Over the last few decades, Austin has grown from a popular city in Texas to THE city in Texas. Through the growth of SXSW, Austin City Limits and a massive world music festival, the state capital is now known for its eclectic art and music scene rather than its rodeo and barbecue (which is also really good). Perhaps one of the most special things about the Austin festival scene? The desire each event has to drive culture, technology and innovation while honoring the talent and history that has come before it.

Austin Urban Music Festival

Now entering its 15th year, the importance of Austin’s Urban Music Festival goes much deeper than music. It was developed in response to the African American Quality of Life initiative, which aimed to create a celebratory space for lovers of R&B, jazz, neo-soul and gospel. Besides diverse music, look out for an eclectic lineup of vendors, retailers and service organizations. The festival takes place during the city’s African American tourist weekend, which means you can also participate in the Texas Relay which happens at the same time. Foot traffic for both events throughout the weekend exceeds 60,000 attendees. shop austin urban music festival tickets

SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences Festival

What happens when film, music and technology converge for a 10-day long festival in Texas? South by Southwest, a massive expo for all things art and interaction, happens. This Austin mainstay was founded back in 1987 and has since emerged as the premier destination for creatives around the world. With hundreds of musicians performing at countless venues throughout the city, the fest serves both as entertainment for its attendees and as a networking opportunity for the talent involved. shop sxsw tickets here

Austin City Limits

If you’ve ever been to Austin City Limits Music Festival, you know it’s more than just two weekends of live music. It’s an experience. Held at the 46-acre Zilker Park, every year more than 130 bands flock to the heart of Austin for live tunes, delicious local eats, and fun activities for both young and old. Past headliners have included Guns N’ Roses, Billie Eilish and Cardi B. shop austin city limits tickets here


Inspired by the creative explosion of the 1960s–and spurred on by the success of festivals like ATP and Primavera Sound–Levitation Fest (formerly known as Austin Psych Fest) has been paying homage to alternative music since it began in 2008. What started as a one-day event with minimal performers (The Black Angels and Ringo Deathstarr headlined the inaugural year) has grown to a three-day affair spread out across multiple venues around the city. Headliners for the 2019 edition included Angel Olsen, Devendra Banhart, Deafheaven and Kurt Vile & The Violators. shop levitation tickets here

iHeartCountry Festival

iHeartRadio are pros at bringing together massive artists for various festivals throughout the country all year long. But only one of their events boasts a stacked lineup of stellar country artists all under one roof. Say hello to the iHeartCountry Festival, held for the last seven years at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, TX. The event takes place on May 2 and marks the unofficial kickoff to festival season. Twenty-twenty headliners include Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt and Lady Antebellum. shop iheartcountry tickets here 

Austin Music Festivals 2020

Festival Name Date
Texas Independent Fest Concert February 16
Redgorilla Music Fest March 14-15
Austin Music & Arts Festival March 14-15
SXSW Music Festival March 16-22
Heart of Texas Rockfest March 20
Austin Outer Limits Festival March 20-21
Indie Fest at Eureka March 20-March 21
Austin Urban Music Fest 15th Anniversary March 27-28
Austin Reggae Festival April 17-19
iHeartRadio Country 2020 May 2
Hot Luck Lie Food & Music Festival May 21-24
ILLfest Music & Arts Festival May 22-May 23
Austin City Limits October 2-11

(Photo by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash)