The drive from Austin to Dripping Springs was serene and full of nature’s eye candy—lush rolling hills, colorful wildflowers and a two-mile back road leading directly to my destination, Camp Lucy.
“I always view it as kind of a baptism to wash off the stress of the corporate Austin vibe," says Camp Lucy employee Travis Summers.
After covering the chaos of SXSW for the last six years, I’d traded out downtown Austin for a weekend here at the inaugural Revival Festival. Founded by musician Matthew Logan Vasquez—formerly of the band Delta Spirit—as an escape from the crowds and lines of Austin's famed fest, and put on by Inspire Productions, Revival Festival brought something special to the festival circuit during its debut in March: its intimacy (no badges required). With a 500-person maximum capacity, it stood in sharp contrast to mega-festivals like Coachella and Glastonbury, which max out with crowds in the thousands, but it was still similar in design. “Why don’t we do a really small festival, but everybody could just stay the night?” Vasquez describes his idea. But instead of roughing it in a tent in the sticks, guests get to indulge in the art of glamping in luxury accommodations, which honestly, who would decline?
Camp Lucy is a wedding venue turned full-scale posh resort with intercontinental flair. The first building you run into at the resort is a chapel that’s built from a 200-year-old Vietnamese temple. Camp Lucy’s owner, Whit Hanks, was once an international antiques dealer and acquired the temple in 2012, had it shipped from overseas, and reassembled sans bolts and nails. The air-conditioned Ian’s Chapel was born.
Though the festival offered a free shuttle back to Austin for folks who had to return, having the ability to experience an immersive festival and stay the night proved to be a big win. The outstanding line-up consisted of a combination of mostly indie and Americana solo artists and bands hand-picked by Vasquez himself, many of them his friends, including Nathaniel Rateliff and Shakey Graves. That part, he says, “was pretty much a no-brainer.”
Besides the extensive music line-up, other perks proved to be rubbing elbows with some of the artists pre- or post-set, and the delicious food and drink—burger and fries for lunch and barbecue for dinner, plus blended cocktails and Texas-based Balcones Whiskey on the rocks. The resort also hosted yoga sessions, intimate group hikes and local artisans selling unique handmade merch such as hats and embroidered boots.
Revival Festival’s apropos motto is “come as fans, leave as friends." Completely on target with those words, it was invigorating to depart the tranquil setting as more than a festival nomad, but as a true comrade with fellow music. We can't wait for next year.