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Euphoria Festival’s Long-Awaited Return to Austin, Texas [Review + Photos]

Euphoria Presents brought back the beloved Euphoria Music Festival for a one-day showdown in the pumping heart of downtown Austin, Texas. The cherished music and art event took place on the lawn at the Long Center with the gorgeous cityscape serving as the backdrop for the day and evening’s festivities. The months and months of anticipation cascaded throughout my body as we exited the Lyft ride and walked onto the circular driveway of The Long Center, a place I used to frequent as a kid for my dad’s baseball card expos and most recently, a Billy Strings’ pod show in March of 2021. 

Photo from Euphoria Music Festival Facebook

The Texas Sun Welcomes Euphoria to the Lawn

The almost-summer heat of the Texas sun beamed across the entirety of the venue as we easily made it through security and were immediately greeted by beautiful hives of familiar faces. Golden Dawn Arkestra, a rarity of musical eclectic-ness that Austin loves so much, was wrapping up their DJ set as the sun glistened on the eyes and sweaty skin of every attendee in view. Rainbow garb, hippie hair, and huge smiles were plastered everywhere you looked – the bittersweet memories and energy of Euphoria instantly surged back, lovingly reminding me of years past, of life-long relationships and memories that forever make the corner of my lips turn upwards. 

Rainbows, Hippies, Heat & Magic

Photo by Andrew Ellington

First things first, we grabbed delectably refreshing Euphoria margaritas from the super-friendly bartenders and made a quick stroll through the grounds. It was an absolute treat running into sweet pals from festivals past – some of which I had not seen since the last EMF in 2017. Warm embraces, sweaty hugs, and heart-warming conversations filled the air as people grooved with their silent disco headphones or opted to listen to the main-stage music, both providing top-notch choices. Electronic jam trio SunSquabi was about to don the stage, bringing the feelings of ecstatic joy to an uprising level. The band obviously gets their main inspiration from STS9, the legends that were to follow and headline the night. This fact is distinctly apparent through their stage presence, unique sounds, and unbridled energy vessel through the tight musicianship. 

The SunSquabi Train Blasts into Outer Space

After the show, the band’s bassist Joshua Fairman told me “we had two choices, to opt for a more chill, vibey set typical for a hot afternoon or to go all-out and just bring it hard before Tribe came on.” It’s safe to safe the Squab train decided to pursue the latter, leaving it all on stage in the most booming fashion. As the sun made its gracious descent beyond the horizon, the mood of the scene shifted from daytime to twilight. Bright neon LED hula hoops, a pentagon-shaped tunnel for pictures and vibes, and glowing headphones thankfully took the place of fans, umbrellas, and sunscreen. 

Photo by Andrew Ellington

As SunSquabi rolled through their heavy-hitter setlist, which opened with feel-good, old-school jam “Anytime” from the band’s first EP in 2015. The mind-bogglingly complex and layered “Hornet” stood out next, reminding us of the trio’s ability to take the listener by surprise, inviting them on a journey through multiple genres and fields of gushy sonic goodness. Weird and wubby was the name of the game with “Tequila Mockingbird” and crowd-pleaser (and personal fave) “Deluxe,” filling up the meaty center of the set. Two newer songs “Scorpion” and “Panther” kept the crowd joyously entertained and in “it” before “Steamcat” ended the Squab-show, leaving everyone wanting more, but also very excited for Sound Tribe Sector Nine to follow. 

Sound Tribe Sector Nine Sails Us Home

All the while this was happening, an amazing lineup of local DJs reigned the silent disco stage, bringing a wide array of groovy beats to listeners who could dance all over the field to three entirely different vibes – always an interesting sight to behold. While I didn’t end up partaking in the silent disco fiasco, I did hear from many attendees that the musical curation was perfectly on point and that the unique attraction was super fun for all involved. The final shebang to #findoureuphoria came with STS9’s sunset show. To be completely honest, Tribe is one of the jam bands I have seen only a few times, and with a little bit of shame involved, it’s safe to say I am a rookie to their music. However, it has been no question that these cats have completely mastered their soundscape, bringing a one-of-a-kind slice of musical heaven to their devoted fans and followers. 

 Photo by Sydney Paschall
Photo by Sydney Paschall

The “World Go Round” opener was indicative of the vibe to come, dropping their self-proclaimed “STS9” hit for ultimate feelings of dopeness and nostalgia. As if I wasn’t already, the fun and classic dance number “Ramone & Emiglio” had me immediately sold on Tribe, quietly asking myself why I had never attended more than just their festival sets in the past. “Move My Peeps” brought the super sensual vibage, creating an added layer of sexiness to the sea of love that already blanketed the venue. A special shoutout to affectionate STS9 fan Shannon Gonzales for the insider tips of the Sound Tribe trade (xoxo). As the band played their final notes, it dawned on everyone that Euphoria was almost over, a sad but true realization. The silent disco pumped on for a few more hours though, allowing folks to properly keep partying or to slowly decompress before heading home. 

Thank you, Euphoria Presents

The long-awaited return of Euphoria Fest was such a welcome haven to gather for last Saturday, May 28th, and it is a straight fact that we hope the festival comes back in an even bigger and stronger way in 2023. We extend a huge thanks to the entire team who made it happen – from the production team to the drink makers to the marketing team to the venue security staff to each and every performer and of course, every attendee, and everyone else we are leaving out. These events are not possible without each one of us so we strongly encourage you to keep doing what you love and sharing it with the world for its experiences and days like last Saturday that keep this twisted world beautifully turning. Thanks for tuning in. 

SunSquabi Euphoria Setlist

Anytime

Chrysalis

Hornet

Tequila

Deluxe

Scorpion

Panther

Steamcat

STS9 Euphoria Setlist

World Go Round

STS9

Menacer>

Ramone & Emiglio

Click Lang Echo

Like I Do>

Strange Games>

Move My Peeps

Be Pulse

Kamuy

 Photo from Euphoria Music Festival Facebook
Photo from Euphoria Music Festival Facebook

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