October 22-25, 2015
Rockdale, Texas: About an hour northeast of Austin, Rockdale is basically in the middle of nowhere. The drive is pretty boring, and unless you’re from Austin, its really not convenient to anyone. Texas is huge, and there isn’t much of interest to see along the drive.
Apache Pass: Inside the actual venue, Art Outside had a pretty sweet setup. There were a few different stages and workshop locations, although some of them were never finished because of the approaching storms. Amazing art and sculptures were all over the venue, as well as fantastic craft vendors, and artists painting everywhere. A few trees were dispersed along the site, but most of it was an open field that had been affected by the drought in Texas – massive cracks in the ground and lots of grass that almost stabbed your feet.
The ticket price was very cheap and affordable for such a great lineup. Unfortunately, many patrons never got to experience a festival or see any music. Many have been complaining about a refund, citing that it was supposed to be a rain or shine event that was completely cancelled.
- 3 Day Pass – Tier 3: $139 + $10.63 fees
- 4 Day Pass – Tier 3: $159 + $11.27 fees
- Monarch Pass (VIP): $399 + $18.47 fees
- Car Camping Upgrade: $40 + $5.70
- RV with Hookups Upgrade: $240 + $13.70 fees
- RV with No Hookups Upgrade: $120 + $10.10 fees
- Pre-Party Upgrade: $50 + $5 fees
- Saturday/Sunday Pass: $119 + $7.07 (EVENT CANCELLED)
- Sunday Only Pass: $59 + $5.27 (EVENT CANCELLED)
Car camping was basically the only option in an area they called The Meadows. They had advertised primitive tent-only camping in The Grove, but when I arrived they wouldn’t let me access that area. I suppose this is because of the approaching storms. Car camping consisted of a large open field, with a couple of scattered trees but not many. Cars were put in lines, and if you wanted to camp near a friend you had to arrive together. You were allotted enough space just for your car and a tent. As soon as the rain came Saturday morning, the whole field turned into a muddy mess. There was also an RV camping area which looked a little bit dryer when I was leaving, but I never really spent anytime over there so I can’t say for certain.
The only option to get there was by car. If you’re from out of state I would say to fly into Austin, Dallas, or Houston and then rent a car.
Distances to the festival:
1 hour from Austin, TX
2 hours, 20 minutes from Houston, TX
2 hours, 40 minutes from Dallas, TX
5 hours, 30 minutes from Oklahoma City, OK
6 hour, 20 minutes from Baton Rouge, LA
10 hours, 20 minutes from Kansas City, MO
14 hours from Denver, CO
Upon arrival, they stopped your car and asked if you had any glass, pets, explosives, or weapons. If you said no, they let you in. So that was pretty simple! At the gates from camping into the actual venue they had bag checkers who were basically just looking for beer and checking to see if you had a wristband. They seemed pretty laid back to me, but from what I heard this is the first year the festival hired a real security team and many people that had been coming for years were not happy about this change.
Almost everyone there was from Texas, mostly Austin or Houston in fact. There were a couple of Colorado plates (mine included), as well as a few Louisiana and Tennessee. Most people were weird, kind, awesome, and unique, as all FestiPeople should be! I encountered a few people that were not very nice to people from outside of Texas, and for that Art Outside is loosing a point. It should never matter where you are from, we should all be able to get along and have an amazing time together. For the most part, everyone was there to have a really fun weekend, as short lived as that may have ended up.
Ugh. The weather was terrible. Hurricane Patricia (worst Hurricane in history) and the storms surrounding her ruined the festival. Thursday and Friday weren’t too bad, just some light sprinkling so luckily most of the music still went on, although a lot of the workshops were cancelled. Late Friday night into Saturday morning it started to rain heavily, flooding the fields and leading the organizers to completely cancel the rest of the event. Strong winds picked up as well from what I heard, although I was gone by then.
