The Great Outdoors
I don't know about you, but I am not totally in love with winter weather. Yes, it affords you the ability to wear beanies and cool fingerless gloves and to dress like a hoodlum, but it's the heat that I love the most.
That's why I love thinking about music festivals, because that's where we all get to sweat like pigs in the sun or like fat parents at EDM festivals. To break the shackles of these layers of clothes and embrace the majesty of tiny shorts and tank tops, and touch the face of sexiness.
Out of kindness, I will inform you that this article will traffic only in festivals that are easily accessible to Houstonians or are popular fest destinations for said Houstonians.
I am sure plenty of you go to Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Lollapalooza in Chicago and Coachella in California. Good on ya, and I am excited that you will be seeing Atoms for Peace or something.
Free Press Summer Fest (June 1-2, Eleanor Tinsley Park): I put this at the top of this list because this is all any of you care about. No, Rocks Off knows nothing about the lineup. No, we don't have free passes, and no, Omar and the Pegstar gang haven't even hinted at who will play year No. 5. (Indeed.) But of course you all have your wish lists, as do we all at Rocks Off. All I want is Beck. And Turbonegro. And maybe ZZ Top.
Austin City Limits Music Festival (October 4-6 and 11-13, Zilker Park, Austin): ACL moves into strange and uncharted territory this year by expanding to two weekends, with identical lineups each time. How will Austin cope with two straight weeks of mud, beer, blood and bicycles infesting the city? Well, for one, they will be too busy counting all the money that comes into the state capital to care. Yes, I know native Austinites hate it, but it just gives them a good excuse to go visit Houston or NOLA until the storm passes.
As far as performers go, a look at the 2013 new-release roster could hold the key. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, John Fogerty, My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Pearl Jam are all set to release new music over the next 12 months. Keeping marquee acts like Daft Punk and Beck in the state of Texas for a week could be an issue, though, but if the money is right...
Of course, the smaller bands on the bill end up being the biggest surprises. The Lumineers' set last year probably needed to be on a much bigger stage than their Austin Ventures setting.
35 Denton (March 7-10, Denton): Denton's indie festival has already announced Thurston Moore's new group Chelsea Light Moving as one of the acts for this year's go-round. The lineup for this fest usually lines up right with that of SXSW, too.
Euphoria (April 12-13, New Braunfels): Euphoria is an EDM festival set in New Braunfels, on the river. As EDM grows, we can see this one just getting bigger and bigger.
SXSW (March 12-17, Austin): SXSW's interactive side — the tech-laden part, with comedy and film attached — is slowly beginning to overtake SXSW's musical side ever so surely in terms of spectacle and big names. Tech companies and Web sites with deep pockets are known to book giant acts before the first Japanese punk band even hits town for the four-day music binge.
A few dozen acts have already been announced on the music end, and Dave Grohl is set to be the keynote speaker March 14 at the Austin Convention Center. Grohl's supergroup attached to his Sound City flick could make an appearance, too.
Houston International Festival (April 19-21 and 27-28, Downtown Houston): Pollstar has already leaked a few names for the 2013 edition of iFest, including Leftover Salmon and The Wailers. There is always a fun wild card in the bunch, like George Clinton, so stay tuned.
Something Wicked (Fall, TBA): Last year megapromoter Disco Donnie Presents and Houston's own Nightculture brought a little Electric Daisy Carnival-style magic to Sam Houston Race Park for this Southeast Texas EDM fest. No word yet on the 2013 edition's where or when, but it's still early.
Fun Fun Fun Fest (November 8-10, Auditorium Shores, Austin): The eighth edition of FFFF will no doubt feature a few action-packed reunion sets and one-offs, as the fest organizers are virtual magicians when it comes to getting beloved acts back together. Refused, Run-DMC and the Descendents are just a few landmark groups that FFFF has brought to Austin. Personally, I hope Queens of the Stone Age make this one; they will be releasing a new album this year, after all.
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