I don't know about you, but I am not totally in love with winter weather. Yes, it affords you the ability to wear beanies and cool fingerless gloves and dress like a hoodlum, but it's the heat that I love the most.
That's why I love thinking about music festivals, because that's where we all get to sweat like pigs in the sun, or fat parents at EDM festivals. To break the shackles of these layers of clothes and embrace the majesty of tiny shorts and tank tops, and touch the face of sexiness.
Out of kindness, I will inform you that this blog will only traffic in festivals that are easily accessible to Houstonians, or are popular fest destinations for said Houstonians.
I am sure plenty of you go to Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Lollapalooza in Chicago and Coachella in California. Good on ya, and I am excited that you will be seeing Atoms For Peace or something.
Free Press Summer Fest (June 1-2, Eleanor Tinsley Park) I put this at the top of this list because this is all any of you care about. No, Rocks Off knows nothing about the lineup. No, we don't have free passes, and no, Omar and the Pegstar gang haven't even hinted at who will play year No. 5. (Indeed.) But of course you all have your wish lists, as do we all at Rocks Off. All I want is Beck. And Turbonegro. And maybe ZZ Top.
Austin City Limits Music Festival (October 4-6, 11-13, Zilker Park, Austin) ACL moves into strange and uncharted territory this year by expanding to two weekends instead of just one, with identical lineups each weekend. How will Austin cope with two straight weeks of mud, beer, blood and bicycles infesting the city? Well, for one they will be too busy counting all the money that comes into the state capital to care. Yes, I know you natives, hate it but it just gives you a good excuse to come visit Houston or NOLA until the storm passes.
As for as performers go, a look at the 2013 music-release roster could hold the key. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, John Fogerty, My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Pearl Jam are all set to release new music over the next 12 months. Keeping marquee acts like Daft Punk and Beck in the state of Texas for a week could be an issue though, but if the money is right...
Of course, the smaller bands on the bill end up being the biggest surprises, like the Lumineers set, which last year probably needed to be on a much bigger stage than their Austin Ventures setting.
35 Denton 2013 (March 7-10, Denton) This Denton indie festival has already announced Thurston Moore's new group Chelsea Light Moving as one of acts for this year's go-round. The lineup for this fest usually lines up right with that of SXSW too.
Euphoria 2013 (April 12-13, New Braunfels) Euphoria is an EDM festival set in New Braunfels, on the river. Last year's massive lineup can be seen here. As EDM grows, we can see this one just getting bigger and bigger.
SXSW (March 12-17, Austin) SXSW's interactive side -- the tech-laden part, with comedy and film attached -- is slowly beginning to overtake SXSW's musical side ever so surely in terms of spectacle and big names. Tech companies and Web sites with deep pockets are known to book giant acts before the first Japanese punk band even hits town for the four-day music binge.
A few dozen acts have already been announced on the music end, and Dave Grohl is set to be the keynote speaker on March 14 at the Austin Convention Center. Grohl's supergroup attached to his Sound City flick could make an appearance, too.
Houston International Festival (April 19-21, 27-28) Pollstar has already leaked a few names for the '13 edition of iFest, including Leftover Salmon, The Wailers, and a few others. There is always a fun wild card in the bunch, like George Clinton, so stay tuned.
Something Wicked (Fall, TBA) Megapromoter Disco Donnie and Houston's own Nightculture brought a little Electric Daisy Carnival-style magic to Sam Houston Race Park for this Southeast Texas EDM fest. No word yet on a 2013 edition, but it's still early.
Fun Fun Fun Fest (November 8-10, Auditorium Shores, Austin) The eighth edition of FFFF will no doubt feature a few action-packed reunion sets and one-offs, as the fest organizers are virtual magicians when it comes to getting beloved acts back together. Refused, Run-DMC, and the Descendents are just a few landmark groups that FFFF has brough to Austin. Personally, I hope that Queens of the Stone Age make this one; they will be releasing a new album this year after all.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 26-May 5) JazzFest runs over two weekends in New Orleans and is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course set inside one of NOLA's older neighborhoods. The festival ends at 7 p.m. each day, it's easy to navigate, there are plenty of tents to step into, and the food is obviously the best I have ever had at a music festival. I mean, it's in NOLA, so....
This one does skew a tad older, with 2012 headliners being the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. On top of this are the great acts in the tents, like Dr. John and Mavis Staples. Who knows what they have cooked up for this next go-round?
Hangout Music Festival 2013 (May 17-19) Back in 2011, I attended the second Hangout Festival , a music festival that is literally on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, a fun resort town with a clear water and white sand. Most everyone is half-naked and drunk, or totally drunk and nearly naked. I forget.
Last year hangout had Jack White, Skrillex, and the Chili Peppers on board. This one sells out quickly too, so when ticketing gets announced, don't dawdle.
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- Old Settler's Music Festival 2013 (April 18-21)