.fm. Remember that a very limited capacity may mean the event will sell out soon. More information about MOCO Music & Arts Festival, including a full lineup and schedule, is available at mocofestival.com.

Photo courtesy of Lawn Love.

Texas relaxes into 3rd place in new ranking of best states for camping


With the winter season behind us, it’s time to start looking forward to spring and all the joy it brings, especially camping under the wide open Texas sky. Before you plan your next trip, it might be useful to learn that the Lone Star State recently ranked third in Lawn Love’s 2023 report for Best States for Camping.

Lawn Love compared every U.S. state based on 25 unique metrics, including campsite access, acreage, safety, affordability, and more.

Texas’ third place ranking was determined based on its high scores in several major categories. The Lone Star State has the second highest number of campgrounds, campsites with water, and camping supply stores.

In two other top five category rankings, for the total acreage of campgrounds and average income-adjusted RV rental cost, Texas ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. The state ranked just outside the top five at No. 6 for total acreage of state and national parks.

Beating Texas for the best and second best states for camping were California and Washington, which have the most attractions and highest acreage of national and state parks. This is California’s second year in a row as the top state in Lawn Love’s report. Rounding out the top five after Texas is Florida (No. 4) and New York (No. 5).

Guy deBrun, a camping enthusiast and lecturer at James Madison University, shared his top three tips for staying safe while camping overnight in the wild:

  • Allow yourself enough time for traveling: “Create a time control plan that considers the distance you need to travel, and add one mile for every thousand feet of elevation you need to gain. Divide that by your average rate of travel (usually two miles per hour on a trail with a pack).”
  • Dress in appropriate clothing: “Cotton clothing should be avoided in all but very hot and dry climates. It robs the body of heat because it does not wick moisture and dries slowly.”
  • Use good judgment: “Know your limits, plan your route, and communicate your plans with someone at home.”

The lecturer also recommended every camper have a way to purify their drinking water, such as a chemical treatment or filter, when they embark on their trip.

More information about Lawn Love’s report and its methodology can be found at lawnlove.com.

Photo courtesy of RVshare

Stake out these top 6 Central Texas campgrounds for your next spring road trip

No Sleeping Bag Required

March through May are prime road trip months, which means it’s time to take advantage of the warm spring weather in Texas with a fun camping adventure.

If you need a snazzy mode of transport to complete your experience — or just don't fancy going without a bed, private bathroom, and kitchen — RVshare has you covered with an endless (over 100,000!) list of luxe RVs in a wide range of styles, amenities, and sizes to take on your trip.

And with their handy delivery service, they’ll drive your perfect RV selection to your destination and set the whole thing up.

Let RVshare do the hard work to allow you more time to enjoy one of these splendid Central Texas camp spots:

Dios Rios Hill Country RV Park in Mason
Fulfill all your water activity dreams at “the finest RV park in Central Texas.” Dios Rios is located at the junction of the James and Llano Rivers, making it the perfect place for kayaking, tubing, paddle-boarding, and fishing.

Traveling with your dog? Not a problem — the park is very pet friendly and has spacious RV sites for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy. With hundreds of four and five-star reviews, Dios Rios RV Park truly is a Texas classic.

Oak Forest RV Resort in Austin
This tucked-away resort is just a 10-minute escape east from downtown Austin. Oak Forest boasts 78 premium RV sites out of a total 289 around the resort.

They also offer plenty of amenities to guests, such as free WiFi and cable TV with over 70 channels, a fitness center, playground, resort-style swimming pool and hot tub, dog parks, and a propane station. Find some relaxation at this hidden gem of a resort.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Canyon Lake
If putting the kids first is your main goal for a spring vacation, this Canyon Lake park is the place to be. Yogi Bear’s Hill Country Park has several RV site options: You can stay closer to the action or find a more secluded home base among the trees.

One of the best ways to maximize your family fun is with the events calendar, which gives everyone a chance to find their favorite daily activity.

Lazy L&L Campground in New Braunfels
This laidback campground, which was recently ranked one of the best Texas campsites for weekend getaways, is a scenic paradise with a beautiful river frontage across 25 acres. Their RV sites are located on a mile of shaded riverfront land, making your temporary backyard an aquatic oasis for fishing, tubing, rafting, or kayaking.

All of L&L’s RV sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and a barbecue grill, so you won’t be cramped while trying to eat a home-cooked meal.

Al’s Hideaway in Pipe Creek
Al’s Hideaway is a family-built, owned, and operated 20-acre campground located 15 minutes away from fellow Hill Country towns Bandera and Boerne, outside of San Antonio. A majority of the land has been left in its natural state, making this a haven for all Texas wildlife.

