It's a Free Country: Fans Second-Guess Summer Fest Lineup

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The late Rick Nelson once sang, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself."

For sure, there are better credos to live by, but this would be the one I'd hang onto were I tasked with booking talent for Free Press Summer Fest.

A week and a half away from the event, the caterwauling about who should or shouldn't be on the lineup is still loud enough to hear, and won't be drowned out until the first bands crank up the amps May 31. Scrolling through Facebook one afternoon, I came across a prime example written by one Jonathan Matt Adame.

Adame posted a one-star review of the lineup on Summer Fest's Facebook page. His chief suggestion to organizers to make this event more inclusive was, "Please quit with the shitty EDM and indie bands, that shit is lame." His second suggestion was to hire him to help book bands for next year's event. His last bit of advice: "Don't let the egotism go to y'all's heads...fuckin' corporate pigs."

I disagree with the kid, on the whole. I think this year's lineup is pretty solid, though it did skimp a bit on pure rock acts or punk bands. At least last year we got Iggy Pop.

I like the idea that Adame voiced his opinion, though. Some part of me hopes FPSF's organizers want to hear the discord as much as the praise. Maybe they heard you loud and clear last year, Houston, and maybe your voice helped shape this year's schedule.

All of this got me wondering who you'd scratch from this year's lineup and who might replace them. A few Rocks Off faithful -- readers and staff -- offered the following:

Reader Daniel Torres suggested removing Edward Sharpe, Lauryn Hill and Cage the Elephant.

"Sure, these names have potential to bring Houston a great performance, but with the omission of these three, it frees up some money for one banner act to round out the headliners," said Torres, a perennial FPSF patron who has also been to Coachella, Voodoo Fest and ACL.

"The undercard at this year's fest is impressive with the inclusion of The Naked And Famous, Washed Out and Tune-Yards, but it lacks that headliner punch to solidify our fest as a contender with the big boys in Austin and in the desert," he added. "My pick would be The Black Keys, The Killers or Queens of the Stone Age."

Steve Ruiz is a local promoter, so he's no stranger to booking acts, albeit on a much smaller scale. He's an idea man.

"I would replace the Ying Yang Twins with Insane Clown Posse," he said. "Both groups bring a scummy crowd, but for the sake of people-watching ICP takes the cake. Plus, like it or not, ICP would move a lot more tickets."

"I'm imaging a cool West Side Story-styled fight with Juggalos and hipsters at Free Press now," I told him.

"I think that fight would look a little like this," he replied, and sent me the link to Goblin Cock's batshit-crazy video for "We've Got a Bleeder."

Jacob Berg, a fellow RO reader, endorsed acts that have already played Free Press and were impressive.

"Primus, Gogol Bordello and Geto Boys. Replace who you will on the bill, but those three need to be there, in my opinion," he said.

Houston Press's Web Editor, Cory Garcia, went on the record, saying, "I'd swap Chvrches for Purity Ring. The former was here in the last year and the latter, far as I can tell, has yet to play Houston."

"Wu-tang is amazing and legends and all that, but I'd rather see a reunited Three 6 Mafia," said Rocks Off's own Marco Torres. "Or better yet, a Cash Money reunion of The Hot Boys with Juvenile, BG, Lil Wayne and Turk.

"But my real answer," he daydreamed, "is Pharrell and The Neptunes (N.E.R.D.). He needs to tour, as hot as he is right now."

As for my own two cents, I'd rub the pennies together to see if Lily Allen, The Menzingers and Bo Burnham could magically appear. I'd be okay with losing DMX, Cage the Elephant and Above & Beyond to make that happen.

I asked Adame, who sort of spurred these thoughts, who he'd book in place of some of the bands he seemed to despise.

"FLAG, Bloc Party, Wu Tang -- and yes, I know they are coming -- Hopsin, Morrissey, Stephen, Damian or Ziggy Marley, The Offspring, ALL, maybe some comedy by Cheech and Chong, Television, Body Count, Ice-T, Wiz Khalifa, The Black Keys, RJD2, Kraftwerk, if they were down, Jack Johnson," he said. "And I would want some greatly awesome local bands to play, like Blackmarket Syndicate, Jj Downz, Legion, KTCM...the list goes on and on and on."

I'm pretty sure Rick Nelson would never have been booked at Summer Fest. Too square. But maybe the event organizers are finding some comfort in those lyrics of his. At least no one I asked brought up OutKast.

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