As much as Rocks Off has been talking about it, planning it, and writing about it these past two months or so, it doesn't seem possible that our first-ever Best of Houston® BestFest is only 10 short days away. By the time we finish coughing up all the dust from our trip to the no-smoking Austin City Limits Festival in tinder-dry Travis County this weekend, there may only be a day or two left.
In fact, the more we think about ACL, the better and better BestFest looks. The field is smaller, the lineup is stacked with artists we've come to know and love over the years, and the Midtown superblock is about three regular blocks from Rocks Off's apartment. Also, Leon's Lounge, our current favorite H-town watering hole, is literally across the street.
But BestFest is not meant to be a miniature ACL any more than it's a knockoff of Free Press Summer Fest, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Woodstock or Monterey Pop. It's very much its own festival, conceived as a version of the annual Houston Press Best of Houston® issue - the 23rd version of which hits newsstands September 29 - brought to life.
Just today, we finally put the finishing touches on the BestFest musical lineup with funky soul-jazz flautist Althea Rene, Montrose rude boys Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans, and the one-of-a-kind Texas Brass Band, which combines elements of New Orleans parade music and marching bands like TSU's famous "Ocean of Soul."
Rocks Off would like to thank all the other artists who inquired about playing BestFest, and apologize for not being able to squeeze you in. Hopefully we'll be able to do this again next year - and the best way for that to happen is for you and your friends to buy tickets. So anyways, at long last, here is when and where everyone is playing.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 Gates open at noon
HOME BREW STAGE
1:30 p.m. Texas Brass Band 2:30 p.m.: Althea Rene 4 p.m.: The Tontons 5:45 p.m.: Slim Thug 7:45 p.m.: Bun B
1 p.m.: Hell City Kings 2 p.m.: thelastplaceyoulook 3:15 p.m.: Los Skarnales 4:45 p.m.: Chamillionaire 6:45 p.m.: Against Me! 8:45 p.m.: Toadies
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 Gates open at noon
HOME BREW STAGE
12:30 p.m.: Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man 1:30 p.m.: Wild Moccasins 2:30 p.m.: Honky Tonk Blood Brothers Craig Kinsey, Hank Schyma & John Evans 4 p.m.: Buxton 5:45 p.m. Hayes Carll
1 p.m. Ryan Scroggins & the Trenchtown Texans 2 p.m. Little Joe Washington 3:15 p.m. Carolyn Wonderland 4:45 p.m. Deer Tick 6:45 p.m. Cake
Now. Let's see... what else? There's a nice hefty list of BestFest food vendors, visual artists and all that other good stuff at bestfesthouston.com.
You can also buy your tickets there - or, today only, VIP weekend passes are the Village Voice Deal of the Day, a steal at only $75. According to the DOD site, that gets you "access to the Mercedes-Benz VIP lounge with appetizer buffet, free non-alcoholic refreshments, lounge-style seating, private viewing area next to the stage and more." Besides the Deal of the Day, your chance to vote in this year's Best of Houston® readers' poll also ends at midnight.
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So there you go. As for parking, Rocks Off still recommends you ride the MetroRail to the McGowen stop. That will let you off right by the superblock, but if you must drive, the good folks at Houston Community College have donated the lots at HCC's central campus for BestFest parking.
Anyways, that's about all Rocks Off can think of to tell you that we haven't already. Should be fun. See you out there, Houston.