The Quantum Collective Southwest Invasion will touch down in Austin, TX from March 16-18 for its 6th annual concert series and lifestyle village hosted by Whole Foods Market, benefiting Whole Planet Foundation. The free, all ages event draws a huge crowd to the Whole Foods Market flagship store’s rooftop venue on North Lamar Boulevard every year for live performances by emerging and legacy bands. This year’s three-day event will feature over 40 artists on two stages. RSVP OPEN HERE

Supporting the Southwest Invasion for a second year in a row, CLIF Bar returns to the Whole Foods rooftop to supply guests with their new CLIF® Nut Butter Filled Bars. Additionally, they’ll be bringing their Record Lab where fans can get free 7” singles made from plastic plates. Audio Engineers from Mobile Vinyl Recorders will cut records in real time for a one of a kind keepsake.


ZICO returns to the event as well, hosting a free yoga session on the rooftop the morning of Friday, March 17. An instructor from Black Swan Yoga will teach the class, which is open to 40 people. Registration begins at 8:30am and the session will run from 9:00 – 10:00. Additionally, ZICO will be handing out their USDA-certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified™ Coconut Water. With every ZICO Organic you’re helping build a better tomorrow for local Philippine farming communities by supporting organic farming, investment in farm productivity, community development projects, and farmer empowerment.


New to the Quantum Collective Southwest Invasion family in 2017 is Schwinn. Founded in 1895, Schwinn is an American icon, building some of the best-known and best-loved bicycles of all time. In addition to offering slushies and puppies on the rooftop, they’ll have some of latest and greatest bikes for fans to see, get on, and even ride, including their brand new line of easy-riding Sivicas.

How to Own SXSW Like a BOSS

by Traci Marie Mondragon

One of the greatest things about living in Austin is SXSW: that magical week in March when technology, film, and music combine to create a tangible energy in our beloved city.  If you’re reading this post, then you definitely know what SXSW is, and you’ve probably experienced it.  And if you’re a Baller ATX friend and follower… you probably can’t afford a badge.  But there are SO many ways to do SXSW right…especially if you’re broke!  I’m about to give you the secrets to having the BEST possible SXSW experience of your life.


Give a little to Get a LOT

VOLUNTEER for SXSW. I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have enough time to volunteer! So many hours! It’s too much work!” Okay, quit being ridiculous and get it together!!! You’re an adult. You’re smart. You’re capable.

Make your schedule work and sign up to volunteer. You work some (mostly easy) shifts, you get a badge. A badge most people pay WELL over $1200 for. It’s almost unbelievable! There are still plenty of crews who need volunteers, so head on over to to learn more!

You’ll get into SO many parties, lounges, panels, films, shows, etc. that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have that badge.


Can’t Volunteer?

RSVP till your fingers hurt. There are so many sites, Facebook groups, etc. that list free parties if you DON’T have a badge. So if you don’t take my first piece of advice, then do this. In fact, Baller ATX has a handy list to aid in your RSVPing.


Stay Safe

Gather your friends together and carpool, or better yet, split Rideshares. If the above tips are successful, you WILL be drinking A LOT. So be safe above ALL else.


Pace yourself!

SXSW means day drinking. My best advice? Stop drinking at about 8pm. Especially if you have a badge and will be going to night showcases. You won’t make it to that headliner you’re dying to see on the Friday night of Music if you are drinking from noon-4am every night that week. And even if you do you’ll feel miserable and probably won’t remember much.


Finally… Have FUN

If you’re anything like me, SXSW is your Christmas, birthday, and Mardi Gras all rolled into one amazing week. Make it count, make it last, and make it memorable. But most importantly make it safe so you can make it out again next year! And the year after that and the year after that…


Stay tuned for Volume 2 of Traci’s SXSW Tips Next Week!

Euphoria Fest

Posted by ballerat | Festivals

by Melissa Hoffman

a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness.
“the euphoria of success will fuel your desire to continue training”
synonyms: elation, happiness, joy, delight, glee

I’m sure there are countless things that come to mind when reading the definition above; playing with puppies, devouring an entire bowl of Funfetti cake batter, and the first sip of that free margarita to name a few. For over 50,000 music lovers it means Euphoria Music Festival.

