The US hosts its fair share of swanky food & beverage festivals. Events like the Taste of Chicago, Bite of Seattle, and Feast Portland have been on the radar of foodies and the culinary industry for years. And recently, we have even seen the rise of food truck-specific festivals and gatherings, like the Food Truck Festivals of New England. Still, there is a special place – a magical meeting ground – reserved for the intersection of the recent food truck phenomena and non-food-dedicated festivals. Its an arena where the arts, in all its forms, can come together. These five festivals are hotbeds for food truck gatherings and ideal locales to grab your friends, hit the road, and overload your senses with music, art, and street food.
Outside Lands – San Francisco, California
On the West Coast, it isn’t the Coachella music and arts festival that brings in the most food trucks, but its slightly smaller, edgier cousin to the north. Outside Lands has its own distinct food section featuring A Taste of the Bay, Beer & Wine Lands, Chocolands, and even (the new installment) Cheeseland. But it doesn’t forget to represent the slew of delicious food trucks the eccentric city is home too. Bacon Bacon (they serve lots of bacon…), Hapa SF, and the design-phenomena and wood fire pizza truck, Del Popolo, will all be there ready to roll.
First Fridays – Venice, California
In Venice Beach, tourists go to the boardwalk. Locals go to Abbot Kinney Blvd., an eclectic strip of trendy art galleries, brick and mortars, and of course, shopping. The first Friday of every month the neighborhood comes together and food trucks start arriving on scene early in the afternoon to snag a highly coveted parking spot. Visitors will find “classic” LA trucks, like Koji and the Grilled Cheese Truck, to any of its other hundreds of competitors.
Tip: Ditch work and get there early! The lines start piling up worse than the freeways.
Trucks on the Beach, SOBEWFF – Miami, Florida
This gigantic gathering of food trucks is the closing party to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Just in case you hadn’t had your fill yet. We like to think of it as a separate entity than the rest of the festival simply because it is so large and is focused exclusively on food truck. New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream and Orlando’s C&S Brisket where both spotted there this February. But beachfront property isn’t cheap. This year tickets went for $95 for entrance into the event, food and drink included.
Austin City Limits – Austin, Texas
Surprise, another music festival! Its only natural… especially in a music-centered city where food trucks and stalls have come to dominate the streets like a tasty zombiefoodvasion. Similar to Outside Lands, over 130 musicians share the stage with plenty of local eats. The Austin Eats Food Court brings together Austin’s popular trucks, like Mmmpanadas, The Peached Tortilla, The Seedling truck, and over a dozen more. Beat the Texas heat two ways with a gin & tonic Coolhaus ice cream cookie sandwich.
Boston Calling – Boston, Massachusetts
In May, Boston brings in big name artists, like Jack Johnson and Death Cab for Cutie, to headline the festival alongside a roundup of the city’s best food trucks: Kickass Cupcakes, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Shuckin’ Truck, and many more still to be announced.