SO. MANY. THROWBACKS.
Look, man, I respect the NBA greats of the past as much as the next guy, but goddamn, these hipsters have taken the throwback uniform thing too far. I got nothing but respect for the likes of Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Penny Hardaway and Tracy McGrady, but dude with the Kurt Rambis Lakers jersey? Or the guy that rocked a “Big Country” Bryant Reeves Vancouver Grizzlies jersey? That’s one toke over the line. And don’t get me started on the run of Michael Jordan San Antonio Fiesta All-Star jerseys from the '90s. I was at that All-Star game, and there weren’t as many in the house that night as there were on display during Saturday’s FPSF. CLINT HALE
COLLEGROVE VS. MODEST MOUSE: THE TWO FPSFS
It’s hard to say what the best moment of the weekend was, but the juxtaposition of Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz's “ColleGrove” duo and Modest Mouse Saturday night felt like the most emblematic of the state of both FPSF and festival culture as a whole. The FPSF crowd has been trending younger in recent years, and nowhere was this felt more than in witnessing the paltry crowd assembled to watch Modest Mouse’s headlining set. With fewer people than there were at A$AP Ferg’s set two hours earlier, it felt like a sign that, at least for FPSF, nostalgic indie-rock headliners no longer have the same draw they did when the festival was growing five years ago. Between aging indie-rock fans who aren’t as willing to wait out an entire festival and a younger audience that doesn’t care as much, it felt like a telling sign of how the festival has evolved. Comparatively, Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz drew an immense crowd who were enthralled by the performance, singing along every word to both rappers’ hits, some of which were more than a decade old. For major festivals like FPSF, the demographics are shifting, and the canon is as well. It may take another couple of years, but I’d be surprised if ’90s rock groups like Modest Mouse are still headlining FPSF down the line. DAVID SACKLLAH
ADVICE FOR GIRLS
There are two types of girls: Girls who get their hair wet, and girls who don't. If you are a guy and you are inviting a girl to accompany you to a fest, I strongly recommend you consider this point, because girls who get their hair wet will ALWAYS have more fun and be more fun to be around than girls who don't. Girls, if you are trying to look Insta-ready the whole time, reconsider. This goes for festival fashion in general: Dress like a real person. Don't dress like Gigi or Kendall or whoever the shit you saw in some fake-ass Coachella pic on some fashion blog. These are not real people. YOU, you are a real person. You are going to walk through mud, pee in biffies, sweat and get rained on. Wear things that make you feel good but make you feel comfortable in your own skin. This also goes for wearing rompers at festivals, which seems great until you're essentially naked inside of a port-o-let, contemplating your life's choices. Last, leave the Kylie Jenner-level makeup at home, because between the rain and the humidity, you are going to look like a sad vampire clown by midday. There is something to being yourself. SELENA DIERINGER
A FIRST-TIMER'S PERSPECTIVE
Having been a Houstonian for six years now, it was high time I made it out to Free Press. And while I was a little bummed the venue got moved from Tinsley Park to NRG (both for proximity to my home and for the love of green space), I couldn’t have been more impressed by FPSF. The concessions were reasonably priced (for a music festival), the portapotty lines were tolerable, the booze selection was ample, and the staff on hand were friendly and accommodating. The stages were spaced perfectly; the walk between stages wasn’t a siege, but they were spaced far enough apart to the point where the stages never rivaled one another on the decibel level. I’m looking forward to a Free Press that takes place at Tinsley Park (at some point, it will happen again), but in the meantime, Plan B was more than sufficient. CLINT HALE
The "Prohibited Items" list posted on the fence outside @FPSF does not specify umbrellas. However, when I arrived at the entrance with mine, I was turned away. The reason I was given was that they obstruct the view of people behind me. I guess my thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment matters less.
NOT A GOOD LOOK
On Day 1, as I entered the photo pit to photograph X Ambassadors, one of my fellow photographers warned me about a certain spot stage left and close to the barrier. "I wouldn't stand there if I were you," he warned. Apparently, a female festival attendee had passed out near the front row, and as security pulled her over the barricade, she pooped all over and out of her shorts. C'mon, people! Yes, this is an extreme case, and yes, I feel bad for her, but stay hydrated and also go potty. It's not worth suffering just to be up front. In fact, there were many instances of people fainting all around the festival. Sure, the heat and humidity played a factor, as did other things. You don't need to do drugs and don't need to get wasted on alcohol to have a good time. This is a music festival, after all. Get high on the music. MARCO TORRES
THE HUMAN VOLCANO
After it got dark on Saturday night, I saw a strange sight during ColleGrove’s set on the Mars stage. A young man was crawling through the mud, his face blank, his eyes down. No one else seemed to know him; no one else seemed to see him. He reached a large storm grate in the ground and stared into it for a few seconds, looking as if he were pondering what might lie within. Then a jet of bright red vomit erupted from his mouth and into the massive drain. Then another. He was all alone. What had he taken? What had he eaten? What had he drunk that had made his vomit so very, very red? NATHAN SMITH
ADVICE FOR GUYS
Some girls dance because it feels amazing and it's fun. Some girls dance because they want people to watch them. One of these girls will constantly have her phone out and will be obsessively taking selfies and checking them for perfection and media-likes. She may or may not realize that there is a concert happening. The other girl will be having a phenomenal time. Pick who will make you most happy in your current stage of life. Note that this may change as time goes by. On that note, props to the two girls grinding in front of me at Mac Miller, solely because one girl was wearing a full walking boot, and that takes commitment. SELENA DIERINGER
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FAMILY FRIENDLY FPSF
Free Press is fairly up front about being family-friendly (kids eight and under are free). FPSF is not exactly condoning having a toddler at the 2 Chainz/Lil Wayne set (we did not stick around for that portion of the evening), but has made it clear that there’s a place for children on its grounds. I found this to be the case over the weekend, as numerous parents were out and about with their little ones. It helped that Juiceland (kids love it) was in the house selling $5 lemonades (which were on point, btw). I’ve never been to a Free Press, so I can’t speak to the Tinsley Park layout, but the NRG layout was conducive to kids. The lot was spacious, there was plenty of room to roam, and there was enough green space for little ones to run around and play (yes, the green space was soaked, and yes, my seven-year-old totally wiped out in the mud – such is life). I’m not recommending making a whole day of it with the kids at FPSF, but for those looking to enjoy a little afternoon music – and for whom a babysitter isn’t an option – the fest is more than family-friendly. CLINT HALE
Park security did an incredible job of remaining calm and controlled when a mob of fans bumrushed their way back on the festival grounds Sunday evening. All too often, we see one or two people getting unnecessarily mauled during an uncontrollable situation. They did their best to use their words and not get physical with fans who refused to leave and get front row spots for the upcoming shows. JACK GORMAN
It was barely intelligible, but the youths in attendance at Free Press Summer Fest were especially vocal and visible this year. This go-round, their obtrusive, mid-performance conversations took a backseat to their tears, which were especially pronounced Saturday evening. Plenty of couples were spotted fighting, having spent between $300 and $500 for a public breakup, while others were bawling for absolutely no reason. Maybe they were having existential crises, but my guess would be that they were on the comedown, given that the METRORail ride home looked more like a rehab clinic than a post-festival exodus. I haven't seen that many young white girls crying since Justin Bieber's concert back in April. MATTHEW KEEVER