River Revival Music Festival had its fifth run from Thursday, September 26, to Sunday, September 29. A one-of-a-kind music festival, River Revival is held on the banks of the Guadalupe River in beautiful New Braunfels, Texas, just a short ride outside of Austin. This year marked my first time at River Revival, and let me tell you — it won’t be my last.
Y’all likely know by now that I’m a huge festie (remember Old Settler’s, Float Fest, or In Bloom?). My heart longs for weekends full of live music, great people, sunshine and beverages. You also may know that I’m a big nature junkie. Camping, hiking, river floating and swimming — I love it all. Now imagine a weekend abounding with both of those things. Pure heaven, right? That’s River Revival.
River Revival is held along the gorgeous Guadalupe River at KL Ranch Camp, and arrival and check-in couldn’t have been easier. We simply drove up, showed our tickets and received our site assignment within a matter of minutes. All Revivalists were given a plastic River Revival cup to use throughout the weekend (all about that eco-friendly life!) along with a schedule that let us know who was performing and where.
I’ve been camping before, but I must admit I’ve never camped right along the river. We were lucky to snag a spot under a large tree and got our tent and hammocks set up in no time. Soon after, we cracked open a cold one and dipped our feet in the water. The weekend had officially begun.
The Eats and Drinks
Did I mention that River Revival is an all-inclusive weekend? Yeah, you heard me right. ALL-INCLUSIVE. That means meals and drinks, y’all. I’m talking dinner, breakfast, snacks and booze, all of which were incredible.
Meals and snacks were provided by Little Kitchen HTX, and I have to say it was some of the best festival food I’ve ever had. Tacos, barbecue, breakfast scrambles and biscuits — I could go on. River Revival sure does know how to fuel up their guests, and it was amazing to not have to hassle with groceries and campfire cooking.
River Revival’s beverage game was also on point, with sponsors like Old Humble Distilling, Waterloo, Dulce Vida, Austin Eastciders and Splice Records’s primary collaborator, Lonestar Beer. Bloody Marys in the morning and cold beer in the evening; there was no shortage of refreshment goodness.
It’s no surprise that Splice Records knows good music. This year’s lineup was chock full of amazing artists near and far, several of which I’ve had the chance to see before.
One of my personal favorites from Friday night included Folk Family Revival, a Houston-based rock band who recently celebrated a new album release with Splice Records. Another highlight was Austin’s own Shinyribs, a funky, country-soul band that had everyone on the campsite moving and grooving.
Saturday night brought even more fun with Swimwear Department, an energetic post-punk rock band from Houston who also performed at Splice Records’s BowiElvis Fest in 2019. Soon after was one of my newest obsessions, Sweet Crude. Indigenous to Southern Louisiana, this unique band showcases the region’s French-speaking tradition through their progressive and enchanting music. I’ve been listening to them non-stop since.
River Revival is a weekend of constant fun and excitement. During the day, festival-goers can engage in all sorts of activities, from yoga to jam sessions, river floating to hiking. I personally couldn’t wait to just relax on the water with a beer in hand and soak up the last bits of summer.
Saturday afternoon featured a float parade, which was a blast to watch from the banks of the river. Floats of all kinds drifted by: giant flamingos, unicorns, bulls and donuts — enticing me to partake in the fun, though my float was particularly boring compared to others. Perhaps next year I’ll come with a creative float of my own!
Night owls kept the party going at the Zen City tent, where some bands held late night shows and a DJ cranked out the dance tunes. Though I’m a grandma these days, I forced myself to stay out for just a little while one of the nights and it was totally worth it. Ain’t no party like a Splice Records party.
If you haven’t experienced the magic that is River Revival, I highly recommend you add it to your Austin bucket list and become a part of the Revivalist family. I promise, there’s no other music festival quite like it.
Feature image and photo gallery credit: Leigh Kettle | Shuffle Online
Leigh is a native Texan gone temporary New Yorker and now proud Austinite. Passions include but are not limited to music (both as a spectator and dabbler), traveling & cultural adventures, film & television, true crime, design (of the fashion, interior, and graphic sorts), and photographing & writing about all the aforementioned. Self-acclaimed coffee connoisseur & wino, cat aficionado, book worm, and nature junkie.