UPDATE (Friday, 5 p.m.): According to Summer Fest's Omar Afra, FPSF prices will not increase if the festival is approved for a third day.
Earlier this week Free Press Summer Fest posted a video beseeching everyone who has enjoyed the two-day festival over the past five years to contact their City Council representative and encourage him or her to extend the event's running time (two hours on Saturday, one on Sunday) and explore the feasibility of adding a third day.
On the surface it seems simple. FPSF has been phenomenally successful almost from the beginning, reportedly bringing millions of dollars into the city and earning a reputation as a first-rate festival well beyond Houston. But especially in light of the substantial price increase attached to FPSF's recent blind presale, some critics are starting to wonder if its reach is beginning to exceed its grasp. So Rocks Off asked our writers to consider this possible expansion from all sides, and tell us what a three-day FSPF might look like -- and what it might mean.
If I went to Star Pizza this afternoon and a sign posted near the buffet explained its hours were being extended, I'd grab six plates and plan to stay awhile. I love all pizza, but especially Houston's own Star Pizza. So long as the proprietors didn't raise the price of the buffet to an unreasonable amount, something so costly that the average Houston pizza lover could never afford a taste of their intoxicating offerings, what's there to gripe about?
FPSF is Houston's musical pizza. It boasts lots of locally grown and some imported tasty ingredients. It's getting better all the time and, as we all know, it's served hellishly hot. As long as Houston music fans aren't gouged, sure, I'll take another slice. JESSE SENDEJAS JR.
Keep it short. Keep it simple. I don't know about any of my colleagues, but these festivals are exhausting enough as it is to me. Fine, let's add a few extra hours on the days that we already have, but an extra day? It's only a matter of time before there's an extra weekend too ala Coachella and ACL. I'm going to be the curmudgeon who just wants two really great days.
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I can't see anything truly awesome coming of adding a third day; it seems like it would only serve to spread the awesomeness around and dilute it. COREY DEITERMAN
I love the idea of a third day of FPSF because I think the festival has a LOT of potential for growth with both revival artists, current artists and up-and-coming artists. But under one condition -- move the fucking thing to MAY. People can barely handle two days of 100-degree heat as it is. And the organizers wants to subject them to a third? BRITTANIE SHEY
If FPSF wants to continue on the momentum they've been on for the past two years, then expansion is necessary. It's not like other festivals that decide to spread themselves out over different locations. The only complaint would be everybody who has to deal with Allen Parkway coming home on the night they've chosen. But who cares about traffic when it comes to money, right? BRANDON CALDWELL
FPSF should absolutely add a third day. Sure, it will jack up prices, and sure, people are going to kvetch about it, like they wouldn't be kvetching about something to do with FPSF anyway. But one less thing to bitch about? A third day of the fest would surely add more variety of acts.
Last year, I felt there was a great assortment of hip-hop, rock, punk, local, soul, you name it. But of COURSE, as people are wont to do, naysayers griped about how FPSF acts did not offer them the lollapalooza of options they would prefer (pun intended). Adding a third day would only increase the diversity of acts... and if you still can't find variety (or someone to like) in three full days of a festival, you should probably ask yourself why you are so effing hard to please. SELENA DIERINGER
More answers on the next page.
I'm all for FPSF extending its hours, because more music means more fun. I can't say I really plan to take advantage by spending a couple of hours more in the park, though. I've never been a big festival guy, and usually by the time it gets dark, I'm exhausted from hustling around in the heat to cover all the bands I want to see. Which is great! Totally great. But at some point I'm going to be ready to shower, file my story and crash, and it's going to be well before midnight on Sunday morning.
A third day is a little more interesting. The logistical problems it might cause are considerable, but as we've already discussed, more music means more fun. We can use Memorial instead of Allen Parkway for one more day. And if we're going to extend this sucker to three nights, why not add a festival element currently missing from FPSF: Camping. I've always wanted to sleep in a park in the middle of Houston without the hassle of a mental illness. Perhaps the time has come? NATHAN SMITH
Rather than extend the hours, I'd much rather see FPSF move toward the ACL/FFFFest model of "festival ends at 10 p.m. and then the afterparties start." Most years it's hard to see every single act you want to see during the day, and not everyone cares about the headliners, so afterparties would give folks a viable alternative to keep the party going and get some air conditioning in their life. Plus, I think a lot of the local venues would be jazzed to get in on the FPSF action.
As for expanding to a Friday, I don't really see the harm in it, but I think for it to really work in conjunction with the higher ticket prices the fest is going to have to take a step up to the next level of headline performers. They may not need the Radioheads and Jack Whites of the world, but a Nine Inch Nails or Arcade Fire certainly wouldn't hurt. CORY GARCIA
In my personal experience with attending and working music festivals across the country, I agree that a 10 p.m. curfew is too early to shut down the party. If Houston wants to obtain the same prestige as ACL and other fests, an extension of the hours is essential. And the idea of an extra day sounds excellent as well.
Maybe FPSF can do a Friday-night opening party, then go full steam over the weekend. That will bring people into the city one or two days sooner, allow them to get situated and prepped, and everyone profits! Oh, and we need more rap, hip-hop, and Latino music at the festival, too! MARCO TORRES
Another day of FPSF would be great, both for music lovers and Houston's economy. Whether it creates more jobs or just more hours for people already employed, it would undoubtedly have a positive effect on local businesses and give visitors extra incentive to visit Houston.
Adding another day will probably take time, but extending hours should be put in place right away. FPSF has become a bigger hit than most ever thought it would, and I can't think of any reason it shouldn't last longer into the evening. Sure, there are undoubtedly those who consider the festival a nuisance, but the benefits far outweigh the chagrin of a few. Besides, they chose to live in the heart of Houston. If peace and quiet were their priorities, perhaps they should have bought a home in the suburbs. MATTHEW KEEVER
It's a very good idea to have the extra day, simply because the roster has gotten so packed that to fit everybody in, they're going to have to start bands playing earlier and earlier. I don't know about you, but I find live music just doesn't have the same mystique before you've eaten breakfast. Plus, it's difficult enough to drag yourself out of bed at all on that second day without getting up earlier than you normally would for work.
Of course, it would also mean that they could sell more tickets, which would be nice. I've been trying to ask people how much tickets cost this year, but based on the answers I keep getting, what they hear me ask is "How much for a slightly used Subaru?" A third day would pretty much have to bring ticket prices down across the board, which is good for the students, entry-level workers, and other not-overly-wealthy young people who are the lifeblood of festivals like this. JOHN SEABORN GRAY
More answers on the next page.
I think a longer festival is a no-brainer, and I really hope to see the City of Houston comes together with FPSF organizers to make that happen. Not only does it give businesses a chance to make more money, but it gives attendees more time to enjoy music after the sun has gone down. And with more time for headliners to perform, Houston might see even bigger names grace the main stage in the future.
As for a third day, why not? Allen Parkway is already shut down on Friday, so we might as well use it while we can. Not to mention, would probably help bring in more out-of-town guests, who will see the festival as a "vacation" more than anything. And for those Houstonians who like the three-day experience but still have to work the 9-5, they can buy a ticket and make the short commute over to Eleanor Tinsley instead of fighting rush-hour traffic all the way to Austin. ALYSSA DUPREE
Maybe I'm just letting my old show on this one, but for me, adding another day to FPSF is only going to add to festival fatigue. Sure, big festivals like ACL and even Fun Fun Fun Fest have a third day, but that third day always seems to be the weak link; the headliners and the supporting acts just don't tend to be very strong. And given the major price hike over last year, how much would be necessary to bring in a third day of good headliners? I'd imagine it's not worth the jump.
Traffic is already crap in this city. Do we really need to be shutting shit down even earlier in order to bring in a headliner that really isn't that interesting? It works for ACL because the city is set up to host big festivals. But maybe it's time for us to accept that we aren't Austin, we don't need to be, and gosh darn it, people like us anyway, with our two-day festival and all. ANGELICA LEICHT
Adding a third day to FPSF was foreseeably set in stone when they were first putting ink to paper for the original contract with the city. While they've now had several successful events, running only two days each year, it was only a matter of time until they decided they wanted to add another day.
Do I think it's a good idea? Yes, yes I do. You never want too much of a good thing obviously, but the addition of another day could bring about many positive things. First off, one more day equals more bands spread out throughout the weekend. It's already a gauntlet trying to make it to every show you can, but with extended hours to host bands, they could spread things out allowing for more people to see more music. That's pretty much what any festival is trying to do, right?
Second, you won't have to make it out at 10 in the morning if there is a certain local band you want to see. More hours mean more locals are going to be given the chance to perform, which is great for our city. People come from all over the place, so extended hours and another day will give more exposure to our homegrown bands.
Third, as the video to the Mayor pointed out, it would be great for our city, bringing in thousands of people to take in our homegrown wares. One more day means that that much more money is being spent at our local restaurants, hotels, stores, etc. It will also give those who haven't been to Houston an extra day to check the city out. We all know how cool it is here, but give 50,000 an extra day to peruse the area, and they can realize how great we have it - hopefully enticing them to return at a later date.
Yeah, Allen Parkway will be closed an extra day, but that's really not that big of a deal. Trust me, I live right at Taft and Allen so I'm the one that has to deal with that, and it unfortunately sucks from time to time. But really, what's a little inconvenience when it will do so much to promote our fair city. Do it, Houston. You know you want to. JIM BRICKER
I think gluttony is rife at music festivals, on both sides of the turnstile. Not just at FPSF but at any fest, neither fans nor producers seem to know the meaning of "enough." But more is not always better. If FPSF wants to diversify its lineup, by all means make smarter choices on the bookings. I do think adding an honest-to-god A-list headliner -- at least on one day, maybe Friday to kick things off with a bang -- is about the only way it can add a third day and truly be successful.
But frankly at this point if FPSF does add a third day -- and I fully expect it to eventually -- I'm not interested in going to all three. So what troubles me is more philosophical. It smacks of that old Houston vs. Austin inferiority complex: holding ACL up as a standard (watch that video again) comes off as a defensive posture. I thought FSPF was supposed to show how a Houston fest could be different from all that. Better. What's next, two weekends? CHRIS GRAY
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