By Allison Johnson
Blog Content Contributor
The weekend of July 22nd and 23rd was one to remember. I finally got to experience the infamous Float Fest. Float Fest is a music festival in Martindale, Texas, which is right outside of San Marcos, Texas, so there is no excuse not to go next year Bobcats! Not only does Float Fest focus on music, but it is centered around floating the river and camping. It does not even stop there though, it has a carnival! The rides, food and people gave off a charming vibe. Even if you are not there for music, there is something out there for you to enjoy.
To start off an amazing weekend, my friends and I took a trip to HEB before heading out to Cool River Ranch. We bought some snacks, ice, water, and a cooler. Fill your cooler up with water and Gatorade only; I promise you do not want to drink alcohol in that heat. I will get more into that later. I also highly recommend eating before going to the fest! We were stuck in just the parking line for hours. Had I not eaten, I would have been awful to be around. Being in the 100-degree weather did not make it any better.
Speaking of food, I was not surprised, nor mad about the food being expensive. I have never been to a festival where food was reasonably priced. At least, you can bring outside food and drinks onto camp grounds. Feel free to buy your own; it will be cheaper! Otherwise, be prepared to drop some major cash on eating all weekend.
I recommend getting your day started early if you want to tube. If you did not camp Friday night, and came in Saturday morning you were in line for parking for at least two hours. Keep in mind, you will want to set up your tent and get prepared to float. After setting up the tent, my friends and I waited in line to tube for another two hours. It was tough. A lot of us did not bring enough water for two hours of waiting and a three-hour float. We were miserable, but being in the water was the only thing that sounded refreshing so we waited.
When we finally got to the river, we realized we did not bring rope to tie our tubes together. I then figured out it was a blessing we were not tied up. Since the river was so packed, we were practically tube to tube already. To any river rats who experienced the rapids in the river know they are not too bad. Here is the bad part though…Since we were tube to tube, our tubes would begin to overlap on the rapids. So, if your group tied your tubes together everyone flipped all at once, or got caught on the rocks. Since my friends and I were not tied, we let go of each other to go down. I am glad my friends got down the rapids gracefully, but I was one among a lot of people who flipped out of their tube. Not fun, but hey, I survived. Thank you, James for saving my tube from floating without me!
The float took much longer, since we were moving slow. I think the river was more packed on Float Fest than the fourth of July. I have to mention this though, while you are floating you are catching A LOT of rays. Many people who were drinking learned their lesson the hard way. Getting destroyed by Four Lokos and Dos might sound like the usual river move, but five hours of waiting in line and floating in this heat does not mix with alcohol. At the end of the river, people were floating back nearly blacked out, or passed out after stepping out the river. It was scary to watch, but thank God no one passed out and slipped into the water! Being trashed by beer and shots in 100-degree weather is not a good idea. This just is not the festival to get drunk at. It is too hot, and your friends are probably too tired to want to carry you around.
At Cage the Elephant’s set, a girl passed out near me. Thankfully everyone gave her some room for fresh air and water when she got back up. I cannot stress how important water is for this festival. You must stay hydrated the whole weekend. ACL and SXSW are nowhere close to being this hot, so do not underestimate the heat. Tubing is always fun, but it was not the most relaxing float. As for rides, I did not go on any. I really do not think my stomach would have handled it. If you were hydrated, completely sober, and ate light, you would have enjoyed some rides!
As for camping, this was probably a new experience to veteran campers as well. Camping in a ranch in the middle of a hot Texas summer is not ideal. If you need a full eight hours of sleep, camping at Float Fest is not for you. Once the sun began rising, it was way too hot to get some rest.
Now for the music, oh my gosh the lineup was superb. Thank you to everyone who made that lineup! Passion Pit, MGMT, Weezer, and Cage the Elephant have been some of my favorite bands since middle school. It was nice to see MGMT after a long seven years since I met them and watched their set at Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2010. It is crazy after all these years I still know just about every word to their albums Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations. Weezer and Passion Pit were everything I wanted and more. I was even attempting to sing Passion Pit’s synthpop beats. Oh, you have never tried mimicking the sounds in Sleepyhead? Bye.
I am known for getting emotional at concerts, and each band gave me major nostalgia. Are you even a Weezer fan if you were not putting up the lyrics to “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” so your seventh grade crush would wonder who you were posting about on Facebook? Rivers, you really know how to put my exact feelings into words, and the way to reach the top of the charts.
Everyone put on a show, and played my favorite songs. The energy was amazing, but I have to say, Cage the Elephant won the festival. Matt Shultz had me feeling like Matt Shultz. Thank you to everyone who made Float Fest possible. I loved the festival, and had a blast. I cannot wait for next year. Although I hope parking and tubing goes a bit smoother in the future, everything was worth it. See you guys next year at Float Fest 2018!
Featured image by Allison Johnson.