The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Landlock Festival Coming to Waco Surf

New surf and coastal life music festival arrives in Waco

3 months ago

Landlock Music Festival 2024

By Skylla Mumana

Update: As of  4/8 Landlock Festival has been canceled

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Midland, Young the Giant and Shakey Graves are among some of the acts that are set to perform at the inaugural Landlock Festival on May 3-5 at Waco Surf. There will also be appearances from pro-surfers from all around the world who will compete in Landlock’s head-to-head surfing contests, like Ivy Miller, Balaram Stack and Cam Richards, to name a few. As far as sponsors go, Rockstar Energy, White Claw, Jack Daniels and Loan Star among others will be endorsing the event. Bizer notes that he and his team approached sponsors that believed in their vision for the festival and wanted to be a part of the magic.

Landlock is a three-day event that will feature numerous activities, food and musical acts. The festival is being organized by festival producer and content creator Matthew Bizer in collaboration with Waco Surf.

Bizer has been working in the festival scene for some time and is known for organizing American country music star Willie Nelson’s signature music festival, Luck Reunion, which is held in Luck, Texas at Nelson’s ranch. The idea for Landlocked first came about when Bizer met founding members of Waco Surf Mike Schwaab and Amy Hunt at the surf park. After Schwaab and Hunt attended Luck Reunion, the pair were interested in holding something similar at Waco Surf.

“They attended my other festival which is called ‘Luck Reunion’ which happens out by Willie Nelson’s ranch every year and is known for selling out. It’s a petite kind of special festival. We wanted to kind of take that idea and bring it to Waco and really give Waco Surf its own version of that,” Bizer said.

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As a venue, Bizer feels that Waco Surf is a hidden gem, even among Wacoans. Spanning across 500 acres, Waco Surf is the largest inland surfing and watersports facility in the United States. Alongside its water park, lazy river and cable park, the resort has a two-acre surf lake that utilizes water wave technology to create different kinds of waves for people to surf on.

“Most people don’t know what [Waco Surf] is, but it is a very unique venue that offers one of the only surf waves in the country that is publicly accessible,” Bizer said. “It’s an experience that I don’t think really exists anywhere. There’s nothing like it.”

There are plenty of unique aspects that both Bizer and Hunt feel will make Landlock festival stand out from the rest, such as its setup. According to Hunt, the festival will be divided up into sections.

“This isn’t your typical festival,” Hunt said. “Once you’re inside the gates at Landlock it’s almost like its own city — with the activated property divided into five distinct villages each with unique music, food, drinks and experiences.”

To help create a memorable experience, the five areas will represent different regions of the surf world: The Pacific Village, Centro Village, Gulf Village, East Village and West Village. The Pacific Village will provide a tiki-experience to guests and will also feature Pacific Island cuisine and a surf-rock stage. The Centro Village will bring Latin-inspired dishes and drinks, such as street tacos and palomas, and beachside hammocks for guests to relax in. The Gulf Village is Texas all the way and will feature great barbecue, pitmaster demos, pop-up bars and two-step dance lessons. The East Village will highlight the best of the best East Coast cuisine, including lobster rolls and pizza. Last but not least, the West Village will reflect the health-centered, out-doorsy lifestyle of the West Coast and will feature everything from morning yoga to massages and acai bowls. At Landlock, there will be something for everyone.

“It’s sort of like adult EPCOT,” Bizer said. “You kind of get to choose your experience.”

“We didn’t just want to invite brands, we wanted to invite brands that understood the mission,” Bizer said. “Really, what we brought to them wasn’t us saying ‘Hey come write a check and sponsor an event we’re doing,’ but come be a part of an experience.”

It’s not every day that an event of this size and caliber is held in a city like Waco, and to Bizer, that’s what makes Landlock even more special. He feels that events like Landlock can help smaller cities like Waco grow to bigger and better heights.

“It brings communities together,” Bizer said. “People meet each other, and they’re inspired by things. They see things happening that they didn’t think could conceptually happen. How many people 10 years ago thought that Waco was going to have a wave [pool] in it? A lot of other cities have a lot going on and for places like Waco it gives Waco something in their own backyard to celebrate.”

All-in-all, Hunt, Bizer and the Waco Surf team hope that the Waco public will come out and experience everything that Landlock has to offer. To purchase tickets and learn more about the festival, visit their website.

“The biggest thing we want people to know about Landlock is that it’s not just a festival, it’s an experience,” Bizer said. “It’s something you probably haven’t seen before because it’s special and unique. I ask everybody to take a look at it and see what it all is because it’s beyond what you could imagine.”

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