Blended Festival Austin is a weekend for those with even a passing interest in wine can allow themselves two days of guilt-free luxury.
By Cy White, Photos by Cy White
It’s a hot Friday afternoon. Warmer than you’d like if you had to stand around to wait to get a COVID-19 test, then wait to enter the event. Tents offer little reprieve from stifling heat. The shade of the trees even less. Walking on to the Long Center grounds, the start-stop of various soundchecks greets you. It’s a soothing counter to the oppressiveness of the heat.
True respite doesn’t actually make an appearance until gates up. At this moment, the bustle of activity is a nice enough distraction from the brutal sun. More tents and more opportunities for a genuine cooldown present themselves once you walk up the steps to the terrace and further onto the Long Center‘s Hartman Lawn.
The first thing you might notice is one of the large ivy-covered backdrops punctuating points of interest. One of them outfitted with a flower-covered swing for visitors to take photos on.
The Wine Tent
Moving in a bit further you get to the main attraction: the 100-foot wine tent. From entrance to exit, visitors can partake in samples of the best, most interesting bottles from local wineries and sommeliers. The bouquets are quite fragrant. Fans were dotted around the tent. The air wafted with the sweet scent from various uncorked bottles and a constant flow of samples. Lightweights unconsciously feel the effects of the heady perfume. Coupled with mixed drinks made from top-shelf liquors, patrons could easily become intoxicated from the atmosphere alone.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a festival worthy of the title “blended” if there weren’t a wide variety of pours on hand. Vendors such as JAJA Tequila, Voco and Deep Eddy Vodka offered an enticing selection of cocktails.
An Oenophile Oasis
The food trucks on site (Shawarma Point, Fry Guy and Smoke Game Strong, to name a few) did a grand job of ensuring those in attendance get more than a buzz from their environs. The food truck row on site was certainly a highlight. It’s no mistake the food matched pace with the various pours.
If the food and drink didn’t keep festivalgoers entertained, those with the pockets to enjoy like Austin’s elite treated themselves to their own mini white party type-VIP section. White umbrellas, white tablecloths, white couches and lounge chairs. Complete with a velvet rope, those with the right credentials enjoyed the sips and sounds in their own semi-private oasis in the Austin heat. (Not to mention scantily clad waitresses that made their way to each table with drink orders.)
Bringing People Together
Blended Festival Austin Director Kalika Moquin spoke of a desire to bring people together for a weekend of pure joy. “We are all about bringing people together,” she said. “For one weekend we can put differences aside and all come together by ‘blending’ music and experiences.”
The music aspect of the Blended wine and music festival offers as much to satisfy the eclectic tastes of those in attendance as the beverages.
It’s a full-sensory experience. One that could (and did for a few guests) result in an overload. Even in this area, the festival had something to offer. Blended teamed up with When the Music Stops, a “mental health and suicide prevention nonprofit who connect with youth and promotes healing through music, community and love,” Moquin shared. This tent offered comfortable couches, rugs and throw pillows on the ground for those who wanted to connect a bit closer to the earth. PlusCBD set up a small booth for those interested in the healing properties of their CBD-oil infused gummies. This makeshift hideaway was the perfect wind down for those in need of decompression.
“Our dream is to be able to do 12-15 Blendeds around the country every year as a traveling festival experience,” Moquin reveals. “Hopefully [we can]expand globally. We love to be anywhere music, wine and food enthusiasts exist.” This festival was certainly an experience for new oenophiles. A festival for those who want to explore the world of fine wine without the intimidation of more experienced wine enthusiasts. When the festival comes back next year, treat yourself to some guilt-free luxury.
Blended Festival Austin was held on Friday, Sept. 10 – Saturday, Sept. 11. Find out more about the Blended Festival on their official website.