If you’re dying to celebrate the harvest season at the number two Oktoberfest in the country as voted by US Today, you’ve probably already made plans to attend Wurstfest this year. From November 6th through the 15th, people from around the state will gather in New Braunfels to celebrate German culture, and to party like crazy.
Attendees will sample German-style fare, dance to the live bands, and take in the various Alpine and Bavarian style shows that celebrate the fall. The Wurstfest grounds are in New Braunfel’s Landa Park, but there are various other events and activities going on throughout the town and Comal County.
The best week in sausage brings some of the best German fare right to Austin’s backyard and chances are you’re going to want to wash it all down with a beer… or four. Needless to say, a designated driver is a must.
Photo by Reddit user: svartorn
We’re partnering up with Austin Tour Company this year to make sure you make it to the fest and back in one piece. We’re offering round-trip transportation on our sweet party busses for only $40 per person. Parking for Wurstfest is actually offsite, so you still end up taking a bus from the parking area to the grounds if you decide to drive yourself. Our busses pick up in Austin and deliver and pick up to/from the front gates of the fest. Your first beer on the bus is on us, byob for the rest.
Additionally, the $40 doesn’t just cover the ride; it gets you into the festival! We get the party started early with fun music and the hilarious movie Beerfest to entertain you on the ride home. We also provide a little education (we promise, it’s not boring!) on the history of the festival and why it’s so significant in Central Texas.
Once we’re at the Wurstfest Grounds, you have three hours to enjoy the festival to your heart’s desire. Then we’ll be waiting for your group at the entrance ready to safely bring you back to Austin. It’s as easy as that.
Wanna learn more? Check out the Wurstfest official site for more information about the sausage party and book your spot on one of our Austin Tour Company party buses here. It’s a small price to pay for a time you won’t soon forget… if only you could remember.
Cover photo courtesy of Do512 Family.
It’s Texas Book Festival time again! This is an absolutely fantastic event that is fun for the entire family.
This annual book-a-palooza was the brain child of former First Lady, Laura Bush. I think the coolest thing about the festival is that it gets people excited about reading and raises tons of cash for Texas libraries. Since the fest started they’ve awarded over $2.5 million in grant money to state libraries. That is downright inspiring!
The festival will have everything from book signings, panel discussions, author readings, and more.
Check out the Weekend Top Picks for other events happening this weekend.
When: today, October 18th
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Austin, Texas 78701
Photo Credit: Texas Book Festival Facebook Page
Two weekends. Over 150 artists and 75,000 people to push through each day in order to see your favorite bands. How on earth are you going to decide which artists to see? Don’t stress; we’ve done the dirty work for you (or at least some of it).
If we were crazy enough to do it all again this weekend (and we might be), here are 10 artists we wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Genre: Indie Rock, Art Rock
Photo by: Charles Reagan Hackleman
If Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad loves alt-j, shouldn’t you? Their music has made waves on the big screen, including being featured on popular television series and movie soundtracks. But, this is not your conventional band singing happy-go-lucky, festival tunes.
The clean drum beat, psychedelic lights, and muffled voice of front man, Joe Newman, all contributed to the weird, but awesome experience at their Sunday ACL set. They began their set by busting out the ever so catchy “Every Other Freckle,” shortly followed by mellow tune, “Something Good.”
Of course, there was no better finale to their live show than hit single, “Breezeblocks,” which involved the crowd effortlessly chanting lyrics “I love you so, I love you so.” It’s true, alt-j, we love you so. If you came to ACL to get a little weird, it would be foolish to miss out on alt-j.
9. Shakey Graves
Genre: Blues, and what some refer to as “hobo-folk”
Local Austinite, Alejandro Rose-Garcia is a well-known hometown hero here in Austin. Over the past five years, he’s continued to hone his musical talent, by booking bigger shows and building an increasingly large fan base in Austin and across the country. If playing Blues On The Green earlier this year wasn’t enough, booking ACL and bringing a massive crowd with him is a pretty big deal.
