Super-Helpful Spring Break Listening Advice

Photos by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
JVS Reel
That golden orb hovering over Houston this past weekend was the sun. Like an absent friend who returns just in time for the spring break fun, it was a welcomed guest at the ninth installment of For the Community.

The brighter the sun shone, the more we thought of spring break and the music associated with it. What was your spring-break music, we asked some of the festival's artists: that single song or artist that made a day on the beach or in the park with others a perfect reminder of how perfect life could be?

With more than 40 acts from a broad swath of genres performing at Last Concert Café and Eastdown Warehouse, we knew we'd get a variety of responses from the festival's participants. Here's what they offered:

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Local Acts We'd Like to See at Free Press Summer Fest '15

Photo by JenniFive/Courtesy of Reybee Inc.
White-hot Beaumont trio Purple would make a rockin' addition to FPSF this June.
About this time of year, local acts begin to wonder if they'll get called to represent the best in Houston music at Free Press Summer Fest. As the event has grown larger, though, this opportunity has grown smaller, which in turn makes the honor of getting called even greater.

Excusing from consideration acts who have previously played the festival (for the most part), here's a list of several it would be fun to see onstage somewhere in Tinsley Park this June 6 and 7. Good luck to them and everyone else being considered and remember, Houston, whoever does get the nod, get out there and show some support during their sets.

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Houston Firm Books First-Rate Austin EDM Fest

Photo by Marc Brubaker
Major Lazer: Ghostland Observatory in 2009
It seems like only two weeks ago that we were talking about the upcoming year of dance-music festivals. At the time we were talking about the heavyweight lineup that UME had assembled for this year's Spring Break on South Padre Island. Today we have a different festival with a different type of lineup, but one that is just as exciting.

Out in Austin, the Euphoria Music + Camping Festival is joining the ranks of Levitation and South By So What as early-2015 festivals worth checking out in the Lone Star State. Although it is decidedly more electronic than those two, they're doing their part to remind folks that Texas festivals exist outside of ACL, FFF Fest and FPSF.

So who is joining the previously announced headliner Pretty Lights?

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More Info on the FPSF Blind Pre-Sale & Pegstar's New Venue

Photo by Groovehouse
FPSF returns to Eleanor Tinsley Park June 6 and 7. The lineup will be announced in a few weeks, co-founder Jagi Katial says.
In just a few hours, or right now if you're just waking up, the blind pre-sale for this year's Free Press Summer Fest begins at 10 a.m. at, and tickets should disappear faster than a rich banker when the collection plate in church gets passed around. For those who may have swallowed too much bongwater, that's your first opportunity to buy passes to the seventh edition of the Bayou City's annual bacchanal in Eleanor Tinsley Park, where the only thing hotter than the acts onstage is the temperatures in the portapotties.

This year's FPSF is scheduled for June 6 and 7, and if you remember, last year's presale did not quite go off without a hitch. Namely, when last year's was announced, some people saw the increased price tag and said, "Say what now?" But Jagi Katial, co-founder of the festival and the man behind Pegstar Concerts, the local promoters who are building their own concert venue on Houston's near Northside (more on that in a bit), promises that fans are not in for another case of sticker shock. Prices this year, he promises, are "more in line with last year."

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Paul Wall Caps 10 Hours of H-Town Love at Winterfest

Photos by Catherine Darshad
The People's Champ: Paul Wall
Houston, H-town, The H -- whichever moniker you prefer, you definitely heard it at Eastdown Warehouse's Winterfest Friday night.

The event gathered nearly two dozen local acts of every ilk, something organizer Visionary Noise is rather adept at. It's a glorious thing when it really works, even for smallish crowds -- as it did Friday night. The roster leaned toward hip hop artists and was headlined by Houston rap legend Paul Wall. His fans came dressed to be ogled. Twenty minutes before he hit the stage, thrashgrass punks Days N Daze performed for their fans, who were dressed to be "oogled." (Full disclosure: my son is in that band. And yes, he too was geeked for Paul Wall.)

