There is not a city in America that knows how to do festivals better than Austin, Texas. Of that we’re certain. What we didn’t know was possible was that it could birth yet another city-wide party that could draw folks from far and wide. Out of the perfect storm that is Hill Country barbecue, a love of live music, and a city of weirdos that knows how to party, emerged Hot Luck Fest—a celebration of Texas culture, family traditions and rock ‘n’ roll.
Hot Luck was co-founded by Aaron Franklin of Austin’s renowned Franklin Barbecue, James Moody of Guerilla Suit creative agency and owner of legendary music venue Mohawk, and Mike Thelin of the food-forward Feast Portland festival.
With this powerhouse trio at the helm, the 2017 festival welcomed over six thousand food and music lovers to two days of food events that reinterpreted what good old-fashioned home cooking could look like, from grandma’s gumbo to pop’s BBQ. All with a soundtrack made for long nights around a firepit or lazy afternoons in the Texas sun with a beer in your hand.
This year’s line up features chef appearances from Aaron Franklin himself, again, of course—but also his culinary brothers and sisters in arms from all across the country who just want to hang out and cook some good food. David Chang, Alex Stupak, Peter Cho, Kristen Kish, Laura Sawicki, Andy Ricker, Ashley Christensen, Ivan Orkin—plus dozens more chefs from Texas and beyond—will be serving up their versions of backyard-hangout-food all through Memorial Day weekend, May 24 through 27.
Like last year, the festival kicks off with the Hi, How Are You? Texas-style backyard party at none other than Franklin Barbecue on Thursday night, in true southern hospitality fashion. On Friday, guests will gather at Fair Market for Night Court, a reimagining of all the simple pleasures that hanging out at the mall food court with your friends used to bring. End the night at Cisco’s, an East Austin institution that represents the best of what the city has to offer, with guest chefs slinging late-night snacks in the kitchen.
The all-star barbecue of your dreams will draw everyone to Wild Onion Ranch on the city’s far south side on Saturday for Al Fuego, a showcase of open-fire cooking techniques from around the world. After all that, they plan to keep the party going at Weather Up for an industry after-party that promises to have a “general vibe of excess.”The party planners will take care of that Sunday hangover, too, with a hot rod-themed brunch at Austin Speed Shop. In the spirit of youthful revelry, the weekend wraps up with a roller skating party straight out of the 80s.
And all throughout the weekend, what’s on the stage will be as exciting as what’s on the plate, with live performances by Galactic, Hot Snakes, Okkervil River, Iceage and many more, in venues all across the city. It wouldn’t be a festival in Austin if you didn’t meander through at least five neighborhoods per day, stumbling upon food and music around every corner.Find tickets and more info about Hot Luck Fest 2018 here, and get your koozies ready.