Of course there are cowboys, rodeos and dude ranches! But Texas is also a cultural hotbed for the arts with a thriving music scene. Everything seems larger in the Lone Star State and these three festivals are no exception: Fiesta San Antonio, State Fair of Texas and Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. With 1330 events from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast, from the Rio Grande to the Red River there’s no excuse for being bored! Scroll below to view the variety of culture, art, music and entertainment found at Texas Festivals, Art Shows, Music Festivals and Craft Shows.
It’s no surprise that a state the size of Texas has dozens of fairs and festivals throughout the year to celebrate everything from music, food, arts, harvests, and of course, rodeos. The sprawling state has a varied landscape with its rolling rocky plains, sun-dappled pine forests, and sandy coast, making it perfect for desert-style festivities. From Houston to Fort Worth, Dallas to Austin, and everywhere in between, here are some of the most-loved annual festivals in Texas.
The historic Simpson Plaza plays host to major concerts, a muscle and classic car show, an arts and crafts marketplace, and Texas-themed contests and attractions for one whole day. TexasFest is your opportunity to enjoy the food, music, culture, and heritage of the Lone Star State. Nationally-renowned artists perform throughout the event as visitors enjoy cold craft beers and delicious cuisine. And best of all, admission and parking is FREE!
Peach and Melon Festival, De Leon
One of the oldest festivals in Texas, De Leon Peach & Melon Festival started in 1914 by the local farming community as a way to celebrate two of the most dominant crops at the time: peaches and melons. The day has become a big tradition in the charming little town and people from all over Texas come for food, drinks, shopping, and live entertainment. Think of it as a big picnic, proceeds from which go toward the betterment of the community.
Caribbean Afr'Am Festival, Killean
Bright colors, lively music, and friendly people are the hallmark of the annual Caribbean African American Festival. It’s held at Long Branch Park where the rich and diverse culture of the African and Caribbean diaspora is celebrated with live performances, a parade, food, and other entertainment. Reggae and pop music lovers should definitely check the event out for the amazing lineup that has included acts by Dakeye, Stonebwoy, and more.
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin
The ACL festival is held at Zilker Park over two weekends each fall and is one of the largest Texas music festivals with over 450,000 attendees. You can watch some of the best international artists in EDM, pop, hip-hop, and rock, as well as see fine arts exhibits by local artists. And did we mention incredibly delicious Texas BBQ? The dozens of restaurants and food and drink vendors ensure your belly is full while you’re dancing to the tunes.
South By Southwest (SXSW), Austin
South By Southwest is more than a music festival, it’s an annual event spanning interactive media, film premiers, comedy shows, panels, and musical performances that take place in mid-March. For 10 days, SXSW takes over downtown Austin, making it a haven for all pop-culture lovers. Unlike other festivals that are based in one spot, this one covers the entire Austin city. If you want to mingle with like-minded devotees of film, music, or art, this is the place to be.
Kerrville Folk Festival, Kerrville
Each year at the Quiet Valley Ranch, in the heart of the striking Texas Hill Country, over 30,000 people come from all over the world for 18 days of live music, songwriting, music business seminars, canoe trips on the Guadalupe River, bike rides, camping, and more. If this sounds like your cup of tea, head over to the scenic campgrounds this summer where singing and dancing never stops!
This is one of the only music festivals in Texas that offers activities for all ages, including guitar lessons, yoga, wine and craft beer tastings, impromptu jam sessions around a campfire, craft vendors, and more.
Breathtaking West Texas Hill Country sunsets and mind-blowing performances await you at this legendary festival. It’s held in the natural amphitheater in Reveille Peak Ranch and has earned a reputation of being a soulful independent festival, unlike the multi-stage events that usually favor quantity over quality.
The festival focuses on a curated selection of creative artists beyond the mainstream. You’ll find artists from every genre, including R&B, bluegrass, folk, soul, jazz, gospel, swing, country music, and more. They also have a silent disco, disc golf, yoga, hiking, biking, and lake swimming.
Float Fest, Gonzales
Since its inception in 2014, Float Fest has become the most popular Texas music festival among camping lovers. Held at a charming private ranch surrounded by the Guadalupe River, the 2-day summer festival features a notable line-up of musical acts spanning a variety of genres from progressive rock and hip hop to electro and indie-pop. The ranch also makes for a fun camping spot and you can bring your own floats to splash around in the river.
Charro Days, Brownsville
The inaugural festival of Charro Days was held in 1937 to commemorate the Mexican heritage of the area, which explains its name; “Charro” was the name historically given to dashing Mexican cowboys. The event is now held every year in mid- to late-February with live music, street parties, races, dances, parades, a concert, a rodeo, a grand ball, a bullfight, and of course, scrumptious Mexican cuisine. Over 60,000 people attend the event dressed in traditional Mexican costumes.
Euphoria Festival, Austin
Get your sleeping bags, light gloves, and hula hoops ready for this 4-day annual festival of music and camping at Carson Creek Ranch. It’s usually held in May and features performances from some of the biggest names in EDM music world such as Gramatik, Zander, and Hippie Sabotage. Those who buy the camping pass with their regular ticket also get to partake in a kickoff party.
