Thursday, May 16, 2019

7 Great Texas Hill Country Festivals

7 Great Texas Hill Country Festivals blog cover image

The Texas Hill Country, stretching from Austin to San Antonio, is rich in geological features, artistic, and musical culture. Wander down one of the timeless winding dirt roads through the Hill Country and you might just stumble onto one of the many unique and authentic festivals in the area. There are many, and these are just seven that you don’t want to miss.

country guitarists playing in a small bar

Musically, Texas has a heritage that goes back for decades and includes some very talented native singers and musicians. Traditionally, the music has been country and Western. Nowadays, the music scene has become much more progressive, especially in the Austin area. Austin has recently been deemed the live music capital of the world, and its diverse sounds have spawned music festivals with a wide variety of styles and genres:

1. If you’re looking for a wide selection of quality American-made music, then the KNBT Americana Music Jam is the festival for you. It takes place in May at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, TX. It’s a little bit of everything - you can expect folk, rock, country, blues, and R&B.  The crowd is always lively, and the featured musicians are top notch.

2. The Kerrville Folk Festival is a songwriter’s festival with a long and storied tradition. Held at the Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, TX, it lasts from May 23-June 9. It’s been happening annually since 1972 and the songwriting community at this festival is open and warm as they celebrate artistic expression and talent. There is overnight camping available, and the venue is family-friendly.

female musicians playing on stage in front of a crowd

latino artists playing for a crowd at night

The arts scene is also alive and thriving in the Texas Hill Country. Here are a couple art festivals worth checking out:

3. The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Tejano Conjunto Festival takes place at Rosedale Park and surrounding areas in San Antonio, TX. There are several May dates at different locations. It primarily celebrates Latin heritage, with plenty of music, dancing, food, and art-related exhibits. There will be both national and international Conjunto performers.

4. The Texas Folklife Festival also takes place in San Antonio and it’s a fun one. It’s held at the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus. This festival brings people from different backgrounds together to celebrate and appreciate the many ethnicities and traditions that abound throughout the Hill Country. It’s a great educational opportunity to learn about other cultures and their backgrounds and heritages, as Texas is truly a melting pot.

dancers dressed in traditional folk clothing

Besides music and art, Texas has festivals that celebrate a little bit of everything and everyone. Here are a few more that you definitely want to check out if you get a chance to tour the Lonestar State:

5. Being in Texas, no festival tour would be complete without going back to the real Texas roots - ranching and rodeo. Travel to Bandera, the cowboy capital of the state, to experience the Bandera PRCA Pro Rodeo in May. It’s held at the Mansfield Park Arena and it’s always exciting. You’ll experience the traditional rodeo - bucking bulls, broncos, barrel racing, and calf roping, but that’s not all. There’s also a BBQ cook-off featuring some of the best in the business. Sink your teeth into something tangy and tasty as you enjoy the excitement and action of the rodeo.

6. If you’re health conscious and into wellness and awareness, there’s a festival for you too. The Wholistic Festival is held monthly in San Antonio and it’s a progressive event with people of many ideas and backgrounds focusing on healing, mindfulness, and mind and body alignment. Some of the areas of study that are offered are in tarot, astrology, reflexology, and various yoga exercises and principles. There are over 70 exhibitors who promote healthy living. You can even learn about the different healing powers of crystals, as well as various massage techniques. This festival is held at The Holiday Inn San Antonio International Airport. Best of all, you can attend any third Sunday of the month from May through December.

7. What festival tour would be complete without great food and adult beverages? Luckily, you can get these in abundance from the Tequila, Taco, and Cerveza Festival. This is actually a traveling festival that makes various stops throughout the country, but the Texas leg is surely a favorite. Bring your appetite, because as the name implies, the festival is loaded with all kinds of delicious tacos. You can buy from the many food trucks that will be on-site, and the recipes that are made from scratch feature beef, chicken, shrimp, veggies, and more. Wash it down with your choice of tequila, and there are indeed many to choose from. There an average of forty different brands that you can sample. Follow all of that with ice-cold cerveza and you’re sure to have a great time.

The Texas Hill Country is a lush and beautiful place, and it’s been attracting both visitors and locals for a long time. With its natural springs and inviting waterways, intriguing geography, and magnificent sunsets, this is certainly attractive and soothing country. It was first occupied by American Indians, then came German settlers in the 1800s, and as Texas continued to grow in both ethnic diversity and population, it became a gathering of artistic and hardworking people from all over. It embodies the Texas country and Western culture and fuses nicely with the more progressive styles that are growing out of places like Austin. Come and visit the Hill Country, and take in some of the many festivals to join in the life celebration of a unique and inspiring place.