Austin Bat Fest celebrates its 13th year —
May 30, 2020

Austin Bat Fest celebrates its 13th year

TODO Arts, By Merideth Cox

bat fest
Bats along the Congress Ave Bridge in Austin, TX.

Austin seems to love bats, which is great, because we have a lot of bats. You can tell because if you happen to pass over the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge on any summer evening between 6-8 p.m., you’ll see not only one-and-a-half million Mexican free-tailed bats taking off, but masses of locals and tourists alike crowding the sidewalk to get a close up view as the bats head out for their nightly feeding.

The bridge (commonly referred to as Congress Bridge) was partially renovated during a 1980 Lady Bird Lake renewal project to specifically help create a home for Austin’s bat population, which is actually a species of special concern since it’s particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction. In return, the bats provide a nightly flight show (bats have the fastest horizontal speed of any animal) as well as eat literally 30,000 pounds of insects every day. Austin’s bats are a win-win.

Clearly I like bats. And so do Austinites, as we have built an entire festival around the little fellows. This year is the 13th production of Bat Fest – a one day festival featuring three stages with live music, 75 arts and crafts vendors, food and drinks, children’s activities, and other bat activities. Yes, it’s a bat-themed festival. Performers include Bone Thugs N Harmony, Scott Stapp, Paul Wall, Sam Riggs, Sick Puppies, and many more.

There’s also a bat costume contest, with a $100 prize going to the top costume. Kids and adults are judged separately, so no worries about competing against an adorable three-year-old. You won’t win if all you do is break out your Batman costume – get creative, Austin.

The festival happens on Saturday, August 19, at the Congress Avenue Bridge. Tickets are $15. For more info visit

About Merideth Cox 239 Articles
Merideth is a music writer who has covered bands from her hometown in Colorado to London to Bangkok to Shanghai and finally back to Austin. Led Zeppelin changed her life. So did Dolly Parton. You can read her music reviews at

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