UPDATED: Free Press Summer Fest Wants Longer Hours, Possibly Another Day

UPDATE (Monday, 1:15 p.m.:): adds comments from FPSF's Omar Afra.

Free Press Summer Festival has decided it wants to grow.

Earlier today, the popular Houston outdoor music festival -- which drew an estimated 81,000 people to Eleanor Tinsley Park this past June, the first sellout in its five-year history -- posted a video urging fans to email their City Council representative asking their blessing on extending the FPSF curfew, and "possibly an extra day."

"More hours means more jobs to our local economy," the video says. "To that end, Free Press Summer Fest is looking to help bolster the local economy and bring our audience an even more diverse lineup and less congestion, and to create more jobs, more revenue and more visitors to the city."

The video cites many of the findings of the economic impact study FPSF commissioned last year from the University of Houston, which reported that the event added some $14 million to Houston's coffers. Though it's hard to imagine how many more jobs would be added if the hours were extended (people would presumably just work longer shifts), adding a third day would almost certainly increase demand for more positions.

Specifically, the video says, FPSF is asking for the same kind of extension stadiums enjoy, which allows them to extend their cutoff time past 10 p.m. while events are taking place. FPSF wants a two-hour extension from 10 p.m.-midnight the evening of Saturday, May 31, and one hour from 10-11 p.m. on Sunday, June 1., "as well as possibly adding an extra day to the festival." (Our old ass asks, isn't everyone already going to be exhausted by 10 p.m.?)

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But there's the rub. To us, it doesn't seem like extending the hours would be much of an issue, but adding an extra day could well be. Or maybe not. FPSF already shuts down Allen Parkway the Friday before to build out the festival, a significant part of which festival takes place on Allen Parkway itself. And many of the downtown parking lots now used by festivalgoers would be clearing out -- or on their way -- of downtown commuters by the later start time FPSF organizers propose.

"Naturally, a Friday addition would begin later in the day, about the time those lots start clearing up," says FPSF co-founder and producer Omar Afra. "May consider a large park and ride as well..."

But demand for the festival only seems to be increasing with each passing year. You tell us, folks -- are you cool with longer hours? Do you want to see another day of FPSF? Or is two enough?


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