The tenth annual UTOPiafest was one for the books. Reveille Peak Ranch is a magical playground for people of all ages, with its lake having almost cartoon-like trees sticking out of the water, a butterfly garden, and a platform looking over all of the grounds. Along with the beautiful scenery the fest offered great food, activities, vendors, and some of the best artists I have personally seen in a while.
The weekend had absolutely perfect weather with fires burning. We started our weekend on Thursday with Grandmaster Flash’s ode to some of the best rappers and hip hop artists known to man. Keller WIlliams then played his originals and kept the crowd entertained by his comedic story telling lyrics.
Friday was a beautiful day, with hammocks blowing in the wind, we started our day with yoga on the water. Sid Fly always opens up Utopia Fest in the best way, with acoustic guitar in hand accompanied by his son and daughter. Utopia fest is a fest that makes you feel like family, so what a great way to open it up with a beautiful family of musicians.
What is Utopia Fest without Wild Child?! Every time I see them it is something quite magical, with everyone in the crowd singing lyrics back, engaged, connecting. Their music is all about heartache and overcoming that said heartache, but in a serene way from the vocals (and violin) of Kelsey Wilson. They are made up of Alexander Beggins (lead vocals and baritone ukulele), Sadie Wolfe (cello), Tyler Osmond (bass), Matt Bradshaw (keyboard and trumpet), Cody Ackors (guitar and trombone), Tom Myers (drums) and the horn section consisting of members of Interrobang.
Lukas Nelson was really something special. His music talks of love, heartache, and self discovery. The most memorable part of his set is when he sang a song in which the lyrics say “turn off the news and build a garden with me”. Now more than ever, we need to start putting our energy into constructive influences rather than dwelling on the negative things going on in the media.
Baskery was one set that I still cannot get out of my mind at the Good Times Grove. Their vocals are so pristine and harmonious. Being in such intimate setting already, having these three women on stage with the lights radiating off of them, their voices radiating off of the audience, and the audience clenching on to each other for warmth, it was a truly an unforgettable performance. Their a cappella was like something out of a dream.
Calliope Musicals’ set was all the glitter and magic you can imagine. They even covered Everybody Wants to be a Cat from The Aristocats.
Valerie June is also a memorable set for myself. This Tennessee women has so much charisma and class it is hard not to be mesmerized by her sultry vocals and pristine guitar shuffle accompanied by some very catchy tunes.
STS9 was the best way to close out the fest. Dance vibes were at 100% and towards the end of their set the rain came down. The party didn’t stop, though, because Austin Event Lighting did a killer job at lighting the show.
Utopia is always such a beautiful weekend of music and community. We do not want to see this festival go anywhere. Here are some ways you can support UTOPIAfest.
Photos by Leigh Jansma Artistry