Six Acts We Loved at Float Fest 2018: Tame Impala, Modest Mouse, The Suffers and More (FESTIVAL REVIEW)

It’s easy to tear down a music festival. The festival is too crowded, the lineup is too one-sided, or the tickets are too expensive. The fact is, music festival’s are inherently a hassle and the only redeeming quality, at least for most festivals, is the seemingly intangible ‘magic’ that they can offer to attendees.  

On paper, Float Fest might appear to be hell on Earth. Dust storms, massive parking lines, blazing 100 degree heat, and hordes of slack-jawed, inebriated college kids in their bathing suits might seem overwhelmingly unattractive. However, once conditions are internalized, the charm and music begin to grow on you. A quintessential Texas sunset and carnival rides served as a backdrop to impressive performances by Lil’ Wayne, Modest Mouse, and Tame Impala at this year’s edition of Float Fest, which took place July 21-22 in San Marcos, TX.

While the festival is certainly more of a marathon than a sprint, there were particular performances that breathed life into the sweat-soaked, beer-laden crowd.

3 Best Headliners:

still can’t believe how amazing #floatfest was ? #modestmouse

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Modest Mouse – These Northwest indie rock legends put together a festival-friendly set that was a certified crowd-pleaser. Cherry picking all of their most popular songs throughout their tenured career: “Bukowski”, “City Made of Ashes”,  “Dramamine”, and “World At Large” were all highlights. Lead singer Isaac Brock also seemed to play faster than usual, fitting in way more songs than their 75 minutes would typically allow for. Modest Mouse fans young and old got a comprehensive fix of the band that many carry near to their heart.

Go backwards with some @tame__impala visuals ? ? @remisaluee

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Tame Impala – Besides some of the rap acts on the bill, Tame Impala was the most anticipated performance, bringing together a massive crowd to finish off Sunday night. Enhanced production with laser lights and confetti added to the psychedelic sounds that the Aussie hit-makers expounded. Lead singer Kevin Parker hinted at an upcoming album while creating the most memorable set from Float Fest 2018.

Weezy F baby and the “F” is for Float Fest ? ? @saramarjorie

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Lil’ Wayne – In all honesty, Weezy’s voice sounds like a chainsmoking bullfrog croaking through an industrial fan. However, there is no denying that Lil’ Wayne might be one of the, if not the, best rapper alive. Playing snippets and choruses from over 25 different tracks, the audience was gifted with “Lollipop”, “I’m Goin In”, “Got Money”, and “A Milli”.  While other headliners are fairly common festival fodder, seeing Lil’ Wayne at Float Fest gave a certain amount of credibility as the level of headliners they are now booking.


3 Best Openers:

Blackillac – A local rap supergroup of sorts, Blackillac is the joint project of Zeale, Phranchyze, and Gary Clark Jr. While Austin has historically had its hip-hop scene overshadowed by Houston and Dallas, Blackillac is part of a new crop of young Austin MCs that are strongly repping the ATX. Provocative and engaging, the group brings as much energy to their shows as they do complexity to their rhymes. Playing a mid-day set can be brutal in the Texas heat, but Blackillac brought a refreshing blast of energy for their audience.

@bamitskam is my favorite | @thesuffers at @floatfest 2018

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The Suffers – One of the top bands out of Houston that has gathered momentum in the past few years, The Suffers bring soul-rattling R&B to the forefront of the Texas music scene. Lead singer Kam Franklin offers an Aretha-like voice with a Tina-like stage presence, and with her 7-piece backing band, she is a force to be reckoned with. The Suffer’s gulf coast soul gave the crowd a reason to dance amidst the stifling heat of the mid-Saturday sun.

Com Truise –  An interesting addition to the Float Fest lineup, Com Truise, saw its popularity at its height in the early 2010s when chill wave was at its peak.  However, Com Truise’s synthwave was a perfect match for the laid-back and elevated crowd, who instantly locked into the New York artist’s sonic vibes. While Com Truise has not become a household name, he should at least become a resident feature of Float Fest.

Numbers don’t lie, and the fact that over 40,000 beer cans were collected during the festival’s cleanup means that the majority of festival-goers fought the heat with an inordinate amount of alcohol consumption. Although altered states were common, the music lineup unto itself had enough quality to be enjoyable without pills, powders, or Pabst. Even floating the river had enough appeal on its own to give most attendees a unique experience. Whether it was one facet, or all of them combined, Float Fest has a lot to offer to any adventurous souls that don’t mind a little sun and dust in the middle of a Texas Summer.

Cover photo via Float Fest Facebook

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