Part of Oct 2011 by

UTOPiAfest, Newcomer to Central Texas’ Music Season

Autumn in Central Texas — specifically Austin — has developed into a music festival frenzy, with what seems like at least one really awesome music festival each and every weekend, including: ACL, Ditch the Fest Fest, Wild Frontier Fest, The Pecan Street Festival, Art Outside, Fun Fun Fun Fest, I could go on…and on…and on… One of the newcomers to the Autumn music festival calendar is UTOPiAfest, a two-day music festival (with camping) presented in a gorgeous natural amphitheater on the 1,000-acre Four Sisters Ranch (located between Garner State Park and Lost Maples), October 14 & 15.

With one main stage (Arrowhead Stage), a new side stage (Cypress Stage), and a maximum limit of 1,500 tickets, the audience is left with plenty of space to enjoy the wide variety of musical genres (including: rock, bluegrass, Americana, indie, folk, Latin and even a splash of Japanese Action Comic Punk). UTOPiAfest also features other fun (and free) activities such as morning yoga, disc golf, hiking, and mountain biking.

In its third year, UTOPiAfest (October 14th-15th) specifically caught my attention this year when I noticed Utopia, TX popping up on the Autumn tour itineraries for Dawes, Blitzen Trapper, Avi Buffalo, Keller Williams, and Artvs. Science. With a little more research, I noticed that several Austin luminaries such as Grupo Fantasma, Black & White Years, and Wheeler Brothers were also on the schedule. Being that it is located near two of the most amazing state parks in Texas (Garner State Park and Lost Maples) — in what is arguably one of the most serenely bucolic areas of this fine state — UTOPiAfest is certainly one of the more appealing Autumn music festivals in my humble opinion.

Allow me to give you some suggestions for what not to miss…

Cowboy and IndianJazz Mills and Jesse Plemons began performing together during SXSW 2010 at various music parties. The sheer hype from those few low-key and unassuming appearances birthed what we now know as Cowboy and Indian. (If you have ever heard Jazz Mills sing, you will know how a few little jam sessions could catapult the duo to near-instantaneous fame.) While Plemons — an film and television actor best known for his role as Landry Clarke in Friday Night Lights — was working in Los Angeles, Mills recruited Daniel James (Leopold and his Fiction) to join her. Cowboy and Indian has since blossomed and matured into one of the most unique Americana bands around. Need further enticement? Check out Led bellies (Hurt My Pride)

Little Lo – Armed with an aural menagerie of heartfelt lyrics, folky guitars, brass horns, violins, glockenspiel, electric bass and indie pop drums, Little Lo combines the lyrical storytelling of folk music with prog rock complexity and indie pop stylishness. Starting back in early 2010, Little Lo has has not been around for very long, but they have already created quite a buzz around Austin. They certainly have my vote for one of Austin’s next big break-out sensations. Need further enticement? Check out Wounded Knee

Dawes – Rolling Stone has referred to Dawes as “the most promising purveyors of new-school country folk…so authentically vintage.” That right there pretty much sums up anything I have to say about Dawes. I honestly do not see how any of UTOPiAfest’s 1,500 attendees would dare to miss Dawes’ Friday evening set. I expect that it will be nothing short of amazing. Need further enticement? Check out When My Time Comes

Avi Buffalo – Avigdor (“Avi”) Zahner-Isenberg is nothing short of an electric guitar virtuoso and when the immensely talented singer/songwriter/guitarist’s band Avi Buffalo released their self-titled debut album in April 2010, it was met with resounding acclaim by music critics. Need further enticement? Check out Whats In It For?”


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