Houston International Festival 2016, also called iFest, is an annual, multicultural music and arts festival held each spring in Houston. iFest Houston spans over almost twenty acres within the city’s downtown plazas and parks for a ten-day period and is known as the city’s authoritative celebration on both visual and performing arts. Dance, culture, and music from countries around the world are the focus of the celebration with an aim to encourage and foster the city’s multicultural ties. International and local food is a major focus at the festival, which is one of the best places in the state to try international food. Vendors selling handicrafts and all types of artwork span across a whopping 8 artists markets featuring more than 400 individuals.
Houston International Festival History and Facts
A major nod to the art world was recognized in form of Main Street 1, the 1971 downtown Houston festival focused on both visual and performing arts. Downtown’s streets, sidewalks, and retail storefronts, particularly between McKinney and Dallas, were filled with an eclectic and colorful array of artwork in all mediums. The event was sponsored by the local mayor, a major downtown department store, and Houston’s Chamber of Commerce. The emerging festival came to be known as the Houston International Festival, one of the biggest things to do in Houston each spring. It wasn’t until 1987 that the arts gained an international billing, and the festival sought out a different country every year to honor. Organizers also added plenty of world flair into the mix ideally complementing other participating regional and national artists. Today, as the name implies, the major global component emphasizes the true nature of the festival.
In the early beginnings, iFest Houston featured music artist from local areas, but today that line-up has matured into a full-blown international show with musicians like Ozomatli and George Clinton taking the same stage many local artists do. Genres include reggae, ska, blues, folk, zydeco, alternative rock, pop, and more. Educational and cultural exhibits can be enjoyed within three extensive festival areas, each revealing a unique culture. These areas are split into festival zones and within each zone is a different cultural focus such as music, dance, and food.
Tickets to Houston International Festival
Tickets to Houston International Festival 2016 are available in several types. There are general admission tickets, which are cheapest as advanced Early Bird tickets. Each is good for any one festival day and most events. Music tickets are available separately for several special musical performances over the ten-day festival period for advanced and regular reserved seating and advanced and regular lawn seating. Tickets for the iFest Houston Lounge include access to the lounge bar and full service, private restrooms, and shade under a private pavilion. Passports, or Passport Plus iFest Lounge tickets include four festival passes, parking passes and access to the lounge if chosen.
Directions to Houston International Festival
The festival is located in the Houston City Hall. You can get here from the many freeways nearby. From I-45 South visitors should take the downtown exit, while from the North, the exit is at Pierce/Dallas. Traveling from I-10 west, take the Downtown Smith exist, while from the East take Main/ San Jacinto. Heading in from US-59 south the exit to take is Louisiana.
Lodging near Houston International Festival
With the festival venue spread out over a large part of the city center, lodging near Houston International Festival 2016 is convenient from many locations. Downtown hotels are often considered the most convenient but if skipping the crowds is key, staying in nearby Baytown or even Kemah are options. If taking in a game is on your list, Minute Maid Park hotels will make the cut. Popular hotels within Houston include Hotel Zaza and the classic Houstonian Hotel.