Float Fest 2017 began with helicopter rides and hundreds of festival-goers floating the river in the midst of 100-degree heat in Martindale. Crowds from Houston, Dallas and other states including Colorado and Louisiana came out to see major artists and enjoy the festival’s fourth and largest event.
To start off the festivities, attendees camped out over night and spent hours floating the river before entering the festival grounds where Kings of Nothing took the stage at 2 p.m., kicking off the first day of the fest. VIP lounges filled with patrons, and the carnival scene spun until top-billing artists finally hit the stage and stole the attention from floating.
This year’s festival brought in plenty of out-of-town and state travelers due to its line up featuring Zedd, Passion Pit, Mac Miller and other major artists who perform Sunday including Cage the Elephant and cult-favorite- Weezer.
The crowd of floaters and guests grew rapidly when Mike Jones, Houston rapper and actor took the stage for his set around 5:30 p.m. Jones in typical emcee fashion was able to hype up the rapidly-growing crowd for nearly an hour. After his set, the audience crossed the open field of Cool River Ranch to the opposite set where Snakehips, DJ duo, took the stage, followed by Neon Indian an electric band with lead singer Alan Palomo, who showed off striking poses and dance moves throughout the entire set.
Mindy Campell, Houston resident and float fest veteran said she and her friends have attended every festival except the first. Campell said she noticed major improvements each year, but no matter what, floating is her favorite part.
“Each year it keeps getting better, they’ve listened to feedback and it keeps getting better,” Campell said. “We typically go to ACL, Free Press, and other Texas festivals. This one is definitely up there with the rest.”
Krishna Gonzales, Texas Tech student, and her friend Chante Garcia came to the festival from Lubbock because of this year’s line up. The two said they enjoyed seeing Passion Pit, Girl Talk and Mac Miller perform and feel their trip was worth it, especially after floating the river for the first time.
“Floating the river was awesome. A lot of people were really nice and it felt great. We can’t wait until (Sunday) though, to see Cage the Elephant and MGMT,” Gonzales said.
The festival carried on switching back and forth from stage to stage with crowds getting louder and bigger with each change all leading up to Zedd’s performance.
Many guests said they came to the festival to see Zedd specifically, wearing Zedd shirts and engaging in their favorite songs. The fans were not disappointed when Zedd took the stage amongst confetti, smoke and flames.
Scott Airitam traveled from Rowlett to Martindale just for the night to see Zedd’s performance.
“I’ve been a fan for three or four years I guess,” Airitam said. “This is my first time here, but I came to see Zedd, but floating was amazing and seeing Girl Talk killed it.”
The festival carried on until shortly after 1:00 a.m. when the DJ finished his set. Festival grounds were left littered with debris while people took their final rides in the carnival area before returning to the camp grounds to start all over again in the morning.