10 festivals happening in Austin in the next three months
Festivals are a big part of Austin’s modern DNA, and with fall comes a full schedule. Here are 10 happening in the next three months:
Fantastic Fest (Sept. 18-25, Alamo Drafthouse, 1120 S Lamar Blvd. Fantasticfest.com. $75 and up; check website for details)
Moviegoers will be in for a treat (and a few tricks) as Fantastic Fest celebrates its 10th anniversary. The largest genre film festival in the U.S. has presented the world premiere of popular movies such as “Zombieland,” “Apocalypto” and “There Will Be Blood.” This year, screenings will include “Over Your Dead Body” (Japan, 2014) and “John Wick” starring Keanu Reeves. Oh, and there’s the Nerd Rap Throwdown. Who doesn’t love rapping nerds? Also check out the geek-culture fest MondoCon (Sept. 20-21) at the Marchesa Hall and Theatre (mondo-con.com).
WobeonFest (Sept. 20, Irownwood Hall, 505 E. Seventh St. Wobeonfest.com. $30-$35)
Wobeon world music fest launched last year with a top-notch program at the Mexican American Cultural Center. The event has scaled back to a single day with a tight focus on global unity timed to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of Peace (which is Sept. 21). Headliners include roots reggae band Taj Weekes and Adowa, rhythmic Moroccan rockers Hoba Hoba Spirit and Brazilian percussionist and bandleader Dende. A host of Austin’s finest global groovers including Middle Eastern ensemble Atash and West African drum and dance troupe Bramaya provide local support. —Deborah Sengupta Stith
The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival (Sept. 21, Austin360 Amphitheater. Oddballfest.com. $42-$91)
Do you like Louis C.K.? How about Sarah Silverman — big fan? What if they were performing with Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron, Reggie Watts, Whitney Cummings and DJ Trauma? That’s the comedy dream team right there. The 2013 inaugural Funny or Die Oddball tour opened in Austin and it was awesome. This year, the tour closes here, so the comics will be letting it all fly, taking their last shots at inducing hilarity. — Dale Roe
Weird City Hip-Hop Festival (Sept. 26-28, Red River District-Downtown. $40-$60)
The Austin Mic Exchange will present the first-ever Weird City Hip-Hop Festival in downtown’s Red River District. Austin’s hip-hop scene has been steadily growing with dynamic acts like Magna Carda, Riders Against the Storm and the League of Extraordinary Gz elevating the profile of Central Texas rap. National headliners Pharoahe Monch, Jean Grae and Dilated Peoples lead a bill that includes Texas heavyweights Houston’s Doughbeezy, Dallas’ AD.d+ and San Antonio’s Worldwide. The event will also include rap battles, daytime workshops and a special edition of the monthly Body Rock dance party with L.A. electro funk master Dam Funk dropping in to keep the spot hot. — D.S.S.
Austoberfest (Sept. 27, Austin Saengerrunde Hall. 1607 San Jancinto Blvd. www.saengerrunde.org/#!austoberfest $20-$40)
The second annual Austoberfest celebrates Central Texas’ German culture and heritage. Food vendors include Black’s BBQ, Miller’s Smokehouse, the Best Wurst, Freedman’s, Micklethwait Craft Meats and more. There will be beer and sausage tastings, of course, and a music lienup will be announced soon. The event benefits Foodways Texas.
Austin City Limits Festival (Oct, 3-5 and 10-12, Zilker Park. Aclfestival.com. $90 single-day passes)
Zilker Park transforms into Austin’s largest outdoor music festival with acres of music, food and dancing and more than 130 acts over three days. Headliners, who play both weekends like most of the lineup, are Eminem, Pearl Jam, OutKast, Skrillex, Beck and Calvin Harris. Buzzy bands include the Replacements, Spoon, Lorde (weekend two only), Sam Smith, Jenny Lewis and Iggy Azalea. The popular Kiddie Limits and Austin Eats areas will be back, as will last year’s new beer hall. Three-day passes are sold out; single-day tickets for both Fridays and Sundays are still available, along with VIP packages.
Austin Film Festival (Oct. 23-30, Paramount Theatre and various locations. Austinfilmfestival.com. $50-$625)
Austin Film Festival, founded in 1993, primarily focuses on the writers’ creative contributions to film. The festival features everything from highly anticipated Hollywood movies to breakthrough independent films. On top of premieres, parties and networking opportunities, film screenings are complemented by Q&A sessions with cast members and filmmakers. Fest organizers have announced Mike Binder’s “Black and White,” starring Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, as this year’s centerpiece movie, as well as the Texas premiere of “The Homesman,” co-written by Tommy Lee Jones, and the world premiere of “21 Years: Richard Linklater,” a documentary about the Austin-based director, among other highlights. Passes are available for $50, while badges cost between $125 and $625.
The Texas Book Festival (Oct. 25-26, Texas Capitol and surrounding grounds. Texasbookfestival.com. Free)
The Texas Book Festival has been celebrating authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas and imagination since 1995 and has evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country. More than 250 authors will be here for book signings, readings, panel discussions and cooking demonstrations. The festival is free and open to book lovers of all ages.
Fun Fun Fun Fest (Nov. 7-9, Auditorium Shores. Funfunfunfest.com. $85-$450)
Originally conceived as a genre fest with a special focus on heavy metal, indie rock and underground hip-hop and dance music, the event has grown into a mainstream but carefully curated and uniquely Austin celebration of all things fun. This year’s headliners include British metal titans Judas Priest, influential indie rockers Neutral Milk Hotel and hip-hop behemoths Nas and Wiz Khalifa. The fest operates a popular comedy tent with an oddball aesthetic that places comedians Fred Armisen and Kumail Nanjiani on the same stage as punk legend Jello Biafra and cult film director John Waters. Keeping with the “fun” theme, there’s also a skate ramp, Anarchy Championship Wrestling and a taco cannon. —D.S.S.
East Austin Studio Tour (Nov. 15-16 and 22-23, east.bigmedium.org. Free.)
Now in its 13th year and arguably the largest attended arts happening in the city, the East Austin Studio Tour sees hundreds of artists and artisans opening their creative work spaces to the public for two weekends of casual art viewing and shopping. Special events, pop-up exhibits and informal art-making demonstrations augment the studio-hopping, with many locations clustered, making parts of the tour that can be taken in on bike or by foot. Illustrated catalogs with maps are available the week before the tour for free at Austin Public Library branch locations. — Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Fests on the go