Euphoria is a four day camping music festival taking place April 6th-9th on the beautiful 55 acre grounds of Carson Creek Ranch in Austin.  While the primary genre is electronic music this festival offers a little something for everyone by bringing in hip hop, indie, and jam band artists for your listening pleasure. The 2017 lineup is stacked as always and includes Alesso, Chromeo, Pretty Lights Live, Wiz Khalifa, Young Thug, Zeds Dead, The Disco Biscuits, The Floozies, Knife Party, and many many more.

If you aren’t sold on the music alone, Euphoria is really focusing on enhancing the all-around experience for its attendees this year. They will be partnering with Art Outside to introduce the Art Outside Village which will organize various activities such as art installations, unique workshops, and yoga. What makes these additions even more awesome is that they are opening them up to anyone who has something nifty to contribute. If you have an artistic contribution that you would like to share with your fellow festival-goers you can apply here. Life tip- don’t hesitate, just DO IT!

For those of you that lack in the creative department but want to get involved don’t fret! The Fest is bringing back its work exchange volunteer program and is currently looking for passionate folks just like you. In exchange for only 15 hours of your time (broken up into three five-hour shifts) you will receive a GA 3-day pass and a camping pass. That is of course in addition to meeting wonderful people and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Talk about ballin’ on a budget! If this sounds right up your alley you can head to this link to get your app in.

If you are sold on the festival but aren’t too keen on fully immersing yourself in the camping lifestyle, I suggest that you strongly reconsider. To each their own but in my festival experience there is nothing like waking up on the festival grounds with your adopted community and embracing that “this is life now” mentality. Euphoria offers numerous camping options so you are sure to find the perfect fit. There have also been some serious improvements made this year based on feedback from past campers. For example; additional space per campsite, option for early check-in on Wednesday, and a shuttle service to get your gear to your site. That last one is a game changer people. If you haven’t attended in the past, let’s just say it took impeccable stacking skills and balance to cart all of your shi*t up and down hills before you finally reached the camp grounds. The people struggled- Euphoria listened.

Now that was a lot to take in but I hope that it got you as excited as I am for the sixth annual Euphoria Festival! Tickets are still on sale so I suggest you rally some troops, create some bitchin play lists to get pumped up, and get ready to get down and dirty on the banks of the Colorado River.

Full line-up Here

Tickets available Here

by Melissa Hoffman

I’m all about enjoying this beautiful Austin weather by patio hopping around town from Moontower Saloon to Bangers or anywhere with a solid mimosa deal. However, if you’re looking to get in touch with your outdoorsy side and save some cash, the Colorado River is just a short drive away. In my opinion, not much beats kayaking/canoeing the river and camping on island sand bars.

Step 1) Recruit as many of your friends (and furry friends!) as possible

Step 2) Head about 30 minutes East to Webberville 

Step 3) Board your water vessel of choice

Step 4) Start paddling

If you already happen to own a canoe or kayak then your only investment for the weekend will be a cooler full of beer and some food to soak it all up (if you’re like some of my friends that means a case of Lone Star each and three 18 packs of Smucker’s Uncrustables). No worries if you don’t, there are a few different outfitters that you can rent one from for pretty cheap. We went with Cook’s Canoes ( and it was $50 per night for a canoe and $35 per night for a kayak. Technically though, if you choose to canoe with a friend you get to split that cost plus the paddling efforts. A win-win! One last perk of going through the outfitter is that it includes a shuttle from the end point of your trip back to your cars at the beginning. So for those of you who do the trip with your own gear; do not, I repeat DO NOT, forget to leave at least one car where you plan to exit the river so you can get back to the other cars. Unless you’re down for a longggggg walk back.

For our last river trip my husband and I decided to head out right after work so that we could get paddling and have camp set up by sun down. Did I mention that camping on these sand bars is also free?! We chose to start at Little Webberville Park since it was only about an hour paddle to the first potential sand bar. This one is pretty small but perfect for a small group like the two of us and our dogs. If that’s not quite what you’re looking for, you can keep going down the river and choose from a number of other first come first serve islands. We set up camp, gathered some wood for the fire, and cracked a few cold beers. Not necessarily in that order… While we were taking care of all of the manual labor like the responsible adults that we are, our two dogs were off exploring the island doing “dog stuff”. Between that and repeatedly jumping off of our kayaks to swim during the day it made for some happy, and exhausted, pups.

