ATX Festivals Music

Float Fest 2018: 5 Must-See Bands

If you ask us what our two favorite things about Austin are, we will immediately say #1 – the ceaseless live music scene and #2 – the oodles of outdoor water activities accessible nearly year-round. ‘What is Float Fest?’ some of you may ask. Float Fest is the only festival in the world to combine two of many Austinites’ favorite things: floating the river and live music. Yep, you heard me right. This festival not only offers a fantastic lineup of artists of all genres, but also offers festival-goers camping and tubing along the San Marcos river.

Float Fest 2018 will be held on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, at Cool River Ranch in San Marcos, Texas. Not sure what to expect? We have all the Float Fest knowledge for you here.

Float Fest
Photo credit: Float Fest

In anticipation of the festival, we’ve compiled our top 5 must-see bands this weekend! 

Tame Impala

This Australian psychedelic rock band has been one of my favorites ever since I discovered them way back during my college years. Best known for their award-winning album “Currents,” featuring hits like “The Less I Know the Better” and “Let It Happen,” Tame Impala is a perfect headliner for this energetic, summertime music festival. They’re bound to put on an amazing set that you won’t want to miss.

Meet the band members:

  • Kevin Parker – lead vocals, guitar
  • Jay “Gum” Watson – guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Dominic Simper – bass, guitar, synthesizer
  • Cam Avery – synthesizer, bass, backing vocals
  • Julien “Frenchie” Barbagallo – drums, backing vocals

Catch them on Sunday at 9:30 PM on the Water Stage

Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids is an indie rock band from California, delivering soulful tunes through a unique, poppy yet edgy sound. Though a bittersweet happening, the band was placed on the lineup at last minute, replacing the previously scheduled headliner Glass Animals, whose band member recently went through an unfortunate accident (read more here). Although I was so bummed to hear Glass Animals would no longer be playing, I was ecstatic to hear Cold War Kids would be taking their place – I truly can’t think of a better band to step in for them.

Meet the band members:

  • Nathan Willett – lead vocals, piano, guitar, percussion
  • Matt Maust – bass guitar
  • Joe Plummer – drums, percussion
  • Matthew Schwartz – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, percussion
  • David Quon – guitar, backing vocals

Catch them on Sunday at 8:15 PM on the Sun Stage

Modest Mouse

“And we’ll all float on, okay.”

But really guys… could there be a more fitting band for Float Fest? I don’t think so. Another fantastic indie rock band, Modest Mouse has been around since the early ’90s and hasn’t stopped gracing us with their infections beats since. I personally cannot wait to see them perform. It’s been long past due and on my bucket list for years, and come on – did you even Float Fest if you didn’t hear “Float On”?

Meet the band members:

  • Isaac Brock – lead vocals, guitars, banjo, keyboards
  • Jeremiah Green – drums, percussion
  • Tom Peloso – upright bass, horns, keyboards, bass guitar, vocals, fiddle
  • Jim Fairchild – guitars, backup vocals, ukulele, pump organ, banjo
  • Russell Higbee – bass guitar, vocals, guitars, pump organ
  • Lisa Molinaro – viola, bass, vocals, keyboards
  • Ben Massarella – percussion, effects

Catch them on Saturday at 9:00 PM on the Water Stage

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Get yer jazz on listening to New Orleans’ own Preservation Hall Jazz Band! With history dating back to the 1960s, Pres Hall’s band is rich in culture and full in spirit. Their set is certain to be the ultimate pick-me-up after a long day of tubing on the river – I already can’t wait to see Float Festers swing dancin’ along to their tunes.

Meet the band members:

  • Ben Jaffe – double bass, tuba
  • Charlie Gabriel – saxophone, clarinet
  • Walter Harris – drums
  • Ronell Johnson – trombone
  • Branden Lewis – trumpet
  • Clint Maedgen – saxophone
  • Kyle Roussel – piano

Catch them on Saturday at 6:00 PM on the Sun Stage

White Denim

Beloved by their fellow Austinites, White Denim is a indie rock duo from the greatest city on earth. If you haven’t already caught them around Austin, be sure to catch their set this weekend at Float Fest for a funky, good time. I can already feels those energizing guitar riffs through my bones!

Meet the band members:

  • James Petralli – vocals, guitar
  • Conrad Choucroun – drums
  • Steven Terebecki – vocals, bass
  • Michael Hunter – keyboards

Catch them on Sunday at 5:15 PM on the Sun Stage

Honorable mentions:


Joy Wave

Joy Wave.png



Let us know which bands you’re looking forward to in the comments below! Be sure to tune in to our Instagram story (@shuffleonline) this weekend to catch videos, pictures, and updates on how the festival is going, or come find us if you’ll be there too! We’d love to meet you and chat about your own highlights and experience.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to snag one of very few day passes left at!

Featured image credit: Float Fest

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