2009 Concert Rewind: Backtracking to Free Press Houston Summerfest

Craig Hlavaty: "The two-day concert reminded us of a fun-size Austin City Limits Festival, with the best bits of Westheimer Block Parties of yore thrown in for good measure, with sprinkles of Houston's best and brightest personalities sprinkled throughout. The biggest treat was the seemingly vegetarian crowd, meaning there was no beef. "The norm for Houston festivals in the past has been a tornado of male angst and posturing. Hugs and smiles abounded as old friends became reacquainted or people bonded together over beers, body paint, sweat, and music... "All told, Houston shone Saturday and Sunday. With each passing hour, smiles got bigger and expectations for next year's event began to grow." Adam P. Newton: "Simply put, the weekend was all about the music, and the bands that played dealt a rather hearty blow to the naysayers' arguments. "Free Press Summerfest displayed to the doubters and non-believers inside and outside our fair city that Houston most assuredly does have an active, thriving, imaginative music scene. To say otherwise means you haven't been paying much attention to the strides many of our most talented local acts have taken in the past 18 months. "Both days found Eleanor Tinsley Park teeming with teenagers, twentysomethings and a surprising number of families all coming together to have a great time with great local bands, celebrating some of the best music our city has to offer. Moreover, Aftermath thought it was wonderful to be able to interact with several bands before and after their sets, as many members of several notable acts were present for both days of the Festival, lending the event a family-picnic feel to the whole event." Kim Douglass: "Though the weather tried its hardest (and hottest) to keep Summerfest down, it was just no match for Houstonians' love of massively sized events. Over this weekend, Rocks Off was very proud to be from Houston for several reasons: the amount of local musicians willing to play roadie/security for two days, the lack of bitching about Sunday's rain delay and most of all the fans. "Thousands coming out in more than 100-degree weather, and staying from high noon to after sunset, brought back that famous line from Field of Dreams: 'If you build it, they will come.' Summerfest was built and hyped for months, and Houston did indeed come." Chris Gray: ​"Whether or not Summerfest's organizers meant to put the festival on the same weekend the national and international music media's eyes and ears were attuned to Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park, they couldn't have set up a better analogy. Every time Aftermath glanced up from one of the stages to the downtown skyline across I-45, it reminded him of being at Lollapalooza's first fixed-location festival in 2005. ​"And then every time we glanced back at the stage and saw Los Skarnales singer Felipe Galvan slapping hands with fans in the front row, Sideshow Tramps' Craig Kinsey standing on the monitors, one hand lifted skyward as he shouted down 'John the Revelator,' or the same people eagerly dancing to the blissful indie-pop of Wild Moccasins and the Eastern Sea as would later wave their hands from side to side during Devin, it made us wonder how anyone watching Depeche Mode or Kings of Leon in Grant Park could possibly be having as much fun. "The short answer is, they probably weren't." See here for a slideshow from Summerfest Day 1... ...and here for Day 2.

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