On social media, this festival looked really promising. Incredible acts, river floating, camping, cheap VIP tickets; it had everything it needed to be a really wonderful time for the attendees. However, that’s not what I and many others experienced.
I’ll start with the parking: I got there at 12:45 and didn’t park my car until 2:00. Yeah. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes just to park my car. As soon as I got there, I had ZERO cell reception and couldn’t even pull up my parking pass. I almost ended up having to pay for another, but one of the volunteers was very nice and actually looked up my pass so I didn’t have to waste money on another. When I first got to the festival grounds, they had maybe 6 or 7 lines for cars to come through and get checked for passes, but only one actual line into the parking lot. If I was any lower than half a tank, my car probably would’ve run out of fuel from sitting idle for over an hour. Oh, and it took me almost 30 minutes to actually walk from my car to the festival grounds.
And not having cell reception proved incredibly inconvenient throughout the day. The scariest part was leaving the festival and not being able to pull up Google Maps so I would know how to find my way back to the freeway. Luckily I made the right turn on the way out, and eventually my cell service came back.
The weather: WHY WOULD YOU BOOK A FESTIVAL ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR IN TEXAS. Couldn’t they have done some research on that? There were only 2 large shading tents and a very small one. People were crammed underneath them because everyone was dying of heat exhaustion and, of course, dehydration (DON’T DRINK MORE ALCOHOL THAN WATER AT FESTIVALS, GUYS.) The water station was a complete joke: it was on the complete opposite side from the shading tents and the stages. I had so little energy it took me about 15 minutes to walk from the tent to the water station. Absolutely ridiculous. There should have been more than one on either end of the festival. And if I’m not mistaken, there was only one medical tent, and people were dropping like flies.
Float Fest oversold EVERYTHING. People who bought VIP passes couldn’t get into the VIP lounge because it was at capacity. People who paid for camping had to camp in the parking lot that was supposed to be designated for people coming and going. I was almost boxed in when I tried to leave because the volunteers let someone park behind me, and two groups camp in front of me. I was able to narrowly drive through their tents. My dad joked that tents are collapsible if you drive over them, but I didn’t want to be a complete jerk. Come on though! That made me so angry. I just wanted to leave the damn festival and I almost had to stay overnight, sleeping in my oven of a car.
And getting out was no better. It took me about 45 minutes to actually leave the festival. Finally, when I was just by the exit, I started driving over a REALLY rough patch of dirt road. I thought my car was going to give out because I had to really push down on the accelerator. The road was bumpy and uphill. To give you an idea, I drive a Honda Civic. Definitely not made for off roading. Maybe they could have fixed it before thousands of people were going to come and drive through and possibly have their car break down, causing even MORE traffic because- again- there was only ONE FLIPPING LANE TO EXIT THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention: Float Fest had the most overpriced food of any festival I’ve been to (I’ve been to much bigger festivals like ACL and Hangout Fest.) They didn’t even include tax in the price of the food, like most festivals do. I paid almost $13 for a freaking salad. Granted, it was a really good salad, and I know that food at festivals is going to be overpriced. But still, I didn’t see really any other stands that have cheaper prices. At Hangout Fest I was able to get a huge BBQ egg roll for just $10, if that gives you an idea.
Float Fest was, to say the absolute least, very disappointing. I really wanted to see Cold War Kids, Tame Impala, Snoop Dog, and Joywave, but honestly it wasn’t even worth it just to deal with the parking again. I did enjoy getting to see Run the Jewels, Lil’ Wayne, Bun B, and Preservation Hall Jazz, but other than those four bands, it was so hot I couldn’t even stand to be in the crowd for more than an hour until the sun started to go down. The bright side? This was the first festival I’ve gone to where I didn’t get sunburned, so at least I don’t have to keep Float Fest on my brain for very long.
*Editor's Note: At The New Nine we live for festivals and after I had a bad experience at Float Fest last year I was willing to give it another shot. After the first day of the festival, both Chelsea and Dahniella were so miserable I told them it wasn't worth it to go the next day. We wanted to give honest reviews about the festival because that's our job. If a festival puts people in danger (extreme heat, no parking attendants, poor driving conditions) we just can't support it.