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So, How About That FPSF Lineup Anyway?

Deftones
Deftones
Photo by Groovehouse

My initial, visceral reaction to the lineup was two-fold: a) Deftones? Yay!; b) that is a mighty impressive EDM lineup. I figured Zedd was a pretty solid lock for the festival, but Above & Beyond is an outside the box choice that I'm in love with. Having just seen them put on a wonderful set a few weeks ago at Lights All Night, I'm pretty stoked to get them again, outside under the Texas sky. Add in Adventure Club (who killed it at Something Wicked) and Flosstradamus and you've got an EDM lineup with something for everyone.

It's a strong lineup top to bottom, with some great headliners (Wu-Tang, Dwight Yoakam), some rad locals (BLSHS, Bagheera) and some unexpected surprises (Sky Ferreira, Jana Hunter). I imagine I'll be super excited about the festival from now until about 15 minutes after I'm inside the gates, at which point I assume I'll proceed to complaining about the heat endlessly. CORY GARCIA

REWIND: Here's the Free Press Summer Fest 2014 Lineup

I'm just going to put my best foot forward on this one and start with the things that are awesome: Zedd, Lauryn Hill, Deftones. Jack White: not awesome. A lot of acts here I can really dig, but some of this is also very confusing.

Somebody dropped the ball on the hip-hop artists, in my humble opinion. DMX and the Ying-Yang Twins? Surely we could find something more credible than that. We don't need sweat dropping down anyone's balls in the middle of the summer heat, dude. And you will never, ever, ever ever ever convince me of Wu-Tang without Ol' Dirty Bastard. The end. ANGELICA LEICHT

Ms. Lauryn Hill
Ms. Lauryn Hill
Photo by Marco Torres

First, I'm a little amazed at how many big names we pulled. The first eight names alone show more diversity and less predictability than any other festival lineup I've seen thus far, but it's not just the big names. I love scrolling down the list and getting more and more excited at the realization that there will not be a dull moment this year. The small stages are still going to host some big names that, for me, sometimes act as more of a deal-breaker than the headliners.

And really, that says a lot in terms of the weight FPSF has when it comes to the festival circuit. Sure, they've had huge names that have pulled me in from year one, but this is the first time where I feel like I will be going to a festival and enjoying a variety of musicians that I can't have anywhere else.

This isn't an ACL lineup. This isn't a Coachella lineup. This is FPSF doing what it does best: giving you a chance to watch artists you never thought you'd be able to at a time when you didn't even know you wanted to see them. Kudos guys, you've done it again. ALYSSA DUPREE

I'm either getting old or my taste is growing more eclectic as time goes on. For the first time in the festival's admittedly short history, nothing here to entices me. I'm sure it will be a great time for the target audience, but I'm not the target audience anymore. Such is life.

On the positive side, if all of Wu-Tang Clan shows up, that's going to be a hell of a show, and the Deftones are a perfectly reliable token metal band to have on the bill. Unfortunately, the dearth of metal, punk, experimental and alternative music in the lineup, even on the undercard, leaves me cold. COREY DEITERMAN

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Whoa. So, uh, what was that intro video?? A little too made-by-MTV for my taste -- I didn't even catch all the names in that. It was like being at a laser-tag course, minus the weird dried-icy smell of too many smoke machines throwing up all over each other...

But cool, another predictably "okay" line-up that still -- in my mind -- does not justify the potentially life-threatening experience of braving the Houston heat and risking an evening of grass-itch and hiking a mile to my car once the whole thing's over. Again, I see a group of headliners comprised by a couple of oddly nostalgic, recent indie-phenoms that haven't done anything new or note-worthy in at least five years combined with a "world-class" DJ/producer plus an off-puttingly respectable hip-hop act or two, nicely rounded out by a dose of Buzz Rock and an as-expected finishing touch of country-Americana.

It's cool. It's just not anything to geek out over or to justify that we start getting cocky and comparing ourselves to cities of real music events like Austin or Chicago. But carry on, folks. Enjoy the crisp dehydration of a $12 Bud Light in the smog-land. I'll be at home, enjoying the AC and beer at retail prices. LEILA CHEMAM-ALFARO

A pretty damn good lineup, to be sure, but I'm not sure if Jack White, Vampire Weekend, DMX and the Deftones are the draws that will pull in the trust-fund kids/retired Baby Boomers who can afford to pay $140 for a ticket. JOHN SEABORN GRAY

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
Photo by Mark Britain

Well, shucks, I kinda had my heart set on OutKast after that tease of a FPSF Facebook post. This may mark the first time in history that a city has "settled" for the Wu-Tang Clan. Jack White and Vampire Weekend aren't personal favorites of mine, but the Wu, Lauryn Hill and Deftones are going to make for some good times on the southern bank of the bayou.

