Free Press Summer Fest

Top 6 Ways To Improve Summer Fest Next Year

More FPSF 2012 Coverage:Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
FPSF: The Bands from Sunday

Free Press Summer Fest is very much still a work in progress. This past weekend, nowhere else was this more evident than when the barricades blocking a good part of the Eleanor Tinsley Park lawn in front of that Jeep display led to a horrendous bottleneck of people between the two main stages Saturday. That magically disappeared overnight, or rather they got pushed back drastically, enough that walking back and forth wasn't much of a problem Sunday.

There's almost no possible way the Summer Fest organizers could have imagined the kind of crowds they got this weekend, a total figure generally estimated to be 92,000. That's one and a half times last year's count of 60,000, and with that kind of numbers come some of the more unpleasant aspects of music festivals: Long lines, shortages, poor waste disposal, filthy portapotties (and not enough).

Usually those kinds of things happen when supply far outnumbers demand, so it would be wrong to say the event wasn't successful.

The Chronicle editorial board certainly seems to think to. Even if they can't spell "Snoop Dogg" right, they had nothing but good things to say about the festival on the editorial page Wednesday morning.

"One would be hard pressed to find a music festival more beautiful than Free Press Summer Fest," the editors crowed in that stilted, oddly aloof tone the daily often takes. "This is the Houston that we should want people to see." I almost feel like a killjoy pointing out that the Chronicle was a media partner with Summer Fest this year, for the first time, but hell, I'll do it anyway.

So everybody loves Summer Fest. Of course we do. After all the fun we've had, it would be hard to find a music-loving Houstonian who wants it to disappear. But there are also aspects of the festival that could have been handled a lot better.

I scrolled through a couple of FPSF-related threads on Reddit's Houston forum, the comments on Rocks Off's "WTF" blog from Monday, and the experiences of both myself and others at the park to come up with this oh-so-helpful, take-it-or leave-it list of suggestions for Summer Fest 2013.

I love you, you're perfect, now change.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray