Austin Kids Dance – Festivals

This page includes my favorite music-based Austin festivals that are a good fit for kids. If you attend a festival, leave a comment. I would love to hear about it!

Festivals Calendar

Click on the festival name for a description. No festivals are listed for December – February.

Urban Music Festival

March
South By Southwest
April
Old Settler’s Music Festival
May
Cinco de Mayo Festival
Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park
Kerville Folk Festival
June
Blues on the Green
Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park
Keep Austin Weird Fest
Kerville Folk Festival
July
Blues on the Green
Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park
Music Under the Star
August
Austin Bat Fest
Blues on the Green
Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park
September
Austin City Limits
Diez y Seis Festival
October
Gypsy Picnic
November
Austin Celtic Festival

Festivals Map

Click on the push pin for more information. Click on Kerville Folk Festival and Old Settler’s Music Festival for those maps. They aren’t included below, since they are located outside of Austin.


Festivals Descriptions

All of the festivals listed have a few things in common. They are kid-friendly, with activities that appeal to kids and/or helpful kid services and they focus on a music theme. (Just about every festival has music, check here for a more complete list of Austin-area festivals.)

For safety, I keep a low kid-to-adult ratio, depending on the kid’s ages and how likely they are to wander off. I have a plan for what to do if we get lost, and let the little ones know what to do. Some festivals have a tagging system to help reunite lost parents and kids. I bring lots of water and snacks and a wagon to get around when legs get tired. Each festival has their own rules for what you can and can’t bring, where to park, and that kind of thing, so check out the web site before you head out.


 
Austin Bat Fest
Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
August 25, 2012
Free
Austin Bat Fest is a small one-day festival celebrating Austin’s home town bats. There is music in the afternoon and evening on two stages. The stars of the show, the bats, will emerge between 7:00 and 8:30pm, then a costume contest follows.
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Austin Celtic Festival
Fiesta Gardens
November 3-4, 2012
$15/day for adults, free for 12 and under
The Austin Celtic Festival is a gathering of Celts in central Texas to enjoy traditional Celtic music, dance, games and animals. The festival educates people about the history and craftsmanship that is the basis for the Celtic music tradition.
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Austin City Limits
10/2010 post
Zilker Park
October 12-14, 2012
$90 for 1 day, $200 for all 3 days, free for 10 and under
The good news is that this festival has eight stages with bands of all genres, from local favorites to major national headliners. The bad news is that it is expensive and HUGE with up to 75,000 people. HUGE means it takes a long time to get there and get home, lines for food and restrooms can be difficult and it is easy to get separated. There is more good news, one stage is just for kid’s music, there are kid’s activities and there is a tagging system to reunite lost parents and kids.
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Blues on the Green
Zilker Park
Wednesdays, June 6- August 29, 2012, at 7:30pm
Free
Blues on the Green presents high-profile bands for free on Wednesday evenings in the summer. They are open to picnic dinners, but have food for sale too. Parking and getting in are a bit of a commitment, especially during since it is during the week, but the music is great and the price is right.
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Cinco de Mayo Festival
Fiesta Gardens
May 5, 2012
$5-$10 for adults, free for 12 and under
The Cinco de Mayo Festival commemorates Mexico’s independence from France. It promotes Hispanic history, heritage and traditions. The festival includes traditional Hispanic foods, Tejano and Conjunto bands, vendor booths and a car show.
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Diez y Seis Festival
Fiesta Gardens
September 15, 2012
$5-$10 for adults, free for 12 and under
The Diez y Seis Festival commemorates Mexico’s independence from Spain. It promotes Hispanic history and culture with traditional foods, dancing and music, with Tejano, Conjunto, Tropical and Norteno bands. There are festival games for the kids and craft vendors.
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Gypsy Picnic
Auditorium Shores
A Saturday in October
Free
The Gypsy Picnic is a celebration of Austin Trailer food, with your favorite trailer vendors and live music all day. The Sideshow has story time, vaudeville and circus tricks for the kids.
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Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park
Long Center
Sunday evenings, July 8 – August 26, 7:30pm
Free
The Austin Symphony holds free concerts on Sunday evenings during the summer. A different small part of the symphony plays each week, playing both popular and classical compositions. Blankets and picnic dinners are allowed.
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Keep Austin Weird Fest
Auditorium Shores
June 23, 2012
$15 for adults, free for 12 and under
Keep Austin Weird is a 5K and a festival with music, family activities, people wearing wacky costumes and promotion of Austin local businesses.
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Kerville Folk Festival
Quiet Valley Ranch outside Kerville, Texas (2 hours from Austin)
May 24 – June 10, 2012
About $40/day without camping, free for 11 and under
The Kerville Folk Festival lasts for three weeks and is open to campers and people coming for the day. Folk music legends and new comers have been playing this festival for more than thirty years. There are swimming holes nearby to stay cool and funky arts-and-crafts vendors.
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Music Under the Star
Bob Bullock State History Museum
Fridays, July 6 – July 27, 6:00pm
Free
Every Friday and July the Bob Bullock State History Museum hosts live music on the Lone Star Plaza, next to the huge bronze star in front of the museum. Between sets, you can visit the museum for free. (The museum is better for kids 5 and older, since reading is required for most exhibits.) The bands in 2011 were an interesting mix of funky classical, swing and Latin rock.
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Old Settler’s Music Festival

Salt Lick Pavillion in Driftwood, Texas (20 minutes from downtown Austin)
April 19-22, 2012
About $140 for 3 days, free for 12 and under
Old Settler’s Music Festival features acoustic jazz, blues, bluegrass and Americana performers. Vendors sell arts and crafts and you can camp if you like. There is a youth competition for performers that are 18 years and younger, you can see the contestants perform and see the winner play on a main stage.
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South By Southwest (SXSW)
Locations all over Austin
March 9-18, 2013
$0 – $150
See 03/2010a post, 03/2010b post, 03/2011 post, 03/2012a post, 03/2012b post, 03/2012c post and 03/2012d post
SXSW is a conference music industry professionals, who meet in conference sessions by day, then 3,000 bands take over the city by night. Most bands play in bars until the early morning hours and a wristband costs $150 or more. For Moms, it is best to forget the official schedule. Try Auditorium Shores on Saturday afternoon when it is less crowded, not too hard to park and free. Another option is to stroll along South Congress during the day. There are fun vendors, great people watching and bands playing for free on every corner.
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Urban Music Festival
Auditorium Shores
March 31, 2012
$25 for adults, $5 7-12, free for 6 and under
The Urban Music Festival celebrates urban culture and coincides with the Texas Relays Weekend, a long-standing and tradition-rich track and field event at the University of Texas. In 2011l FAMCITI hosted kids activities with inflatable slides, an obstacle course, carnival midway games and face painting.
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2 Responses

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  1. Jay Shields

    So good to know about these!

    [Reply]

  2. Jay Shields

    I love that you have taken the research work out of this for me. I love lists that I can print and keep in the car.

    [Reply]

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