Austin’s Red River Cultural District will soon come alive with the ultimate celebration of the capital’s thriving live music scene. Jam-packed with nightlife and unique performance venues, Red River is set to host the return of Hot Summer Nights: a free, multi-day music festival scheduled for Thursday, August 26th through Sunday, August 29th. This expansive in-person event will span across more than a dozen live music venues throughout the Red River District, including iconic locations such as Cheer Up Charlies, Empire Control Room & Garage, the Elysium, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q and more.

Executive Director of the Red River Cultural District is Cody Cowan, who spoke enthusiastically to the return of the festival in an interview with KVUE ABC.

“Our Red River community finally has the opportunity to come together to make rad stuff happen. After over a year, I’m excited to explore every amazing space, hug old friends, and watch closely as some of Austin’s best local musicians bring us back together.”

Originally founded in 2017, Hot Summer Nights was born from a desire to provide much-needed extra revenue for district members, along with local musicians and staff members. HSN is one of two annual festivals hosted by the Red River Cultural District–the other being Free Week, which is held each winter in early January.

This year, proceeds from Hot Summer Nights will go towards Banding Together ATX: an emergency relief fund supporting Austin’s live music community during the ongoing COVID pandemic. Since its creation in March of 2020, Banding Together ATX has awarded a total of $225,000 in the form of over 3,000 individual grants.

Read on for a rundown of some of this year’s headlining performers, and where you can catch them in action this weekend.

Big Bill

When: Thursday, August 26th at 8 PM
Where: Cheer Up Charlies, located at 900 Red River Street

Big Bill is proud to embody the inclusive “all are welcome” vibe for which Austin is inherently known. The group is self-described as a “rock and roll band embodying the comical side of righteous anger”, whose songs explore everything from “the futile nature of taking control of your own life”, to “yelling through the humiliation of being a fraud.” The group’s current lineup consists of vocalist Eric Braden, guitarist Alex Riegelman, bassist Alan Lauer and drummer Jeff Olson.

Chorizo Funk

When: Thursday, August 26th at 11 PM
Where: Empire Control Room & Garage, located at 606 East 7th Street

Born and raised in the Lone Star State, Chorizo Funk is a three-time “Best of Austin” winner, and the 2020 winner of the Austin Music Award for Best DJ. Chorizo Funk is one of Texas’ premiere sound selectors, featuring varieties of hip hop, soul, raggaeton, Cumbia, Pop, Afro-Latin and, of course, funk.

Cha’Keeta B

When: Friday, August 27th at 8 PM
Where: Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, located at 801 Red River Street

Cha’Keeta B is an Austin-born rapper and lyricist specializing in music with substantial themes and a distinct “female standpoint”. Her milestone accomplishments include being the only female to appear on freshman ciphers, and competing amid all-male rap battles.

Daphne Tunes

When: Friday, August 27th at 9:30 PM
Where: Cheer Up Charlies, located at 900 Red River Street

Daphne Tunes is a live supergroup whose work can be best described as pop music with warmth—well-suited for a relaxing morning or a scenic drive through the countryside. Austin-based, the group consists of vocalist/guitarist Santiago Dietche, drummer Josh Halpern, guitarist Peter Shults and bassist Nick Ehrnstein.

P1nkstar & Y2K

When: Friday, August 27th, time TBA
Where: Cheer Up Charlies, located at 900 Red River Street

Upbeat dance tunes are the specialty of P1nkstar and Y2K, whose electronic, futuristic sounds help tell the stories of the queer, transgender and immigrant communities. P1nkstar’s mission is one described as creating “a world far-removed from this dimension’s binaries.” Since P1nkstar’s arrival on the Texan music scene in 2014, she has become a cornerstone of inclusive nightlife communities. P1nkstar is the winner of two “Best of Austin” awards, and has been described by the Austin Chronicle as “the future of nightlife.”

Quin NFN

When: Friday, August 27th at 8 PM
Where: Empire Control Room and Garage, located at 606 East 7th Street

Quin NFN is an Austin-born rapper, singer and songwriter who began composing rhymes and rap songs at the young age of six; inspired by the work of artists such as Lil Wayne and Young Pappy. His career picked up speed in 2016, and he has since released two mixtapes and garnered millions of views on YouTube.

Sheila

When: Friday, August 27th at 9 PM
Where: Mala Vida, located at 708 East 6th Street

Local indie R&B singer and songwriter Sheila will help Austinites dance the night away with dreamlike pop beats from her debut album titled Chilita: songs that speak to the “duality of strength and vulnerability.” Sheila’s work draws from her Mexican and Nicaraguan roots, intertwined with soulful lyrics in both Spanish and English.

Tiarra Girls

When: Friday, August 27th at 9 PM
Where: Mala Vida, located at 708 East 6th Street

Tiarra Girls is known for delivering fierce electric sound alongside inspiring lyrics that celebrate the sentiments of unity and empowerment. Tiarra Girls are three-time winners of the Austin Music Award, and recently released their new single entitled “Soy Chingonga”: described by the group as “an anthem of sisterhood and empowerment.”

Amplified Heat

When: Saturday, August 28th at 10 PM
Where: Valhalla, located at 710 Red River Street

Local rock and roll group Amplified Heat delivers “psychedelic blues” on vintage amplifiers and drum kits. Having toured since 2004, brothers Jim, Chris and Gian are seasoned veterans in creating their unique and fun brand of rock music.

Torre Blake

When: Saturday, August 28th at 9 PM
Where: Cheer Up Charlies, located at 900 Red River Street

Evoking raw emotion with inspirations drawn from across the globe, Torre Blake delivers unique and unforgettable sound to fans throughout Austin and beyond. Blake has been featured at events such as South by Southwest, in addition to securing headline sets on the performance roster of So Far Sounds: Austin.

Star Parks

When: Sunday, August 29th at 6 PM
Where: Mohawk Austin, located at 912 Red River Street

From humble beginnings as a solo act, Star Parks has since evolved into a 7-piece miniature orchestra, serving sophisticated and innovative indie pop sounds. Their work has been featured in the indie film I Used to Go Here, and their newest release pushes them closer to the top of Austin’s list of indie performers.

 

Which group are you most amped to catch at this year’s Hot Summer Nights? Let us know in the comments!

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