For newcomers to Rose-Garcia’s music, he’s notorious for keeping the listener engaged through his constant shift in tempo and tone. As a result, the crowd was nothing short of entertained and observed musicianship at its finest as Shakey delivered an original performance, homemade suitcase drum and all.
He began his performance with one of his oldie’s, “Roll the Bones” and played the popular song, “Dearly Departed” mid-set. Yes, Austin definitely claims Shakey Graves. If you want to support one of our favorite local musicians, don’t miss out on Shakey Graves.
8. Brand New
With an unusually large, cult-like following in the punk/emo scene, Brand New is no stranger to Austin. Their previous shows within the last 12 months (Stubbs Outdoors 2014 and ACL Fest Late Night Show 2015) both drew a sold out crowd. Generally, they attract a younger demographic of 20-somethings and this year’s festival was no different.
For fans of the band, they played hits from all four albums of their discography, and finished their set strong with slow-tempoed, crowd favorite, “Jesus Christ.” Without question, this band knows their fans and delivered exactly what the crowd was looking for. If you listened to this band in your glory days and/or can dabble in the punk, music scene, don’t miss Brand New.
7. The Weeknd
Photo by: Roger Ho
When your competing headliner acknowledges how good you sound from their stage, and that headliner is The Strokes, you know it’s real. It was a tough decision for most on Sunday night with the schedule clash between R&B artist, The Weeknd and highly-acclaimed rock band, The Strokes.
It was a risky move to check out The Weeknd and one that would be hit or miss. We’re glad it was hit. Despite how new the Canadian is to the scene, the R&b artist has gained solid recognition in the genre by fans and fellow artists. His live performance made it apparent that he’s a natural-born performer and has a voice pure as gold. If you want to hear someone sing the likes of Beyonce and Ariana Grande and actually do them justice, don’t miss out on The Weeknd.
Photo by: Cambria Harkey
Cue the waterworks. Just kidding, Drizzy did not shed tears during his ACL performance (I know, emotional Drake jokes are so last year). However, it is Drake and of course organizers went all out by ending Saturday night at the Fest with fireworks during recent number one hit, “Legend.”
Arguably, one of the most popular hip-hop/rap artists today, Drake owned the stage and brought a high level of confidence and energy that didn’t make you question how he got there. His set included song snippets/songs from If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late, several covers, crowd favorites from Nothing was the Same, and previous hits for old school fans (“Miss Me” and “Over”).
Given their collaboration on Drake’s newest album, it was only fitting ACL Weekend 2 artist, Future, was brought on stage. Here, they rapped to several songs (including “Jumpman”) from current number one album, What a Time to be Alive. Although it was a slight interruption to the Drake show that we were all there to see, there were no complaints from the crowd. For the best crowd sing-alongs and the biggest party, don’t miss Drake.
5. Sturgill Simpson
Genre: Alternative country
Photo by: Nick Simonite
It’s certainly atypical for Austin City Limits to choose a generic, country artist to take a slot on the bill. And of course, this year was no exception. With two full-length albums and just breaking through as a solo artist (2013), country music lovers can tip their hat off to this guy for being true to his Southern roots, all the while remaining unique among country music artists making it big, today.
Whether you were among friends, family, or flying solo, Sturgill put on a show anyone could respect and enjoy. Honky-tonk appreciators looking to add a little country dancing into your day – Sturgill is your guy.
4. TV On The Radio
Genre: Indie Rock with electronic influences
These indie rockers know how to make an entrance and live up to it. Based on all band member’s backgrounds and mix of sounds (including indie rock, funk, jazz, soul and electronic), it’s no surprise that TV On The Radio brought an undeniably unique presence to the festival. Kudos to the lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe for how smoothly he can slide across the stage, like he owns the place.
Hit songs, “Wolf Like Me” and “Happy Idiot” were highlights and crowd favorites that left you dancing on your feet. For a unique band you can’t categorize, and one that has been doing something right for over a decade, check out TV on the Radio.
