The 4th annual Solstice Festival returned to Austin last week to celebrate Fête de la Musique with three days of music, art and technology. The music festivities kicked-off Thursday evening in the Red River district at Sidewinder where the theme for the night was soothing soul and uplifting hip-hop. Austin’s eclectic soul and R&B singer Mélat simmered the outside stage with sensual melodies of life and love. The vivacious vocalist was followed by Black Rodeo before husband and wife hip-hop party starting duo Riders Against the Storm got the whole crowd body rockin’ with their enthusiastic synergy.

The inside stage was just a dope as Austin’s ‘Best R&B Artist’ of 2015, Alesia Lani, shared her melodic love stories with the Sidewinder crowd before stylistic and lyrically proficient emcee Nicolas Azlon dropped some riotous wordplay and Austin’s favorite rapper, Omenihu, turned the party out just hours before his own EP release the following day.

Over at Mohawk, the theme was a slightly different but just as invigorating as sibling trio, The Bishops, opened the outside stage with their wavy futuristic fusion of electronic, hip-hop, jazz and pop that lead into the dreamy electo-pop of Milwaukee-based GGOOLLDD and the wicked trippy electronic trap of Holiday Mountain.

Indie-pop, electro-acoustic duo Emme pushed the envelope inside the Mohawk and got the crowd warmed up with big brass and warping synths. Seven-piece soul ensemble Huggy & The Feel Goodz showed off some ‘new R&B’ with their modern interpretation of warm nostalgic soul before indie-electronic-pop brothers, The Lagoons, showed off their hypnotic experimental repertoire. The live-looping, one man funk band, Henry + The Invisibles cranked the energy to full blast to close it out.

It was a Latin celebration over at Empire Control Room as Brazilian Tio Chico opened the evening and the fuzzy, psychedelic cumbia of Money Chicha got the crowd dancing with the heavy percussion and side-stepping congas. The dance party at Empire lasted through the night with the cumbia, merengue and Afro-Cuban Reggae harmoines of El Tule.

Sidewinder Outdoors

Mélat

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Black Rodeo

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Riders Against the Storm

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Sidewinder Indoors

Alesia Lani

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Nicolas Azlon

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Omenihu

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Mohawk Outdoors

The Bishops

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GGOOLLDD

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Mohawk Indoors

Huggy and the Feel Goodz

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The Lagoons

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Henry + The Invisibles

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Photos by: Demetrius Judkins