Your guide to Austin-area festivals in 2017


From puns to Polish movies, Austin’s got it all when it comes to festivals. Whether you’re looking for something free, outdoor, indoor, musical, athletic or something else entirely, we’ve got you covered with our list of 2017 events.

Are we missing one? Email cgonzales@statesman.com and we’ll add it to our list.

JANUARY

» See a map of January’s events here.

Print Austin, Jan. 15-Feb. 15. The Austin visual arts community showcases fine art prints at various locations. There will be a print expo and bin sale Feb. 11 at Canopy, located at 916 Springdale Road.

MLK Community Festival and Celebration, Jan 16. The free festival kicks off as soon as MLK March participants arrive on site at the Huston-Tillotson campus at 900 Chicon St. (roughly noon) and continues until 3 p.m. with music, food and family activities.

Frontera Fest, Jan. 17-Feb. 18. Austin’s original new theater showcase centers on the Short Fringe, a nightly showcase of new performances, all 25 minutes or less. The Short Fringe continues through Feb. 18 at Hyde Park Theatre. This year, Frontera Fest is not planning to coincide with the Long Fringe, which features new plays at 90 minutes or less, and will instead team up with participants for a Bring Your Own Venue schedule Jan. 23 through Feb. 5

Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival, Jan. 27-29. Artists, vendors, performances, after-parties and the best in body art at the Palmer Events Center. Single-day passes go for $15 during presale, $20 at the door.

FEBRUARY

OUTsider, Feb. 15-19. The art and burlesque festival will highlight a range of work, including theater, film, music and visual art, with the theme “Into the Wilds.”

Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, Feb. 19. Both the marathon and half marathon begin at 7 a.m. at Second Street and Congress Avenue, winding through hills south to Ben White Boulevard and then back by Lady Bird Lake, the Allandale and Hyde Park neighborhoods, the University of Texas campus and the Capitol complex.

Jugglefest XXIV, Feb. 24-26. The three-day event includes workshops, games, demonstrations and shows featuring juggling, unicycling and related circus arts at the Texas School for the Deaf on South Congress Avenue. All skill levels welcome.

Carnaval Brasileiro, Feb. 25. The samba beat takes over the Palmer Events Center for a one-day celebration of all things Brazilian. Tickets: $40 in advance, plus $3.25 online service charge; $45 at the door.

Austin Oyster Festival, Feb. 25. Enjoy raw, grilled, roasted and fried oysters alongside Cajun and bluegrass music at the Austin Oyster Festival. Wine, beer, cocktails and other seafood will be available.

MARCH

» See a map of March’s events here.

Explore UT, March 4. The biggest open house in Texas begins at 11 a.m. and continues through 5 p.m. as the public gets to know the local university. The daylong event invites Texans of all ages to experience robust research experiences and hands-on demonstrations and experiments.

Texas Independence Day Run and Parade, March 4. The 5K run up Congress Avenue starts at 8 a.m., followed by a parade.

ABC Zilker Kite Festival, March 5. This festival always helps kick off spring, with hundreds of kites floating above the great yard of the city. The event is free and benefits Communities In Schools of Central Texas. The rain date is March 12.

South by Southwest, March 10-19. The annual Film, Interactive and Music conferences and festival return to take over the city.

Rodeo Austin, March 11-25. Since 1938, the rodeo has been raising money for youth scholarships. It features the world’s fifth-largest indoor, regular season ProRodeo and includes a carnival, activities and entertainment. The free Cowboy Breakfast is scheduled for March 3 at the Long Center. This year’s musical artists include Dwight Yoakam, Fitz and the Tantrums, Kenny Rogers and Patti LaBelle. Prices for the rodeo and concerts vary.

Mexican American Experience, March 15-16. The free festival showcases music from Tejano to Latin rock.

Luck Reunion, March 16. Enjoy music and food at Willie Nelson’s ranch during South by Southwest.

St. Patrick’s Day Festival, March 17. Lots of music, food and dancing make this one of spring’s most lively events.

Pan Americana Festival, March 17-18. The free two-day festival, which launched in 2011, at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center features Latin alternative artists.