Their RV spaces are “thoughtfully laid out” to allow guests the maximum amount of space and privacy. Word is that the activities in the area are endless, with opportunities for visiting wineries, breweries, distilleries, caves, museums, and more.

By the River Campground in Kerrville
65 acres of peace and quiet are right at your fingertips with this Kerrville campground along the Guadalupe River. Hike one of their trails, birdwatch, or simply bask in the presence of the calming river water while escaping from your busy work life.

By the River offers golf cart, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals for all your exploration needs.


Founded in 2013, RVshare is the largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and can help you secure everything from a travel trailer to a luxury motorhome, all backed with extraordinary customer service from the RVshare team. Renters get payment and fraud protection, plus 24/7 emergency roadside service and even free delivery where available. Pets are welcome in specified vehicles. To rent an RV for your next glamping trip, click here.

Photo by Brianna Caleri

Ye olde Austin renaissance faire marks mead-fueled March and April return

this place is medieval

If modern life is just not cutting it recently, pray thee consider a trip to Sherwood Forest Faire. This renaissance faire in McDade, Texas, opens its secluded little pocket of bites, shops, games, and shows on March 4, then revels in place on weekends until April 23.

The annual event is in its 14th year as Austin’s home faire, much smaller than the Texas Renaissance Festival, but much closer to Central Texas. It has its own charm, tucked into a denser wood than perhaps many visitors would expect, just under an hour from downtown Austin. Although it’s small in comparison, this bustling temporary town offers enough to keep adventurers busy for a whole weekend if they take their time and mind their coin.

Like any faire, Sherwood Forest is packed with opportunities to buy costumes and accessories, whether that’s hand fans and corsets, kilts, or something more inspired by fantasy. Part of the appeal is slowly building a look — an investment at any level of quality, although some of the nicer, multi-part outfits cost hundreds of dollars or more — and part is appreciating a type of craftsmanship we don’t see in our days of fast fashion. Just looking around and seeing self-expression and commitment to the aesthetic at every level is inspiration enough to pop on a fairy crown.

A sprawling list of food vendors sell fuel to keep your caravan moving. Some ren faire classics like turkey legs and fried snacks grace the boards outside of taverns, while others expand the usual palate: cannoli, oysters, and vegetable egg rolls. There are at least 22 vendors selling specialty food and drinks, with several pubs and drink stations selling wine, beer, and mayhaps a tankard of mead.

The performance schedule has not been released yet, but is sure to include comedy, musical acts, and combat. In between watching knights go at each other with heavy, skilled weaponry, visitors can practice with a bow and arrow, catch a ring with a jousting rod, or visit a tarot reader for help picking their battles in the first place.

The regular season faire gives everyone a low-stakes chance at temporary immersion — costumed or not — so it’s a good place for newcomers. Seasoned bards and other townspeople will also flood the grounds and even camp out, but may be more excited for the annual adult summer camp. See how the mead tastes through April, and if you’re still thirsty, make your triumphant return or sign a cool, adventurous kid up for the youth camp.

Tickets ($26 general admission, $13 for kids) to the Sherwood Forest Faire are on sale now at sherwoodforestfaire.com. Click through for more information on group and other discounts. Visitors can also purchase camping passes and several additional activities during the faire.

Photo courtesy of Old Settler's Music Festival

Four-day Americana festival rolls out the camping mats for 36th year near Austin

Settle in

Music festivals nearby are one of the best benefits of city living, but sometimes they could stand to be a bit more rural — even if they’re not country festivals. OId Settler’s Music Festival fills that niche without sacrificing relevance; the festival, taking place this year from April 20-23, brings in some of the best names in folk, Americana, and Southern traditions. As announced on January 25, this means 28 groups and solo artists across four days of camping and enjoying the outdoors in Dale, about 45 minutes southeast of Austin (near Lockhart).

Old Settler’s Homestead, a 145-acre ranchland, has been hosting this barn dance, so to speak, for 36 years. Over time, it’s succeeded in drawing some major talents, but stayed grounded. While the lineup will excite many yearly attendees and fans of similar artists, these approachable sounds are great for visitors new to the fray without pandering with crossover names.

  • Yola sounds like the American South but hails from the United Kingdom. The powerful singer is known for her emotional rawness over smooth instrumental arrangements, both leaning into genre conventions (country, soul, disco, and beyond) and floating stoically above them.
  • The Wood Brothers bring the poetry to the festival, and that’s saying something in such a lyric-heavy genre. The trio has stuck together for nearly two decades and been in the industry even longer, and the wisdom comes through the introspective acoustic-electric jams.
  • Shovels & Rope play with chemistry, abundant between Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, whose weathered, twangy voices bring a frankness to dramatic songwriting. This duo could play their own festival as moods and styles change from track to track.
  • Shinyribs is a warning from Austin to anyone who thinks folk music is always reserved. Frontman Kevin Russell, initially from Beaumont, is known for his performance antics — a force to be reckoned with, or otherwise, willingly swept up in.
  • Buffalo Nichols is turning the green venue blue with twangy slide guitar and a rich, nearly gravelly voice. The singer commanded a small, but dense crowd at his first year at Austin City Limits Festival in 2022, with a mellow tone amid the madness.
  • Matt the Electrician represents more country than many on the lineup, and has been active in the Austin music scene since 1998. His songwriting comes from cerebral origins, but sounds welcoming and promises easy listening as the festival rolls on.
  • Ley Line, also from Austin, is a standout for its comparatively exotic style. The four women sing in English, Portuguese, Swahili, and more, reminding fans in attendance — mostly seeking Americana — that the sphere of folk music extends far beyond our own borders.

In addition to the main attraction — the music — there will be food and artisan vendors, music workshops, and a youth talent competition. The camping, powered with renewable energy, sprawls around the active performance area, and the festival prides itself on the atmosphere away from the stages. Old Settler’s is a 501(c)(3) organization staffed by volunteers, so in addition to providing a good time, it aims to foster a lasting appreciation for Americana and the human connections available through it.

"This is one of the greatest festivals I've ever been a part of,” said Kevin Russell of Shinyribs in a press release. “In fact, I think of this as my home festival."

Tickets (starting at $60, kids under 12 free) to Old Settler’s Music Festival 2023, from April 20-23, are currently on sale at prekindle.com.

Courtesy of Cabana

High-tech camper van company from West Coast parks in Austin for Texas expansion

Happy campers

A new way to travel is rolling into Austin. Founded in Seattle, Cabana is a modern, mobile hospitality company known for its high-tech camper vans. With operations in Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, Austin will be the brand's fourth market in the U.S. and first in Texas.

While many signs of the pandemic have ebbed away, the renaissance of the classic American road trip has remained. Cabana offers complimentary, contactless trip planning, complete with campsite reservations and local experience recommendations. The Austin launch will give locals access to Big Bend National Park, the Texas Hill Country, Texas beaches, and beyond.

"Texas is chock full of unexplored and underrated gems waiting to be discovered,” said Cabana CEO and founder, Scott Kubly. “Whether you’re camping in Big Bend National Park or touring the wineries of Texas’ Hill Country, Cabana’s mission has always been to create the most seamless travel experience imaginable. We’re delighted to be partnering with New Waterloo to make this a possibility for Texans and those visiting the Austin area. Through our trip planning capabilities and easy-to-use technology, we’re eager to see how Austinites explore with Cabana.”

As part of the upcoming launch, Cabana also announced a partnership with one of Austin's most established hospitality management companies, New Waterloo, which will manage day-to-day operations on-site. The collaboration combines Cabana's combination of technology and passion for exploration with New Waterloo's 13 years of local expertise.

While the official Austin launch will come in early 2023, Cabana is celebrating the announcement with a pop-up on both weekends of Austin City Limits (October 7-9 and 14-6).

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events; plus more top stories

hot headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. From hotel pools, to museums, to a show-stopping Hill Country rental, here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. Dip your toes into these 7 Austin pools with passes, snacks, and summer events. The city is getting unreasonably hot again; It's time to start planning poolside hangs, which are even better with a cocktail.

2. Breathtaking Hill Country hideaway is one of Vrbo's top 10 vacation homes in the country. The retractable floor-to-ceiling glass windows are a nice touch in this $400-a-night house.

3. 6 Austin museums are offering free admission for military families all summer long. These organizations want to help military families spend more time together without breaking the bank.

4. Space-inspired screenings invade Austin Film Society ahead of Wes Anderson's upcoming release. Austinites looking forward to the June 16 release of Asteroid City can soak up the inspirations and watch a sneak peek screening.

5. Texas ranks No. 2 best state to start a small business in new report. The state's tax framework makes the finance side of running a business relatively easy.

4 Austin-inspired cocktail recipes to whisk you away from the Texas heat this summer


Now that summer weather has arrived in Austin, we can tell you’re thirsting for some new drinks to try. And with World Gin Day coming up on June 10, we’re sharing a few recipes from local Austin restaurants (and Austin’s favorite Topo Chico!) we hope you’ll enjoy.

The following recipes feature some of our favorite ingredients or mixers we’re loving at the moment. Whether your drink of choice is a cocktail or mocktail, we’ve gathered four bright and bubbly beverages to help whisk you away from the Texas heat. And if you prefer to drink them rather than make them, three of these lovely libations can be found on the seasonal summer menus at their respective restaurant.

