Forgive me folks for I hath sinned. I done went down to Houston for the Free Press Summer Festival and honestly did not take many pictures. For one reason, I felt as though for much of the weekend that I was teetering on the brink of death. I mean, I hate to say it because I am really not one to complain about heat, in fact, I really enjoy the heat and generally am not tripping. And I lived in Houston for years and while I can't say that I never minded it, it was never all that oppressive to me. I adapted to it, and was always fine.
But shit man, now that I live in Austin, I can't even much lie, Houston smacked me right on down. That humidity, yo seriously, when I got out of my car Sunday evening in Austin, it felt cool here. I am so serious and it was like 90 degrees at dusk.
OK lemme stop, because I am doing the organizers of the Free Press Summer Fest a great injustice by starting this piece out complaining. Seriously, I really didn't think that this festival was going to be as amazing as it was. I knew the line up was solid and love the park that it was in, but seriously, I didn't know that it was going to be not only a real festival on par with some of the greats in our nation and Europe, but also a throwback to the great festivals of my youth, in Houston, along Allen Parkway and in Eleanor Tinsley Park.
See, lemme take a second to lament here. Another second I mean. Anyway. Back in the day, the Houston International Festival was pretty much the coolest thing you could do in Houston every year (also Bob Marley Fest). It stretched from the western edge of downtown into Eleanor Tinsley Park and it was free to get in for all. The whole city would come down and groove to the sounds of music from all over the world, and there'd be all sorts of folks, from every walk of life, smoking weed, drinking beers, dancing, walking their dogs and just straight up vibing for an entire weekend or two.
Then the city destroyed all the cool festivals and re-packaged them into something totally different. Way more sterile and not nearly as exciting. It's hard to explain to someone who wasn't there back in the late 80's and early - mid-90's, but if you were, you know exactly what I'm talm bout.
Free Press Summer Fest took me right back to those daze. I mean days.
Anyway after a quick swim with the kids at Krause Springs I hit the road out to Houston and got into town midday, just in time to see Perseph1 perform again. And of course soon after that my camera started messing up.
This is a shot of the main stage, where a lot of the crowd hung for a lot of the day both days. But I mean, the line up on this one here was insane. Actually I am lying about Perseph, first band I actually saw play was Medeski Martin and Wood. Who sounded way different then I remembered them sounding back in the day. They pretty much rocked out the jazzy jams and well, I mean, I watched about 20 minutes then went to see Perseph.
The 29-15 stage was filled with some of the best local and indie bands and rappers you could ever want to see.
Check out the full schedule on www.freepresssummerfest.com to see who you missed. And to plan to attend next year.
I've been to festivals all over the world and what impressed me the most is that this one looked like some of the festivals I have been to in Europe that have been going on for 30 years. The stages were all on point, the food and drink were everywhere, the shows ran on time from what I could tell all weekend. I mean, this is where it's at. A serious first in a long time for Houston.
It's also hip. I mean shit. Kid Sister, Bun B, Slim Thug and Detroit Cobras alongside bands like the Flaming Lips and MMW? In Texas? It was quite a coup.
And yes, Kid Sister killed it as well. And after her set my camera would not shoot.
Luckily I caught a photo of Shina Rae.
THe heat fucked me up though. I can't even lie. When I left the festival site on Saturday I wasn't sure if I was gonna make it out on Sunday, when the bulk of the bands I wanted to see were going to play. But I skipped the after party, went to bed fairly early, and got up the next day to do it all over again. Headed out there mid afternoon, and well the skies just opened up on the place. It was one of those heavy, crazy, Houstropical storms that just comes down relentlessly for 20 minutes and then disappears into a humid haze and well, I can't lie, I went home.
I wanted to stay and see Dead Prez, Bun B, and Slim Thug, but all I could think about was the mud, and the fact that I am almost 40, and had already survived a case of impending heat stroke. And so I wimped out and went home. Which just isn't fair. Cuz the Free Press Summer Fest deserves our full attention. I have a feeling that 2011 is going to be a huge year for this event.
Maybe even bigger if it was called Free Press Spring (or Fall) Fest.