Float Fest expected to attract 10,000 attendees over Labor Day

By: 

Special to the Star

Float Fest, a live music festival where attendees can float the river, will be hosted Aug. 31 and is expected to bring in 10,000 concert-goers.

Texas State Tubes, Don’s Fish Camp and Cool River Ranch are partnered with the festival to provide tubes for the festival’s floaters. Joe Flanagan, part-owner of Cool River Ranch, said the companies are expecting 10,000 people to attend.

“The three tubing companies only have so many tubes,” Flanagan said. “Not only are we limited by the tubes but also by the limit of how many people we can haul to the river on the buses.”

Flanagan said when combined, the three tubing companies have an estimated 5,500 tubes. Although the event has an expected 10,000 people in attendance, there will be a limit on how many people can be in the river due to the amount of tubes available, he said.

“If Float Fest was not even happening, there would still be 5,500 people on the river,” Flanagan said. “That’s because it’s on Labor Day weekend, and that’s the busiest weekend of the year.”

Some residents are concerned that the festival will have a negative impact on the environment, but Flanagan said they may be misguided. 

Attendees who choose to bring cans will be encouraged by tubing companies, constables and volunteers to clean up after themselves, Flanagan said.

Float Fest organizers contacted the Meadows Center last spring requesting that the center be the environmental beneficiary to the event, said Emily Warren, associate director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. Warren said she cannot say what the environmental impact of an event this size will be.

 “We are looking at collecting long-term data over the impacts on water quality as a result of events like this,” Warren said. “There haven’t been any studies done like that, so I think this is a really good opportunity for us to start getting data so we are able to make good decisions in the future.”

Dylan Dye, construction sophomore, said although he plans to attend Float Fest, he thinks it is important to be prideful of the surrounding landscape and keep the environment in mind.

“Personally, I really think it’s all about holding each other accountable,” Dye said. “If I see one of my friends tossing a can aside in the river, then it’s my job to speak up. For most of us, San Marcos is our home for the next four years, and we need to keep it clean and beautiful and leave it in a better condition than what it was.”

Warren said the center felt the festival would be a good opportunity to educate people about their message and put the organizers in touch with groups that could help with cleanup at the event.

“It will be a good opportunity for us to talk about our message to pick up after yourself because this water is the water resource of San Marcos, and it’s sensitive,” Warren said.

Float Fest organizers plan to strongly encourage attendees to clean up after themselves, said Samantha Phelps, Float Fest spokeswoman.

All floaters will be equipped with a mesh bag they can carry with them down the river to collect trash, Phelps said. Volunteers will be stationed on site to collect the bags as people exit the river and enter the festival grounds, she said.

“We really want everyone to enjoy the natural landscape and beauty of Float Fest and ensure that we can come back and have a great time next year,” Phelps said.