Genre: Indie rock with gospel and blues influences
Photo by: Greg Noire
Did anyone else feel like they had died and had gone to heaven witnessing the masterpiece that is Hozier? Hozier only recently came out of the woodwork in the last few years, after hit song “Take Me To Church” went viral and then later received enormous amounts of radio play.
Irish singer/songwriter found no barriers to pulling on Austin’s heart-strings from start to finish of his Sunday evening set. From his first EP (2013), he started his show with mesmerizing ballad, “Like Real People Do,” and kept it interesting by covering Ariana Grande’s “Problem.” As expected, the finale of his performance involved Hozier belting out an “Amen” during his hit single, “Take Me to Church.”
He delivered an authentic performance, and as a fan standing in the crowd, you couldn’t help but feel every word he sang. If an Irish man with a man bun that can really sing is your thing, don’t miss Hozier.
2. Foo Fighters
Photo by: Cambria Harkey
After headlining the first night of ACL and truly killing it, Dave Grohl might be the world’s most lovable guy. From all age ranges (even 10-year olds), die hard Foo Fighters fans were a-plenty on Friday night. Although currently in a leg brace, frontman, Grohl sacrificed no areas of his performance.
They played their most-loved songs across their 20-year discography, such as “Everlong,” “The Pretender,” “Best of You,” and even ‘95 hit, “Big Me.” As Foo Fighters have been selling out stadiums for years, it goes without saying that this band knows how to engage a crowd. If you want to see the king on his throne (Dave Grohl, literally), don’t miss out on Foo Fighters.
1. Alabama Shakes
Genre: Southern rock, Soul, Blues
Photo by: Cambria Harkey
Bad-ass female award goes to the lead singer of Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard. Their hit single “Hold On” from their debut album was nominated for multiple grammies and their 2015 sophomore album, Sound & Color also skyrocketed to number one in the US. That being said, when the world first heard Alabama Shakes, they were obviously ready. Undeniably, so was the entire crowd at ACL on Saturday evening.
After experiencing their soulful, and completely unique performance, headed by female lead singer and her guitar, it’s no wonder people like this band. For something different, bluesy, and certainly ACL-epic, don’t miss Alabama Shakes…next time. Because unfortunately they will not be making an appearance for Weekend Two.
Photo by: Roger Ho
21 Pilots – for scaling up to the top of the Samsung Stage
The Strokes – for being The Strokes
G-Eazy – for having the most fan girls in a crowd
Gary Clark Jr. – for being cool enough to hop on stage during Foo Fighters’ headlining set
BØRNS – for being one of the most enjoyed and talked about up-and-coming artists
Dwight Yoakam – for staying true to ACL’s roots
Tame Impala – for providing us with the best jam (“Elephant”) to get you hyped you’re at ACL
Ben Howard – for playing the shortest set…it’s okay we still love you, Ben.
Written by Danielle McIntosh
Cover photo by Maclay Heriot
Everything you need to know to be a pro at ACL: who to see, where to eat, what to bring, and how to get there.
It’s the most wonderful time of year in Austin, Texas. Earlier this year, you were pumped when the ACL Lineup was announced with superstar headliners Drake, Florence + The Machine, The Strokes, and Foo Fighters. You were also ecstatic to see some of your favorite local acts make the bill (Shakey Graves and Gary Clark Jr). Then, you anxiously waited for tickets to go on sale.
You experienced a couple of website crashes, but you finally got through and purchased your tickets. It was all worth it because you knew you weren’t missing out on one of the best weekend(s) of the year in Austin.
Now the moment you’ve been waiting for has almost arrived and you’re ready to take ACL by storm. We’ve got everything you need to know to have a great ACL weekend. No amateurs allowed here!
How to get there?
- Free shuttles! Free shuttles! ACL shuttles will pick you up downtown and drop you off right in front of the festival grounds. We’ve found this to be one of the easiest and most cost effective way to get to and from the festival. Arrive at Republic Square (4th and Guadalupe) starting at 10 am. Shuttles will run till 11 pm and drop you off back at Republic Square after the festival.
