Free Press Summer Fest: Top 10 WTF Moments of 2012

sweetice bru june 4.jpg
Photo by Marc Brubaker
Ice... sweet ice.
More FPSF 2012 Coverage:
Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.

Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds

Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest

FPSF: The Bands from Saturday

FPSF: The Bands from Sunday

Cory Garcia: Walking past the Super Happy Fun Land stage Saturday I heard the singer for one of the bands yell out "Let's all get raped!" Since I don't know what the context for that was, I can't make any judgments other than to say that it was a thing that happened and ended up in my notebook. What I can say is the price-gouging on sodas was maddening. The sign says $3 for a 20-oz soda, but when you get to the bar they want $5 for a 12-oz? I understand that festival economics means higher prices, but if you're going to gouge me be up front about it.


Chris Gray: This isn't all that weird, but after I saw wistful Austin trio Papermoons (whose 2009 LP New Tales is one of the best Houston records of the late '00s), the DJ on Stage 4 cranked into a set of horns-up Buzz-rock, starting with Audioslave's "Cochise" and continuing on into Korn. It was a little odd to hear that stuff at Summer Fest, although Lord knows there was plenty of heavy music around. But I always thought one of the main reasons the whole thing started was to show that Houston audiences will embrace other kinds of alternative music than the one 94.5 plays. (See: Nickelback.) It doesn't matter, I guess. "Cochise" will always be a great fuckin' song, and I was happy to hear it Sunday.


bikesbikesbikes jim June 4.jpg
Photo by Jim Bricker
"To the bikes!"
Corey Dieterman: The most personally bizarre moment of Summerfest for me came from hanging around the medical area. I saw a kid get dragged in after passing out on some bad MDMA (his own admission), then immediately after that I overheard a panicked call asking for medical personnel to be sent to the Flaming Lips dressing room. Perhaps it's just my perverse mind connecting events, but I was instantly wondering what kind of crazy party those guys were having in there in the middle of the afternoon. Then again, considering the band, this probably isn't WTF-worthy at all, is it? At least it was none too serious to keep our weirdo heroes from playing.


Christina Lynn: I, not once but TWICE on Sunday, saw condoms out and about. The first time happened in one of the Fancy Pants tents. I was going to sit down there until I saw a little rubber there and immediately had a Seinfeld moment where I thought, like Cosmo Kramer when he finds a condom in George's car, "It's a c-c-c-CONDOM!" I don't think it was used, but nevertheless I didn't want to sit on that couch. The other time I saw one was near Stage 7. That one was tied to a fence.

Location Info

Map

Eleanor Tinsley Park

500 Allen Parkway, Houston, TX

Category: General


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38 comments
Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Funny, about the bathroom... I only needed to go 3 times in two days and I was there 10 hours each day.  I sweat it out.  When I needed to go, I found a relatively short line each time.  I had an amazing weekend, splitting my time between Houston bands and national acts.  Mostly the big stages I only went to early (Wheel Workers, Grandfather Child, Robert Ellis) and then late (Flaming Lips, Pretty Lights).  I have already talked to someone in the know and given them the suggestion about picking up wristbands in the days before.  Someone cynical told me they thought the long lines are on purpose to convince people to buy "Fancy Pants" next year...  That seems plausible though it may just make people not come back next year.  I have gone Fancy Pants since year one.  I wonder how many Fancy Pants people they need before they move the whole thing inside Reliant Stadium or something.  I hope it doesn't get any bigger than it was this year.  This is as big as I want it to be.  There's something to be said for a 40K per day fest.

John Seaborn Gray
John Seaborn Gray

 A few more hand-washing stations would have been great, especially if someone was on hand to refill them after they bottomed out. Dunno about more hand sanitizer, though, since that shit tends to be flammable.

autumn
autumn

This was my fourth year to attend and I still can't believe that there aren't at least hand sanitizer stations at each of the port-a-potty areas. After the first year I just started bringing my own because I knew that there wouldn't be any. What's up with that? I saw that there were one or two handwashing stations but they weren't at each location. Gross.

joeortiz
joeortiz

"Let's all get raped!" Hahaha. You gotta love The Escatones.

Kim Harvey
Kim Harvey

I had a BLAST that entire day! There were so many pictures and I eventually made my way down the paint slide a couple of times while Willie played. I LOVE the picture :) and it was insanely hot in that pretty pink suit ;)

