When the sun rises on April 1, tents will go up on the UT campus, the smell of food will fill the air and a stage will be set up for local talents and Grammy-nominated artists alike.
The 25th annual beach-themed carnival and music festival hybrid event, Forty Acres Fest will be hosted by the Texas Traditions and Headliners committees of Campus Events and Entertainment. The festival will begin at 2 p.m. and end with performances by CAPYAC, Future Thieves and American Country Award-winning artist Hunter Hayes.
“It is all for UT students,” said Texas Traditions’ logistics officer Gaby Gutierrez. “We put on these events with the hope that people will come to them and take a break from their regular school day or tough things that they are going through and just let loose and share in the spirit of UT.”
Gutierrez, a corporate communication junior, said they hope Forty Acres Fest will continue to bring the UT community together as it celebrates its first quarter-century.
“You walk through South Mall and see all of these different organizations interacting with the UT community and each other,” Gutierrez said. “It is just incredible to see how much support each person has for their fellow UT organizations.”
But not only will the event cater to UT students, Gutierrez said they hope that the festival will be an opportunity to unite the Austin community through a day of fun in the sun.
“It is really cool to see how families will also show up to Forty Acres Fest, so it is not only a celebration for the UT community but for the Austin community as a whole,” Gutierrez said.
Nishtha Kapuria, Texas Traditions’ social media and public relations officer, said Forty Acres Fest was part of what caught her eye about UT when she was visiting the school as a high school junior.
“When I was a junior visiting UT, I visited on Forty Acres weekend. I didn’t even know where I was at, but I was just like, ‘This school is amazing,’” Kapuria, a marketing and Plan II honors junior, said.
Although the event has become popular for big carnival games, because of changing school policies that no longer allow for these, Kapuria said they have begun to transition it into a music festival.
“I know this is the 25th year, but it seems like it keeps growing,” Kapuria said. “Last Monday, I put up a video of Hunter Hayes announcing that he was going to come, and that video I think has gotten more activity on our social media than anything we have put up this year at least.”
From the musical aspect, Jennifer Vannoy, the stage manager for headliners, said they try to include a variety of genres in their lineup as they plan the event.
“It is always really fun to work with the bands because they are always so excited to play,” Vannoy, a public relations junior, said. “It is a really good event if you love music because there is so many genres that are performing this year and that have performed in years past.”
Kapuria said more than the music or the theme, their main purpose is for Forty Acres Fest to be something every student can participate in.
“I feel like it is in the name itself, it is not Texas Traditions Fest, it is Forty Acres Fest,” Kapuria said. “Everything we do, from it being right in front of the Tower to the focus being on what students have to offer — it is all about UT.”