Last weekend’s fourth Float Fest near San Marcos combined one of the best festival lineups, tubing, camping and carnivals, creating a unique festival that has found its niche. Festival goers flew and drove in from around the country for the experience. There was even an Ariana Grande sighting at rapper Mac Miller’s set (they’re dating). …
Written by ManVsParty
The music festival scene has become quite crowded in recent years. Festivals are popping up all over the country and Texas alone has several large ones of note with new ones set to spring up in Ft. Worth and outside of Houston in 2017. Many across the country boast to be the best but with so many sharing the same lineups throughout festival season it’s hard for a new festival to stand out.
Only in year 2, Day for Night is certainly not like the others. With a variety of interactive art displays and an eclectic mix of music, catering to some of the most avant garde tastes, this Houston based festival stands out among the monotony of the Coachella and Lollapaloozas. This year it was housed right in downtown Houston, in what was once the main post office in town and is currently awaiting its transformation into renovated downtown living. The organizers did well with the giant building, setting up 4 stages throughout the large building and its parking lot.
Although art abounded through the building, the second floor was dedicated to it and left many to get lost in it. The gigantic TUNDRA, which felt like a grid out of Tron had people captivated for hours. The ability to walk through the pitch black rooms full of light displays made you feel like a part of the experience. Of course, the stand out of the art displays was the Bjork Digital VR experience that had some people waiting in line up to 5 hours if they were not lucky enough to reserve a time slot.
The 80 minutes the experience took in of itself was daunting enough for those of us lucky enough to get in. Through each of the separate, 25 person rooms, you are placed directly in front of Bjork. First as she serenades you on the beautiful Icelandic coast, she takes you into a cave, then melts in front of you and into space, and finally culminating in a silhouette like form while a vagina expels light beams that you can manipulate with your controller. Definitely interesting, but I wonder if those who spent 5 hours+ thought it was worth missing out on so many of the artists.
The festival kicked off with Welcome to Houston, which is comprised of legendary Houston rappers all welcoming you to the festival and the city they call home. Paul Wall banged out some hits, Lil Flip played a dubstep heavy version of his hit “The Way We Ball” and Bun B closed out with his verse from “Int’l Players Anthem.” Tycho and Tobacco had huge crowds going for their eclectic sounds. The Jesus and Mary Chain belted out the classics to huge crowds but by far the biggest crowd of the weekend went to Richard D. James, better known as Aphex Twin. Many had traveled from across the country to see his 2-hour set. The dedicated crowd stuck around even as the sky opened up for a surprise storm and temperatures dropped 30 degrees, managing to stay warm by just dancing. After, many even stuck around till 2 to dance to DJ collective Soulection.
The weather was not as kind on Sunday, where the temperature barely moved above 45 but many were still ready to party. Austin’s S U R V I V E easily had one of the largest crowds I saw on the indoor blue stage, they played the theme to Stranger Things to the delight of many in the crowd. The haunting melodies a perfect sound for the dreary day. Lightning Bolt had many outside grooving to their chaotic sounds. Liars had an upbeat performance that got everyone dancing. RZA from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan had the crowd with their hands in the air and everyone went nuts when he covered “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by his deceased cousin, Ol’ Dirty Bastard. My favorite of the evening was another DJ from the UK, Squarepusher. By the time local rapper Travis Scott performed, the crowd had thinned, due to the weather but many diehards crammed as close to the stage as possible to close out the evening.
Day for Night has certainly left an impression in only 2 short years, definitely curious to see how they manage to top themselves in year 3.
Written by Nicole
If you’re into festivals and you’re not attending UTOPiAfest then you’re missing out on an amazing experience. This BYOB camping music festival brings an astonishing line up of musical talent every year to the Four Sister’s Ranch in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. This was the 8th year for UTOPiAfest and like always they created an amazing weekend for all. If you wanted to stay active there was an 18 hole disk golf course, instructed yoga classes, guided hikes and guided mountain biking! For those who just wanted to chill there were hammocks to relax in. A Kid’s tent full of activities was set up daily to keep the youth at this family friendly festival entertained. Are you wondering the best way to relax after a day of activities and live music? How about more live music! From 2am to 5am acoustic sets at “Tank Goodtimes” would let music lovers chill while listening to great music and gaze at the star filled Texas sky.
