Northwest of Concan, and due south of Lost Maples, lies Utopia, TX - Population: 227 - Home to Utopiafest, a two-day music festival, this year featuring the likes of Ben Kweller, Charles Bradley, The Wheeler Brothers, Dr. Dog, and many more. If you've ever driven out west to this area of Texas' Hill Country, you already know there isn't much out that way, save camping, hunting, and the seasonal tourist attractions. But how could a music festival thrive in a town few have even driven through? Conviction, and the fact that someone wasn't crazy enough to do it before.
Utopia's desolate ranch-land plays an almost perfect background to the anti-festival. Like the land it rests upon, Utopiafest is unspoiled. Only in its 4th edition, the festival has seen a lot of growth, namely in the names that dawn its bill, which seems to have been kickstarted with last year's grab of a Dawes/Blitzentrapper co-bill headline to kick-off night one. But while seizing up notable acts, the fest has not outgrown its britches. No, there will be no Bud Light stage, no Heineken lanyards, no Samsung Galaxy cell phone micro-fiber screen wipes when you enter through the gate. When you arrive, you'll immediately get the feel that festival organizers are less concerned with insane profitability, and more concerned with you having an amazing experience. While you will find great music, from some very hot acts, do you know what you won't find? A large crowd. Utopiafest wants you to enjoy the great bands, and the beautiful landscape, without all of the real estate of the 1,000 acre ranch being occupied. This is mainly because Utopiafest organizers cap attendance at less than 2,000!
What you will get at Utopiafest is an abundance of atmosphere. There is little to no cell service there, so immediately upon arrival, you are unplugged from the rest of the world. The backdrop is filled with 360º of untouched rolling hills. You will also be surrounded by happy-to-be-there festival goers. Seeing as how attendance is capped to a very comfortable number, negative vibes are at a minimum, and generosity at higher than normal levels for a music festival crowd.
Camping is included in your ticket price. Bring your tent, air mattress, hammock, or whatever you can crash on. There's plenty of realty to stake claim to, and the tent cities make for excellent after-show hang outs. And since on-site camping is a staple of the fest, outside food and drink is something that is clearly welcomed by organizers. Beer, liquor, 5-course meals - it's all good. Try finding that at any of the more urban fests. If having someone else cook your food is more up your alley, this year will feature more food vendors, including bison sliders, and hand-tossed wide fire pizzas. And, while many will embrace their inner-hippie over the 2 day festival, you can wash yours off in one of the many hot showers for only $5.
There's plenty to go around on the grounds outside of music as well. Try your hand at disc golf, take a hike, bike, or even a swim. There's yoga, hula-hoop classes, jewelry making, and kids shows. Yes, Utopiafest is kid friendly.
An incredible lineup of bands, an amazing scenic backdrop, free camping, outside food and drink, no crowd, and one of the best vibes you'll ever get at a musical festival - All yours for only $115. Unplug and head west to Utopiafest.