Mitch Morales always loved going to music festivals. So he started his own.
“I didn’t even think about it. I went to a bunch of dance-based electronic festivals, where there was a community and a general energy happening, which wasn’t happening at a lot of festivals locally,” said Morales.
It’s really that simple. He was just a guy who grew up on a ranch outside of Austin who found his place in the festival community. He wasn’t someone who had an extensive resume working for big name music industry buffs like Transmission or C3. Morales and his fiancée (who he just proposed to at the 2016 Euphoria Festival!) Tyler Govaars, both UT alums, traveled far and wide to feed their festival cravings, going to places like rural Michigan and Canada for a special experience.
The inaugural Euphoria was a one-day event and pulled about 2,500 attendees. Five years later, it’s bigger than Morales and Govaars could have ever imagined. The 2016 festival lasted four days from April 7–10, with around 6,000 people camping, and averaged 20,000 people each day.
“We fell in love with the festival experience as a whole. That’s what we tried to build for the fifth year anniversary now that we have a little more leeway, time, staff, to help bring that creative side in.” said Govaars.
Music is what draws the crowds, but the community and activities are what captivates Euphoria-goers. For the 2016 experience, they partnered with the Austin-based studio Sukha Yoga to incorporate a daily yoga component into the schedule. Keep Austin Beautiful joined the movement too, hosting a river cleanup along the banks of Carson Creek Ranch for campers who want to contribute.
There were a variety of workshops to choose from each day, offering meetups for anyone interested in healthy and authentic connecting. Group sessions gathered to learn from experts, as well as each other, to strengthen the community bond through acroyoga jams, classes to assist in managing anxiety, meditation meetups, and discussions focused on the relationship people have with food.
Morales and Govaars are seasoned festival attendees who strive to build Euphoria into an amalgamation of experiences they favor throughout their travels—it’s what makes the event feel so inclusive. Euphoria Festival is four days full of the artistic components of Burning Man, the signature heavy bass of electronic dance music found at Tommorowland, the physical activity of Wanderlust, and the devotion to homegrown vendors and partners of Austin City Limits Festival.
“One of the cool things about having an audience for that long is that you can change people a little bit. You can give them an experience they've never had before and maybe they take that and change something in their everyday lives,” said Govaars.