Saturday morning we packed everything up and moved our lawn chairs into the water while we waited for all of our friends to come down stream. From there we made our way slowly but surely with only a few tipping casualties stemming from a rowdy game of bumper tag. As peaceful and beautiful as the Colorado River is, what is a river trip without some shenanigans? Here are a few other examples to keep your float interesting: Most Absurd Hat Competition, bb gun target practice, pick-up game of whiffle ball with locals on shore, or some casual fishing. I think you get the idea.

A few more hours and a box of wine later we came across a very large island that was more than big enough for a group of any size. Both of the islands that we camped on had plenty of wood to collect for a fire but it never hurts to bring some extra if you have the space. Once the fire was roaring we cooked up all of our food only to have it left out and eaten by some animals overnight- also known as my dogs. In typical camping spirit our night was full of s’more roasting and various drinking games around the fire. In typical “I’ve been drinking copious amounts of alcohol for 15 hour” spirit our night ended with howling at the moon and a little bit of skinny dipping. Or so I’ve been told since day drinking got the best of me before any of that debauchery began.

Next thing I knew the sun was coming up and Sunday had arrived to be the buzzkill that it always is. I’m sure you get the drill but we slapped the bag a little bit to polish off the wine, packed our kayaks, and started on our way. There were only a few hours left to go between our campsite and the final dock and it was one of the most gorgeous parts of the river we had travelled down. When we got to the dock our shuttle was there waiting and we made our way back to reality.

Moral of the story, if you have a free weekend and you enjoy being one with nature you should get your @$$ out to the beautiful Colorado River.

Melissa is a staff writer for

Day For Night.

Posted by terry flemings | Day For Night, Festivals

Started in 2015, Day For Night is a visually immersive art and music festival that explores light, space, and sound.  Day For Night will take place at the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office (401 Franklin Street), designed by the same architects as the Houston Astrodome, will be the setting for this year’s hyper-sensorial festival. 

The 2016 Day For Night music line-up includes Aphex Twin, Ariel Pink, Banks, Blood Orange, Butthole Surfers, Little Dragon, Jesus and Mary Chain, Squarepusher, Thundercat, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Mykki Blanco, and SOPHIE.

But what we are most excited to see is the visual artist that are being brought in who are going to transform this space into a magical wonderland of sight and sound. Day For Night is excited to announce fifteen site-specific commissions and new media installations for the second edition of the festival. The 2016 Day For Night visual artists are AV&C + Houze, Children of the Light, Alex Czetwertynski, Björk, Damien Echols, Ezra Miller, Golan Levin, Michael Fullman, NONOTAK, Robert Seidel, Shoplifter, TUNDRA, United Visual Artists (UVA), and Various Projects.


Curated by Day For Night co-founder Alex Czetwertynski, the Day For Night exhibition program is a unique platform for artists to push the boundaries of their practice and create new sensory experiences for festival goers. Similar to the music line-up, which includes headliners Aphex Twins and the more underground Ariel Pink and Mykki Blanco, Day For Night presents an international group of emerging and established artists.

“Our intention is to bring together talents that fearlessly cross over multiple fields and blur the lines between media. From our more established artists, such as UVA and Bjork digital, who are both presenting works never seen before in the US, to our youngest artist, the twenty-year-old Ezra Miller, we want our audience to experience art at a scale that is almost impossible to see elsewhere, and in a grouping that would be hard to pull off in more traditional environments,” says Czetwertynski.

We cannot wait for what we feel will be the redeeming quality of the year 2016. After everything this year has thrown at us, a winter festival with this amazing lineup is just what we need. Stay tuned as we will be covering this experience from Friday night till Sunday. We’ll have tons of photos and some special one on one interviews with few of our favorite artists.

Full line-up here.

Tickets available here.

(images courtesy of Day for Night)

As a long time ska punk fan and a fan of Colorado, I made my way to the mile-high city to rage and riot! At Riot Fest that is!

Riot Fest, originating in Chicago, is a punk rock based festival that has since expanded to a second location in the mile-high city.

