Wait...When Did Houston Beer Fest Become a Music Festival?
Houston Beer Fest: It's not just for beer-induced dehydration anymore. It seems that while people were busy side-eying the folks over at Houston Beer Fest for the antics that happened in years prior -- overcrowding, oversold tickets, lack of beer, etc. -- something kind of amazing happened: they started giving a shit about the music.
Photos by Francisco Montes The Houston Beer Fest crowd watches Action Bronson Saturday afternoon
Going into HBF's fourth year this past weekend, we didn't expect to find much. After all, anecdotes about overcrowded entrances, drunk festivalgoers (ourselves included, mind you), and irritated would-be attendees stuck outside the gates run rampant when Beer Fest is mentioned.
What we actually found during our experience at Beer Fest this time was quite the opposite. Whereas HBF had once been described as utter chaos -- think dehydration emergencies, long waits, and oversold tickets -- this year there was nothing of the sort. Things more or less went off without a hitch. Lines were easy to navigate, volunteers were informed, and there was plenty of beer -- and water -- a-flowin'.
At the barricades for Alien Ant Farm
Better than that, though, was the complete change of face of the attendees. Although there were indeed a number of drunken frat boys in attendance -- it is still a beer festival, after all -- what we found was that the music fans far outweighed them.
But perhaps the change of pace was to be expected. After all, the folks at Beer Fest managed to step things up a notch on the music level, booking rad musical acts for this year's lineup -- Rick Ross (though he ultimately cancelled), Juicy J, Pepper, 3OH!3, and Action Bronson, to name a few -- and when you've got a lineup as solid as that, it makes a festival, even one held in the skunky-hot June weather, solidly awesome.
To be fair, it's not like Beer Fest had totally ignored the musical component in years past. The festival always had a music component -- even booking big names like local hero Bun B, and Reverend Horton Heat in recent years -- but its focus was always geared toward the beer.
That's all fine and good, but Beer Fest had been pretty damn disastrous in recent years. Dehydration and chaos don't build the best reputation, and Beer Fest's was sorely lacking because of it. But this year's solid showing has gone a long way toward redeeming itself.
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