In addition to electronic music, they also host jam band, indie, and hip hop artists. Over 50,000 attendees gather at the venue to enjoy music as well as yoga, live painting, art installations, and workshops.
Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, Beaumont
Over the course of 4 days, a number of local, regional, and national performers come to downtown Beaumont to showcase their musical talents in this legendary festival. Their carnival and parades are a must-attend and so are the diverse food booths. Whether you’re into soul, R&B, country, blues, Cajun, jazz, pop, rockabilly, or rock, Mardi Gras of Beaumont has got it all.
Houston Kosher Chili Cookoff, Houston
The largest kosher food event in Texas, the Houston Kosher Chili Cookoff in Bellaire attracts thousands of people who come to celebrate the city’s large Jewish community with a fun-packed day of contests, live entertainment, food, and family-friendly activities. Some of the main attractions include a raffle, a jalapeno-eating contest, balloon artists, climbing walls, and a moonwalk.
North Texas Irish Festival, Dallas
Celebrating the rich cultural, dance, and musical heritage of Irish and other Celtic groups across the US, this Texas Festival has been attracting tens of thousands of music-lovers for over 40 years. Well-known bands such as The Irish Rogues and Jigsaw can trace their origins directly to this festival when it first started in 1983.
Foodies will love the traditional Irish delicacies sold by multiple food vendors, including soda bread, shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and green-themed desserts. There’s also a petting zoo, rides, horses, and games for children.
Poteet Strawberry Festival, Poteet
The Strawberry Festival is one of the oldest traditions in Poteet which is held annually to promote area’s premier berries. Proceeds from the sale are used to provide scholarships to educate the teens and youth. First set up in the 1920s, the festival now attracts more than 100,000 attendees from across the country. Local bands and nationally known Tejano and country performers entertain the crowds, in addition to the rodeo performances, carnival midway, and gunslingers.
Texas Storytelling Festival, Denton
Stories packed with heart and humor take center stage at this festival, where people of all ages come to get inspired. The festival is based on the idea that stories have the power to connect us to each other. Through tales of joy, sorrow, mystique, and myth, you can touch people’s hearts.
You can get a weekend pass to hear ghost stories, scared stories, a liars contest, Texas tales, and more. The pass includes 2 music concerts, 2 workshops, 11 storytelling concerts, 2 poetry concerts, and 1 youth activity. Those who want to hone their own storytelling skills can also attend workshops.
Texas Sandfest, Port Aransas
Back in 1997, it began as a small local competition, but today, Texas Sandfest has become bigger and grander than anyone could have imagined. The 3-day family-friendly event is the largest native-sand sculpture competition in America that draws over 35,000 people. Some of the world’s most famous sculptors come together to the city of Port Aransas to create stunning renditions of ancient gods, notable personalities, animals, nature, and more.
Once you’ve had your mind blown with the sand sculptures, hit up the vendors for souvenirs, handmade furniture, jewelry, apparel, arts and crafts, and more. There’s a large variety of kids activities and food vendors as well.
San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, San Antonio
This intergenerational, family-oriented, and long-running festival showcases several different cultures through live music and performances. The 3-day event includes dance parties, workshops with lessons, and more. If you want to learn more about folk dance, this is a great place to be. It’s held at the Rolling Oaks Mall and offers the opportunity for total cultural immersion via song, dance, music, food, and costumes.
Over the last decade, the Japanese form of animation – anime – has become somewhat of a worldwide phenomenon. AnimeFest at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel is where over 10,000 fans come to learn more about anime and meet fellow enthusiasts. You can also meet professional anime artists, listen to panel discussions, attend workshops, and peruse an extensive collection of merchandise.
Children’s Art and Literacy Festival, Abilene
What can be a better way to introduce your kids to the wonder and magic of literature and art than this fun little shindig? It invites children to attend art activities, special performances, dramatic presentations, and more over the course of 3 days. The event is organized with the help of businesses, cultural organizations, local artists, and volunteers to ensure little ones have an unforgettable time. Some of the festival highlights each year include magic shows, costumed characters, book readings, movies, and a storybook parade.
Anyone who loves spicy food – truly SPICY food – is invited to experience the fieriest delights at ZestFest. The event brings together over 150 exhibitors from around the country to cater to over 15,000 foodies every year. In addition to the flavorful and bold food, there’s live music, food samples, interactive contests, and cooking demos by celebrity chefs. If you can take the heat, head over to the Irving Convention Center in late September or early October for a zesty weekend.
Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Austin
What started as a small, local event in 2002 has now become an international comedy festival that’s held across 6 venues with over 130 shows and 500 performers. Every July, you can watch your favorite comedians and new stand-up artists perform up-close-and-personal and rub shoulders with them in an after-party. Comedians from across the world come here to perform stand-up, sketch shows, improvised acts, and make podcast recordings.
Fort Worth Oktoberfest, Fort Worth
This is a three-day festival that commemorates the 19-century German tradition of celebrating beer and fairs. Oktoberfest brings all things German to Fort Worth, from schnitzel to hoisted zie bier to authentic German music, games, food, and more. The star of the show is, of course, the largest variety of craft beers you’ll ever see anywhere. There’s also clothes to purchase, Dachshund races, dancing, and souvenirs.