The first weekend in May around Dallas is almost too full of things to do, with so many festivals and big-time events that it might be impossible to choose. There will be three music festivals, two pop culture conventions, visits from two well-known people trying to better the planet, live versions of popular podcasts, and the end of a certain extraordinary musical.
Below are the best ways to spend your free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, May 2
The 1975 in concert with Pale Waves and No Rome
British alternative rock band The 1975 is as well known for their absurdly long album titles as they are for the music those albums contain. They kicked things off with 2016's I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, followed that up with 2018's A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and will soon release the relatively short Notes on a Conditional Form. They'll play at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory in Irving.
Dallas Summer Musicals presents Hamilton
After more than a month-long run at the Music Hall at Fair Park, Hamilton will finish up its stay in Dallas on Sunday. By the time you read this, there will only be five performances left, so you'll have precious little time left to enter the $10 lottery or search for a halfway-affordable ticket on the secondary market. If you don't have any luck, the good news is that the tour will be in San Antonio and Austin over the next two months, so musical bliss will still only be a few hours away.
Friday, May 3
Dallas International Guitar Festival
The Dallas International Guitar Festival is the largest and oldest guitar show in the world, blending musicians, fans, collectors and celebrities together into one huge musical extravaganza. Taking place at Dallas Market Hall through Sunday. Visitors can buy, sell, trade, or just browse among the plethora of guitar-related gear, and also listen a variety of local and regional bands on the festival's multiple stages.
Fan Expo Dallas
The first of two fan-focused events in Dallas-Fort Worth this weekend is Fan Expo Dallas, the largest comic, sci-fi, horror, anime, and gaming event in Texas. Taking place at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center through Sunday, it will feature appearances by tons of celebrities, including Michael J. Fox, Zachary Levi, Charlie Hunnam, Sean Astin (who'll also be at a special screening of The Goonies), William Shatner, Pamela Anderson, Ralph Macchio, Lynda Carter, and many more.
The hip hop-focused music festival JMBLYA will feature performances from a variety of notable performers, including headliners Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, Kevin Gates, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again. Taking place at Fair Park, the festival will also include Gunna, Sheck Wes, Bhad Bhabie, Blueface, City Girls, Maxo Kream, P-Lo, WhooKilledKenny,10k.caash, Lil Nas X, DaBaby, and JPEGMAFIA.
Texas Frightmare Weekend
Texas Frightmare Weekend, given its focus on the horror genre, has fewer celebrity appearances than that other fan-focused event taking place this weekend, but it still has a number of big names. Taking place at Hyatt Regency DFW Airport through Sunday, it will feature Tim Curry, Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, the cast of Nightmare on Elm Street, Lee Majors, Meat Loaf, Lance Henriksen, Ted Raimi, and others.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Andrew Lloyd Webber's Broadway
It's the year of Andrew Lloyd Webber at Dallas Summer Musicals, with The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, and Jesus Christ Superstar all appearing on the stage of the Music Hall at Fair Park this season or next. This concert from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, playing three times through Sunday at the Meyerson Symphony Center, will celebrate the music from those musicals and others.
DMA Arts & Letters Live: Melinda Gates
Philanthropist Melinda Gates grew up in Dallas and graduated as valedictorian from Ursuline Academy. In her new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, Gates introduces us to her heroes in the movement toward equality, offers startling data, shares moving conversations she's had with women from all over the world — and shows how we can all get involved and make a difference. She'll talk about the book and other subjects at Fellowship Dallas.
An Evening with Al Gore
Al Gore holds the ignominious distinction of being one of the biggest what-ifs in history. The former vice president and almost-president will appear at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory for an evening that will include a moderated Q&A session. Gore has devoted himself to raising awareness about climate change in the 21st century, starring in both An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 and An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power in 2017.
Saturday, May 4
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark presents Epic Waves Outdoor Wave Pool Opening Day
Not content to be the only year-round waterpark in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (and one of the best waterparks, period), Epic Waters in Grand Prairie is expanding into the great outdoors with the opening of its new Epic Waves Outdoor Wave Pool. The pool will have a periodic simulated surge of four-foot high waves, which will run for 10-minute intervals throughout the day. The pool will remain open through Labor Day, while the rest of the park will continue to be open every day.
Off the Rails Country Music Fest
As if all the above wasn't enough, the first weekend in May will also play host to the Off The Rails Country Music Fest at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. The festival, taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, will feature some of country music’s top artists, including Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Jake Owen, Luke Combs, Aaron Watson, Eli Young Band, and more. There will also be food trucks, craft beers, a vendor village with merchandise and festival wear, and more.
Popular podcasts live
Podcasts have grown exponentially in the 2010s, and with that comes the desire to see your favorite hosts in person instead of just hearing them in your earbuds. This weekend will feature visits from two podcasts with three popular hosts. Jon Lovett will bring Lovett or Leave It to Majestic Theatre on Saturday, and Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark will host two editions of My Favorite Murder at The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory on Saturday and Sunday.