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ACL Fest 2018: Austin Bands to Watch

We always love when national festivals recognize our local talent, and ACL has a plethora of local musicians sharing the stage with global phenomenons like Paul Mccartney and Metallica! It makes us proud to see so many Austinites perform at the biggest musical festival in Austin. If you’re not sure who to see, read on and see who sparks your interest!

Shakey Graves

Born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Shakey Graves is an Americana musician from Austin. His three-piece band combines the styles of blues, folk and rock n roll.  In September of 2015, Shakey Graves won the Best Emerging Artist Award at the Americana Music Awards.


Duncan Fellows

Duncan Fellows is a five-piece indie-alternative band founded in 2012.  They’re a fun loving group of gentlemen whose members consist of Colin Harman, Cullen Trevino,  Jack Malonis, David Stimson, and Tim Hagen.  Duncan Fellows puts on a fun and energetic show from start to finish.


The Golden Dawn Arkestra

The Golden Dawn Arkestra is an avant-garde collective known in Austin as a Psychedelic Texas Cult.  They combine the vibes of children of the cosmos with worldly beats and funky melodies, creating an infinite intergalactic dance party.  


Asleep at the Wheel

Asleep at the Wheel has been in the music scene professionally for 40+ years, and were a part of reviving the American roots/country/swing genre.  While musicians were becoming more and more political at the height of Vietnam, Ray Benson strived to keep the Americana music alive, and he was successful in this endeavor, to say the least.  Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has garnered nine GRAMMY Awards and released more than 25 studio and live albums, and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon.


Sweet Spirit

Sweet Spirit is a 9-piece group that started as a solo project by Sabrina Ellis, (A Giant Dog, Bobby Jealousy.)  As more members joined the group, their sound quickly evolved into a soul-punk-pop-rock genre that it has become today. They’ve gained popularity and recognition with big time Austin producers and now as well as LA.

Photo by Nichole Connnor

Jackie Venson

Jackie Venson is a singer, songwriter, and musician who recently graduated from AMF’s Artist Development Program.  She is best known for her smokey vocals and incredible blues guitar.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Berklee and has recently toured the U.S and Europe.  Austin City Hall declared May 21, 2014 Jackie Venson Day. Jackie is also participating in our ACL Cares Academy activation on Saturday, Oct 6 @ 4:30pm.


Sailor poon

This group of Austin garage-punks are here to get loud and crude.  With the use of their mighty sax, their sound ranges from jazz to psych, to killer feminist punk.  They are very much on the rise and have even worked on a track with King Khan himself! The future looks feminine.

Photo by Ismael Quintanilla III


Former AMF Artists of the Month, this power group consists of 8 musicians who are proud of their Indigenous and African roots. Together they’ve created a timeless Caribe-Soul sound.  A musical mestizo that will take you to exotic lands full of culture and flavor.  I think we can expect to see them making serious moves in the very near future!



SaulPaul is unique and an original artist in every sense of the word.  From hardship to a UT graduate, his music career has skyrocketed and he now also works on film projects, and is a full service music publisher.  He’s well-known for his effortless freestyle which he often showcased on ESPN radio with “recap raps.” His latest success is dropping 3 albums at once and starting his own multimedia company, ReRoute Productions.


Harry Paradise

Harry Paradise  is an up-and-coming one man electronic band out of Austin.  You can expect mystical 80s synths and backbeats with a raspy vocal that adds an intriguing edge to the cinematic melodies.  


Kydd Jones

Kydd has performed alongside acts such as Snoop Dogg, Curren$y and Killa Kyleon and many, many more headliners.  He is rising to the top very quickly, and making Austin proud. Catch Kydd being interviewed at our ACL Cares Academy activation on Sunday, October 14 @ 4:30p.


Molly Burch

Molly Burch is a singer-songwriter who is backed by four musicians.  Molly studied jazz vocal performance in college and has been compared to Angel Olsen.  Her music greatly reflects heartbreak and loss.


Curtis Roush

Some people know Curtis as the guitarist of psych-rock group, The Bright Light Social Hour, but he has started a solo project to help him cope with life and loss.  He describes his solo work as ‘hill country dream pop’, and dreamy it is. His debut album, “Cosmic Campfire Music” focuses on a softer acoustic sound while still keeping the psychedelic vibes he holds dear.



This 5 piece groove-rock jam band is Austin to a T.  They know how to get the party started and keep going all night.  With diverse musicians and meaningful lyrics, Mamafesta will move your soul as well as your feet.  They love to bring everyone along for their wild ride.


RF Shannon

RF Shannon likes to describe themselves as “Desert Blues.”  They love to create a imagery for the listener so that the audience can see, smell, and hear exactly what they’re portraying through their musicality.  


Red Yarn

Red Yarn a.k.a. Andy Furgeson, is a family performer who combines folk songs and puppetry for an amazing display of traditional American storytelling weaved with modern Americana influences.  He and his family have performed at festivals, libraries and museums all over the country.


School of Rock

The School of Rock is exactly that.  It’s a music school for young kids (and adults!) to learn how to rock and roll in a band setting! Unfortunately, Jack Black doesn’t teach there, but our own Alex Vallejo does! The Austin music teachers will train you to melt faces.  School of Rock performs on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage at ACL.


The Barton Hills Choir

The Barton Hills Choir  is led by Barton Hills Elementary School music teacher and choir director, Gavin Tabone.  The choir consists of 3rd-6th grade students of the school as well as professional musicians.  They sing Golden oldies, to Broadway hits, to current bands. They’ve played ACL fest for 6 years and this will be there 7th year.


Kupira Marimba

Kupira Marimba is a family-friendly energetic act of multiple marimba playing.  This group of individuals are a one-of-a-kind act in Austin. The creativity is endless, and will take you on a magical journey.


Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy

Wesley Bray and the Disciples of Joy are an alternative Christian group.  They are contemporary Gospel with positive vibrations radiating through every note. They give all the Glory to God, and hope to spiritually uplift everyone they encounter.


The Bells of Joy

The Bells of Joy are a gospel group who aim to uplift people through music and prayer. They play Gospel brunches around Austin and this is their first year playing ACL Fest!


The Gospel Stars

The Gospel Stars are a Quartet Group, and one of Austin’s most premier Quartets. They are recognized for maintaining the traditional format of the Gospel Quartet as well as uniformity of dress.  They sing mostly original music and have most of the original members since 1984. The Gospel Stars hope and prayer is to “Help Somebody Come to Christ.”

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