How To Curate a Party Playlist

We asked the organizers of Fortress Festival, the local music festival that launched in the Cultural District in 2017, to curate their perfect party playlist. See what the team Texas Monthly refers to as “arbiters of taste” put on their holiday party playlist. And, look for Fortress Festival to return for its second year April 28-29, 2018.

1. BadBadNotGood, Time Moves Slowly
2. The Texas Gentlemen, Habbie Doobie
3. Massive Attack, Blue Lines
4. Anderson Paak, Come On
5. Jacques Brel, Mathilde
6. Warpaint, So Good
7. HAIM, Little of Your Love
8. Fela Kuti, Expensive Shit
9. The Internet, Palace/Curse
10. ODESZA feat. Leon Bridges, Across the Room
11. Girl Friend, Tragic on the Dancefloor (louis la roche remix)
12. Mariah Carey, All I Want For Christmas Is You
13. Moon Duo, Sevens
14. Bob Dylan, Absolutely Sweet Marie
15. Sam Lao, Pineapple
16. David Bowie, Ashes to Ashes
17. Kamasi Washington, Knowledge
18. Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, It’s Nasty
19. Run-DMC, Christmas in Hollis
20. Peking Duk & Alaunageorge, Fake Magic
21. Electric Guest, Dear to Me
22. Ronnie Heart, Smoovie
23. Whitney Houston, I Wanna Dance with Somebody
24. Queen, A Kind of Magic
25. Seinabo Sey, Younger (Kygo Remix)
26. Portugal the Man, Feel it Still
27. John Coltrane, In A Sentimental Mood
28. Mahalia Jackson, Silent Night


Plan, plan, plan and don’t just put your iPhone on the speaker on shuffle. You don’t want that Sesame Street song you have saved for your kid’s breakdowns to ruin the whole vibe of your adult party.

Plan for four hours of music. That way no songs
will repeat.

Don’t play music too loud. You don’t want guests yelling during conversations. Consider your space when setting the volume. If you have concrete floors and empty walls, there’s nothing to absorb the loud music.

Mix it up: Combine classics with chart toppers. Hip hop with jazz. Weave genres throughout the list so the music never gets stale.

Mix holiday music with regular music. That way no one will get tired of four hours of Christmas songs, but you’ll still add a festive touch to your party.

Throw in some local artists.