Handynan
Handynan

This was my first time going.Of course I did my research and year one there was 30 thousand. Year two about 44 thousand,Year three about 60 thousand. according to the history, they planned for an additional 10-20 thousand. How did they know there was going to be in an upwards of 92,000 yes that is and increase of 30 thousand. Who plans for that?  Why should the promoters take a financial loss year four since they are the ones who have their millions already tied up and on the line. I thought it was AWESOME considering the facts. With Critical and Judgemental lenses off I say we are all a part of something greater than ourselves. I saw pizza boxes dropped off right in front of empty trash sites. I picked it up and threw it away. Don't worry, they saw all the impovements that need to be made so the suggestions are helpful, however I for one want to say a job well done. After all, by concert standards, this is a new "gig". It is not like Bonnaroo Promoters came to town with several years experience and did a shotty job. this was started by people who wanted a forum to promote local talent and artists. I say they certainly accomplished that!I for one am Houston Proud. For God's sake we are home to NASA ! Free Press Summer Fest if they want to, have the potential to be one of the best Music Festivals to attend. It is up to all of us.Yes next year there will be less of a wait and faster entry,more food,more pottys, [ both toilets and "stoners"]a more efficent layout.Besides the FABULOUS MUSIC,I noticed the calm crowdsLarge recognizable First Aide TentsPlenty of AmbulancesFree Watering Holes,As a  Humanitarian Act free water was passed out in the general admissions line.Few were sent to the hospital and there were NO fatalities. Good Job!And yes, for everyone, who had to be inconvienced by the Jeep Pavilion who by the way was a Major Sponsor [Tens of Thousands Baby, that's alot of cashola] They got noticed and everyone is still taking about it JEEP, JEEP, JEEPCongradulations to all the effort and hard work done by the Site Manager, Staff, and Volunteers who put in countless hours of pain staking work, punishing heat and tireless commitment on behalf of all the Bands, Headliners, Vendors and most importantly the Fans.And just think, it all started with WOODSTOCK who had hardly any ammenities and people still want to have that experience.CAN'T WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!

KING
KING

Anyone else bothered by the sudden boom in poles/flags/markers this year? The festival is getting big, but this isn't ACL. FPSF did well to ban chairs similar to festivals like Coachella. I think a ban on the poles/flags/markers should be put in place. Shit is hella annoying. The poles/flags/markers/chairs are what make ACL an impossible crowd to navigate and a less appealing festival as the years go by. And this is from someone who has used to love ACL.

Northsider
Northsider

I was really surprised that the promoters did not engage the crowd as much as they did last year between sets, that was a little disappointing for me, as I think that put a human touch on this little festival gone big, with all the special introductions and "thank you's for supporting us" , all of that Texan gratitude stuff we pride ourselves on and out of towners remember us for.

Corpse Grinder
Corpse Grinder

William Michael Smith was what I'm going to name my abortion.

H_e_x
H_e_x

What I am always slightly amazed about is how there are no major fights during the festival. Not that I expect the fine people of Houston to fight, but with so many people present, you just never know. Sure, there are going to be a few out there people high up in trees, shaking them so much that you think they will tumble down, but the crowd is generally pretty chill, which is always a good thing.

Ldsharp
Ldsharp

I have 2 WTF moments. The first is when I walked up to the line of people on the east entrance. Got in line at 1:30, got inside the festival at 3:45. I do appreciate the promoter sending free water to be handed out in line, although there was one of the workers boasting how he could walk in whenever while we baked. After we got in, we all had a blast.

2. I used a portocan behind stage one that was literally over flowing with urine. It was like an infinity edged pool of piss!

All in all awesome show though, thanks to the promoters and free press! Happy to have such an event in H-town!

Deb
Deb

This was my third Summerfest. I so agree with everyone that something definitely needs to be done about the long lines to get in. Early wristband pick up locations would be a great idea, also creating another entrance point. Lots more trash cans and recycling is a given.

And yes, my partner and I were disappointed in Fancy Pants. Rapid entry was not that rapid. No separate porta-potties, huge crowds in the tents, ran out of liquor Saturday. Sunday was better, though they really need more and/or bigger tents with the size of the crowds. The "giant window unit" ACs were great this year.

Don't want to be too negative. We are really, really glad this festival is taking off. Thanks to Free Press.

Gusto
Gusto

Needed way more port-o-potties, and way more water. Were the pink bathrooms supposed to be for women only? If so, not everyone seemed to understand that. Maybe it's my imagination, but I seem to remember a lot more free water stations last year. This year I only found one, and it was by stage two. The other locations on the map where it showed water ended up being $2 a bottle. As others have mentioned, it was disappointing seeing the horrendous trash buildup, most of it recyclable. I slipped on a watermelon on the way out. Who the hell was eating a watermelon?

Bob
Bob

Yeah the lines. Especially the one caused by the Jeep Show.  At least they go rid of that and added more water stations for Sunday. They do need more of everything (food, beverages, porta potties) if they are going to continue to grow.Got to be a better way to get the wristbands distributed. Biggest WTF is why are the service vehicles and golf cats zooming down crowded pedestrian walkways, they should have a separate lane, perhaps behind the vendors.

Jarvis
Jarvis

Definitely ran into a couple of homeless people inside the event. Who gave these guys wristbands? The last thing I want is to get hit up for cash while I'm shelling out money hand over fist at a show.

