Once a year the city of San Marcos hosts their annual Float Fest down at Cool River Ranch. The festival showcases some of the best national touring acts in the country while also providing a large platform for up and coming Texas artists as well.
This year’s lineup was one for the books as Bassnectar headlined Saturday and Tame Impala closed out the festival Sunday evening. Another cool factor for Float Fest is obviously the floating…where fans can escape the upwards of 100-degree heat by floating for hours in the San Marcos River, then hit the shores and go see their favorite musical acts.
The central Texas heat was one of the major concerns this year. But, that didn’t seem to stop people from showing out as thousands piled up to the festival’s two stages all day and night. The water stations never had a long wait, and there were plenty of food vendors to accommodate even the most complex dietary restrictions. Unlike other major festivals, the middle tier capacity of Float Fest made for a really enjoyable event without too much chaos. You could make your way up to the front if you wanted or stay in the back and still hear the bands.
Some of the more notable performances were The Suffers out of Houston, Texas whose soul-infused rock made for a nice change in atmosphere from hip-hop and EDM acts playing throughout the day. A highlight from The Suffers’ performance was a tempo change mid-song into a Tejano rhythmic jam showcasing their influences and undoubtedly their native Texas roots. It’s always pleasing to see a group inspired from other cultures, one of the many reasons why Texas artists are so amazing.
Hip-Hop heavy weights Lil Wayne, Bun B, and Snoop Dogg were crowd favorites as everyone in attendance were rapping along or dancing throughout their entire sets. Lil Wayne, opening his set with his famous Carter III hit ‘Mr. Carter,’ got the entire festival moving followed by a whole hour of classic hits from the New Orleans Nightmare. None of the hip-hop acts had heavy backing tracks making the performances more organic as they rapped every bar of their songs. This showcases the generational gap in modern hip-hop which seems to be only backing tracks versus yesterday’s hit makers.
Even local Austin artists got their time to shine as A Giant Dog played their punk madness with frontwoman Sabrina Ellis serenading the crowd with her chaotic dance moves.
The final performances Sunday night were nothing short of spectacular as Cold War Kids, who filled-in last minute for Glass Animals after a terrible injury, took the stage setting the tone for the night. One thing you don’t realize about Cold War Kids, being industry veterans for over a decade, is just how many hits they have…playing deep cuts ‘Hang Me Out To Dry’ and indie rock anthem ‘First’ to a loving crowd. Their stage presence is unmatched having seen the most crowd involvement from any band leading up to their set. Cold War Kids are made to play festivals with their jam heavy bridges, catchy hooks, and overall charisma.
The final performance and headlining act, Tame Impala, took the stage with the most impressive lightshow I’ve ever seen. How massive this band has become this decade is insane, growing bigger and bigger every year. Thousands of people surrounded me as the psychedelic riffs made for a mind-bending evening. Laser lights, trippy backgrounds, and confetti cannons seem to be the recipe for an incredible visual performance. Tame Impala was the perfect send off to a very well-done festival. If you can take the heat, Float Fest is a worthy festival to attend for years to come. See you next year!
Check out the photo gallery below from Float Fest 2018.
Photos and review by: Matthew Carlin @yo_mtv_matt