Zilker Garden Festival, March 25-26. The 60th annual Zilker Garden Festival includes a flower show, live music, lectures, kids’ events, food and beer garden. All bicyclists get half-price admission March 26.

Texas Relays Weekend, March 29-April 1. The massive high school and college track meet at the University of Texas draws thousands of fans from across the state.

Urban Music Festival, March 31-April 1. The 12th annual two-day festival at Auditorium Shores features MC Lyte, Tony! Toni! Toné! and more.

Honk!TX, March 31-April 2. The free, community-driven festival brings street and brass bands from around the country to Austin for a series of performances in public spaces throughout the city.

Art City Austin, March 31-April 2. Art Alliance Austin’s three-day festival returns to the Palmer Events Center with works from 25 contemporary art galleries and an art festival featuring 125 self-represented artists from across the U.S.

APRIL

» See a map of April’s events here.

Texas VegFest, April 1. One of the largest vegetarian festivals in the state, at Fiesta Gardens for its sixth year, celebrates the health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of a plant-based lifestyle. The festival includes food, educational lectures, cooking demonstrations and more.

Live Fire, April 6. The Austin Food and Wine Alliance’s centerpiece fundraiser, which features a roster of almost two dozen celebrated Texas chefs cooking meat over open flames, has long been held on the edge of town but this year will take place at Camp Mabry. The seventh annual event has a Global Flare theme, meaning chefs like Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Rene Ortiz & Laura Sawicki of Fresa’s Al Carbon and Launderette and Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye.

Texas Burlesque Festival, April 6-8. Burlesque, vaudeville and cabaret reign at this three-day festival, which strives to foster a supportive community among performers across the U.S.

Euphoria, April 6-9. The electronic music and jam band festival returns to Carson Creek Ranch with performances by Alesso, Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa and more.

Lonestar Round Up, April 7-8. The 16th annual Lonestar Round Up is an outdoor car show and live music festival featuring vintage hot rods and custom cars at the Travis County Expo Center.

Spring Plant Sale, April 8. This annual event takes place at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It features tours, lectures, book signings and more.

Fusebox Festival, April 12-16. The 13th annual contemporary arts and performance festival champions adventurous works of art in theater, dance, film, music, literature, visual and culinary arts.

Austin Reggae Festival, April 14-16. The spring celebration of mellow music and laid-back vibes is also the largest fundraiser of the year for Central Texas Food Bank. This year’s lineup has not yet been announced, but past artists include the Aggrolites, Alika and Bunny Wailer.

Celebrating Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, April 15. The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center will present its ninth annual literary and artistic festival. The free celebration, which starts at 4 p.m., will feature an interactive theater workshop, art exhibits and live performances.

Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest, April 19-22. Have a laugh with comedians and podcasts at venues like Paramount Theatre and Cap City Comedy Club. Performers include Ali Wong, Patton Oswalt, Chris Hardwick and Ralphie May.

Old Settler’s Music Festival, April 20-23. The roots and Americana music festival takes place at Camp Ben McCulloch and includes camping, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities, and craft beers and diverse menu options. This year’s headliners include Los Lobos, Shakey Graves, the Del McCoury Band and the Old 97’s.

Mack, Jack & McConaughey, April 20-21. MJ&M is the joint fundraising effort of Austin spirit animal Matthew McConaughey, recording artist Jack Ingram and former UT coach Mack Brown. Funds from the benefit support organizations such as CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Center, HeartGift and more.

Statesman Capitol 10K Race and Health & Fitness Expo, April 21-23. Pick up your race packet and check out the health and fitness vendors on hand from noon to 7 p.m. April 21 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22 at the Palmer Events Center. The race is April 23, beginning on South Congress Avenue at the Congress Avenue Bridge and finishing at the traffic circle on West Riverside Drive.

Earth Day Austin, April 22. Thousands gather at Huston-Tillotson University to learn about conservation, celebrate their love for the environment and learn about green businesses and organizations.

Sunset Valley ArtFest, April 22. Area artists set up at Burger Center to sell paintings, sculpture, jewelry and more at the 11th annual Sunset Valley ArtFest.

Umlauf Garden Party, April 27. Art enthusiasts enjoy an evening of food from Austin eateries, wine and art in the sculpture garden at this annual fundraiser.