- Be a true Austinite and bike to the festival. ACL organizers make it easy with bike racks at each festival entrance.
- Uber and Lyft are also a good, alternate way to go! Uber is offering a free ride to new users who sign up for Uber. To redeem your free ride to ACL, follow this link, sign up for Uber (must be a new user) and get a free ride to ACL (cost of up to $25).
What to bring?
It’s October in Texas and we expect the weather to be a little on the warm side. Dress light and be sure to stay hydrated.
Items to include on your ACL checklist –
- Camelbak – keep in mind it will have to be empty upon arrival but can be filled at the free water stations once you get to ACL.
- 2 factory sealed water bottles – stay hydrated!
- Sunscreen (no aerosol) – don’t be a rookie and miss the remaining days of ACL because of a bad sunburn.
- Blankets/towels – if you’re looking to chill out and relax for the day
- Comfortable shoes – this one’s a no brainer!
- Rain poncho – because you never know. Right, Weekend Two attendees?
- Sanitizing hand wipes – this is a festival staple. Stay fresh!
- Cash – bring cash for easy transactions. ACL does also offer a cashless option which you can sign up for once you activate your wristband.
Be sure to check out our online store for what to wear. Our tanks make great festival gear! Just sayin’.
Where to eat?
Trailer food will be prominent and ACL is always a great excuse to indulge for the weekend. Here are some of our favorite local vendors and festival treats we won’t regret breaking our diets for!
Burro Cheese Kitchen
If you want to start the day off with a hearty grilled cheese
For world famous kimchi fries
Salt Lick BBQ
If you’re searching for some of the best Texas BBQ
If you want to cool off with a refreshing, afternoon treat
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and would like warm cookies, fresh out of the oven
If your mouth isn’t already watering, you can find the full list of vendors here.
Who to see?
It’s no surprise that the ACL lineup this year is filled with great international and local acts on both weekends of the festival. Here are some of the artists we’re most excited about (Weekend One) and our top picks for each day.
2:00 – 3:00 pm Nate Ruess
4:00 – 5:00 pm Leon Bridges
5:00 – 6:00 pm Brand New
6:00 – 7:00 pm Tame Impala
7:00 – 8:00 pm Gary Clark Jr.
8:00 – 10:00 pm Foo Fighters
12:45 – 1:30 pm Milo Greene
1:30-2:30 pm Ryn Weaver
2:30 – 3:30 pm Glass Animals
3:20 – 4:30 pm Shakey Graves /3:30 – 4:30 pm Houndmouth
4:20 – 5:20 pm Sturgill Simpson
6:20 – 7:20 pm Alabama Shakes / 6:30 – 7:30 Jose Gonzalez
8:30 – 10:00 pm Drake
2:30 – 3:30 pm BORNS
3:30 – 4:30 pm Sylvan Esso
4:30 – 5:30 pm Ben Howard
5:30 – 6:30 pm Vance Joy
6:30 – 7:30 pm Alt-J
7:30 – 8:30 pm Hozier
8:30 – 9:30 pm The Weeknd / 8:30 – 10:00 The Strokes
To get you pumped up for the festival, don’t forget to check out our featured ACL playlist here!
That’s all folks. Happy ACL weekends and stay tuned for our recap of which artists blew it out of the park!
Written by Danielle McIntosh for 365 Things Austin.
Cover photo by Nick Simonite
One of Austin’s oldest and longest running festivals is back! The Pecan Street Festival is one of those classic Austin festivals.
If you’ve never been, it’s a gigantic street fair with music, art, kids activities, jewelry, giant turkey legs, and all kinds of other cool stuff. It’s actually the largest art festival in Central Texas, attracting over 300,000 people!
They have tons of distinctively Austin attractions, including a facial hair groomer. It’s just a good time and a perfect activity for the kiddos.
Be sure to bring your appetite. They’ll have food vendors all over the place for you to grab a bite.
For other fun happening around town, here is a list of our Weekend Top Picks!
