As most of Houston and the surrounding area knows by now, Free Press Summer Fest announced its 2012 lineup in the wee hours this morning. By now Rocks Off has had a few more hours to reflect on the festival, entering its fourth year at Eleanor Tinsley Park June 2 and 3, and also to take a shower.
One of Rocks Off's own lasting FPSF memories is from last year, when we ran into an old, dear friend from Austin who is a huge Ween fan. She also happens to work production at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, as a stage manager or some such, and had nothing but good things to say about Summer Fest. Here are a few other thoughts we had this morning about what is now one of Houston's marquee musical events - and, more and more, a destination for music fans across the state, the region and even the country.
Yes, Houston. Who would have known?
9. Summer Fest is playing with real money. Those tens of thousands of tickets the festival has sold over the past two years, even at a relatively inexpensive price, have begun paying real dividends. Artists like Flaming Lips, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and the Avett Brothers don't come cheap, especially at the festival rate. Any of those would take the final slot or two of the evening on a stage at one of the few U.S. music festivals left that is not bigger than FPSF. Speaking of...
8. It's not on the same level as Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza or Jazz Fest, Austin City Limits (yet), but it's only one rung down. FPSF is now shoulder to shoulder with other festivals around the country, like Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest, Seattle's Bumbershoot and Mobile, Ala.'s Hangout. And in only four years.
7. Summer Fest is a boys' club. Houston Press Web Editor Brittanie Shey pointed out on Twitter this morning that the only female artist in Summer Fest's top tier is Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino. And to put in charitably, most of the other headliners - Flaming Lips, Primus, Descendents, Z-Ro, Valient Thorr - are not known for their female fan bases. Significantly further down the bill come Ume's Lauren Larson, New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia, San Antonio's Girl In a Coma, and a smattering of locals like Ton Tons' Asli Omar and Wild Moccasins' Zahira Gutierrez. Perhaps Summer Fest is counting on cuties the Avett Brothers and Young the Giant to bring in all the ladies.
6. Morris Day & the Time is playing. Morris Day & the Time is playing!!!
5. The lineup is incomplete. Summer Fest announced around 90 artists Monday morning, or probably about 90 percent of the total bill of fare. But it will probably goose ticket sales - as if that's necessary at this point - by adding another headliner a la OutKast's Big Boi last year. Indeed, Summer Fest's Omar Afra promises a "curveball" in another few weeks, and "quite a few" more local and regional bands. The acts playing the official afterparties have not been announced yet either.
4. Between Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and the Flaming Lips playing Dark Side of the Moon, every stoner on the Gulf Coast will be there. Better bring those papers.
3. What is this, 2007? A handful of local acts playing Summer Fest have all but hung it up and/or decamped to Austin in the past few years: Ume, Fatal Flying Guilloteens, Riff Tiffs, Papermoons, The Eastern Sea, Sour Notes. It's good to see all of them back.
2. Paris Hilton could show up. OK, probably not, but apparently the starlet who insists on continuing to enter recording studios is BFFs with this year's big-name Summer Fest DJ, Dutchman Afrojack. Afro's Wikipedia page features a picture of him and Paris hanging in Ibiza, and although he wisely appears to have steered clear of "Drunk Texts," Paris' most recent so-bad-it's-good "club hit," he did have a hand in the production of Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)."
1. Where's Bun B? Is he OK? It's not like the King of the Trill to miss a Summer Fest. But then it's early yet.