Aba’s Rhubarb Rose Gin and Tonic
This cocktail was created by Senior Beverage Manager Thomas Mizuno-Moore.

½ oz lime juice
¼ oz honey syrup
½ oz Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur
¾ oz Brockmans Gin
¾ oz Hendrick’s Flora Adora
2 oz tonic water
Rosebud tea, for garnish


  • Combine lime juice, honey syrup, Fruitful Mixology rhubarb liqueur, Brockmans Gin and Hendrick’s Flora Adora in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold.
  • Add tonic water to the shaker, then strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass.
  • Garnish with rosebud tea and enjoy!

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo ChicoBecause everyone needs a good go-to mocktail recipe in their life.Photo courtesy of Topo Chico

Blueberry Sparkler Mocktail by Topo Chico
This beverage might not be gin-themed, but it does make a great refreshing mocktail. If you don’t have Topo Chico Sabores on hand, you can substitute it with sparkling water.

1 Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Lemon slices and additional blueberries, for garnish

Blueberry Syrup Directions:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the blueberries are soft and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the blueberry mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Once cooled, use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the blueberry mixture into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids and set the blueberry syrup aside.

Mocktail Directions:

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of the blueberry syrup, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well until chilled, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into the glass. Top off the glass with Blueberry Topo Chico Sabores (or sparkling water) and give it a gentle stir to mix.
  • Garnish with lemon slices and additional blueberries, if desired. Enjoy your refreshing Blueberry Sparkler!

Tillie's seasonal summer cocktailThis colorful cocktail is a lively take on a gin martini.Photo courtesy of Tillie's at Camp Lucy

Empress Gin Martini by Tillie’s at Camp Lucy
This martini recipe was developed by Paolo Lazarich, the mixologist for Abbey Row Restaurant at The Old Bell Hotel in the United Kingdom. Fun fact: Camp Lucy owners Kim and White Hanks also own The Old Bell Hotel, which is rumored to be England’s oldest hotel.

3 oz Empress 1908 Gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Splash of lemon juice
Lemon and rosemary for garnish


  • Add the Empress 1908 Gin, dry vermouth, and lemon juice to a glass and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy.

\u200bSummertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse There's nothing like a summer spritz.Photo courtesy of Dean's Italian Steakhouse

Summertime Spritz by Dean's Italian Steakhouse
This recipe is geared toward a mixologist who enjoys the little details that make a cocktail so unique, such as making their own oleo saccharum or curating the perfect flower as a garnish.

½ oz lemon juice
½ oz strawberry oleo saccharum
¼ oz Aperol
¼ oz Giffard Abricot
1.5 oz Zephyr Gin
2 oz Brut champagne
1 each cocktail flower


  • Combine all ingredients except Brut champagne into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously, about 15-20 seconds.
  • Fill a wine glass with ice and add the Brut. Fine strain the cocktail into the glass.
  • Garnish with the cocktail flower

Extravagant estate in West Austin hits the market for $4.25 million


An imperial estate in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin has become the latest addition to the city's stabilizing real estate market. The property was listed at $4.25 million.

The magnificent three-story home was originally built in 2009, making great use of Austin's Hill Country views that can be seen from every single room. The home spans 8,215 square feet on just over two acres of land, surrounded by lush trees and enclosed with a private gated entrance.

Natural light floods the inside of the home, highlighting intricate details and complimenting the high ceilings. The home boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and three half-baths. The primary suite is reminiscent of an upscale resort, containing its own spa-like bathroom, walk-in closets, and access to a private balcony.

In the kitchen, the 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream. The area has plenty of space and storage with its rich brown cabinets, a sub-zero refrigerator, a cabinet-mounted wine rack, two sinks, and more.

8105 Talbot Lane in AustinThe 60-inch wolf range is an aspiring chef's dream.Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

A few other highlights of the home include a game room, media room, terraces, and a resort-style pool deck with an accompanying hot tub, kitchen, and fire pit. The two-car garage also includes a guest suite above it, with a single bedroom, kitchenette, and half bath.

Looking into the property's history, it was listed in June 2022 for $4.9 million, which was reduced to $3.9 million by September. The home was reported as sold in October of that year before being re-listed for its current $4.25 million price in 2023.

8105 Talbot Lane in Austin

Photo courtesy of JPM Real Estate Photography

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane in West Austin.

The estate is located at 8105 Talbot Lane, which is a brief 10 minutes from downtown Austin, and is zoned for the highly-esteemed Eanes Independent School District. The listing is held by agent Wade Giles of Douglas Elliman.