Austin, Texas might be best known for being the home of the annual South by Southwest festival, but a new artistic sub-culture is slowly taking over.
In the spirit of “Keep Austin Weird,” the city is becoming a global leader in drag entertainment. From false lashes to sequin gowns, drag queens and kings can be found in venues across the city, and once a year the city hosts hundreds of drag performers for a three-day festival known as Austin International Drag Festival. Performers and fans travel from around the world to celebrate the art of drag and to meet a variety of entertainers.
The Austin International Drag Festival is just one many ways the city’s drag scene is becoming internationally recognized. Here is our list of the top five reasons why we think Austin is becoming a drag entertainment capital:
5. Drag Shows Happen Every Day of the Week
Whether you find yourself at Oilcan Harry’s on a Monday night for a RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing party, at Rain on 4th for the Wednesday night “Super Rush” drag show, or at Highland Lounge on a Friday night for the glamorous “Tucked” showcase, Austin has become a haven for nightly drag shows.
4. RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 8 Representation
Puerto Rican diva Cynthia Lee Fontaine recently became the first drag queen from Austin to be cast on RuPaul’s Drag Race. (Spoiler Alert) Although she was eliminated in the third episode of the season, Cynthia won a large and loyal worldwide fan base with her wacky, fun-loving personality. In addition to Cynthia, fierce queens like Cupcake, Althea Trix and Sabel Scities call Austin home, so it’s only a matter of time until Drag Race gets its next Austin diva!
3. The University of Texas has a Student-Run Drag Organization
How many universities have you heard of having a drag organization? The “Queens of Texas,” a student-run organization at the University of Texas at Austin, “gives students the opportunity to perform and explore the art form, whether as a Drag Queen or a Drag King.” According the the school’s website, “the Queens of Texas is a drag-based organization that is dedicated to allowing students of any year or level of experience the ability to perform in a non-competitive, low pressure environment as a way to further explore the art of drag.”
2. St. Edward’s Catholic University Hosted it’s First Drag Show in 2015
Drag at a Catholic university? Now that’s a story you don’t hear ever day! Last November, the student-run “PRIDE” organization at St. Edward’s University hosted “St. Drag Race,” the university’s very first drag show. Hundreds of students turned out to watch as seven drag divas battled it out in five events, competing for the title of SEU’s first ever Drag Superstar (popcorn included).
1. The Austin International Drag Festival is Back For A Second Year
In 2015, Austin played host to the first annual Austin International Drag Festival, which featured drag stars from around the world. Hundreds of drag fans flocked to the city from all corners of the globe to watch amazing drag performances take place all over the city.
The second annual festival is back and is taking over the city for four days, from April 28 through May 1. Austin is about to become a lot more fabulous, with performers ranging from RuPaul’s Drag Race favorites Tammie Brown and Chad Michaels, to European superstars Duo Raw and Cheddar Gorgeous. In addition to hosting shows at multiple venues, this year’s festival will also include a Drag Market, where vendors will selling the finest drag merchandise from around the world.
Is the drag explosion in Austin helping the city stake its claim as a drag capital? Share your thoughts in the comments below.