For the first time, as far as I can recall, there's no big-name local rapper on the bill. Shame, too, since I've always looked forward to seeing the likes of Devin the Dude, Bun B and the Geto Boys on the big stage. That said, it's FPSF. I ain't missin' it, and neither are you. Ought to be fun catching a new batch of artists (especially those EDM types!) that I've never heard of before. NATHAN SMITH

My reactions:

  • Please God let Lauryn Hill play tracks off of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and not be too crazy. Unless it is entertaining.
  • Vampire Weekend: Yay!
  • How will Jack White even decide what to play? He's got a catalog of what, about 9,432,456 bands to choose from at this point?
  • There is a kick-ass amount of variety at this festival this year. If anyone seriously thinks there isn't, look in the mirror and ask yourself to stop being such a boner. SELENA DIERINGER

This year's lineup is varied as always, dipping in many genres. As for the headliners, four or five years ago I was crazy over all things Jack White, though I'm not sure what he's been up to lately. Some of the electronic and hip-hop acts currently provide a more appealing alternative to me than White and his calculated noodling. That said, it seems there will be something there for everyone.

On another note, while the lineup is heavy with bigger names, smaller local acts seem to have been left out. While FPSF is moving to new heights, I think someone should provide the variety of a sizable festival more centric to our local scene, as we've had in the past with, say, Westheimer Block Party. ALEXA CRENSHAW

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Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan
Photo by Marco Torres

I'm less interested in my own reaction to the talent announcement than your reaction. If for whatever reason you do care who I'm excited to see, I'll indulge you a bit. In no specific order, it's Die Antwoord; Childish Gambino; Lauryn Hill; Jack White; Mariachi El Bronx; Shakey Graves; Wu-Tang. Everything else, of which there's plenty to be excited about, is just cake icing.

I was way more interested in what music fans were thinking just before and after the announcement. I'm happy to say throngs of you seem to have a real understanding that this annual event is fucking awesome and great for the city. Some of you were taking to the Summerfest Facebook page to label them as "cock teases," presumably in the most loving of ways, just before the announcement. Faux announcement posters started making the rounds, a la Coachella. It was thrilling.

When the announcement was made and nope, no OutKast, very few of you were foolish enough to dismiss it all just for their absence. No one I know said, "Meh." But if you did, stop being an ass and get with the program. Year after year, the lineup improves and if you can't see that then just stay home and listen to your obscure, too-cool-for-us-all records on your phonograph. You'll be one fewer body in line at the porta-toilets. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.

I've been over this thing for a couple of years. It's just too hot, too dirty, and now too expensive. The saving grace -- if there is one -- is one of those too-infrequent visits to Houston by the Kills. Give me a double bill with the Kills and the Ravonettes and I can die happy. Dwight Yoakam is a nice addition, Drive By Truckers too. But as always, too top-heavy with indie rock and disposable pop crap that only Paste magazine can feign excitement about. Think I'll go fishin'. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Die Antwoord
Die Antwoord
Photo by Groovehouse

You did it, guys. You finally put together a lineup that can compete on a national scale. It started out as a mostly local festival, with a few regional headliners, but now has blossomed into a first-class event that should pull a fair amount of newcomers to our city.

As for the lineup, it's great. You have everything you could ask for in a good festival: two solid headliners in Jack White and Vampire Weekend that will keep people in the park for the entirety of each night; a fair share of up-and-coming indie bands that will help to sell tickets to the youngsters; an EDM card that would make a solid festival in itself; a good amount of hip-hop to mix it up a little bit; and a bunch of locals to fill up the stages in the earlier parts of each day.

But it's what you haven't done that excites me the most. You haven't pulled away from your roots and are still continuing to bring acts that you wouldn't find at most festivals of this size and caliber. I mean, do you think Fun Fun Fun Fest or ACL would ever have Dwight Yoakam, DMX and the Deftones on the same bill? Doubt it. Lauryn Hill, Die Antwoord and the Ying Yang Twins? Yeah right. As a festival, you continue to not give a fuck about what the standard is, and instead give us acts that bring their all to the live performance.

As much as the venue, people attending, art, design and extracuricular activities of a festival define its basic structure, at the end of the day it's the music that people remember the most. You guys brought it hard this year. Can't wait until day one. JIM BRICKER

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