After a decade of bringing quality entertainment to Austin, Fun Fun Fun Fest is still going strong and only getting better with age. The mid-fall event held at Auditorium Shores, backdropped by the ever changing Austin skyline, one again stood out among so many of the music events in Austin each year.
The beauty of Fun Fun Fun Fest comes from making the event truly unique, not only by the wide diversity of the music, but by incorporating fun at every level. Where else do you get twerking lessons from Big Freedia followed by a motivational speech by Andrew W.K.? You get the insanity of a Peaches set, which this year included a proposal, followed by her shooting t-shirt wrapped tacos out of the famous taco cannon. Taking a break away from the music you can still check out awesome local art or watch pro skaters and BMX riders amaze on the Volcom Super Collider. And after spending up to 11 hours at the festival you can still go out and see some of your favorite acts at venues around town for no additional charge because of Fun Fest Nites.
The wide range of music caters specifically to the music fan that loves everything and not just one particular genre. You’re welcome to hang out at the Black Stage all night if you wish, but why would you miss the opportunity to at least check out Wu-Tang Clan for at least one song? You can’t miss that the event is run, right down to security and stage handlers, by people who truly love music, comedy and art in Austin. Every detail is handled by fans of the bands they’re bringing out and at times have to leave their spot behind the bar to go play or tell some jokes, that’s the kind of stuff you really don’t see anywhere else. This festival feels like it is for people that go to see live music day in and day out, not just for those who spend 3 nights out of the year at a music festival.
Fun Fun Fun Fest remains, at least in my opinion, the premier Austin event, here’s to 10 more years!
Quick slideshow of the pro BMX riders, Music Felon (James ATX) caught.
UTOPiAfest is held on the 1000 acre Four Sister’s Ranch in the heart of the Texas Hill country. The fest is 8 miles from small town Utopia, which was to be a Fourierist community of “utopian socialism” but failed. Since Uvalde county is dry, there are no alcohol sales and the fest allows attendees to bring their own drinks, making it more of an “unfestival” (no lines for $9 beer).
The remoteness of the location made most cell phones only useful as clocks and cameras. No hashtag is needed when no one can reach their favorite social media platform. This left time for fans to talk to each other about the awesomeness they were experiencing instead of staring at their mobile screens.
UTOPiAfest is a unique family friendly music festival that limits ticket sales to 2000. This keeps the performances intimate and lines short. Utopians are some of the friendliest people on earth. People help each other if something is needed and always greet each other with a smile. Even friendlier and more helpful is the UTOPiAfest staff.
Unfortunately, the company that was hosting the children’s activities had to back out at the last moment. The UTOPiAfest folks stepped up and created new activities that the kids loved. There was face painting, games and lots of fun for families.
Keeping Utopians in a greatmood was not difficult with the stellar line-up. The fest started with a pre-party Friday night that included Austin locals, Sip Sip and Syphx followed by the jam band Leftover Salmon who also played an intimate acoustic set backstage late in the evening.
Saturday, the main festival began in the early afternoon and ended near 2 a.m. with Explosions in the Sky on stage and fireworks bursting above. Twelve bands performed each of the days on two stages with no overlap in music. Sunday included a surprise set from Shakey Graves!
There were after hours acoustic sets at the Good Times Tank stage that ran well into the morning on Saturday and Sunday. UTOPiAfest was a magical weekend surrounded by beautiful music, people and scenery! The bands gave great performances despite the heat. Utopians danced and sang along. A couple even got married.
Not many sights are grander than looking into the stars deep in the heart of Texas at UTOPiAfest!