Houston Needs Something Wicked to Bounce Back

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Having to cancel your entire event is not the worst thing that can happen to a music festival, but it’s pretty close. The only things that are worse are the types of things that get you kicked out of a venue forever — drug overdoses, riots, deaths, things of that nature. Those can keep a dark cloud around your name forever.

So no, having to call off your festival because of weather is absolutely not the worst thing that can happen. In fact, it’s the decision that could very well keep something worse from happening.

Of course, try explaining that to the people, ticket in hand, who have traveled to your festival. You know, the ones who, seconds after they’ve found out what happened, pull out their cell phones to point out their tickets say "rain or shine" like they don’t know what it really means.

Not that you can blame them for being upset. After all, it’s rarely just the ticket price they’re upset about. It’s the money spent on gas, on hotels, on road food and beers along the way. It’s the time investment, the hours spent traveling, planning, waiting and letting expectation build. It’s the dream of a wild weekend gone up in flame.

Last year was a particularly brutal one for the Something Wonderful/Something Wicked brand. Something Wonderful, up in Dallas, got shut down because of the weather after only about half of the scheduled performances had taken place. Something Wicked didn’t happen at all, a victim of Mother Nature going rain-happy the weekend of the event, turning the fields at Sam Houston Race Park into a mud soup that people were still willing to dance in, given the chance.

So far, it seems like 2016 has been a good year for the promoters of the two events. Reviews of Something Wonderful earlier this year were positive and, as of this writing, it looks like the weather is going to play nice for Something Wicked. It would be great if Mother Nature did the festival a solid this year because Something Wicked is a great addition to the admittedly crowded Houston festival lineup.

While there are some bad apples and overly aggressive bros, broadly speaking, dance-music fans are my favorite fans behind Juggalos. They are the most welcoming, engaged, enthusiastic fans you’ll come across, somehow managing to both be excited about everything and yet make everything seem important. Just because I don’t understand their clothing decisions doesn’t mean I don’t respect their dedication to the music. And I'm glad something exists in Houston to give them two days to embrace their genre of choice and dance their asses off without having to sit through a bunch of acts they don't care about. 

While Houston gets its fair share of EDM shows over the course of the year, at Stereo Live and other venues, Something Wicked, when it’s not rained out, is something special. Other than Day for Night, which is a next-level, game-changing festival, there’s no festival in Houston more visually stunning than Something Wicked, and yes, that does include FPSF. At its best, Something Wicked competes with the best Texas has to offer in terms of festival theming, visuals and experience. Middlelands has a lot to live up to coming into the market. 

I hear you grumbling about how EDM isn’t real music and how dudes behind laptops will never be cool. I get it. I do. The big beats, booming bass and anthemic melodies are not for everyone, but just because they’re not for you doesn’t mean the music doesn’t have soul. Soul is something that we, the living and dancing, put into music. Music is soulless until we put the soul into it, no matter if that song was written on a lone acoustic guitar or a cracked copy of FL Studio. A song playing unlistened to on a set of headphones has about as much of a soul as a piece of plastic, no matter the genre, but magic happens when a pair of ears listens.

Something Wicked will never be everyone’s cup of tea. Hell, for a 33-year-old who has never done drugs and just wants to sit around listening to the Hamilton score all day, it’s really not even supposed to be my cup of tea. But the thing is, even when it was chilly outside, even when a bro tried to peer-pressure me into dancing, even when I had a massive head cold that made watching my favorite DJ almost physically painful, I’ve always had a great time at Something Wicked. Yeah, other festivals have DJs, but those DJs aren’t playing to a crowd of happy dance fans eager to experience every melody and every drop, even if some dance fans do show up at those festivals just to dance. Plus it's not 32,000 degrees outside, which is always a bonus.

It’s easy to sleep on Houston’s big EDM festival because it is Houston’s big EDM festival, but that would be folly. In a crowded festival lineup in a festival-heavy state, it is a standout and one of the best times you can have all year, provided it doesn’t rain. Here's hoping Something Wicked 2016 delivers and makes everyone forget what happened last year. Houston needs its big, bright EDM festival.

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