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The fight for Float Fest continues

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Rivers Cuomo of Weezer performs July 23 at Float Fest.
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer performs July 23 at Float Fest.
Photo by Lara Dietrich

After being granted a permit allowing 15,000 concert goers to attend Float Fest this summer, the festival applied for another permit which seeks to double that number for the event on July 21 and 22.

Float Fest is a summer festival in Martindale, that combines all the favorite parts of tubing, camping, and live music. This is the fifth time that Marcus Federman has organized the festival, with it growing each time.

At the Guadalupe County Commissioner’s meeting Feb. 17, Federman appeared with his attorney Joseph Stallone. Together, the two men made an opening argument outlining how they had learned from previous years and that they worked in cooperation with other entities on their 201-page permit application.

“It’s a win-win for the community. There’s tax revenues, the local businesses thrive during Float Fest weekend, we get letters from businesses thanking (us for ) what we do and wanting to be partners,” Stallone said.

Stallone emphasized the potential for Float Fest to give back to the Martindale community. He also stressed the importance of the wording within permit application.

“The court shall grant a permit application… shall in the statute, is a mandatory term, it means you must,” Stallone said.

For Commissioner Jim Wolverton, this argument was crucial to him when voting to issue the permit to Federman and Float Fest.

“The statute clearly states that if he has filed his paperwork timely and properly, we shall issue the permit,” Wolverton said.

At the hearing, County Judge Kyle Kutscher expressed his concern with Float Fest being the possibility of traffic and congestion, especially in the event of an emergency evacuation.

“It is still a funneling method of getting people off of the road and onto the property,” Kutscher said.

Both Kutscher and Wolverton expect Federman to appeal the decision of the Guadalupe County Commissioners to deny the permit allowing 30,000 attendees, which is twice as many as last year’s Float Fest.

Citizens of Martindale spoke at the hearing against Float Fest, airing a variety of grievances. Among these citizens was James Fancher, who spoke of the issues of safety and planning.

“At (9 p.m.), the majority of law enforcement leaves the area… the music doesn’t stop until (2 a.m.) That’s five prime hours of reduced law enforcement, inadequate to handle the group (of 30,000 attendees),” Fancher said.

Virginia Copy, a pregnant mother, said she felt that the health and safety requirements of the Float Fest attendees had been addressed, but the health and safety of Martindale citizens had been neglected.

“At what point is it too much,” Copy said. “At what point will you guys put your tax paying citizens above a commercial operator.”

The meeting concluded with a 3-2 decision against issuing the permit. Both Kutscher and Wolverton both expect Federman to appeal the decision.

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