Shoots Coming Up: In Bloom Music Fest is Less Than Two Months Out

Alright, so by now you’d have to be pretty damn out-of-touch to not know that the much-loved/much-derided summertime Houston music festival known variously as FPSF, Free Press Summer Fest, or just Summerfest is no more.

In its place (kind of) is In Bloom. The revamped/rebranded festival is now not in the summer (hence the “kind of”) but will instead be happening in the springtime, on Saturday & Sunday, March 24th & 25th, at the ever-awesome Eleanor Tinsley Park just west of Downtown.

When last we talked about this, the lineup had yet to be released, but it’s been out for a little while now (apologies, we’re behind), and after looking at it…well, I’m kinda torn. Some of the names on the lineup are familiar from FPSFs past, namely Sylvan Esso, Lil Uzi Vert, Broken Social Scene, Twin Shadow, Explosions in the Sky, Houndmouth, Moon Taxi, Ying Yang Twins, Venomous Maximus, and Get A Life, plus FPSF alum Craig Finn of The Hold Steady with his new band The Uptown Controllers.

And don’t get me wrong — I love some of those folks, especially EitS, Craig Finn, Houndmouth, and Broken Social Scene. But that’s nearly a fifth of the names on the lineup, which is a little disappointing. I guess with the new look and new vibe of the festival, I’d hoped In Bloom would be able to distance itself a bit more from FPSF’s past.

Given that In Bloom is basically “FPSF Part 2”, though, maybe that’s an unrealistic expectation. The same people are doing the booking and logistics, after all, so… (shrug)

I’ll admit I’m also a bit appalled at Queens of the Stone Age being on the bill, given Josh Homme‘s recent asshole-ness towards an innocent concert photographer, but that I can’t hold against the In Bloom crew — unlike the whole R. Kelly thing a few years back, they had no way of knowing Homme would kick a woman in the face at a show after they’d booked QOTSA. So that’s not a reflection on them, but on Homme himself.

(I know, I know; he’s apologized, he’s trying to move on, yadda, yadda. I’m not going to forgive-and-forget quite that quickly, though. Too many of my friends are photographers, and they get treated like shit to begin with, never mind the potential for getting hit as a “joke” by a douchebag up on the stage when they’re just trying to do their jobs.)

In fact, looking at the headlining acts, the only one that really jumped out at me (beyond the aforementioned Explosions in the Sky and Broken Social Scene) was Beck. I’ve been a fan since college, when I got a hold of a copy of the “Loser” single (in the giveaway bin at KTRU, I believe), and I’ve never been able to see him perform live. So that’s only one big, bright star up at the top of the list, at least for me.

All the above said, I am pretty seriously excited by some of the names down lower in the bill, especially those who haven’t played FPSF/In Bloom before. There’s hazy, nu-New Romantics pop act Cigarettes After Sex, soulful, streetwise chanteuse H.E.R., Belgian dubstep duo Ganja White Night, Arizona-bred DJ Mija, who’s one of my kid’s absolute favorite artists (and who happens to be pretty damn good), Atlanta-based hip-hop producer London On Da Track, British DJ Jax Jones (whose “Breathe” is pretty great; also, I love that the video’s shot in the Hogwarts-esque London Natural History Museum, which I’ve been to and which is very cool), and New Zealand electro-pop duo Broods.

And obviously, that’s not to mention some awesome locals, folks like Jerk, Say Girl Say, VODI, Pearl Crush, and, yes, four-time festival players Venomous Maximus. Basically, most of the early part of Saturday and Sunday look really damn good to me, but I start to lose interest as the days rolls on.

Sometimes, though, that’s how these things go. I’ve been to plenty of festivals — including multiple FPSFs — where the folks I most wanted to see/hear were way early in the day and I didn’t give much of a shit about the headliners. No festival can be everything to everybody; it’s just not possible. So while I wish there were more new/different faces at the top of the bill, I’m pretty psyched about the middle & lower parts.

I’m also happy that In Bloom’s ticket prices are still in a semi-reasonable range, with 2-day passes going for $125 and single-day passes currently at $79. Expect that to go up as the festival draws closer, y’all, and grab your passes now before that happens.

More to come on this as we get nearer to it, so check back…


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