With one of the biggest lineups in the festival’s history happening on one of the hottest weekends in history, this year’s Float Fest made for one hot hell of a time.
Just one of many Texas music festivals, Float Fest sets itself from the rest by featuring on-site camping and tubing all while getting to see a diverse line up of big names. Taking place just off the San Marcos River, this year’s festival followed the trend by offering the chance to see headliners such as Snoop Dogg, Tame Impala and The Toadies all without any overlap in performances. Despite the weekend’s record heat, the small close-knit environment and impressive lineup make for unique experience worth the sunburn.
In part because of concert ground’s modest size, it’s easy to run into familiar faces, making it easy to make new friends. This year was communication and leadership senior Tyler Pugh’s first time at Float Fest. He said the festival’s close-knit atmosphere reminds him of a less-saturated Austin City Limits.
“It’s an interesting vibe, it’s very open, its kind of a simplified summer version of ACL,” Pugh said. “There is this Zilker vibe, It’s very open, everyone is outside just chillin.”
Corbin Heinchon, a radio-television-film senior, also appreciates the size of the festival. He said it contributes to a more intimate experience, bringing you as close to as close as possible to some once in a lifetime performances.
“It’s a lot smaller which is cool, like they only have one band going at a time. The bands are so cool but there is not (too many) people,” Heinchon said. “The lineup is still ACL quality, they don’t have Paul McCartney, but they have Snoop Dogg which is huge.”
Heinchon said it’s not just the big names that makes Float Fest the experience that it is. Smaller acts such as Main Man, featuring Christopher Mintz-Plasse A.K.A McLovin from the movie Superbad, on guitar and Austin-based rap group Blackillac along with others surprised crowds with engaging performances.
“All the bands are super cool, even if you don’t know them,” Heinchon said
Despite its pros, the festival isn’t without its own shortcomings. Austin musician Cody Mason has been to every Float Fest since the first one in 2014. He said an impressive lineup is something the festival has had down since the beginning, and over the years, they have improved their concert ground to river transportation, but water access could be much better.
“The first one was really interesting because they had a really solid budget, and so their booking was really solid, and then I’ve seen as time goes on, they’ve definitely put more money into the logistics,” Mason said. “It still has its up and downs, the big ones are hydration, which every festival can definitely can use some creative hydration programs. Here I’ve only seen one water station, (the water is) cold but it’s 108 degrees outside.”
Being a summer music festival, high temperatures are inescapable. Mason said as long the festival continues to deliver by bringing the huge names to smaller crowds, the heat is just a necessary gauntlet for the good time.
“It’s kind of a niche festival in that you can see so many high caliber acts for a really low ticket price and no overlap,” Mason said. “It’s kind of a unique set up because most festivals are oversaturated.”