Now, just because it is considered a Punk Rock Festival doesn’t mean that it is limited to just the genre; it tends to include a smattering of Ska, Indie Rock (Modest Mouse in 2015 and Death Cab for Cutie in 2016 respectively… WTF?!), Metal, etc. There is definitely something for everyone and anyone… that happens to also like Punk music. The major selling point for 2016? The MISFITS reunion!

Friday kicked off the weekend right! The weather was beautifully sunny, but not too warm (by Texas standards at least). It remained this way all weekend long. Let me say that after years of Warped Tours on asphalt and black top in the Texas heat during my youth; this was amazing. The only time you felt like finding some shade was when you had just had enough sun and never because of getting overheated.

After running into Doug Benson (we love you Doug!) outside the Festival we made our way into the grounds. We scouted the Merch Booth followed by the concession stands, which lead to the first and only real disappointment of the weekend… in a place with craft beer that regularly wins awards like Denver we were limited to Dos Equis and other equally dissatisfying libations. (Get your shit together Riot Fest!) The food choices were solid though.

Friday was filled with a number of bands I had been looking forward to seeing again (or for the first time). The Descendants showed that they still had some rage left! The Aquabats, which is always a fun and family friendly show, instructed the next generation of little rioters on how to properly circle pit by pulling them up on stage! Start them young! (I can think of plenty of older fans that have a hard time grasping the idea. It’s like they are the kid that always tried to fit the square through the circular hole. Idiots.) Fitz and the Tantrums properly lived up to their pun inspired name. NOFX was rad as fuck. Deftones rocked! Janes Addiction (performing Ritual De Lo Habitual) killed it as the closer!

Saturday may have had the least exciting line-up of the weekend for me personally. The Hold Steady (performing Boys & Girls in America) was a damn fine show! Sleater Kinney reminded us (like we needed one) that ladies can perform as good if not better than any group of guys. Ween closed the day out as only they could have.

Sunday was the day I think most everyone was psyched for. This day was really centered around the dueling stages of the Roots Stage and Riot Stage. Notably really starting off with Chevy Metal, a cover band with one sweet name and a sound to back it up. Unfortunately for them they had to compete with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes at the game of covers songs. Let me tell you, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes won hands down! Next up was a superb performance by Pepper! Think that sounds amazing? Bad Religion rocked the shit out of the audience next! Where do you go from there you may ask? The gypsy punk inspired music of Gogol Bordello! When everyone was exhausted from dancing their asses off The Original Misfits made us all remember why we were there in the first place in all of their horror punk rock glory! My Satan it was beautiful!

Thank you Riot Fest for satiating the punk rock void in my life. Until next year!!!



by Julie Darner

You know you have the best boss when they give you free wristbands for a music festival. It wasn’t even just SOME of my coworkers that got them; it was ALL of us. (That’s seven of us in all) I only got a Saturday pass, but two of my coworkers got 3-day media passes. SUPER JEALOUS, but I’ll chill.

So I ended up seeing a little of DJ Mustard, LL Cool J and his DJ ZTrip, SchoolboyQ, and then Kendrick Lamar. Def should have tried to see more, but crowds and lines and waiting were all factors that got in the way.

DJ Mustard mostly just mixed popular radio songs together for the crowd and yelled at us sometimes. Not upset that I chose him over other artists, but we left early due to a lack of interest. Haha. Also, we were not getting enough of a second-hand high to want to stay in that crowd. Oh, DISCLAIMER! I am too short for music festivals, so there may be a lot of complaining in the future of this post. Particularly, DJ Mustard had started about half an hour before my coworker and I got into the crowd, so there was a strong buildup and little space to squeeze in. That’s really the worst thing about ACL. They invite all these people to go, throw some stages onto Zilker and let the people fend for themselves. Short people never get to see what’s going on on stage. It’s a fact of the festival. It’s part of the whole experience!!!!! Bonding with other shorties is actually something that happened for me with other girls at Kendrick. At least you’re comforted in knowing you aren’t the only one.


LL Cool J was pretty great. I’m not gonna lie, I had to laugh at some parts of his performance. I had no idea he’s been around since 1985!!!! I felt like a baby. He still wears beanies while he performs, which is insane to do in Texas even though it was only like 85 yesterday (GREAT WEATHER). His shirt reminded me of those Affliction shirts all the boys wore in 2008. And he kept telling us what to do!! “Everybody say YEAAAH! Say HELLLL YEAH!!! Now SCREAM!” Excuse me. It’s fun the first 30 times, but it just gets a little repetitive after that. But I did have fun watching him! His dj was so good! Amazing! Cam and I were at an understanding that he may even be better than DJ Mustard. He was mixing right in front of us! And he was this older looking, clean cut white guy! I very much appreciated his work. I knew zero songs, but it’s the performance you go for, yes?!

