The 10 festivals (hello SXSW), award celebrations, and stage extravaganzas you can't miss this spring.
Big Dog Pyro draws a crowd on Sixth Street during last year’s SXSW—it all happens again this March.
Synonymous with the season, 1.South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (March 10–19) will feature more than 750 panels, hundreds of films, almost 2,000 bands, and keynote and featured speakers like Nile Rodgers, Maria Kondo, Jill Soloway, and Van Jones. New this year: The fest is now one unified event, with 24 tracks, and badges have more access. Trade your platinum badge for a pair of boots and head to 2. Rodeo Austin (March 11–25), an ode to the official sport of Texas, complete with a stock show, fair, and live music by the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Elle King, and Fitz and The Tantrums. For modern conversations on creativity and collaboration, check out the free hybrid arts festival 3.Fusebox (April 12–16), where Executive and Artistic Director Ron Berry describes the scene as "a third local, a third national, and a third international."
Spring isn’t just about what’s to come; we can pat ourselves on the back at some big celebrity-studded events. The biennial 4. Texas Medal of Arts (February 21–22), recognizes the talent and philanthropy of Texan artists of all disciples; this year’s honorees include Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Jaclyn Smith, Yolanda Adams, Lynn Wyatt, Lauren Anderson, and John Paul and Eloise DeJoria. The 5. Texas Film Awards (March 9), which honors the state’s impressive film legacy, will induct celebrated directors Jeff Nichols and Hector Galan in the Hall of Fame and honor Rising Star Tye Sheridan of Tree of Life and X-Men: Apocalypse fame. And what self-respecting Live Music Capital of the World doesn’t have its own award show? 6. The Austin Music Awards (March 12), by SXSW and The Austin Chronicle, marks its 35th year at a new home—ACL Live—and with music director Charlie Sexton at the helm, you can expect a memorable night, all to benefit the SIMS Foundation. Another philanthropic fête is 7. Austin Under 40 Awards Gala (April 1), an annual black-tie event dedicated to young professionals.
Austin welcomes several renowned productions to our stages. Zach Theatre hosts Texas’ premiere of Robert Schenkkan’s 8. The Great Society (through March 5), which explores President Johnson’s ideals and involvement in the Vietnam War. On another biographical note, the Tony Award-winning 9. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (March 21–26) showcases King’s ascent set to her own beloved songs. Lastly, Ballet Austin presents Stephen Mills’s production of Mozart’s 10. The Magic Flute (March 31–April 2), combining a re-energized score of the classic opera with contemporary, dazzling visuals.