Houston's In Bloom Music Festival
After countless weather issues, ranging from delays and relocations to all-out cancellations, the team behind Free Press Summer Fest made the admirable decision in 2017 to scrap the summertime festival and introduce In Bloom Music Festival to the city of Houston this past weekend. Likely referencing the festival’s new time frame in the month of March, it also seems that the creators may be paying homage to Nirvana’s widely popular tune, “In Bloom.”
With lines like “nature is a whore,” “weather changes moods,” and “Spring is here again,” it only seems appropriate that a team plagued with weather issues has less than amicable feelings towards mother nature’s reign over Houston and a positive attitude that the Spring season would provide better conditions for a hopefully-recurring festival.
Although Saturday began with cool weather and a nice breeze, ominous clouds began to roll in around 4:00pm in the afternoon and created a bit a stir among fans roaming between stages. To the surprise of everyone in attendance, however, no rain fell from the sky that afternoon or evening. Instead, the clouds simply provided a much-needed escape from the powerful sun and rising temperatures in Houston.
On Sunday, however, the clouds disappeared and left fans to bake in the breezeless Eleanor Tinsley Park just outside of downtown Houston. Either way, In Bloom Music Festival successfully wrapped up its inaugural year without a drop of rain, no delays, and not even a hint of cancellation or relocation all weekend. Had the weather been as unfortunate as years prior, this may have been the festival’s first and last year in the city.
In line with the excellent weather were the performances that took place across four widely varying stages along Allen Parkway. Strung along the grassy patches along a windy road leading out of downtown Houston, the festival had four stages placed laterally with three tucked away in the trees and overpasses closest to downtown and one perched in the heart of Eleanor Tinsley Park along Buffalo Bayou. Starting with the Bud Light stage down in the park, the likes of Sylvan Esso, 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, T-Pain, Martin Garrix and many more appeared at this “main stage” throughout the weekend and certainly drew the largest crowds both days.
Moving closer into downtown, the Ostara stage was tucked away under the I-45 overpass among a grove of trees. Geared towards the electronic music fans, this stage had DJ’s performing constantly throughout the weekend including Melvv, Slander, and London on Da Track, among others. Luckily for fans camped at this stage, as well as those traveling between the various stages, all of Allen Parkway was lined with food trucks, vendors, and bars so that the pains of the lengthy walk were lessened with food and drink.
Lastly, the Flora and Fauna stages, located in the western most portion of the festival grounds and essentially in downtown Houston, were only several hundred yards apart and hosted alternating performances every hour. Because of the proximity and variation in performers, this end of the festival provided the perfect place for attendees to inundate themselves with constant entertainment while relaxing in large groves of trees or in the open areas with stunning views of the downtown skyline. Among the performers at these two stages were Moon Taxi, Broods, Queens of the Stone Age, Incubus, Twin Shadow, Explosions in the Sky and more.
Overall, the festival seemed to be a smashing success – although the exact number of fans in attendance is unknown. There were moments when crowds seemed sparse, especially early in the day, but this was likely expected of the new festival. While there are certainly large droves of Houstonians who track the local music scene very closely, there is a high probability that many previous Free Press Summer Fest attendees were simply unaware of the changes made this year. When summer finally approaches, however, and casual music fans begin to search for Free Press Summer Fest tickets, they will likely learn for the first time of the festival’s rebranding and new time slot during the year. Thus, the attendance levels of In Bloom Music Festival area likely to grow substantially and allow the festival to begin capturing a larger audience and plant its roots here for the foreseeable future.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
LIL UZI VERT
Photography by Marshall Heins II
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