Hill Country Film Festival, April 27-30. Fredericksburg’s independent film fest has grown steadily since 2010, featuring more than 85 short and feature-length films in 2016.

Austin Food & Wine Festival, April 28-30. The city’s premier food festival brings in some of the country’s top chefs for more than 40 culinary demos and tasting events, the chance to mingle with the chefs and an annual best-tasting taco contest.

BP MS 150, April 29-30. Thousands of cyclists bike from Houston to Austin over two days in a fundraising effort for people who are affected by multiple sclerosis. The fundraising minimum per rider is $400.

Eeyore’s Birthday, April 29. The 54th annual party for the “Winnie the Pooh” character raises funds to benefit multiple nonprofit groups in Austin. Food, beer and commemorative T-shirts will be available, as well as henna tattoos, face painting, music and a costume contest. The event is free; rain date is May 7.

Buda Wiener Dog Races, April 29-30. The cuteness continues for the 20th year in a row at the Buda Wiener Dog Races, put together by the Buda Lions Club. The event includes a cookoff, arts and craft booths and a pet parade and costume contest.

Austin Dragon Boat Festival, April 29-30. The ninth annual Dragon Boat Festival features teams of 20 racing in boats adorned with dragon heads and tails on Lady Bird Lake. The festival includes cultural dances, a cake cutting ceremony and a dumpling competition.

MAY

» See a map of May’s events here.

National Wildflower Week, May 1-7. The annual celebration of the beauty and importance of wildflowers returns to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, May 3-7. Cine Las Americas celebrates its 20th festival, showcasing contemporary films and videos from Latin America that explore themes such as the consequences of deportation and the complexities of young love.

Jmblya, May 6. The spring turn-up from hip-hop powerhouse promoter Scoremore features Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane, Steve Aoki, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and more at Circuit of the Americas.

Derby in the City, May 6. Take in the most exciting two minutes in sports in the American-Statesman parking lot at the third annual Derby in the City Music Festival. Performers include Citizen Cope, Sweet Spirit and more. Don’t forget to wear your fancy hat!

Pecan Street Festival, Spring, May 6-7. The long-running arts, crafts and music festival returns to East Sixth Street with over 300 artists, three stages of live music, a wide variety of food, a petting zoo and more.

Cinco de Mayo, May 6-7. Fiestas Patrias of Austin presents a Tejano music, food and cultural festival at Fiesta Gardens.

Austin Fashion Week, May 12-20. Local and national designers come together to celebrate and showcase the latest in fashion with runway shows, trunk shows and parties at the ninth annual Austin Fashion Week. The event honors Style Setters and their dedication to local nonprofit organizations.

Index Fest, May 13. Formerly known as Untapped Festival, Index Fest will bring stellar celebrations of craft beer, music, food and arts across the state of Texas. Performers include Local Natives and Frenship.

O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championship s, May 13. Billed as “the highest celebration of the lowest form of humor,” the pun-off celebrates its 40th anniversary with the annual competition and an exhibit called “Once-A-Pun a Time: 40 Years of the Pun-Off.”

Maker Faire Austin, May 13-14. DIY fans gather at Palmer Events Center for art, music and guest speakers.

West Austin Studio Tour, May 13-14, 20-21. After years of the successful East Austin Studio Tour, organizers launched the West Austin version of the free, self-guided tour. West features over 200 artist studios as well as galleries, temporary exhibitions, happenings and partner programs.

Austin Sketch Fest, May 22-28. ColdTowne Theater showcases the best scripted comedy from Austin and beyond during the eighth annual Austin Sketch Fest. This year’s festival features Reductress Live and James Adomian.

Blues on the Green, May 24. KGSR’s summerlong free concert series at Zilker Park kicks off with Jamestown Revival. Subsequent shows take place on June 14, July 12 and Aug. 2.

Kerrville Folk Festival, May 25-June 11. The time-honored Hill Country tradition returns for its 46th year with nearly three weeks of performances, camping, music workshops, seminars and hiking. This year’s artists include Jimmy LaFave, Radney Foster, Los Texmaniacs and many more.

