As many Houstonians and local festival fans know, Free Press Summer Festival doesn’t have the best reputation, but being loyal fans and lovers of music, we always stay hopeful. Despite complaints about the lineup when it was released, it had some fresh and promising acts. From DJs like Cashmere Cat and Jauz, to headliners like Flume and Lorde, it seemed like it could be a good time. The festival was also back at its home field in Eleanor Tinsley Park, with the view of downtown Houston we all love. However, as usual, the weather was what brought the festival down again.
On Saturday gates opened to a pretty sunny day and some good quality sets. The set up in the park itself wasn’t great but people were finding their way around. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, by 5:30pm the rain started pouring, and with some lightning added in, they evacuated the festival. Once the rain cleared up, they invited everyone back around 8:30pm for the headliners of the night. Trekking through mud for their favorite artists, everyone came back full of energy hoping to still make the best of the festival. G-Easy and Cage the Elephant both played good sets, hyping up the crowd and sounding good despite the messy weather.
Leaving Saturday night covered in mud, crowds returned fresh and ready for Sunday’s promising lineup. With looming clouds, rain started again in the afternoon and the festival had to evacuate once again. It wasn’t until around 6pm that the festival let fans know it was cancelled for the day due to flooding in the park. They did state they would be issuing 50% refunds, but that didn’t ease the disappointment of many fans about not being able to see their favorite artists.
Sunday night via social media, some of the artists supposed to play FPSF teamed up with local venues to put on free concerts for disappointed Free Press goers. The first one announced was at White Oak Music Hall, with Deep Cuts, Amine, and Portugal. The Man playing. Another show was announced shortly after at Stereo Live, with Party Favor, Jai Wolf, and Jauz playing. Although the decision was difficult, I ended up at Stereo Live, and after waiting for about an hour due to the massive crowds waiting to get in, I made it and finally got to see some of the artists I was looking forward to.
Despite the massive crowds, nearly everyone got in, and the venue did a good job of keeping things organized even with last minute planning. Up and coming DJ/Producer, and part of Foreign Family Collective, Jai Wolf did not disappoint with his impressive set. He brought some great energy, hyping up the crowd and dropping some fun remixes that got everyone dancing. With no intermission, EDM producer Jauz came on right after, and it was clear the venue was packed with passionate fans. Jai Wolf’s set was a good build up to Jauz’s more intense beats, as he got the whole building vibrating. It’s no surprise Jauz has played several popular EDM festivals the past few years, including EDC Las Vegas this summer. His quality and energy is exactly what fans of the EDM scene want, and his collaborations with artists like San Holo and Tiesto have broadened his fanbase even more.
Overall, despite the letdown of Free Press due to weather once again, the free pop up concerts Sunday nights gave fans a place to get together and enjoy what they came for that weekend – good music and good energy. Who knows, maybe next year we’ll actually get nice weather for Free Press weekend!