When: today, September 26th & tomorrow, September 27th
Time: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Austin, Texas 78701
For a map visit, http://pecanstreetfestival.org/contact-page/festival-map/
Her eyes brightened like she was talking about her own child. She smiled to herself and went on explaining the thoughts behind Empire’s “Cookie” played by Taraj P. Henson. Wendy Calhoun, co-executive producer of Empire joked with creator and writer Danny Strong about show dynamics, actors, and the high-stakes, high-drama, hip-hop soap opera that has become Fox’s insta-hit Empire. Though it seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime moment to be two feet away from this conversation, it wasn’t. The ATX Television Festival brought this incredible opportunity to thousands of people last weekend.
The lines wrapped around the corners of 6th Street and Congress Ave as the ATX Television Festival raged on around the Stephen F Austin Hotel, State Theatre and Paramount Theatre. Austin is now known for its incredible festivals from Austin City Limits to South-by-South West Interactive to the X Games to the Formula One races. But the ATX Television Festival was another monster entirely. Celebrities weaved through the throngs of people equally excited to be in the weirdest city on earth as much as we were. They stopped to chat with fans and take pictures, while scoping out the panels of writers, actors and producers alongside television fans from all over the globe.
Panels ranged from writers room reunions, to discussions about diversity in television. Conversations ranged from favorite moments in the Gilmore Girls series, to whether or not the “N” word was appropriate to use in certain contexts. But, no matter the discussion, the panelists, or the location ATX Television Festival goers were engrossed with the business, passion and stories that were being shared.
Strangers met in lines waiting to hear about Justified’s last season on air and how the iconic character of “Raylan” was conceived; and instead of talking about seeing celebrities or going to bars with producers they were talking about cinematic prowess, and the emotional connection that was able to be made from the TV to the individual. These people didn’t like TV, they lived TV. It was a part of who they were and how they understood the world. Little did producers, writers and actors know that they were forming the way the world was perceived for countless individuals around the globe through characters on Dawson’s Creek, and The Fosters alike.
I’m not going to lie, the fangirl in me just about cried when I saw Kevin McKidd of Grey’s Anatomy walking through the entrance to the Stephen F Austin hotel a mere five feet from my mortal shoes (and I won’t lie I had to get a selfie with him.) But the festival had brought us together and given me the incredible opportunity to hear one of the most talented actors in television right now a chance to talk about why we love TV and Austin.
All I can say for the ATX Television Festival is this; it brought together celebrities, writers, moms, and college kids all under the umbrella that shields us when we need it most: television. It connected me to people who have written and created stories that have changed my prospective and taught me so much. Where else can you find that? Or have coffee with Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman Palladino?
Coverage and photo by Hannah Turner
Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
The live music capital of the world didn’t just “get weird” on Saturday May 2nd, we got country. We headed to the Frank Erwin Center, paired our favorite plaid shirt with our most comfortable cowboy boots, and celebrated what Texas is truly about – country music and beer. Hosted by country music icons Darius Rucker and Jennifer Nettles, iHeartRadio brought the biggest country music festivals of the year to Austin for the second time in a row. The line-up consisted of some of the most renowned country music artists like Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, and Dierks Bentley. Known for keeping things current, iHeartRadio’s star-studded line-up also included newer but less traditional country artists like Sam Hunt, Brantley Gilbert, and The Band Perry.
With an eleven artist line-up, it was a jam-packed evening, literally. iHeartRadio’s revolving stage provided smooth transitions between performances and artists kept their sets relatively short by playing their hottest singles. Brad Paisley, one of the more well-known country artists of the line-up, was the perfect festival opener. When he played a few of his older hits like “Mud On The Tires” and “Alcohol,” we knew what the night was going to be about – kicking back and having a cold one!
Brad Paisley performing onstage for iHeartRadio’s 2015 Country Festival. Photo by Brian Friedman for iHeartRadio.
New artists, Tyler Farr and Brantley Gilbert set the stage with an edgy spin on country music. Farr won us over with his rustic voice and soon after, country music bad boy, Brantley Gilbert hit the stage. Brews were flowing as the crowd sang along to the lyrics “tonight is bottoms up” (Gilbert’s 2013 hit single).
Dierks Bentley hit the stage next and gave the audience a perfect mix of feel-good favorites, coupled with a few more solemn songs, including unforgettable performances of “I Hold On” and “Riser” from his most recent album. Of course, he kept the theme of the evening consistent and finished his set in good humor with crowd pleaser “Getting Drunk On A Plane.” Soon after, Justin Moore graced the stage with a wide brimmed cowboy hat and led the most authentic country music performance of the night. He delivered a set of heartfelt songs, inclining members of the audience to raise their cell phones in unity, lighting up the arena. He showed us a little bit about the small-town lifestyle with his earlier collaboration of “Small Town Throwdown” with Brantley Gilbert, but one of the highlights of the night was when Moore closed his set with his first career number one hit (2009), “Small Town USA.”
Justin Moore performing onstage during iHeartRadio’s 2015 Country Festival. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.
The transition from Justin Moore’s performance to pop-country sibling trio, The Band Perry, was the biggest contrast of the night. Their set was full of fast-tempoed songs, blurring the lines between country and pop music. They slowed things down with their popular ballad “If I Die Young,” but the biggest surprise of the evening was their cover of Mark Ronson’s popular song “Uptown Funk.” Even though this fell very far from the realms of country music, it was very well received by all generations at the festival. Next up, the co-ed and well known quartet, Little Big Town impressed us with their powerful stage presence. The Frank Erwin Center grew quiet as we were blown away by band member, Karen Fairchild’s vocal delivery of hit single “Girl Crush.”
Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town performing onstage during iHeartRadio’s 2015 Country Festival. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.
From his snapback hat to wearing a ripped shirtsleeve as an accessory, new artist and country music heartthrob, Sam Hunt, was a standout of the evening with his unconventional country vibes. Hunt immediately drew in female fans with his hit “Break Up In A Small Town,” once again, showing us the pop side of modern country music. He continued to woo fans by playing everyone’s new favorite love song “Take Your Time” as well as “Leave The Night On,” which have both received a large amount of radio play over the past year. As he sang lyrics “we don’t have to go home, we can leave the night on,” we knew we were in it for the long haul with still three remaining artists left on the bill! Loveable country music artist, Darius Rucker hit the stage shortly after. True to his most recent album, he delivered a Southern Style performance with the inclusion of hits like “Alright,” “Homegrown” and one of our favorite covers turned country “Wagon Wheel.” Rucker showed Austin a good time and even crowd surfed through part of his set!
Sam Hunt performing onstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival. Photo by Andrew Swartz for iHeartRadio.
The night came to a close with well-known country music trio, Rascal Flatts and big name artist, Tim McGraw following suit. Although they have stayed out of the limelight for the past couple of years, the crowd sang along wholeheartedly to Rascal Flatt’s 2006 hit “What Hurts The Most” and their popular cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway.” For the grand finale, it was only fitting that one of the most iconic country music stars would close out the night, the birthday man himself, Tim McGraw. And yes – all attendees at the Frank Erwin Center did sing “Happy Birthday” loud and proud to the now 48-year-old. His six-song set included number one hits from his lengthy and respectable music career. Recent single “Shotgun Rider” was a favorite as well as old school tunes like “Where The Green Grass Grows” and “Something Like That.” The festival was filled with spectacular performances across the board, but there was no better end to the evening than with Mcgraw’s moving performance of 2004 hit song “Live Like You Were Dying.”
Tim McGraw performs onstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.
It was a great night for mainstream country music fans with exceptional performances from the most relevant country music artists today. From our newer country music stars that live on the edge of pop and rock genres, to iconic artists that have won praise in the country music world, iHeartRadio did a fantastic job of showcasing modern country music.
If you missed the festival, you can catch the NBC live broadcast on May 27th from 9-11pm ET/CT. You can also check out iHeartRadio’s best photos of the night!
See ya next year, iHeartRadio!
Story by: Danielle McIntosh