How We Spent the FPSF Evacuation
|Photo by Cory Garcia|
I shadowed them all the way to their apartments before realizing they were leaving the festival. Eventually, I made my way back to will call, where a volunteer curtly told me that I couldn't have my tickets. When I asked why, she pointed and the sky and said simply, "The evacuation."
Nearby, teenagers huddled underneath trailers for shelter, leaning against tires and holding mud flaps above their heads. It didn't seem like a very safe option to me, but maybe I'm just getting old. For two hours, a friend and I stood in the light drizzle, reading angry tweets and Facebook posts, waiting for the festival to reopen.
For all the anger being expressed online, everyone on-site pretty much behaved themselves. Thank God for smartphones, amirite? The storm never quite arrived though. Instead, the drizzle intensified for maybe 15 minutes before subsiding completely. Unfortunately, during the two hours during which the festival was closed, a lot of people left, voiced displeasure online and some even threatened demanding refunds.
Houston weather never fails to keep you on your toes. MATTHEW KEEVER
Mariachi El Bronx had finished a couple of songs that already had people dancing and primed for the day's fun to come. At 2:01 p.m., an event organizer announced a severe weather alert would be postponing the performances. The crowd was urged to seek shelter from the heavy rain, hard winds and lightning. Since none were present at the time of the announcement, this resulted in catcalls, followed by the announcer inviting anyone who wanted to stay and get hit by lightning to feel free to do so.
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
He was only kidding, though, because soon the heavy-handed security personnel hired by the fest shooed everyone off the premises. I tried to snap a photo of the official announcement, but was treated like I was uninvited paparazzi at Kimye's wedding.
Many of us wound up at the nearby DoubleTree Hotel. The lobby bar was the hottest drinking hole in Houston for at least an hour. I sat outside, watching the hipster exodus, exiled from its holy land to this five-star refugee camp. We killed time people watching and reading the vitriolic comments left on the FPSF Facebook page.
Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
When the worst of a typical Houston summer shower had waned, we gathered in the street waiting for the gates to re-open. While we waited, some bored moron climbed the top rail of a parking garage on Bagby and Dallas. People were disgusted with this childish antic, which was frightening and caused some unnecessary worry. Fuck that guy. Had his stupidity resulted in his untimely death, at least it would have been off the festival's grounds and, therefore, not a pending Free Press Summer Lawsuit
In all, the delay was two hours long, maybe a little longer if you count the time it took the festival to get its bearings and bring out acts for the re-filling grounds. Aside from missing the rest of Mariachi El Bronx and First Aid Kit, I'd forgotten all about the delay by Lizzo's third or fourth song. It was all rainbows and blue skies from then on. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
My girlfriend and I arrived at the fest around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, just when the folks at the Will Call/Guest List tent were closing up shop. I managed to get my Media wristband just fine, but for some reason they wouldn't turn over her General Admission band. "When can we pick it up?" we asked, confused. "As soon as the evacuation is ended," was the reply. And then, streams of people, pouring out of the grounds, were expelled. Never seen anything quite like it.
Photo by Jim Bricker
After wandering aimlessly in downtown for a few blocks, we took refuge in the Jimmy John's on Main St. Before long it was filled with slightly damp FPSFers, shivering in their tank tops and chowing down on freaky fast subs. We were able to monitor the status of the evacuation via Twitter, and when word came down after a couple hours that the gates were open again, the restaurant cleared out just as fast as it had filled.
Actually getting in through the gates took hours as well. The whole thing was a bit of a shit-show, to be kind. Luckily, everything seemed to be running smoothly inside the Fest, and I don't recall seeing anybody lose their cool over the unforeseen delays. NATHAN SMITH
More photos on the next page.