They could have tried to change some things around with the weather approaching and been a bit more proactive about it. Thursday and Friday the weather was mostly fine, so they should have had more events moved to those days. Music didn’t even start until later in the afternoon, and they kept opening and closing the gates to people coming in because they were nervous for an approaching storm. All day Friday people were going around saying that a big storm was coming and to stay in your cars – and then the storm didn’t even come that day! What a boring day to be spent in your car at a festival. You weren’t even able to go into the venue to get food or check out the vendors for most of the day. Saturday morning the rain came and they just canceled the rest of the weekend. They luckily did have tractors around to help people get out of the mud, which was awesome and necessary, but most people were stuck for hours which even turned into days for a few. They also rescheduled a few shows to later that night in Austin and called them “Art Inside.” Those were great if you were from Austin, but otherwise you had to get hotels and most people were already far out of town before they announced them, including me.
Please note: All events on Saturday and Sunday were cancelled. For the purpose of scoring, I will be giving points based only on the music that actually happened, not on what was planned to happen.
There were very few daytime shows. On Thursday the music didn’t start until 6:30pm, and on Friday it didn’t start until 5:15pm. Everything was cancelled for Saturday and Sunday, so although they did have daytime music planned, I can’t comment on that. I wish there had been more daytime music, especially on Friday. I spent most of the day hanging out in the campgrounds. It’s not that I don’t love hanging out with friends in the campgrounds, but we don’t pay the festival to just hang out – we want to see music and art! And we spent half the day not even allowed to enter the actual venue (not even for food from vendors) because they were so worried about storms that never even came.
The daytime music we did get was exceptional – and for that Art Outside will still get a few points. Tauk was awesome Thursday afternoon, and Twiddle jammed out hard Friday afternoon.
The pre-party on Thursday night had The Nth Power, Dopapod, and The New Mastersounds – how could you go wrong that all that funk?!
On Friday night The Werks played a super high energy jam show, and were even joined on stage by a couple guys from Twiddle. That and Lettuce were my favorite shows of the weekend. Lettuce was AMAZING and super funky, as always.
I’m still bummed we missed out on Greensky Bluegrass and Papadosio, but there isn’t much they could do about that. I don’t understand why they didn’t try to do an “Art Inside” for Greensky Bluegrass, but perhaps they couldn’t find a big enough venue.
Much of the late night music didn’t happen Friday night because the rain finally started. The Bonobo DJ set was pretty incredible though!
The venue had an awesome stage set up. There was the Main Stage, which had some great sound and some beautiful floral arrangements around it.
The Dome Stage was mostly the DJs and smaller acts. The Folk It Up Stage had some super unique and fun music – check out the size of this guys bass from the Flying Balalaika Brothers.
The Midway Stage was almost like a comedy stage with some music as well. There were lots of pretty art sculptures and artists around the venue as well, so just about any way you turned your head you had something exciting to look at.
There was supposed to be an opening ceremony, but I tried to go and nothing was going on. I’m not sure if it was cancelled or if maybe it just started late. It seemed as though most of the people at the festival had been going for years and absolutely loved Art Outside and the community around it, but I didn’t get a great feel for that with the cancellation.
Amazing sculptures and art projects were all over the venue! Artists painted on canvases both big and small, and even some on things I would never thing to paint! There were fire throwers, lots of fireworks, and even some dancers!
NOMS! Lots of choices for any type of diet – fried food, vegan, vegetarian, organic, etc. There were even some kombucha brewers there from Austin! I do want to note that this used to be a BYOB event and many FestiPeople were frustrated with this change.
The vendors were amazing! Lots of artists with unique crafts, posters, clothing, and more! Plus some of my favorites were there including Shakedown Goods!
There was supposed to be lots of yoga but I’m pretty sure none of it even happened on Friday because they were so concerned about the weather. Check out the workshops below to get an idea of what had been planned.
They had lots of workshops planned, but again I believe most of them didn’t happen because of the inclement weather, not even on Friday. Here is what they had planned, which looks amazing, but I can’t give many points for that unfortunately:
There was a huge emphasis on Leave No Trace and pack-it-in/pack-it-out values, but most festival goers seemed to ditch that completely the second the rain came. I saw so many people leave their tents, canopies, and trash all over the grounds. Very disappointing 😦