So my two coworkers and I stayed at the Samsung stage to get a good spot for SchoolboyQ. We were right next to the catwalk that was blocked off from the crowd. Some people are really crazy, because they actually jumped that barrier. Mind you, it’s at least four feet tall, so you have to lift all your body weight on the narrow railing, launch yourself another four feet to the other side, and then land on a bunch of people? Not worth it to me. One guy completely ate it on the ground of the catwalk, but got right up and climbed his busted face over the other side! Pretty impressive. Another guy didn’t have such luck. Security was getting fed up later on, so when another guy took the plunge, three of the workers went after him and tried to pull him back over. I don’t know how they weren’t successful, but they didn’t escort him out. The vandal got over the barrier somehow. I guess he had good friends that didn’t let him go.

Another funny thing that happened when we were waiting for SchoolboyQ was that my coworkers and I met some actual school boys! They were across the barrier from us. They looked insanely young, and they were. Three out of the four had braces, they had baby faces that you know were virginal and were dressed like frat boys. That’s all the high-schoolers now, right? Well we got to talking to them, and being almost a decade older than them inspired us to ask them about pop culture like Hey Arnold, Doug, Lambchop, Even Stevens, CatDog. The best of the late 90s and early 2000s! I’ll have to say, the one that hurt the most was them not knowing who Lizzie McGuire was. No Gordo?! No Paulo?! Such a sad life! They were all boys, but all the boys I knew watched it, too! It’s amazing how age gaps separate culture so easily. I’m not saying everything I grew up with was monumental for all ages and should have been absorbed at some point of time, but it shows you how history and human customs change and can be forgotten. DEEP.




Senator Kaine brings his vision for America, his stories of the women who have inspired him, and his praise for campaign volunteers to Austin, TX
 by Traci Mondragon


First…I apologize for the photo quality. This was a last minute assignment and my cell phone camera is blurry at best.

It’s excellent to have friends in high places. That’s what being a Baller on a Budget is all about, right?! Well, I’m honored to have known and been BFF’s with the new Texas State Director for Hillary for America, Ms. Jaclyn Uresti, and yesterday, she invited me to be a part of a very special, intimate gathering of Travis County Democratic Party volunteers and our very own Vice Presidential Candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Waiting in line, outside, in 100 degree Texas heat, to get inside a non-air conditioned warehouse… that’s dedication. The line moved slowly as everyone was subjected to a mag detector and airport security-like measures. All I could think of was how bad I felt for all the Secret Service guys in their suits standing out there. Brutal.

But eventually, we all got inside. The room was bustling with volunteers making calls to Travis County voters, press trying to set up for the perfect view, and a few others just trying to stay relatively cool near the several fans set up throughout the room. Even Senator Kirk Watson (who spoke before Kaine) mentioned that, as Democrats, we don’t waste campaign money on luxury items like air conditioning! As I sat among my fellow Clinton/Kaine supporters, I overheard many talking about how important this election is, and why they’re voting for Hillary. The most interesting comments came from an older man who was sitting near me, who said “I was a lifelong Republican. Until the Republican Party left me.” He went on to talk about how he was baffled at how some of his friends, who he always thought were intelligent, caring people, were voting for Donald Trump. He said “I just can’t understand it.”



Senator Watson spoke for a few minutes, revving up the small crowd, taking a few jabs at the donald. My favorite being when Watson mentioned that Trump only has supporters in Austin because our favorite color is burnt orange. Most of Watson’s speech was very positive. He focused on how we can turn Texas blue by continuing to elect local and state Democratic candidates to office, and how it is the strength of the grassroots movements across the state that have brought us so far in this fight. Senator Watson is always such a joy to hear. He’s truly a hero for his constituents.

