Dispatch From the VIP Grove

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What do you know? I'm feeling much more civilized, and all it took was a brief trip to the VIP Grove to see how the other half lives. The festival's sponsors and other honored guests - as in people willing to shell out about 600 clams on top of the $170 three-day ACL pass - are privy to all sorts of amenities: free food from tony Austin restaraunts, full bar, Internet lounge, mini-spa including masseuse, free cowboy hat from Blackstone wine merchants and about half the trees in Zilker Park. Guess $600 buys a lot of shade.

The only drawback is that it's kind of hard to see any music when you're schmoozing with the high rollers - who are dressed an awful lot like everyone else here - unless you're happy witih whoever's on the nearby Dell stage. Against Me! was during my little sojurn, and the new Clash didn't disappoint. (My old boss, Austin Chronicle publisher Nick Barbaro and his wife Susan Moffat, were about to go watch the Floridian politico-punks, taking care to make sure son Zeke didn't spy them rocking out.)

I think I'll stick with my little media wristband; over the weekend it's been no big deal to look up from the laptop and see Sharon Jones or Scott Biram walk by. Still, I think I may go back later for that massage. - Chris Gray

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.