Why "Scene Festivals" Are Really Bad For Bands

It's that season again. It's time for Houston to be inundated with touring metal, punk and hardcore festivals, from Warped Tour to the All-Stars Tour to the upcoming Summer Slaughter Tour. It's an opportunity for kids to see all their favorite bands from those scenes all crammed together on one massive bill.

I, however, have a bone to pick with these festivals. While the lineups can range from amazing to spotty, they all have one problem in common: their focus. Sure, it's great for some fans to see all their favorites in one place, but what of outsiders? I personally feel this could be a hindrance for the bands themselves, and here's why.

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Here's Where Houston Whatever Fest Came From

Scheduled HWF performer Andrew WK already gives the new festival a big thumbs-up.
If you happened to head down to Lucky's Pub during the height of this year's World Cup action, you probably noticed the district around BBVA Compass Stadium, the several apartment blocks in the area and Warehouse Live has become one of those thriving urban pockets that so-called "livable city" advocates always talk about. Turns out it's even got its own nickname, the "EaDo Party Park."

Wednesday afternoon word started circulating on social media of a new music festival in this Party Park, which longtime Warehouse Live talent buyer Jason Price confirmed to us Thursday morning. Dubbed "Houston Whatever Fest," the two-day indoor/outdoor event is scheduled for August 9 and 10 at a most reasonably price: $55 for a two-day pass.

The HWF lineup currently features some some thirtysomething performers, predominantly hard rock, punk, indie and electronica, with outliers like female rapper Kreayshawn, New Orleans funkateers the Rebirth Brass Band and a reunion of popular Houston DJ crew the Boys and Girls Club. But plans also call for HWF to put almost as many comedy acts onstage, making it a kissin' cousin to Austin's popular Fun Fun Fun Fest.

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Whatever: Houston's Getting Another Music Fest Next Month

Is Houston ready to sweat out two more days of music barely two months after Free Press Summer Fest, only this time with a little more laughter?

We may be about to find out. Wednesday afternoon, a new festival calling itself Houston Whatever Fest popped up online and on social media, promising music and comedy (and more) on August 9 and 10 somewhere called EaDo Party Park. Not sure if that's a thing, but the Facebook event page lists the same address as Warehouse Live.

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Diverse Bands Sound a Grace Note for Homeless Youth

Photo courtesy of Doomstress Alexis
L-R: Grace Note organizers Rally Terrill, Chase Hamblin and Doomstress Alexis
Mayor Annise Parker declared July 5, 2013 "Doomstress Alexis Day," in honor of the Project Armageddon front woman's dedication to Houston's LGBT community.

"Immediately after, fans, friends and both music and LGBT community supporters were asking what I was planning for 2014," she says. "I truly felt that Doomstress Alexis Day stood for the whole transgender community and the hope of things we could achieve, and not just me."

So, a year to the date, the Doomstress, her band and some of the city's best-known acts from a variety of genres are coming together for Grace Note, a festival-styled concert benefiting the Montrose Grace Place homeless shelter.

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The 20 Most Beautiful People at Electric Daisy Carnival 2014

Note: this article is a gift from our good friends at LA Weekly and OC Weekly.

All photos by Christopher Victorio
You thought only homely people went to Electric Daisy Carnival this past weekend? Think again! This year, per usual, the bold and the beautiful made their way to Las Vegas for parties that lasted all night long.

Here are the concertgoers, shot by Christopher Victorio, whom we found particularly enchanting.

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Acts to Watch From the Springboard South Festival

Jamell "Melly Mel" Richardson
Someone suggested "Music Is Life," which is a nice slogan but simply isn't true. Life includes mowing grass, getting oil changes and scrubbing toilets, all things that kept me from the Springboard South Music Festival on Saturday.

So, with apologies to those who performed on my honey-do day, I tried to make up for some lost time by seeing as many acts as I could on Sunday. Here's a rundown on some of the talent that brought a strong close to the 2014 festival:

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UPDATED: The Best and Worst Things at EDC Las Vegas 2014

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

Photos courtesy of LA Weekly
UPDATE (June 25, 1:45 p.m.): See correction at end. What's it like partying with 134,000 of your closest friends?

After a fourth year covering Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, the size and scope of America's largest electronic dance music festival (and, really, one of the country's largest music events, period) still just leaves us breathless.

This is the definition of massive. That this culture has gone from warehouse raves with one laser and a few hundred people to a 1,500-acre event so large that the only way to avoid an hour-plus worth of traffic is to arrive by helicopter is astonishing, especially if you were part of the scene in its early days.

What's not to like? We'll start with the worst:

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Friday Night at Springboard South: A Beat-Down of Its Own

L-R: Duck and Bigg Fatts
The nature of Springboard South was evident just looking for parking on St. Emanuel to get to the event at Warehouse Live on Friday night.

The upstart, three-day music fest opened the evening with its hip hop and R&B acts. The dearth of available street parking had little to do with Springboard, though. The cars that flooded the area were mostly driven by rap fans who were headed to BBVA Compass Stadium for the H-Town Beat Down.

Maybe Springboard's organizers intentionally scheduled these acts Friday night to capture some of the foot traffic departing the soccer stadium after hearing Kendrick Lamar and a host of established rap acts. It could have been pure coincidence. Either way, the symbiosis wasn't lost on the handful of us there to watch Springboard's emerging rappers and soulful singers. You had to be careful walking into Warehouse to not trip over the umbilical cord that connected these acts from those performing a stadium show just steps away in downtown Houston.

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Raver's Death at EDC Vegas Under Investigation

Note: Our L.A. Weekly sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, this weekend's EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

Photos by Christopher Victorio/Courtesy of LA Weekly
The Clark County Coroner is investigating the death of a 24-year-old who collapsed outside Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas Saturday morning.

An autopsy was being conducted this weekend, but results aren't yet available to the media, an official at the coroner's office told us. If drug use is suspected, it's likely that a cause-of-death determination will be put off until investigators get their hands on toxicology test results.

The raver, who collapsed outside the three-day festival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, was identified as Montgomery Tsang of San Leandro, Calif. He was pronounced dead at a University Hospital at 6:15 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

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This Year's Electric Daisy Carnival Headliners Are Just Awful

Note: Rocks Off's L.A. sister blog West Coast Sound sent a team to the Electric Daisy Carnival, the annual EDM extravaganza in Las Vegas. This article was written by Dennis Romero.

Photos courtesy of L.A. Weekly
Big isn't always better. The fourth installment of Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is drawing 100,000 people per night.

The challenge facing its L.A.-based promoter, Insomniac, is how to balance what has now become radio pop, with electronic dance music's underground roots.

In order to live so large, with one of the biggest festival stages in North America, the music has to be over-the-top. We're talking Steve Angello, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Afrojack. Unfortunately this is often...

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