Lone Star Jam, May 27-28. The 10th annual Texas music festival spans two days, two stages and 20 bands. This year’s performers include Pat Green, Aaron Watson, Josh Abbott Band and Casey Donahew.

Life Time Tri CapTex, May 29. Every Memorial Day, athletes converge on downtown Austin to swim .93 miles, bike 24.3 miles and run 6.2 miles. The event includes an athletic expo and an awards ceremony.

Georgetown Festival of the Arts, May 27-June 4. This year’s Festival of classical music, Great Britons, features music by three famous British composers, Edward Elgar, Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten. Concerts, recitals, films and symposiums are presented at venues around Georgetown and Southwestern University.

JUNE

» See a map of summer events here.

ATX Television Festival, June 8-11. Festival programming includes panels, screenings and events that look at the history, present and future of television. Badges start at $175.

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally, June 8-11. Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts flock to the Travis County Expo Center and surrounding areas for music, parties and a motorcycle parade downtown.

Keep Austin Weird Fest and 5K, June 24. The focal point of this festival is a 5K run featuring participants dressed as chickens, sumo wrestlers, Santa Claus and sometimes just guys in spandex. The winner of the costume contest wins a free year of Amy’s Ice Creams.

Austin African American Book Festival, June 24. This free event at the Carver Museum and Cultural Center and the Carver Branch Library aims to promote empowerment through literature.

JULY

» See a map of summer events here.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic, July 4. Willie’s annual picnic returns to Circuit of the Americas with Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price, Asleep at the Wheel and more. Tickets start at $39.50.

Austin Chamber Music Festival, July 5-22. This multiweek lineup of concerts takes place in recital halls and live music clubs and includes new music ensembles, jazz groups, string quartets and trios.

Float Fest, July 22-23. Float the river in San Marcos, then take in some tunes. This year’s lineup includes Zedd, Weezer, Cage the Elephant, MGMT, Passion Pit, Girl Talk, Snakehips and more.

Classic Game Fest, July 29-30. Retro game tournaments, live video game music, guest speakers, costume contests and more take over the Palmer Events Center.

AUGUST

» See a map of summer events here.

Austin Ice Cream Festival, Aug. 12. Cool down with a day of all things ice cream at Fiesta Gardens. Vendors include local favorites like Amy’s Ice Creams, Austin Scoops, Good Pops and dairy-free NadaMoo.

Bat Fest, Aug. 19. Celebrate the Mexican free-tailed bat colony that lives under the Congress Avenue Bridge with music, food trucks, crafts and a bat costume contest.

Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, Aug. 20. The best salsa and hot sauce makers in the state convene at Fiesta Gardens for the annual blind-tasting competition. Categories include individual, restaurant and commercial bottler.

Austin Pride, Aug. 26. The annual advocacy and fundraising event returns to Fiesta Gardens with a fashion show, festival and parade.

Out of Bounds Comedy Fest, Aug. 29-Sept. 4. The weeklong performance festival features some of the best in improv, sketch and standup comedy from across the globe.

SEPTEMBER

Kerrville Fall Music Festival, Sept. 2-3. The little sister to the Kerrville Folk Festival features music, Texas wines and craft beers. In addition to afternoon and evening concerts, guests can enjoy wine and beer seminars.

The Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Sept. 7-10. The festival, in its 30th year, features full-length and short films about those within the LGBTQ spectrum.

Eastside Kings Festival, Sept. 9-10. The festival is a celebration of blues, gospel and jazz acts throughout East Austin.

Dia de la Independencia, Sept. 15-16. Celebration at the Capitol with mariachi, vendors, crafts and traditional food that commemorates Mexican Independence.

Fantastic Fest, Sept. 21-28. The horror, fantasy and sci-fi genre film festival has been home to the world premieres of “Frankenweenie,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Zombieland” and “Red.” Badges cost $210-$490.

UtopiaFest, Sept. 22-24. The campout music festival in Utopia features two stages and sells only 2,000 tickets. Last year’s lineup included Ratatat, Victor Wooten and Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.

Pecan Street Festival, Fall, Sept. 23-24. The long-running free arts festival returns to Sixth Street in the fall.

