X Games Bring Extreme Mix of Music to Austin

AWOLNation performing during the music portion of Summer X Games 2013 Los Angeles. [PHOTO CREDIT: ESPN/Tomas Zuccareno]

Austin will play host to the X Games and its music festival for the first time at Circuit of the Americas from June 5 to 8.

The games themselves will include over 200 athletes involved in a wide array of events such as BMX, skateboarding and even super truck racing.

Accompanying the athleticism will be X Music and a Battle of the Bands event, headlined by none other than Kanye West. Whichever group wins Battle of the Bands also gets the grand prize of $25,000.

The music portion of the X Games will be at the open-air venue Austin360 Amphitheater, which can hold up to 14,000 patrons. Outside of Kanye, others playing the X Music festival include The Flaming Lips, Mac Miller and Pretty Lights.

When contrasted to Austin City Limits’ regular three-day pass starting at $225 last year and this year’s South By Southwest music badges’ walk-up rate at $795, the X Games offers a welcome relief from the rising price for live music in Austin. In terms of affordability, full three-day access to the X Games and all musical performances starts at $89. Single-day passes to the games and music festival range from $39 to $59.

“Music festivals in Austin have become increasingly expensive,” said psychology senior Jason Pang. “It’s made having access to them more difficult for those on limited budgets, such as students. With South By, your best shot is to volunteer; with ACL, you want early bird passes or single-day. But with the X Games, I’ll be able to pay less and get both a three-day music festival out of it along with the athletic events.”

The music festival complements the games themselves. Patrons will have the chance to enjoy the athletic events that have traditionally made up the games, while getting an Austin experience in terms of cuisine and live music.

“The best athletes competing at the highest levels remains the core of X Games,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN’s senior vice president of programming and X Games. “But we’re incredibly excited about being able to create a full-scale festival around that, which celebrates some of the other elements of the X Games lifestyle – music, friends, family, food and fun.”

Prior to Austin, the games had been hosted in Los Angeles for 11 years. ATX beat out other major cities vying to replace L.A., such as Detroit and Chicago.

While the dates for the games were originally set for May 15 to 18, the games were switched to early June, because the later time frame provided for a more favorable broadcasting period — due to May conflicting with NBA playoff broadcasts — according to ESPN.

With the high prices of other music festivals in Austin, and the chance to enjoy BMX by day and live music by night, the X Games could not have picked a better host city. (Next stop, Olympics).