Mid-April means festival season has officially kicked into gear in and around Dallas, with two notable ones making this list. Other choices this weekend include an animal-free circus, two big-name concerts, two performing arts productions, comedy, and more.
Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.
Thursday, April 13
Photo by Jenny Antill Clifton
Created by former Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Kevin Venardos, the Venardos Circus wraps animal-free circus acts into a Broadway musical-style format dubbed “The American Circus with the heart of a Broadway Show.” The circus will be in town at Flower Mound's Riverwalk through April 23.
Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group in concert
Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums over three decades. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of Americana, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. During this special three-night stay at the Majestic Theatre, Lovett will be joined by special guests Hayes Carll on Thursday, The Milk Carton Kids on Friday, and Sierra Hull & Justin Moses on Saturday.
Styx in concert
The classic rock band Styx debuted way back in 1972, but they're still going strong, releasing their 17th album, Crash of the Crown, in 2021. The band had their heyday in the late 1970s/early 1980s thanks to hits like "Come Sail Away," "Babe," and "Mr. Roboto." They'll play at Texas Trust CU Theatre at Grand Prairie.
Friday, April 14
Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Decades: Back to the ’80s"
"Back to the '80s" is a power-packed concert of the decade’s No. 1 hit songs, including "The Power of Love," "Time After Time," "Material Girl," "Another One Bites The Dust," "Footloose," "Addicted to Love," and others. The concert features the music of such iconic '80s stars as Madonna, Debbie Gibson, Huey Lewis & The News, Phil Collins, Queen, Joe Cocker, and others. There will be three performances through Sunday at Meyerson Symphony Center.
Verdigris Ensemble presents Shams
Verdigris Ensemble will present the world premiere production of Shams, the largest collection of Rumi poetry set to music in its original Farsi. It is a love story that explores the intricacies of understanding and acceptance. Adapted from multiple Rumi writings, Shams tells the story of Rumi’s relationship with his mentor, Shams Tabrizi, who in his own words was instrumental in Rumi’s complete philosophical shift in just 40 days together. The production runs through Sunday at Moody Performance Hall.
Cara Mia Theatre presents Orígenes/Origins
Orígenes/Origins tells the immigrant story of a teenager sent by her family to live with her father in the United States. It is a highly visual fable that weaves the Venado (deer), La Abuela Tortuga (grandmother turtle) and El Insecto Humano (human insect) around the life of a teenager who retraces her journey of immigration from a Latin-American country to El Norte. Performed mostly in Spanish with English supertitles, the production runs through April 30 at Latino Cultural Center.
Shakespeare Dallas presents Music in the Park
Shakespeare Dallas will take a break from theater to present its Music in the Park series. Taking place at Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre, Cosmic Cowboy Country Review will perform on Thursday, Maya Piata on Friday, and Salvage Enterprise Listening Experience with Tim DeLaughter of The Polyphonic Spree on Saturday. Food trucks will be available, but guests are also welcome to bring their own food and beverages into the venue.
Saturday, April 15
Dallas Festival of the Arts
Formerly known as Turtle Creek Spring Arts Festival, Dallas Festival of the Arts is a two-day fine art outdoor festival featuring approximately 125 local and regional painters, photographers, sculptors, metalwork, glass artists, jewelers, and more. The festival also features artist demonstrations, local food trucks and vendors, live acoustic music, a children’s play area, and more. The event will be at Turtle Creek Park on Saturday and Sunday.
African American Museum presents "Black Cowboys: An American Story" closing day
Saturday will be the final day to view "Black Cowboys: An American Story" at The African American Museum. The exhibition, which features more than 50 artifacts, photographs, documents, and films, explores the lives and work of the numerous Black men, women, and children, enslaved and free, who labored on the ranches of Texas and participated in cattle drives before the Civil War through the turn of the 20th century.
Crow Museum of Asian Art presents "Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection" opening day
Encompassing six galleries and over 11,000 square feet, the exhibition "Japan, Form & Function: The Montgomery Collection" features nearly 250 works of Japanese art to be presented in major themes and categories. This marks the first time that the Crow Museum will dedicate its entire museum to one exhibition over an extended period. The exhibition will remain on display through April 14, 2024.
Festival of Joy
Festival of Joy is a fun-filled day of bright colors, flowers, and a free vegetarian feast, along with music, dance, and interactive holistic living and cultural activities. Throughout the day, Kalachandji’s will operate several stalls selling regional Indian street food favorites. The event takes place at Klyde Warren Park.
Kountry Wayne: Help Is On The Way
Comedian Kountry Wayne (a.k.a. Wayne Colley) comes to Dallas as part of his Help Is On The Way tour. Wayne’s recent career highlights include being named one of Variety’s "10 Comics to Watch" in 2021, starring in the BET original Christmas rom-com Holiday Heartbreak, featured on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon, and releasing his debut EP, Drip & Zay. He'll perform at the Music Hall at Fair Park.
Sunday, April 16
DMA Arts & Letters Live: David Sedaris
A master of satire and one of today’s most observant writers, David Sedaris returns to Arts & Letters Live for the 12th year to read new and unpublished material. Sedaris is beloved for his personal essays, which regularly appear in the New Yorker, and is the author of numerous books, including Calypso; A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003–2020); and his latest collection, Happy-Go-Lucky. The event will be at McFarlin Auditorium.