San Antonio: City of Music Festivals

If you are the type of person who likes to get together with other people and dance to the music – San Antonio has got you covered. The city plays host to a diverse and eclectic series of music festivals spread throughout the year, and no matter where your interests lie, the odds are you will find something that appeals to you.

Jazz Festivals

The diversity of jazz is celebrated throughout the summer with a number of outdoor events. The free, three-day San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival – affectionately known by locals as SAS Fest – takes place in June in Crockett Park and offers visitors a line-up of nationally known and local jazz musicians, as well as food, and an arts and crafts fair. Headliners have included Paul Brown, David Wells, and Alfred Flores. The free Balcones Heights Jazz Festival takes place on Friday nights throughout July and August at the outdoor Amphitheater at Wonderland of the Americas; performers have included Groove Therapy, Stanley Jordan, and Warhawk. In September, Travis Park hosts the free Jazz’SAlive Festival. Sponsored by the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Parks Foundation, the two-day Jazz’SAlive Festival features a diverse array of jazz styles from local musicians as well as nationally known artists; 2016’s line-up included Joe Lovano, Henry Brun and Friends, Grammy nominee Kirk Whalum, and Lao Tizer.

Latino Music Festivals

May sees the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center play host to the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, the oldest and largest festival of its kind in the United States. The five-day event features top local, national, and international artists performing everything from progressive Tejano to traditional Conjunto music. In 2016, attendees were treated to performances by the Conjunto Cats, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers, and Los Badd Boyz del Valle. Fiesta Noche del Rio features music and dance from Mexico, Texas, Argentina and Spain. A charitable event that raises money for local children’s charities, Fiesta Noche del Rio takes place every Friday and Saturday night from mid-May through mid-August at the Arenson River Theater on San Antonio’s iconic River Walk. Late November sees the start of the Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, a celebration of Mariachi music which takes place in various venues around San Antonio. The free seven-day event features local and international artists, and is closed each year with a performance by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan – considered by many enthusiasts to be the best Mariachi ensemble in the world.

Other Music Festivals

Early April sees the two-day Maverick Music Festival in the city’s La Villita section. The festival offers an eclectic line-up of artists performing everything from that good ole’ rock ‘n roll to alternative and hip-hop music. Featuring 40 bands and DJs, and three stages, 2016 performers included The Flaming Lips, Public Enemy, The Last Bandoleros, and The Church. For over 40 years the Texas Folklife Festival has showcased Texas folk music and dance, along with traditional Texas food, and arts and crafts, with artists and artisans from around the state making this three-day event truly memorable. For something completely different – and unexpected – check out the International Accordion Festival, held in September at the La Villita Historic Arts Village. The festival plays host to the finest accordion players from around the world, and also offers accordion workshops for aspiring stars.

San Antonio is a city that loves many varied types of music, and attracts top musicians from around the world to its festivals, concert halls, and arenas. Any time you want to hear it – no matter what “it” is – the chances are good that someone is playing it in San Antonio.