The Daily Texan’s guide to Austin festivals in the spring


Shelby Tauber

Bassist Este Haim of the band Haim performs at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q during SXSW on Saturday night.

Hannah Smothers and Lauren L'Amie

Newcomers and long-time Austinites alike should know that springtime in Austin brings a festival to the city almost every weekend. From the uber-popular South By Southwest to smaller initiatives, such as Austin Psych Fest, Austin’s second-semester festival line-up gives students plenty of opportunities to be outside enjoying some of the city’s most pleasant weather. 

The Daily Texan compiled a list and rundown of five of the spring’s most notable festivals. 

South By Southwest

March 7-16

Every year, SXSW manages to simultaneously bring thousands of visitors to Austin and push plenty of citizens away from the city limits in an attempt to flee the 10-day chaos the festival is known for. Perhaps the city’s most notable festival, SXSW has a little something for everyone. The festival’s interactive portion is credited for Twitter’s rise to fame in 2007, and the music portion is always packed with surprise celebrity appearances, such as 2013’s secret Justin Timberlake show at the Coppertank Event Center. Badge prices run from $495 for a film badge to $1695 for the highly coveted Platinum badge, but plenty of free shows are announced in the weeks leading up to the event.

West By West Campus

Feb. 21-22

A popular — and free — SXSW avoidance tactic is the annual West by West Campus festival. Hosted in student co-ops in West Campus, WXWC is great for students hoping to avoid the downtown mobs, or for those looking for after parties a bit closer to home. Every once in a while, the student organizers of WXWC manage to snag one of the SXSW artists.

Art City Austin

April 12-13

Not to be confused with the bi-annual Old Pecan Street Festival, Art City Austin is a weekend-long outdoor art fair that transforms the streets of downtown Austin along Cesar Chavez and the Second Street district into an art-themed block party. Hosted by Art Alliance Austin, last year’s festival attracted more than 15,000 people and featured local food trailers and the People’s Gallery exhibition at City Hall. Aside from serving as a platform for local and nationally recognized artists, Art City Austin also hosts several interactive projects for kids and adults alike. Some highlights from previous years include things such as face painting, interactive screen printing and
origami workshops.   

Austin Reggae Festival

April 18-20

Auditorium Shores is sure to be overrun yet again with dreadlocks and Rastafarian pride at this year’s Austin Reggae Festival. After celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the three-day reggae and world music festival is back for its 21st consecutive year. In previous years, Austin Reggae Festival featured artists like The Wailers, The Aggrolites and Austin’s own Lance Herbstrong. Along with some of the biggest names in reggae, the festival also hosts more than 50 local artists and food vendors. Three-day passes are available for $35, and a portion of the proceeds go toward fundraising for the Capital Area Food Bank. 

Moontower Comedy Festival

April 23-26

Austin’s biggest comedy event of the year, Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival welcomes some of the country’s most notable comedians each year. Past lineups have included nationally acclaimed comics like Maria Bamford, Michael Ian Black and Dana Carvey, as well as a selection of local Austin comics. The festival takes place in a handful of Austin venues, such as The Paramount, The Parish and Scottish Rite Theatre. The comedy festival is a slightly smaller, slightly shorter version of the annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, which takes place every fall. 

Austin Psych Fest

May 2-4

Hosted at Carson Creek Ranch, this year’s Psych Fest offers on-site camping for the first time in the festival’s seven-year history. This year’s festival also brings the most notable lineup yet, with acts such as Of Montreal and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. It is the only Austin festival with on-site camping, and could be on its way to becoming an early festival-season staple. 

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the original story misstated the dates of the West By West Campus festival. The festival takes place from Feb. 21-22.