Rain: the crux of festival season

The Current Sauce attends Free Press Summer Fest

Weather conditions continue to disrupt summer music festivals such as Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, Texas, and Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Performances in Houston persevered one way or another despite storms and drew large crowds due to the presence of some of the music industry’s top names.

With four stages set up around Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown Houston, FPSF kicked off on day one with a yoga session before performances began. Excited concert-goers arrived early and ran for coveted barricade spots as soon as gates opened in hopes of getting front-row “seats” to the stage of their choosing.

Many artists throughout the festival shared messages with fans during their sets, such as Mod Sun. “Celebrate your life today,” the rapper said.

And celebrate, he did. During his 40-minute performance, Mod Sun not only shotgunned two beers, thanks to FPSF sponsor Budweiser, but the rapper brought a high energy to the crowd – sometimes perceived as a difficult task for the first act of the day, and on the Budweiser main stage, no less.

Night Drive performs on the Mercury stage Sunday at FPSF. Photo by Ismael Quintanilla

Other artists, such as duo Night Drive from Austin, Texas, spoke about their experiences with years past and present at FPSF. In addition to performing a set on the Mercury stage, they seized the opportunity to promote their upcoming self-titled album, available June 16.

“[We played] Summer Fest a few years ago, and I remember thinking, ‘I feel at home on a festival stage,'” Brandon Duhon, half of the synth-pop duo, said.

Performances continued throughout the day but came to a halt when severe weather caused guests to vacate the premises at around 6 p.m. The evacuation came as a surprise to some attendees, but others simply pulled out ponchos. Later, staff were able to re-open the festival for night performances by Post Malone, G-Eazy, Grouplove and Cage the Elephant.

NSU nursing student Ashlee Mitchell said she had just gotten front row for Miike Snow’s set before the evacuation but was able to “reclaim” her spot for Post Malone’s set.

Fans returned the second day to find fields replaced by mud pits due to the combination of rain and late-night performances.

Day two of FPSF started sunny, but the weather took a turn for the worse. The festival was evacuated once again, this time around 3 p.m. As fans waited by exits with hopes of reentering, FPSF officials notified the public that the rest of the festival was canceled.

Two-day ticket holders were offered a 50-percent refund, and those who bought tickets for July 4 were offered full refunds.

“The rain was a downer,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t even attend [the second day]… [but] I would love to go to FPSF again in the future with hopes of the weather holding up.”

Several artists turned to social media to tweet about the cancellation, including Lorde, who called the “apocalypse-style weather” a “crying shame.” Solange, Houston native, tweeted she was “so sad… [and] was ready to wreck.”

Other musicians took action. Portugal, The Man, Aminé and Deep Cuts booked White Oak Music Hall for a “first come, first serve” free concert for those with FPSF wristbands despite the festival’s canceling.

Jordan Reich

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