*** Credit where it's due, Free Press pulled off a miracle this year. What could have been a disaster turned out to be a reminder of this city's resilience and a testament to our nickname: Clutch City. It may not have been the prettiest outcome, but the job got done. Big ups to everyone involved. Also, in some ways, this venue worked better than Eleanor Tinsley Park did. Who knew? (MATTHEW KEEVER)
*** Considering the NRG Yellow Lot FPSF reboot was essentially thrown together at the last minute, FPSF exemplified what is possible when good people team together and employ a positive, solutions-oriented mindset. In short, they really pulled it off. The layout of the fest was a particular success considering the obvious challenges of size and terrain. It was easy to get from one stage to the next and as a result see twice as many artists as usual, even so, there was minimal sound disturbance despite the stages being so close together. All in all this year's FPSF felt like a completely different festival than years gone by, but that's okay. It worked. (SELENA DIERINGER)
*** The Chair Thing: sitting down isn't going to magically make you feel less hot, but not-standing will help you fight the good fight all day. Letting people bring in chairs was a smart decision because just being on hot concrete is exhausting, so letting people enjoy the tunes without forcing them to stand all day was nice of the fest. (CORY GARCIA)
*** The porta-potty layout and maintenance was better this year than anything I've encountered at FPSF before. Often, there were zero lines to wait under the baking sun, forcing well-hydrated (and well-lubricated) revelers to miss cool acts. In fact, there were spots inside each of the cans that I used that didn't appear to have been repeatedly pissed on. It was a notable and welcome improvement, making me almost wish I'd brought a book. (NATHAN SMITH)
*** Every year, the FPSF food options get better and better, mainly showcasing local businesses and helping keep the festival Houston-centric. This year was no different, with drool-worthy picks all over the grounds, made even better by trucks and booths all being equipped with better technology for card-payers. Top picks this year: The Sandled Chef, where the impossibly attractive staff served delicious pulled pork and kale slaw sandwiches; Coreanos, driven by the fantastic "Gregg with two Gs" from the Koagie Hots truck, serving up the best new burritos in town. Check out the perfectly-sized Babe, made with marinated pork, kimchi, cilantro, onions, and cheese. (SELENA DIERINGER)
*** Water Everywhere: this may be a byproduct of the move to NRG park and the fest reducing its size, but it felt like it was much easier to find free water this year than it has in the past. I mean, you were going to sweat it all out almost immediately, but that's what FPSF is all about. (CORY GARCIA)
*** Finding parking close to the festival's entrance proved to be a snap. The pricing was outrageous, sure, but once I sacked up and handed over the money, getting in and out of the fest was a breeze. Frankly, it felt perversely fitting for a big Houston event to be surround by overpriced, oceanic parking lots. Remind me, how were we doing this before? (NATHAN SMITH)
*** FPSF got right the setup and layout of the festival. You never had to walk very far to get to another stage or set up for food or drinks. Also, the amount of bathrooms seemed to be the right amount. Sure, there were lines at some of the bathrooms, but you really did not need to wait around if you didn’t mind walking to the next grouping of port-o-cans. (JACK GORMAN)
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*** The fact that Omar Afra and the folks running FPSF were able to move that entire festival from one part of town to the other with only a week's notice was pretty darn impressive. Yeah, it's not the same on the pavement, but...you know. You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can't predict the weather, or something like that. So kudos to doin' work, y'all. I would have sat on the rain-saturated bayou and cried for a week instead. (ANGELICA LEICHT)
*** I thought the new location was a success. The layout was great, and there was so much room to move around and travel between stages quickly. I actually prefer this location over Eleanor Tinsley. I did miss the skyline, but that's about it. Things felt more laid-back this year. People, including security, were actually nice and helpful. Yes, it was hot. Scorching even. And shade was minimal. But it’s always hot, and we still survive every year and have fun doing it. The mayor was there having fun. The Welcome to Houston rappers were excited once again to be in front of so many of their fans. I caught Slim and Bun sitting back and watching Lil Flip just like everyone else. The Suffers sounded amazing, always, for both sets. I had fun, and in the end, that's why we do this. (MARCO TORRES)