The bond these bands shared was they were almost entirely Houston-based. They didn't mind mentioning it, either. Maybe being booked with Wall, who incessantly extols the virtues of being from Houston, created a sense of civic pride in the acts, who thanked, shouted out to and even sang about Hustletown (my preferred Houston reference).

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Fallcore's Incendiary on the Rise of Suburban Hardcore

Photo courtesy of Incendiary
Brendan Garrone, center, and Incendiary will be making their first Texas appearance on Saturday, headlining Day 2 of Fallcore.
Proper hoodie weather has arrived in Houston at last, and that can mean only one thing -- it's time again for Fallcore. For 14 years running now, the two-day festival has served as the city's most essential hardcore throwdown, showcasing the best (and noisiest) bands from the Texas scene and beyond.

This year's fest promises to be no different, with H-Town veterans like Will to Live and Die Young sharing a stage with young local fixtures such as Back to Back and Black Coffee as well as out-of-town acts that include Dallas' Vulgar Display and San Antonio's SnakeWay. With all the whirling fists and gnarly stage dives they're likely to inspire, the middle of the floor at Walters Downtown -- Houston's hardcore home base -- isn't going to be a particularly safe place to be on Friday and Saturday.

There will be 19 bands in all at Fallcore, with a couple of choice bookings at the top of the bill. Headlining Friday night's action will be Hatebreed's Connecticut homies in Death Threat, who haven't played a show in Texas in six years. That's a pretty long time -- almost as long as the following night's headliner has been a band. Long Island's Incendiary, who will cap off the entire, breakdown-filled weekend on Saturday, will be making their very first appearance in the Lone Star State.

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Outdoor Texas Music Festivals: What Not to Do

Photo by Anna Hanks via Flickr
The Great ACL Fest Washout of 2013
Note: this article originally appeared on June 4, 2014.

Free Press Summer Fest dodged a pretty serious bullet this year. When festival officials announced that the grounds around Eleanor Tinsley Park needed to be evacuated around 2 p.m. on the Saturday of the festival, some of us who were there had visions of pandemonium at the exits and the kind of heavy rains that would have had leftover props from Russell Crowe's Noah floating down Buffalo Bayou. But we were spared a direct hit from the weather and while the evacuation spawned a ton of predictable social-media carping, all in all everything worked out OK once everyone (finally) got back into the park.

Indeed, FPSF went on to have a pretty successful weekend, eventually drawing hordes of people, especially Sunday, and officially selling out for the second year in a row. No doubt the FPSF folks in the golf carts and production trailers could have done without the close call, but all the same, this near-miss couldn't help but remind us of a few other outdoor Texas festivals some people would probably rather forget. (Note: why are we re-running it in November? Haven't you already started to feel that familiar FPSF itch yet?)

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The Weirdest Photos of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014

photos by Marco Torres
The gate to Keeping Austin Weird at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014

The wrestler named The American Eagle is temporarily knocked out during his match against his opponent named The Great Depression. America wins in the end.

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Love Love Love Fest: The Missed Connections of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014

Photo by Mike Brooks
The love of your life is in this photo. Maybe. Possibly.
This year Fun Fun Fun Fest had an official Make-Out Spot (you can find it on the festival map). While I never actually saw it with my own two eyes, I'm sure that at least a few people used it if it was there; who among us hasn't seen a couple awkwardly making out at a rock show?

Of course, to make out you need a make-out partner, and not everyone is lucky enough to have a +1 in their life. That doesn't mean that they can't find love at a festival; while some of us go to these things to eat our weight in Twinkies (present company included) and hear some good bands, history shows that when music is in the air, love usually is as well.

Like we did last year, we're here to do the Lord's work and help some of the fine folks of Fun Fun Fun Fest connect with their missed connections. Was there someone you met at the fest you think is looking for you? Maybe they are.

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The Best Things Overheard at Fun Fun Fun Fest 2014 (NSFW)

Photo by Cory Garcia
From a chalkboard that asked, "What does Texas mean to you?"
"Hey do you want a Red Bull?"
"No thanks."
"It has vodka in it."

"Let me know if you're gonna do something stupid so I can record it and post it online for karma"

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