Free Press Summer Fest is one of the great city of Houston’s finest contributions to the national music festival scene. This year’s festival will be at the beautiful Eleanor Tinsley Park overlooking the Houston skyline on June 6th and 7th. Massive past lineups that have included the likes of Jack White, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wu Tang Clan, Dwight Yoakam, The Deftones, The Postal Service, Passion Pit, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Primus, The Flaming Lips, and the list just goes on. This year’s lineup is no exception and will be showcasing the legendary Tears for Fears, R. Kelly, Flogging Molly and Weezer as well as everyone’s favorites like Skrillex, Portugal the Man, Steve Angello, G-Eazy, Major Lazer, Gary Clark Jr., Band of Horses, RL Grime and Chance the Rapper. The list of up-and-comers that have really made their way to the top of the charts in the past few years is jam packed with some of my personal favorites like Flume, St. Vincent, Charli XCX, Tove Lo, Odesza, Tycho, Future Islands and Glass Animals. As always, our hometown favorite Houston rappers will be there to rep H-Town in the Welcome to Houston showcase including Z-ro, Slim Thug, Bun-B, Devin the Dude, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Scarface, Lil Flip, Lil Keke, and The Suffers.
The lovely Eleanor Tinsley Park is home to many events in Houston but it completely transforms for Free Press Summer Fest. The park is located within a greenbelt next to Sabine St., but the entire stretch goes all the way from Shepherd Drive to Bagby Street. Most of the main stages are down the grassy hill on the side of the road down in the actual park, but most of the vendors and refill stations are going to be up on the street that is shut down for the festival. There are some gorgeous old trees located throughout the park which provide a decent amount of shade but it would probably still be a good idea to bring a small umbrella for the more skin sensitive attendees. Because the festival runs along the side of a road, the stages are all set up in a row for the most part so there will be some walking required to get from one furthest stage to the other, so I recommend wearing comfortable shoes. Ladies, on the shoe note, because the stages are down the side of sloping hill, cute little sandals with absolutely no traction on the bottom will not be your friends. It rained a bit last year and needless to say, mud and little flats are not a good combination. My favorite part about this venue is that they do a great job of spacing out all of the stages really well so you don’t hear any interference from the other stages even if you are chilling pretty far in the back.
Of course, the environmentalist in me just wants everyone to ride his/her bikes to the festival! There are plenty of bike racks right next to the entrance to the festival so you will have the easiest time getting there, and for free! There are also some parking garages in walking distance to the festival that cost-wise usually ranged from $10-$20 each day from my past experience, so it’s not too bad if you split the cost between a car full of people. However, regular parking lot spaces are extremely limited close to the venue, so if that is your plan make sure to get there very early.
Staying in H-Town:
If you are coming to the festival from out of town, some of the closest hotels to Eleanor Tinsley Park are the Hyatt Regency Houston, the Residence Inn by Marriott Houston (Downtown/Convent), Double Tree Houston Downtown, Crowne Plaza Houston Downtown, and there are quite a few other options. All of the options I listed above are less than a mile away from the park. For some good post or pre festival eats, some of my personal favorite restaurants on this side of downtown Houston near the park is Zydeco’s for cajun food, III Forks for you fancies that want a good steak, Hubcap Grill for a more dive atmosphere with great burgers and Birraporetties is in walking distance of the theatre district for Italian. Pappasito’s is good Mexican food close to the Hilton hotel and Miller’s Hamburgers is great if you want to escape the heat and go underground to check out the tunnels that run under the city of Houston.
How to Dress:
Leave the fashion contests for Coachella, because FPSF is a HOT one. Just dress comfortably and you will have a great time. As is customary with any Texas festival in the summer, bring any and all of the sun friendly items you can carry. Highly recommended items based off personal experience would be extra empty water bottles/thermoses to refill at the refill stations (you cannot bring in sealed/unsealed water bottles), plenty of sunscreen for you and your pals, some kick ass shades, a light blanket to sit on when you need to chill out for a bit, little hand fans (regardless of who you came with, these are truly your best friend) and a cover up or hat. Hat related pro tip: Ladies, if you are going to rock a hat, be aware that this festival attracts a pretty massive crowd. The chances that if you decide to rock one of those giant southern bell sun hats that spans more than double the circumference of your body, it is either going to get knocked off repeatedly while you are trying to get through crowds or you are going to severely annoy the person behind you at some of the bigger sets with tight crowds when it repeatedly pelts the person behind you in the face as you bop along to the music. Don’t be that guy (or girl rather). For dudes, I know people love to wear silly onesies, Santa costumes, banana suits (side note: please stop with the banana suits), etc., but again, its going to be hot as hell, don’t pass out from heat exhaustion in the name of goofy fashion. On the bright side, pun intended, you can always count on some beautifully sunny skies and some great pictures with your crew!
Free Press Summer Fest has never disappointed me out of my three years of attendance and with such a diverse lineup, there is something for every age group to enjoy at the festival. There are great food vendors and plenty of refill stations to keep hydrated for cheap. They are also very efficient at all the gates about checking ID’s and wristbands to get in. I don’t remember ever having to wait in line for more than fifteen minutes or so. Most importantly, there are so many must sees packed into these two days it is definitely time to start forming a plan of attack! So in the immortal words of my man R. Kelly, “It’s the freakin’ weekend, baby,” let’s all have some fun! (Cheesy, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.) See y’all in June!
Written by Festpop Staff Writer
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