The crowd began cheering and clapping as Senator Tim Kaine entered the room and began addressing the very sweaty, very excited attendees. He mentioned how much he loves Austin, and thanked all of the campaign staff in Texas, as well as the volunteers. Kaine spoke about why he is honored to be running alongside Hillary Clinton, and how together, we can all change this country for the better. He spoke about the need to get tough in order to beat the opponent. But his speech was not filled with criticism of the donald or his rhetoric. Rather, it was filled with hope for the future, and the strength of the Democratic Party.

Much of his speech centered around the women in his life, and how they have made him better. He spoke of his mother, his wife, and the women on his campaign staff, and how because of their strength and support, he is where he is today. He urged the men of the Democratic Party to now be the ones to support these strong women in return, in particular, our first ever female Presidential Candidate…Hillary Clinton. Cheers abounded as Kaine exclaimed “The next president will be the president that will celebrate the centennial of women having the right to vote… rather than somebody that offends women every time he opens his mouth!”

But the bulk of Kaine’s message was full of praise for the volunteers who comprised most of his audience. And that audience was on its feet as Kaine proclaimed, “This team, we’re serious about Texas, because we know the kind of work you can do. We’re going to go after Texas. The way we will win is because of what you’re doing right now.”IMAG0685


See You on the Other Side

Posted by Traci Marie Mondragon | Movies, TV

A Spoiler-Free Review of Stranger Things

by Traci Mondragon

From the synth beats that made my heart burst, to the superb acting by a group of very talented children… Stranger Things is everything I never knew I needed in a Netflix series.


Set in 1980’s small town Indiana, this eerie tale of missing children and monsters takes its viewers on a roller coaster ride of nostalgia and fright. I loved every second of this show and cried as I watched the finale. As a child of the 80’s, I, like so many others, fully embraced the awesome clothes, and am SALIVATING over the announcement of the release of a soundtrack. Which, by the way, was composed by Austin’s own S U R V I V E. But beyond all the feels we got from the incredibly detailed 80’s vibe of Stranger Things, this show was about monsters. Those we fight against for freedom, those we fight in the Upside Down, and those we fight within ourselves.

It all begins with the disappearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). His mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), will stop at nothing to save him, because although most of the town believes he’s dead, she knows in her heart (and with the help of some strategically placed Christmas lights) that he’s very much alive. Raise your hand if you had flashbacks to “summoning spirits” with the Ouija Board in your older cousin’s living room when your parents were out for the night! I know I did. Joyce teams up with Sherriff Hopper, a man fighting his own inner demons, and his investigative prowess leads to many discoveries.

Will’s friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) know he’s alive too, and they devise a plan of their own to rescue him. It is on their first late-night mission that they discover a young girl named Eleven, played by the outstanding Millie Bobby Brown, who ends up being the key to the mystery in so many ways. And completely steals my heart.

When another local kid goes missing (the ever-stylish Barb, played by Shannon Purser), her best friend Nancy (Mia Sara look-alike Natalia Dyer) teams up with local loner and brother of the missing Will, Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) to find out the truth. As they uncover pieces of the puzzle themselves, this dynamic duo decides to wage an all-out war against the monster.

The audience nervously watches as these three dream teams, each in its own way, discovers more and more about the place where Will and Barb are taken, and how to get them back. We anxiously wait for them all to figure out that the others are also searching for the same things, and you long for them to join forces to defeat the monster, the evil Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine), and their own insecurities. Each of these characters, in one way or another, feel like outsiders in their small-town world. But they all turn into heroes as we see the plot unfold and reach its climax.

From the first frame, we are sucked into this strange world, and we can’t help but see every single Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and Wes Craven reference thrown in to bring to light one of THE most entertaining series of the decade. The crazy talented and imaginative Duffer Brothers have taken us all on an incredibly chilling journey. And I can’t wait to be sucked in again and again.


Artwork by Kyle Lambert

by Traci Mondragon, photos by Dominic Mondragon




This Texas gal has never been to Kentucky, the land of chicken and horses, but I’ll definitely be back if it means attending the chill, artsy, fast-growing music festival known as Forecastle. Baller ATX headed to Louisville, KY last weekend to see what this fest has to offer, and how it compares to all that we know and love about festivals in Austin, TX.