Texas Craft Brewers Festival, TBD. Texas brewers come together at Fiesta Gardens to offer the best in the state’s craft beers.

OCTOBER

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest, Oct. 6-8. The festival celebrates the Hill Country town’s German heritage with music, food and drink, artisans and a children’s area.

Austin City Limits Music Festival, Oct. 6-8, Oct. 13-15. One of Austin’s biggest music events, ACL Fest includes two weekends. Last year’s headliners include Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons and LCD Soundsystem. Tickets and the lineup are due to be announced in the spring.

Formula One, Oct. 20-22. The U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas track east of Austin and parties downtown draw racing fans from around the world.

Austin Film Festival, Oct. 26-Nov. 2. The film fest aims to inspire and champion the work of screenwriters, filmmakers and all artists who use film and television to tell a story.

Texas Clay Festival, Oct. 28-29. The 25th annual festival in the Gruene Historic District of New Braunfels will feature the work of over 60 Texas clay artists. Demonstrations, from hand-building to wheel-throwing to raku firing, will be held in four tents both days of the event.

Austin Polish Film Festival, TBD. The 12th annual festival offers an opportunity to see a variety of award-winning Polish films, both live action and animation.

Day of the Dead, TBD. A celebration of life and those who have departed. Includes a downtown parade, music, crafts and vendors, organized by the Mexic-Arte Museum.

FALA Latin American Art Festival, TBD. One day that will take you around Latin American culture, food, music and traditions at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center.

Livestrong Challenge Austin, TBD. Cyclists, runners and walkers from around the country participate in 20-, 45-, 65- or 100-mile bike rides or the Challenge Honor 5K to reach a fundraising goal of $1 million for Livestrong Cancer Institutes of the Dell Medical School.

Texas Teen Book Festival, TBD. Young adult authors engage with fans during this one-day event at St. Edward’s University.

NOVEMBER

Wurstfest, Nov. 3-12. The New Braunfels 10-day salute to sausage features food, music and dancing; carnival rides and games; German, Texan and domestic beer; special events and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian style entertainment. Rain or shine; children 12 and younger are free.

Texas Book Festival, Nov. 4-5. Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush and Mary Margaret Farabee, the Texas Book Festival is one of the largest literary festivals in the country. It features hundreds of nationally and critically recognized authors at more than 20 venues, including the Capitol. Last year’s festival drew more than 50,000 attendees.

Creek Show, Nov. 9-18. Austin-based artists and designers build light-based installations to transform the area around Waller Creek in downtown Austin for a 10-day family-friendly event.

Sound on Sound Fest, Nov. 10-12. The festival, which debuted in 2016, aims to create a fan-first festival experience, focusing on indie, punk, hip-hop, metal, dance music, comedy and live panel discussions. This year’s festival will again be held at Sherwood Forest Faire.

East Austin Studio Tour, Nov. 11-12, 18-19. Big Medium’s East Austin Studio Tour is a free, self-guided art event spanning two weekends. East provides opportunities for the public to meet local artists in their creative spaces. The 2016 iteration included 534 participants, the most in the tour’s history.

Wizard World Austin Comic Con, Nov. 17-19. Celebrity guests at this year’s comic book and gaming convention include Lou Ferrigno from “The Incredible Hulk,” Josh McDermitt from “The Walking Dead” and artist Allen Bellman.

ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, Nov. 23. Participants run 5 miles around downtown Austin on Thanksgiving morning to benefit Caritas of Austin, which provides education and support services to working poor people to help them become self-sufficient.

Austin Celtic Festival, TBD. This multi-stage event at Fiesta Gardens celebrates all things Celtic, including music, dance, games, animals and history.

Travis Heights Art Trail, TBD. During this multimedia community art event, artists in the Travis Heights neighborhood open up their homes and studios to the public free of charge. The area tradition includes a sale by the Travis Heights Elementary School Arts Program.

DECEMBER

Trail of Lights, TBD. Austin’s favorite holiday tradition continues with more than 40 displays, 2 million lights and plenty of festive activities along the way.

Other Worlds Austin, TBD. Austin’s sci-fi film festival, which debuted in 2014, returns.



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