Hundreds of live music lovers packed Carson Creek Ranch last weekend for the first ever Waterloo Music Festival. The brainchild of Austin events promoters Unknown Entertainment, Havin' a Ball Productions and Heard Presents, Waterloo aimed to celebrate Austin’s music roots. In its inaugural year, the fest boasted a lineup of veteran jam bands such as The String Cheese Incident and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, as well as smaller Austin acts like KVRX favorite, Big Wy’s Brass Band.
While every festival possesses a unique vibe, It’s safe to say Waterloo’s was a carefree one. It’s modest size and location made for an experience free from the hustle and bustle of bigger events. At any given moment, strangers could be seen high-fiving, hugging, dancing or a strange but beautiful combination of the three. Like a micro Woodstock, patrons ditched their socks and shoes as torrential rains hit the festival Sunday afternoon.
A key component of the weekend were the non-music related activites. The festival brought in many experts who engaged fest-goers in quick self-improvement workshops. These immersive workshops included yoga sessions, aromatherapy lessons, metacognitive discussions, community-fostering drum circles and more. The workshops gave off a laid-back, come-and-go atmosphere, pairing nicely with the easygoing vibe of the festival.
While some people may have been disappointed to not see larger food staples on the vendor list, mom-and-pop shops serving nachos, tacos and aguas frescas reinforced the authentic Austin feel.
The weekend was a refreshing break from the dense and stressful environments that come with Austin’s bigger name festivals. Waterloo has a promising future as it picks up where Sound On Sound Festival left off.