Get stoked: Landlock Fest to sail into Waco with music, cuisine, surfing

The Landlock Festival is bringing surf, sun and a study break to students May 3-5. Photo courtesy of Landlock Festival

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

Update April 9, 2024: Landlock Festival is canceled, according to an official statement from festival representatives, which reads “We are saddened to announce today that Landlock Festival 2024 is being canceled. This was a difficult decision to make, but due to unforeseen circumstances, and in an effort to do right by our fans, artists, surfers and staff, the decision to cancel the event has not been taken lightly.”

From May 3 to 5, Landlock Fest will call Waco Surf home, bringing with it headliners such as Midland, Shakey Graves and Young the Giant.

However, music isn’t the only thing festival-goers will find on the 500-acre property during the event. Festival co-founder and producer Matt Bizer said it will include five different zones, each representing a different region of the world where surf culture thrives: the West Coast, the East Coast, South America, the Gulf and the Pacific Islands.

Each zone will have its own unique culinary and musical experience along with activities particular to each area. For instance, the West Coast features açaí bowls, yoga and the surf rock stage, while the Pacific Islands boast a tiki bar and Hawaiian food.

“We wanted to create an experience that feels like a vacation — one that festival-goers can take at their own pace,” Bizer said.

There’s lots more to do than just listen to music. Attendees will have access to surf lessons, horseback riding and more, utilizing the full potential of Waco Surf.

“Landlock Festival’s mission is to go beyond the music, and we approached this concept as both surf and music culture fans ourselves,” Bizer said. “Fans attending the festival will also have access to the surf competition set to take place at the wave pool and all that Waco Surf has to offer, including the lazy river, slides, pools and numerous lounge areas. In addition to that, there will be multiple activities, free yoga each morning and much more.”

In the spirit of being fan- and listener-oriented, Bizer said none of the musical stages overlap, meaning attendees will never have to choose between hearing any two acts, sacrificing one artist for another. That’s just one way the festival differs from larger ones like Austin City Limits, according to Bizer.

The festival is also capped at 4,000 attendees every day, making it more “personal and intimate” than others.

Bizer said he hopes Landlock Fest can open the doors for more music festivals to come to Waco and for the music scene to grow.

“As with any city, its music scene is made up by the people,” Bizer said. “Venues and festivals need the support of the community to thrive, and we hope that Landlock can continue to call Waco home.”

Waco Surf has one of the best wave pools in the United States, according to American Surf Magazine. Amy Hunt, director of sales and marketing for Waco Surf, said what sets it apart from other wave pools and surf parks in the country is the fact that it isn’t just a place to surf — it’s an experience.

“We want people to experience our property and the amenities we have to offer and stay a little while,” Hunt said. “We have several on-site accommodation options, so there is something for everyone, as well as several on-site food and beverage offerings. In peak season, we’re [at] full speed, with the cable park, water park and surf lagoon all open and ready for guests to roam around campus and check out our weird little slice of paradise.”

Hunt said Landlock Fest is one way Waco Surf is showing its gratitude for the warm welcome it was given when it first came to the city in 2021, as its staff members “want to be good neighbors.”

“We’re stoked to have been so welcomed into the local community here in Waco, that we wanted to do something to participate and give back,” Hunt said. “We have the space out here and the connections in surf, food, events and music to be able to pull something of this caliber and scale off, and we really just wanted to bring it to Waco and its people.”

Though the festival is happening close to finals season, Bizer encouraged students to take the opportunity to hear some live music and decompress from studying. To make the event more accessible to a college budget, Landlock Fest is offering 15% off to students with a payment plan of only $50 down.

“The location is unbeatable, being only 15 minutes from downtown Waco, and having a single-day ticket option makes it easier for students with a stacked schedule that weekend,” Bizer said. “We feel like everyone has been working hard, and a day by the water watching some surf and live music is just what the doctor ordered.”