Blueballs
Blueballs

Two significant WTF moments I noticed.  1) How can you sell beer and an unlimited amount of admission tickets, with like 100 porta-potties?  When you have that much booze flowing, there are never enough toilets.   Nothing like listening to Willie live for the first time in my life while waiting to piss.  Ahh memories.  Furthermore, why would you sell fancy pants tickets and not have bathrooms in the fancy pants tents?  Seems like an easy one to me.  2) Deal with getting people their wristbands on Saturday in a more efficient manner or limit the ticket sales.  This is the second year that this happened.   I live nearby so I got my wristband early, but by about 3pm the line for wristbands at the west entrance extended down to Montrose.  Seems like you could have more than 3 scanners for general admit.  Also its not a rapid access if the Fancy Pants entry line is the same length as the general admit line.  Also also, its not Fancy Pants if its not exclusive.  Just makes it a stupid concept, or all the fancy pants purchasers idiots, you decide.   All in all good fest, hoping for a good one next year.  I <3 HTX.

Rocks Off
Rocks Off

Donny Wallace of Navasota wrote in to add this:

I want to nominate the excellent Argone for best live show of 2012 in Houston.  Up close at FPSFH they played much better versions of their songs from MySPace which on that site fade and don't kick ass enough in ways that make them sound like Talk Show music.  But it concert they blew the roof off the dump and kicked ass and their lead singer was hot and soulful.  They play Acid Jazz versions of Superfly era funk/soul and all original compositions.  The crowd grew to overflowing for their show and the crowd wasthin after their show.  They got begged for an encore but said they could not due to imposed time constraints.  Best band I will see all year you can dance to them and they are cool and also kick major ass..  

Breeze
Breeze

Amen Brittanie, the trash was ungodly and it wasnt even just the beer cans, that waste of cardboard from Pinks Pizza, half eaten turkey legs, and just crap everywhere. FPSF really needs to step up their game on the recycling and trash collection in general. And the other wtf, the Jeep bottle neck, the golf carts, ambulances running back and forth,  sandwhich booth at the top of the mainstage hill (shouldnt this be a viewing spot?), and just the hodge podge of the whole set up. This might of worked a few years back, but now that FPSF is as big as it has become, it might be  time to rethink the whole layout.

Slomeo
Slomeo

Wild bills soda unlimited refills of Ice in a huge steel mug for 12 bucks was the fucking truth.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

"I saw wistful Austin trio Papermoons (whose 2009 LP New Tales is one of the best Houston records of the late '00s),"Austin band creates "Houston record"?Explain.

KING
KING

The only Jeep anyone is still talking about is the Turquoise kind.

Bob
Bob

Yeah somehow the Pink Floyd flag was always directly between me and the lead singer. Every time.

William Michael Smith
William Michael Smith

Yeah, I had that same thought. I did see a couple of drunk gangsta types almost get into it at the dj on the bicycle area when they "danced" into each other. But cooler heads quickly prevailed. I think the whole thing about the nation's most diverse city is that most people here are of the "tolerant" variety, particular live music type people. That's why I really liked Ricky Reed's remarks about Houston feeling like San Francisco or Portland to him when he's been here (singer for Wallpaper out of Oakland).

GlenW
GlenW

That is a great comment. I hadn't even thought about there not seeing any fights or even heated arguements. This is amazing considering the heat and abundant alcohol.

Northsider
Northsider

 I'll second that, there wasn't a huge police or security presence either (at least my definition of huge) nor was it needed.  The crowd was respectful of one another and everyone was pretty darn happy.

Ldsharp
Ldsharp

Sorry that would be the west enterance, studemont/montrose side

Conatonc
Conatonc

There were two free water stations last year, and at least two this year. There was one over by Stage 1, but it was amongst all the other stands and crap that were clogging up the top of the hill, so it was easier to miss. And with temps in the low 90's, the lines were way, way shorter for the water stations this year. Last year I ended up buying 2-3 bottles of water because it was easier than waiting 15-20 minutes to get to the free water. This year it was essentially walk up or maybe wait behind a couple of people.

KING
KING

Big deal. You're lucky I decided on watermelon this weekend instead of my usual durian. Keep walking or come at me, bro.

Conatonc
Conatonc

I wasn't there for the Jeep line on Saturday, but how about DJ Rickshaw clogging up a huge chunk of the road right in that same area? He was really annoying.

Guesty
Guesty

The "hodge podge" is a unique part of the fest. This is Houston.

Rocks Off
Rocks Off

They were a Houston band when they released the album. Wish they still were.

Marty
Marty

The line at the stage 2 water station was pretty long every time I was there, maybe it just depended on which bands were playing. I found the one by stage 1 by accident on Sunday after looking for it Saturday. But yeah I just ended up buying bottled water and pouring it into my refillable bottle. Then tossing the empty in the trash.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Eh, I didn't think his improvisational stage clogged traffic much. The tents in the middle and fencing on the side did that. 

Asa
Asa

He was playing MUSIC at a MUSIC FESTIVAL. 

Gusto
Gusto

 No Zoning Laws! Next year, nestled next to the food trucks and stages they need a Vietnamese nail salon, porno shop, hi-rise condos, and a car dealership... wait, they already had a Jeep dealership!

H_e_x
H_e_x

The lines were completely dependent on who had just played. After Willie Nelson, the lines were long. I too noticed that the lines were generally shorter for water this year compared to last.

Christinalynn
Christinalynn

he needs his own stage then - perhaps another stage may do?

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