Erykah Badu's birthday celebration in 2017. James Coreas

Arts & Entertainment

20 Things You Must Do in Dallas This August

Finish the summer strong with the Riverfront Jazz Festival, Vampire Weekend, Dierks Bentley, Lyle Lovett, and more.

Riverfront Jazz Festival | Aug. 30–Sep. 1 | Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena

Curtis King, founder and president of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL), spent more than 15 years traveling the country, studying major music festivals, so he could create one in Dallas that strikes just the right note. Now in its third year, TBAAL’s annual Riverfront Jazz Festival features a headlining performance from Grammy Award winner Erykah Badu, who serves as the event co-chair along with Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. The three-day event kicks off with the TBAAL Youth Performers, The Dallas Hot Band, and Badu. Saturday brings Rhonda Ross, Rodney Kendrick, Cassandra Wilson, Hiroshima, Jonathan Butler, and many more. The festival finishes on Sunday with a robust program including the Dallas Jazz Collective, members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra performing with Jennifer Holliday, The Nasty Brass Band, Eddie Henderson, and Nnenna Freelon. Weekend packages start at $145 per person, with daily tickets as low as $55.

Carly Rae Jepsen | Aug. 1, 8 pm | House of Blues

The Canadian pop star has come a long way since breaking out on the scene with “Call Me Maybe.” Her fourth album, May’s Dedicated, is full of ’80s synth-pop sounds and the honest, raw emotion that’s earned her millions of fans across the world.

Blink-182 & Lil Wayne | Aug. 2, 7:30 pm | Dos Equis Pavilion

It’s the mashup you never knew you wanted: “What’s My Age Again?” meets “A Milli” and births a nostalgic party bop that sounds so wrong, yet kind of right. You can see the two acts collab in person as they tour together this summer with pop-punk band Neck Deep.

Watermelon Festival | Aug. 3, 9 am | Dallas Farmers Market

The annual Watermelon Festival returns for a second year with gourd-geous (not sorry!) fruits, family-friendly activities, live music, watermelon eating contests, and more. The weekend market will host artisan vendors. 

Nellie, TLC and, Flo Rida | Aug. 25, 7 pm | The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

It’s an unexpected trio, but we’re not mad at it. TLC, Nelly, and Flo Rida are all best known for their respective throwback hits—“Waterfalls,” “Country Grammar,” and “Low,” to name a few—but they’ve each been building up to a comeback, too.

Dallas Yoga Festival | Aug. 31, 8 am-3 pm | Main Street Garden Park

DFW Free Day of Yoga and Downtown Dallas Inc. host the 13th annual Dallas Yoga Festival, a day of complimentary mini yoga sessions accompanied by a vendor market, food, music, and family- and dog-friendly activities

LeakyCon | Aug. 9-11 | Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center

This magical weekend celebrating Harry Potter includes appearances by the stars and creators of the films (Chris Rankin, aka Percy Weasley, was a guest last year), live music by wizard rock bands like Harry and The Potters, and cosplay.

Chocolate and Art Show | Aug. 29–31 | Lofty Spaces

Started in Los Angeles, this show has become a biannual Dallas event. Peruse works by local artists, dance to live music, sample artisanal chocolates, and have a sweet time.

Shakey Graves & Dr. Dog | Aug. 22, 8 pm | The Bomb Factory

Austin-born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, made a serious sonic shift with 2018’s Can’t Wake Up, shaking off Americana in favor of indie and recruiting a full band. Dr. Dog similarly subverted fans’ expectations with 2018’s Critical Equation. They both sound pretty good these days.

An Evening With Lyle Lovett and His Large Band | Aug. 18, 7:30 pm | Winspear Opera House

Lovett—Texas’ State Musician, four-time Grammy winner, actor, record producer, and country icon—comes to town with His Large Band, a (correctly named) huge ensemble of singers, sax players, guitarists, cellists, and fiddle players.

Marc Maron | Aug. 22, 7:30 pm | Majestic Theatre

Stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and host of the podcast WTF With Marc Maron brings the national Hey, There’s More Tour to Dallas. You may know him from appearances on Conan, the 2017 Netflix special Too Real, or his role in the series GLOW

Family Business | Aug. 31, 5:30 pm | The Bomb Factory

Hip-hop heads will be excited to see this flagship event debut in Dallas this month. With a lineup that was created in close collaboration with Young Thug, the concert features the rapper along with Trippie Redd, Smokepurpp, Alec Beretz, and Darnell Williams.

Vampire Weekend | Aug. 18, 7:30 pm | The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

New York’s indie-rock darling Vampire Weekend made its long-awaited return in 2019 with Father of the Bride, its first album in six years and its first without in-house producer Rostam Batmanglij. The band held onto its cross-cultural sounds but got a little more optimistic.

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back | Aug. 30–Sep. 1 | Meyerson Symphony Center

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will perform the entirety of the iconic John Williams score during The Empire Strikes Back Movie in Concert. The 1980 film will be screened during the performance, conducted by Constantine Kitsopoulos, who has waved his baton in front of the likes of the New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony.

Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long | Through Aug. 23 | Crow Museum of Asian Art

Contemporary Chinese artist Master Shen-Long finds new and exciting ways to employ traditional techniques, creating ink-based works with a sculptural quality. This midcareer retrospective is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Texas.

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory | Aug. 22–25 | Winspear Opera House

Indulge in a theatrical treat this month. Roald Dahl’s beloved story is coming to town with a catchy new score from the songwriters of Hairspray. Luckily, there are enough golden tickets to go around.

Fiddler on the Roof | Aug. 7–18 | Music Hall at Fair Park

Dallas Summer Musicals presents a fresh new production of this classic from director Bartlett Sher and the team behind 2017 Tony winner Oslo. Backed by a majestic orchestra and paired with stunning new choreography by Hofesh Shechter, beloved numbers like “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” feel new again.

Uforia Latino Mix Live | Aug. 8, 7 pm | Dos Equis Pavilion

A few of Latin music’s hottest names are coming together in Dallas for this one-night-only concert. So far, the lineup has Bad Bunny, the SoundCloud-made, Puerto Rican reggaeton artist; J Balvin, incredibly popular Colombian singer; and Mexican pop-rock band Reik. That’s probably more than enough.

Dierks Bentley | Aug. 10, 7 pm | Dos Equis Pavilion

The Country Megaticket Tour continues with Dierks Bentley—the Nashville-based crooner behind hits like “Come a Little Closer,” “Drunk on a Plane,” and “Women, Amen”—at the helm. Jon Pardi, Tenille Townes, and Hot Country Knights open the show.

Mary J. Blige & Nas | Aug. 22, 8 pm | Dos Equis Pavilion

Mary J. Blige, recently honored with BET’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is joined by rapper Nas on the Royalty Tour. The duo released a single (“Thriving”) together in May. And while it is a co-headlining tour, Blige owns whatever stage she’s on, no matter who else is there. She even made Bono stop singing during a Hurricane Katrina benefit duet. On a U2 song!

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