Fort Worth is a meetings destination known for many things. For starters, it’s one of Texas’ most music-friendly cities, with plenty of event venues that will get attendees on their feet. The city also boasts a diverse and growing food scene, featuring several unexpected dining options for groups and an eclectic food truck community. But in order to experience all that Fort Worth has to offer, visitors must attend the city’s many annual festivals, from the internationally recognized Food + Wine Festival to the “can’t miss” music event Fortress Festival.
Here are the destination’s top five festivals that showcase everything from Fort Worth’s local art scene to its hidden musical talents to its up-and-coming culinary stars.
Known as North Texas’ most celebrated cuisine and beverage festival, the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival (FWFWF) is now in its sixth year of serving up local chefs’ specialties, craft beer, and distinctive wines, showcasing the diversity of the destination’s culinary scene. The FWFWF, which was held April 4-7 this year, features six different events, and several smaller events, including Tacos + Tequila, a pairing held this year on April 5 at the BRIK Venue and featuring chefs like Salsa Limon’s Keith Grober, Taco Heads’ Sarah Castillo, and Del Norte Tacos’ Chris Garcia. All proceeds from the festival benefit the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation. To date, the nonprofit has raised $170,000 for grants and scholarships supporting deserving culinary students from Fort Worth.
Deemed a “can’t miss music festival” by Harper’s Bazaar, the Fortress Festival has grown significantly since its debut in 2017. The 2019 event, held April 27-28 in the city’s iconic Cultural District, featured a more diverse and eclectic lineup than ever before, including Fort Worth native Leon Bridges, New Orleans funk-soul-rock group Tank and the Bangas, Dallas indie band Luna Luna, and punk group War Party. “I think … just as much as we’re looking to have a varied lineup, there does need to be cohesion,” said Ramtin Nikzad, who co-founded the festival along with Alec Jhangiani. “There’s a balancing act. We’re looking at a spectrum of people who could be interested in an event like this. It’s a difficult thing to really define as far as dogma.”
The so-called “grandmother of all Fort Worth’s outdoor festivals,” Mayfest, being held May 2-5 this year, features three dedicated music stages and four performing arts stages, carnival rides, festival food, pet adoptions, and more than 60 arts and gift vendors. Spread out across the 33-acre Trinity Park, Mayfest welcomes more than 200,000 attendees each year. All proceeds from the festival are given back to the community, supporting programs from three of the event’s founding organizations, the Junior League of Fort Worth, Streams & Valleys, and the City of Fort Worth Park and Recreation Department. Mayfest has raised more than $7.5 million for Fort Worth and its citizens to date.
Held over the course of a few weeks every spring, the Fort Worth Opera Festival features hundreds of performers across a variety of genres — from country and rock ’n’ roll to jazz, soul, and R&B. This year’s festival, being held April 26-May 31, will bring in thousands of music buffs from around the country, and include shows like Don Pasqual: Donizetti’s comic masterpiece, starring Audrey Luna and Brak Bilgili; María De Buenos Aires: Astor Piazzolla’s tango opera, starring Solange Merdinian and Gaby Natale; and Brief Encounters: 3 pocket operas about love and marriage, featuring Broadway star Zachary James.
Every spring, 18 blocks of downtown Fort Worth are transformed into an immersive music, arts, and food festival, the Main Street Arts Festival. This year, the event, which is the city’s largest free music and arts festival, was held April 11-14 and featured more than 200 artists showcasing their work, in addition to the new Hear Fort Worth stage, which debuted on Seventh Street. Attendees could also sample the destination’s food scene, including a curated Wine Experience and Craft Brew Garden, featuring local and national beers.
Whether they’re music buffs or beer aficionados, attendees visiting Fort Worth will find something they love. As the state’s No. 1 tourist destination, the city is equipped to host all kinds of events, and when planning a meeting in Fort Worth, organizers can work hand-in-hand with Visit Fort Worth, the destination’s visitors and convention bureau.