Austin in January 2017: New Year Celebrations, Free Music and Bacon

Who would have thought 2016 would be such a rollercoaster? And that it would go by so fast. The year flew by as Austin rocked another Austin City Limits Festival in October and SXSW in March — not to mention dozens of other festivals and a wild election season.

Now 2017 is arriving, and it’s a great time to tackle New Year’s resolutions (or not) and get out and about to enjoy Austin’s world-famous culture.

Austin ends 2016 and starts 2017 with plenty of parties, including the city’s annual festival along Lady Bird Lake near downtown. Then, you’ll find an almost endless list of bands playing gratis during Austin’s Free Week.

You’ll find that and much more — including a bacon and beer festival — in our monthly list of curated events. Let’s dive in.

December 31

Ring in the New Year with your family at the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. The festival features 22 live bands, including Austin’s Shinyribs and Ray Wyllie Hubbard. The party starts at 3 p.m., and it’s capped off at 10 p.m. with a fireworks show. The park will be packed with food trucks to serve up bites, and this alcohol-free event is free for the whole family.

When: 3 p.m.
Where: Vic Mathias Shores, South 1st Street and Riverside Drive
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January 1-8

Let’s face it. The Live Music Capital of the World has too many great local bands for most of us to keep track of — let alone see in concert. Plus, many of us balk at the idea of paying a cover to see a band we don’t know much about. Enter Free Week. It’s a week’s worth of concerts at clubs across Austin where you won’t find any cover charges. This year’s lineup includes dozens of bands, including the Whisky Shivers, Sweet Spirit, Megafauna and more.

When: All week
Where: Venues citywide
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January 16

Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by joining in a march from the University of Texas to Huston-Tillotson University’s campus. After the march, you and your family can hang out on campus for the MLK Community Festival, which includes live music, food, drinks, crafts and more. And considering bringing along a nonperishable food item to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.

When: 9 a.m.
Where: It starts at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus
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January 28

One of the most impactful things Dell has done, beyond its technologies, is supporting the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Texas. It provides a wide variety of healthcare for thousands of kids throughout Central Texas. And each year it has the Dell Children’s Gala to help raise funds to help children in need. It’s among the most sophisticated of Austin charity events, featuring a cocktail reception, dinner, live and silent auctions, a charitable casino and live music. You can attend the whole evening or check out the after-party.

When: 6 p.m.
Where: Austin Convention Center, 500 E Cesar Chavez St.
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January 28

Did someone say bacon? Yes, yes they did. And beer. The Bacon and Beer Festival comes to Austin’s Brazos Hall promising all varieties of the sinful delights. Throw that New Year’s resolution out in style.

When: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Brazos Hall, 204 E 4th St
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