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Despite scorching summer heat, Float Fest, the annual music festival in San Marcos, TX featuring live music, camping and river floats went off without a hitch on July 16th and 17th. Lee Ackerley picked out his ten favorite things about the festival.


1. Small Crowds

Don’t get me wrong, the festival sold plenty of tickets, but with the location on both Austinites and San Antonians radars I imagined hellish sardine-like conditions that never materialized. Most early shows were only 4-5 people deep and headliners never put onlookers out of range, so it was sweet relief to not be suffocated at a music festival.


2. Chromeo

The funklordz cometh! The best Arab-Jewish duo in history, make electro-dance baby-making music that allows one to display their ‘Fancy Footwork.’ Chromeo has played Austin more than a few times, but there is no diminishing marginal returns with this band. They kill it…every time.


3. Emily Haines of Metric

The lead singer of Metric had people of both sexes claiming to have fallen in love with her in the course of a set.  Impassioned, raw, and excessively talented; Emily put on a monster show that felt as magnanimous as it was intimate.


4. Float the River

The heat was unbearable throughout the Texas July weekend, but the saving grace lay in the ability to float around in an icy river on festival grounds when overwhelmed.  The river odyssey included lots of binge drinkers, pot smokers, cute dogs, stern policemen, and overall good vibes.


5. Future Islands

If you haven’t seen them live, then you probably don’t know what you are missing.  Lead singer, Sam Herring, is a tour de force that gyrates violently, letting his emotions flow out of him with wild abandon.  Future Islands is quick to convert you into a fan whether you like it or not.


6. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

While I was surprised to see these hip-hop legends on the schedule for Saturday afternoon, they did not disappoint. Working their way through their trove of classics while mixing in classic hip-hop covers, Bone Thugs revitalized a weary and worn crowd.


7. Pirate People

Rooney announced during their set that they loved this crowd of ‘pirate people,’ which was a perfect moniker for the hordes of youthful alternative bathing suit folk that filled the fest. Shirts were frowned upon and the sartorially liberated crowd created an endearingly trashy vibe that would only make sense in the Texas summer heat.

8. Austin Bands

Unlike some other festivals, to go unnamed, Float Fest represented local bands very well. Sets by Auto Body, Riders Against the Storm, Night Drive, and Holiday Mountain allowed for some of Austin’s best bands to shine.


9. Santigold

This pop queen of attitude was dressed to kill in a gold dress that read ‘We Buy Gold.’ She didn’t quite play all of her best songs but she did bring half of the crowd onstage with her to get down.


10. Amusements

A nice aesthetic touch to the festival was the placement of carnival rides interspersed through the grounds. You were able to ride a ferris wheel while watching Chromeo.

All photos by Maggie Boyd.  

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