One idea of utopia is a beautiful countryside rich for exploring. It consists of being surrounded by old friends, new friends, and family. There’s delicious food, amazing local music, and the perfect balance between sound and silence. Thankfully, a version of utopia comes to fruition for one weekend every year, during UTOPiAfest.
This year, the festival will be celebrating its 11th anniversary. Read on to discover everything that awaits you at UTOPiAfest, this Nov. 14-16, 2019.
This year, UTOPiAfest will be held at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, about an hour outside of Austin. UTOPiAfest originated in a small Texas Hill Country town called Utopia. So, in a way, utopia exists all year ’round.
Travis Sutherland, the festival’s founder, grew up on his family’s ranch in Utopia. The festival began as an intimate gathering for family friends. Even as attendance grew and capped out at 2,000, it remained in the same location for years.
The festival continues to grow, not at a monstrous pace, but at a gentle one, retaining its peaceful family atmosphere. Its new home at Reveille Peak Ranch provides endless trails for hiking and biking. One of UTOPiAfest’s partners, R.E.I., will be leading bike tours.
Also, the event will be closer to Austin than it was previously, making it more accessible for those who want to try the festival camping experience or just purchase a day pass.
UTOPiAfest has an incredible local spirit, drawing many Austin-based performers, as well as those from the surrounding Hill Country. Some local musicians who will be performing in 2019 include:
- Shakey Graves
- Sir Woman
- Jackie Venson
- Matthew Logan Vasquez
- Israel Nash
- Whiskey Shivers
- The Deer
- Mixer Rogers
- Donovan Keith
- Good Field
- Joel Laviolette
One trademark of UTOPiAfest is that sets never overlap, so you can see every artist if you want. And you don’t get that confusing mash of noise that I’ve experienced at other festivals, as though two musicians were fighting for dominance.
Another festival trademark is to encourage healthy sleeping habits by designating silent hours. After the main stage performances are over, people can stay up late and dance the night away at a silent disco, or listen to unplugged, after-hours performances in a listening room.
Family-Friendly, Experiential Immersion
Sutherland, beyond being the founder, has been dubbed “Chief Experiential Architect.” He and the UTOPiAfest team work hard to bring amazing local food and craft vendors, yoga and meditation classes, art installations, and workshops on various topics.
Keep in mind that this festival is family-friendly. Kids and teens receive discounts on wristbands.
The older I get, the more I appreciate a balanced party. What do I mean by this? I mean that, more and more, I find it easier to celebrate to my heart’s content, to laugh, play, and dance with friends, without the need for belligerence or trash littering our beautiful earth. UTOPiAfest is one such conscious festival.
The presence of families and enforcement of silent hours do not preclude an unforgettable party experience, and vice versa. It simply asks of us to be more aware of others, encouraging deeper connections. Which, to me, is what going to festivals is all about.
To purchase tickets or learn more, visit UTOPiAfest’s official website.
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