Like fall temperatures, fall music festival season comes later to Austin than it does to much of the country. The big behemoth, Austin City Limits Festival, featuring Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper and Red Hot Chili Peppers is set for Oct. 6-9 and 13-15 at Zilker Park. Sound on Sound Festival, the indie shindig that rose from the ashes of Fun Fun Fun Fest , doesn’t kick off its second year at Sherwood Forest Faire with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grizzly Bear and Iggy Pop until Nov. 10. But never fear, this is Austin and if you can’t wait two months for a day-long multi-band binge, we’ve got you covered.
At the big festivals everything happens on a larger scale, from the stages, to the artist names to the massive crowd you rock with at Zilker Park. These smaller events offer an opportunity to get up close and personal with artists and do some in-depth musical exploration.
Sept. 2: Pennyfest at Empire. Does a single-day event really count as a fest? It might be stretching the definition, but we’ll let it slide for this one for its solid offerings of top notch indie rock. Gigs by San Antonio outfit Girl in a Coma have been rare over the last couple years as lead singer Nina Diaz focused on her solo career, but they kick off a national tour later this fall and they’ll be in Austin to headline this shindig. Also on the bill, presented by Penny Loafer PR and 101X Homegrown Live, are Emily Wolfe, Ghost Wolves, Darkbird and many more. More info.
Sept. 9-10: Eastside Kings Festival. Dialtone Records founder Eddie Stout has made preserving the heritage of gospel and blues music in Central Texas a lifelong mission. This is the fifth year for his signature festival, which jump starts the heart of Austin’s historic blues district on the Eastside. The event features over 30 bands at eight venues with a big stage in the Mission Possible parking lot at Twelfth and Chicon. Featured artists include old school greats like Sonny Rhodes and Blues Boy Hubbard alongside some of the hottest new acts on Austin’s soul scene like Jai Malano and Tomar and the FCs. New events this year include a kickoff party at Antone’s and an after party at Justine’s Brasserie. More info
Sept. 12-16: Austin Music Video Fest. Now in its third year, this festival explores the intersection of Austin’s music and movie-making communities and celebrates the music video as a form of short film. This year’s event includes world premieres from local artists Golden Dawn Arkestra, Sip Sip and Walker Lukens, retrospectives from Spike Jonze and the Flaming Lips, local artist Christeene and local label Holodeck Records (which includes members of Survive). There will also be a Video Swim Bike and a Video Bike Night –a bike-in movie theater, and the annual Austin Music Video Awards. More info.
Sept. 14-16: Sonic Transmissions Festival. The self-proclaimed “pioneering improvisational music festival without boundaries” presents a diverse cross-section of sounds from experimental punk noise to psychedelic cumbia and free jazz. Featured artists include jazz multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, Norwegian jazz bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Colombian cumbia group Carmelo Torres y Los Toscos and more. Events take place around town at Kick Butt Coffee, Kenny Dorham’s Backyard, Barracuda and the Victory Grill. More info.
Sept. 23-24: Pecan St. Festival . The biannual art and music festival takes over Sixth Street for its 37th fall edition. The event features free music on several stages and the lineup includes rising blues artist Jackie Venson, back from a couple summer stints supporting Gary Clark Jr. on tour, and Louisiana act Royal Teeth. The Peligrosa DJ collective, who are celebrating 10 years fusing hip-hop funk and Latin sounds this fall, will make an appearance alongside local acts like Moving Panoramas, Kay Odyssey, Kiko Villamizar and more. More info