Saturday morning started out hot and sunny. Free Press Summer Fest had taken over Eleanor Tinsley Park and Allen Parkway was shut down for the weekend. Parking was limited in the usually crowded city, and we ended up walking a mile from our car to the festival entrance. The first few hours passed quickly as we explored the park and familiarised ourselves with the set-up. Food trucks stretched along the road, offering everything from The DoughCone to Torchy's Tacos. Deep Eddy Vodka and VitaCoco offered a variety of refreshments. The stages were far enough apart to keep the music from clashing, but this left everyone walking constantly to catch the next act.
The main stage was close to the Allen Parkway entrance and next to the Budweiser bar. Cornhole games and screen printing were set up next to the bar to provide shade and a way to pass the time. Walking further into the festival, the DSW activation offered shoes for sale and a craft table was set up for everyone to make a bracelet. Dark Horse Wines next door offered samples of several wines and sold wine by the glass or bottle.
Early in the afternoon, Deep Cuts played Neptune stage. Even in the heat, this local band pumped up the crowd with their unique mix of jazz and 80’s style rock. DREAMERS youthful angst reminded me of early Green Day and Weezer. Add their song Sweet Disaster to your summer driving playlist.
Academy Outdoors provided a water station to keep everyone hydrated for free. Security only allowed 2 factory-sealed water bottles or empty water bottles/Camelbacks. At the hottest point of the day, the temperature was about 90°F (real feel 105°F) and staying hydrated was essential to survive the day.
Back at the Budweiser stage, Hurray for the Riff Raff played an intense set that transported me to a different decade. This dark yet sweet sounding folk group packs a political punch in their songs. As their set was ending, a light rain started. At first, it was a welcome reprieve from the heat, even though every photographer was scurrying to cover their equipment. By 5 the rain intensified and soon after the park was evacuated. Later that evening, the park was deemed safe and the music resumed for a few hours.
Sunday we were hopeful the rain would pass through quickly and allow the music to resume the way it had the night before. By 3 pm, a flash flood warning was issued (sort of normal for Texas weather) and the highways quickly became a mess of hazard lights. When the festival was suspended, we chose to wait out the rain until the cancellation email went out. Refunds of 50% of the base ticket price were offered to those who bought their tickets online. This is the fourth year in a row that rain has disrupted the festival.