We arrived Friday, and were instantly surprised by the ample street parking very near the festival grounds – the sprawling and beautiful Waterfront Park – as well as the practically non-existent lines at the entrance. Despite the quick entry process, the festival was filled with attendees. Whether up front and center for a great band, laying on a blanket in the lush grass, or sitting in one of the many shady spots across the park, festival-goers were plenty. This is one of the most well attended festivals I’ve been to, yet there was ample space to get to and from all the stages, and short lines to grab a bite or a beer.

Speaking of food and drinks… there were many local eateries with booths at Forecastle, and we attempted to sample as much as we could! From the spicy (affordable!) creole mac and cheese at the Roti Rolls truck, to the burger and fries from the cool dudes Black Rock Grill… we felt the love in everything we tried. Drinks were, as you might guess, festival-priced, but when we made the trek over to Kentucky Landing, the local shop, restaurant, and beer area… we found several delicious brews from local breweries – and at just $2 for a 4 oz. sample! The West Sixth IPA from West Sixth Brewing and the Crank Shaft IPA from Braxton Brewing were among my favorites.

Now on to the music…the reason we were there at all!

Forecastle opens later on Friday, so we got there around 4pm, just in time to catch a taste of the sweet vocal sounds of Liz Vice…

…but that’s when the storm came. Literally.

Empty fest. But no rain...yet.

Empty fest. But no rain…yet.

The festival was quickly and briefly evacuated due to lightning in the area. Big thanks to all the volunteers, staff, and security who smoothly got everyone to safety while we waited for the storm to pass. Around 6:45pm, everyone was allowed back into the park, and all scheduled bands were pushed back so that no one missed seeing and hearing their favorites!

So13705273_531990883655661_1401044673_n, we resumed our music watching experience with the vibrant, energetic Grouplove, who really put on an amazing show. We then walked over to the other side of the park to catch the second half of Austin’s own Wild Child. They never disappoint, and drew quite a large Kentucky crowd! After catching a little of Baauer, Moon Taxi, and Bully… we made it over to see another Austin original (and favorite) Ghostland Observatory. Thomas and Aaron did what they do best and created the incredible, heart-pumping stage, light, and musical experience we all know. On our way to the festival’s main stage, we caught a glimpse and sound of Glass Animals, and ended the night with the headliner… The Avett Brothers. Alternating between low-tempo songs of love and loss and upbeat, uplifting tunes, The Avett Brothers played to the huge crowd, and made us all remember why we love music festivals. The harmony they inspire and the spirit of togetherness they foster.


Saturday, we began with some rockin’ tunes by Future Thieves at the WFPK Port Stage, which is where we tried some of that great mac and cheese from the Roti Rolls truck! Then, we got to see one of my personal highlights of the fest – BANNERS… that Brit has an incredible voice, and his catchy, anthemic pop-rock is so infectious. Luckily they were playing the Ocean Stage, which is literally under the freeway that runs over the middle of the park. Plenty of shade. Then we moseyed over to hear the soft, beautiful sounds of Sarah Jarosz, listening under the trees at the Boom Stage, and continued our laid-back afternoon with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. We took a little respite there for a while (it may have not been 100 degrees like in Austin, but it was HOT, y’all), then continued our evening with Local Native and a bit of Sylvan Esso. We shook it to Alabama Shakes before calling it an early night.


We definitely had a bit of a lazy Sunday, so we didn’t get to the fest until about 3:00, but that was just in time to rock out to Heartless Bastards! We grabbed a spot under those trees from Saturday, and caught Austin’s own White Denim, who had a great crowd for a sunny, sweltering afternoon time slot. Then, it was time for probably our most anticipated band of the fest… Death Cab!!! The crowd was excellent; the temperature had finally gone down a bit by their 7:00 start time; they sounded amazing. They played the hits, they played a few new tunes, and they stole my heart…as always. I’m pretty sure I cried a little during “I’ll Follow You Into the Dark” because I’m a big cry baby.

We had a 7:40am flight from the Cincinnati airport (1.5 hours from Louisville) the next morning, so we let our Forecastle experience end on a high note with Death Cab…and called it quits before 9pm. Hey, we’re in our mid-thirties. We need sleep… and apparently, we DO stop sometimes…13695002_531991146988968_423771653_n

All in all, Forecastle and Louisville were incredibly hospitable, fun, and definitely worth the trek from Austin. So next time you’re looking outside to venture outside of your ATX bubble for a chill music fest, strongly consider Forecastle. You won’t be sorry.