Forty Acres Fest draws thousands for live music, student performances

Caleb Wong

Thousands of UT community members enjoyed live music, student talent acts and a variety of activities, including tie-dying and carnival games, at the annual Forty Acres Fest Saturday.

The event also featured a daytime magic show, a petting zoo and an evening concert with the headlining bands Smallpools and Ra Ra Riot.

Over 4,000 people attended the daytime event, and 1,350 people attended the nighttime concerts, according to Texas Traditions Chair Neha Srivastava. Texas Traditions is a student committee housed under Campus Events and Entertainment that hosts events including the festival and Texas Revue, the biggest talent show in Texas.

Check out our slideshow and get a closer look at this year's Forty Acres Fest:

Srivastava said the committee tried to put the focus on student acts over the course of the day.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve had a lot of bands perform during the daytime,” Srivastava said. “This year, we kind of wanted to shift that focus and give [student acts] more time. … It is supposed to be about the student performances and student organizations and students coming on campus.”

The event was open to the public, so families and students from other universities attended the festival. Carolyn Ellis, advertising junior and co-president of Chi Kappa Phi, said her service society offered face painting because they felt there weren’t enough activities for children at the festival.

“We do volunteer for Oak Springs Elementary School, so we work with kids a lot,” Ellis said. “For the kids that are here, we kind of wanted something for them, so that’s why we’re doing face painting.”

Other student organizations promoted philanthropic causes at their booths. Rawand Abdelghani, psychology junior and president of Circle K International, said her organization built a jail out of pipes to raise awareness for organizations such as UNICEF.

“The jail is a fun idea someone came up with in our [organization],” Abdelghani said. “We wanted to do something creative because everyone does typical stuff like face painting or sell snacks. It would have the potential to be something bigger.”

Blake Burley, government and philosophy freshman, said he enjoyed listening to Smallpools, an indie pop band from Los Angeles.

“Smallpools was very entertaining,” Burley said. “Very good live, musically talented. They absolutely killed a couple of their songs that were just upbeat and fun. But at the same time, they were super chill, and after the show, we got to talk to them and take pictures with them.”