By Lucero Trevino
I attended UTOPiAfest for the first time this year. I had personally never heard about this festival before KTSW and I’m actually pretty salty about that. This festival had such an impact on me that I wish I had known about it much earlier in my life. Now, if you haven’t heard about this festival before it’s because it’s sort of a hidden gem in a way. This festival takes place a good 15 minutes out of Utopia, TX at a ranch called The Four Sisters Ranch. All kinds of music played this year with bands/artists from Les Hay Babies, Wheeler Brothers, Molbey, Wild Child and The Barr Brothers to name a few. Here are a few things that make it such a gem in my book:
2,000 person cap
To start off this festival has a 2,000-person cap. I’ve heard about festivals capping their events, obviously, but I have never seen such a small one. It might not sound like a lot of peopl, but that is what’s so great about it. The smaller attendance makes everything much more intimate between the artists and the fans. Also, one of the main reasons for this cap is the ranch’s concern on preserving the beautiful land that it is set on.
I’ve been to a couple of festivals that vary from Austin City Limits Music Festival to SXSW, Float Fest and even JMBLYA, so I have seen my fair share of different kind of attendees. Sometimes a festival will have some not so happy people that can ruin your mood with theirs and other times a festival will be completely filled with the best people giving out positive vibes. This is exactly what UTOPiAfest was filled with. There were people of all ages from small babies that could barely walk to much older attendees that were +60 years old which I thought was impressive. Everyone was there just there to have a great time and enjoy the music, art, views and each other! It sort of seemed like we were in another world at times. A world filled with happiness and kind people who just want to chat and share their stories with you. And I don’t know about you but I feel like not only can the actual bands and artists at an event make or break your experience but the other fellow festival attendees can do the same.
No overlapping performances
One thing that always stresses me out at festivals is having to choose between two bands that I really want to se,e but can’t because they play at the same time. At UTOPiAfest, I had zero worries about that; every stage had an hour gap for set up. There were only two stages, so when one band ended you could walk to the other stage and not worry about missing a thing. This gave me the opportunity to see every single band and discover new ones at the same time.
Lastly, just the fact that this festival takes place at Four Sisters Ranch right outside of Utopia, TX is an amazing thing in itself. This place is surrounded by beautiful tall hills completely covered in green grass and large trees. While walking around the festival, I couldn’t help but just stare at the surroundings around me for a good minute and take them all in. Then at night, it is even better. You see the sky completely filled with all the stars you can’t really see back in the city. The weather out there wasn’t too hot during the day and wasn’t too cold at night, it was just right. I truly feel lucky having had the opportunity to attend this festival on the last year that it takes place at Four Sisters Ranch. Can’t wait to see where it will be set next year.
Featured image by Lucero Trevino.