Saturnalia Festival 2017

Article by Greg Ackerman – 2017 was a tough year for mid-tier Austin music festivals LEVITATION and Sound on Sound Festival both of which had their destination festival cancelled, then furiously rebooked acts into downtown clubs. Enter brainchild of The Electric Church guys and owners of The Sahara Lounge who hosted Saturnalia Festival at Sahara and adjacent lot next door at the Webberville Baptist Church in far East Austin last month. The three-day festival booked primarily local psych-rock, punk and garage rock acts with a few out-of-town heavy hitters like Allah Las, Cosmonauts and Crocodiles. All visuals were produced by the Mustachio Light Show, Ether Wave, Astral Violet and Lysergic Lights, Weird Destiny and Fever Dream according to Electric Church owner Levi Murray. 

Watch below as we rocked out to electro-punks, The Octopus Project with their custom, synchronized visuals, the intensity of American Sharks and the pop-psych weirdness of Annabelle Chairlegs. Matt Schweinstein (Annabelle Chairlegs – guitar) told us just before their set to expect new material as the band was in-studio at the time working on their second full-length. After seeing Schweinstein, lead vocalist/guitarist, Lindsey Mackin and bassist Derek Von Nunez Strahan and company rock the main stage, we cannot wait to hear the new record. 

Sailor Poon’s all-girl lineup turned in a super fun performance. Some of their members might bristle at that fact being pointed out and they’re not wrong. What fans should know is this band rocks out and like to have fun doing it. The set-up is fairly standard minus the lead vocalist/saxaphone player (who does that?). With monikers like Billie (sax), Cherya (drums) and Christmas (guitar), the punk esthetic is pronounced while incorporating that familiar beach-rock sound akin to Guantanamo Baywatch or Nada Surf. 

American Sharks performed at SOS Fest two years ago the last time we caught the band. We loved their intensity and super-loud guitars. In Austin, music fans can likely count on one hand the number of hardcore punk or metal acts they like as the scene isn’t nearly as robust as the neo-psych scene. Watch their return to an Austin-produced music festival below. 

Friday, December 1st – The Octopus Project,  Think No Think at Hotel Vegas.

Saturday December 2nd – American Sharks, Cosmonauts, Money Chicha at The Sahara Lounge.

Sunday December 3rd – Sailor Poon, Annabelle Chairlegs, and Amplified Heat at The Sahara Lounge.


The Octopus Project      .       Facebook      .     Bandcamp


Think No Think      .      Facebook      .      Bandcamp


American Sharks      .      Facebook      .      Soundcloud


Cosmonauts     .      Facebook      .      Bandcamp


Sailor Poon      .      Facebook      .      Bandcamp


Crocodiles     .       Bandcamp


Annabelle Chairlegs    .      Facebook      .      Bandcamp


Amplified Heat   .      Facebook      .      Bandcamp