Rory Harman and Brady Bennett
(A version of this article was originally written for and published in 787xx. I think I might have added a couple more jokes though. I think my original goal was to try to trick visitors into thinking I was being serious, but any semblance of verisimilitude has been pretty much abandoned.)
The smell of rancid trash soaking every fiber our small city with the scent of rotting death can only mean one thing. The beginning of festival season in Austin.
Soon, thousands of people will be descending on the city to take photos of themselves next to iconic murals, pay other humans to use them as vehicles, and speak wistfully of the day they can move to the city and talk condescendingly about newcomers. But Austin’s vibrant and eclectic creative community is host to dozens of lesser known and lesser appreciated festivals, for locals looking for something new and cool to do, and out-of-towners looking to go a little off the beaten path, and a little deeper into the unique flavor of the city.
Dumpster Fire 2007
Named after the first instance, in 2007, when a group of train hoppers, led by a man known by the name Spit, set the contents of a Austin city dumpster on fire, and gathered around it to keep warm, despite the protestation of local amphetamine addict Carlin Smint, who was, at the time, vacationing in the dumpster.
For those in the know, and with the secret entry code, in the form of a homemade tattoo with a never acknowledged but somehow generally agreed upon symbol, the sea of Road Warriors who show up can relax for an exciting weekend of hearing several different itinerant drunks playing the same three Ramones songs on their acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins, and washtub basses. Last year, the symbol was an eagle with a massive dong peeing a police officer, and this year is rumored to be a scarification of Simba, burned into festival goers arms, by repeatedly prodding their flesh with a hot can of Steel Reserve, sculpted into the shape of the beloved Disney character by Winslydale Dogpuke, a local malt liquor sculptor and wino living inside that statute on south congress erected to commemorate the invention of the Batarang.
Participants can also look forward to a puking contest, where competitors must drink a 40 in less than one minute, shake themselves violently in order to assure maximum velocity and pressure, and aim for the longest shot. Also a best in show contest for dog owners.
Taco Bell Presents The Taco Bell Mouth By Mouth Best Multimedia Loco Taco Experience
Coming in 2015. The brand savvy taco geniuses at the Bell decided that simply sponsoring a cavalcade of top celebrity musicians during South By South West was beginning to stifle them as a creative outlet, becoming too corporate, and they needed to branch off into their own festival, which would focus on the original spirit of the festival, getting rad in a vat of flamin nacho grande sauce.
In addition to having that zesty cheese you love poured into every orifice of your undeserving body, attendees can look forward to a vibrant film and tech convention, with seminars on subjects such as America’s need to embrace fifth meal, and new mediums of taco conveyance, including untapped dorito flavors, triscuits, and drywall.
Also featured in the film category, the coveted prize for Best Tocumentary.
High school seniors Bart and Derek are totally going to be spending this saturday doing donuts in an HEB parking lot and listening to Pantera’s classic album Vulgar Display of Power. You can come hang out if you promise to be cool about it, and maybe if you can bring some brews, Derek’s cousin totally blew it on the fakes.
Meth by Meth Quest.
Not so much a music festival as it is the monthly ritual of local amphetamine addict Carlin Smint, who rotates scavenging different neighborhoods in Austin, breaking into people’s houses to look for enough copper wiring, toasters, amplifiers, vintage record collections, cookie sheets and arrowheads to satisfy his craving for sweet biker crank.
Upon completion of his quest, and once good and spun, Smint celebrates by standing on the Lamar pedestrian bridge at 4 in the morning, banging the cookie sheets together and singing the chorus of More Than A Feeling by Boston, until someone arrives to stop him, at which point he dives into the river, and swims back to his secluded burrow, the location of which is unknown, though some speculate it is in the tunnel system under the University of Texas, as some see him occasionally exiting a door in the FAC.
If you haven’t encountered Smint yet, it is only a matter of time. Smint will find you. Smint will take your valuables. Smint may have forgotten that your neighborhood exists, or believe that it is infested with “Rikki Tkiki Tavies”, his natural enemy.
Thursday Night Social Riot.
Get The Fuck Out of My Apartment
Started in 2005 by Tisby Chunderberk, a local artisan cheesemaker, as an ironic protest against South By Southwest. After the first year, which several of his friends described as “pretty cool”, the party began to grow in attention and attendance, with increasingly high profile bands vying for positions on the bill, as a cooler, more authentic alternative to the increasingly high profile festival. Chunderberk, increasingly fed up with what he said was people “totally missing the fucking point”, but unable to fight against the momentum, and grudgingly admitting that the attention helped him pay his bills, allows the festival to continue, but refuses to let the event be promoted, or for that matter, allow anyone to disclose the location. This year, Atoms for Peace is playing in Chunderberk’s laundry room. Please don’t come. Chunderberk cordially invites anyone interested in attending to FUCK OFF.
The weekend after Eeyore’s Birthday.
Several of Austin’s most burned out oldtimers gather, confused, in Pease Park, the week after the festivities.
The party kicks off with festival regular Carlin Smint running through the park masturbating and proclaiming that “when the magpie rejects the silver, all will be engulfed in the death grip of the rikki tikki tavi.”
Attendees spend the rest of the day nodding, staring at trees, trying to use their own bellies as percussion, and staring at young park goers just long enough for them to realize that the participants are totally imagining them naked.
The Summoning of Orswin, The All Consuming, the Sleeping Viper, Knower of the Unspeakable Truth.
In an alcove deep bellow Zilker Park, the weekend of Austin City Limits, a second, more sinister ceremony takes place. The identities of the attendees are unknown, but rumored to include several high profile movers and shakers, tastemakers and innovators who gather to pay tribute to the massive, sleeping serpent that lives under the lake. Offerings of blood are made in ritual sacrifice of 300-400 out of town attendants to ACL, and it is rumored that the whole festival was actually begun as a front to lure in unsuspecting victims, to feed the serpent’s hunger for blood sacrament, and stave off the day when he will again rise, and wash the city away in an unending flood.
To account for the disappearances, letters are sent to the victims families, explaining that after visiting for the festival, these intrepid music aficionados have fallen in love with the city’s rustic, down to earth charm and quirky vibe, and have decided to move immediately, to start a new life at a small, honest tech startup.
the Only Music Festival.
It is is the only music festival. All other festivals are elaborate advertisements for the Microsoft Zune. You don’t deserve to come.