Five Outdoor Texas Festivals That Went South

Photo by Chris Gray
On the other hand, Rock the Bayou did have bumper cars.
2. Rock the Bayou Sinks
Before FPSF, Houston had never before hosted a large-scale music festival except for this one the previous year in 2008. After Rock the Bayou, it's amazing anyone wanted to try it again at all. Bringing in some of the biggest names in hard-rock and hair-metal history (Queensryche, Sammy Hagar, Alice Cooper, Dokken) for a four-day Labor Day Weekend blowout in the empty field where AstroWorld once stood wasn't a terrible idea, true.

Only thing is, it probably would have been prudent to invite at least a few acts whose best days weren't well behind them at that point. But Rock the Bayou spread itself way too thin over those four days, and wasn't very well-organized or promoted to begin with. Instead, it drew about half the crowds the promoters were hoping for, and became an easy lesson in what not to do when putting together a festival.

Photo by Mark C. Austin
ACL's Dillo Dirt Debacle
Strangely enough, until you remember what a serious drought Texas has been saddled with for as far back as many people can remember, it took until its eighth year for ACL to have its first real day of heavy rains. That was back in 2009, when showers most of Saturday resulted in the Zilker Park grass turning to a wallow only Wilbur the pig could love the next day. But not just regular mud: the recently resodded turf had been augmented with a kind of compost known as "Dillo Dirt," a pungent combination of yard clippings and recycled human sewage.

This is what we wrote at the time: "This 'Million Dollar Mud,' as a friend called it late Sunday evening, caused entire puddle-strewn sections of the park to be closed off with yellow police tape, and completely destroyed what had been a beautiful expanse of golf-course-caliber grass just a couple of days earlier." Both Zilker Park and ACL Fest would eventually recover, at no small cost, but to us Austin has never quite smelled the same since.


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James Rains
James Rains

Am I the only one around here who remembers Ghoulsfest? I guess a festival has to get off the ground before it goes south.

Steven Cruz
Steven Cruz

dude i hated the mud at the mars stage during vampire weekemd but boy if dillo dirt is much worse that sucks lol But at least ACL has enough good acts to get through with most of the issues of festivals

Travis Leatherwood
Travis Leatherwood

To be fair, while it really really sucked that the third day was cancelled, watching The Cure in the rain at ACL is one of my favorite concert experiences ever.

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