One thing we love about being Houstonians is the sojourn made each summer to the San Marcos region to float on the river with smiles and a beer in tote. This year is no different, however, it is made a bit more special thanks to Float Fest. Within the last five years (this year marks the event’s fifth anniversary), Float Fest has gained popularity with Texans and attracted internationally renowned acts of the likes of Rick Ross, Chromeo, Future Islands and more. This year’s eclectic and flat out dope lineup has a little something-something for every music lover. EDM enthusiasts will whiplash to Bassnectar, while hip hop heads will bob to the sounds of Snoop Dogg plus rock music lovers will be absorbed in the set of legendary Modest Mouse. These headliners are just a snippet of an overall great artist roster.
Float Fest will be held July 21-22, 2018 in San Marcos. Tickets are trending to be sold out, so snag yours before it’s too late. Peep our interview with founder Marcus Federman to get the lowdown on all things Float Fest.
Free Press Houston: Tell me about your background. How did you get involved with the music event space?
Marcus Federman: I was a musician and I’ve been a musician since I’ve been in elementary school. I toured in a band. I had several bands that I toured with. So, I guess you could say I was a touring musician and that’s where I guess I cut my teeth in the music business. I was in a band with Omar of Free Press Houston actually. That was actually my first band called Halo — pre-video game. Then I moved to Austin, well San Marcos to be exact, I started another band and that one I had for a long time. We played all of the venues all over the place.
FPH: So, what was the catalyst behind your decision to launch Float Fest?
MF: To be frank, I got tired of touring. (Laughs) I got tired of that side of business. I wanted to try something new and kind of settle down in life. I also wanted to do something creative on the other side of the business other than the artistic side. For as far back as I can remember, I was always on the artist side. I came up with this idea and it kind of went from there. I was also doing real estate and that was really good to me, but I was looking to transition to something else. Then, poof! A music festival. Here I am.
FPH: Nice! Getting into the festival, what are some of the determining factors as to who will make the lineup?
MF: It’s not that simple. We spend a considerable amount of time every year researching who’s selling tickets and who has longevity. We’re not a festival that likes to book the hot acts at the minute — like Post Malone and that type of stuff. Not to say that he’s a hot act at the minute. I think he’ll stick around. We’re not into that. We like a little bit more of a diverse lineup. We want to make sure that who we book has some staying power and has some sort of musical integrity. We don’t want someone to think of Float Fest as just a rap festival or EDM festival or just a rock festival. You have to have some kind of presence. We book a lot of regional acts, but [they’re] acts that are drawing a lot of people and selling some music. Generally, people in the scene know who they are. On the top end for the headliners, honestly, we just pick what we like. A lot of it comes down to who’s available too.
FPH: For someone that is attending for the first time, what advice would you give them as to how to enjoy the festival and make the most of it?
MF: I would say get there on Friday. Get your campsite set up. Come with your friends and have a little get-together with your friends to just chill on Friday. There’s one thing a lot of people don’t understand is that that part of the year is in the 70s at night, so it’s not 90-degrees at night. It’s actually a pretty pleasant camping experience. As soon as the sun comes up around 7:30 or eight o’clock, it gets hot. If you spend the night on Friday, you can be there already set up and ready to go for Saturday. You can go tubing or just hang out at the campsite or the river until it’s time for the concert to start. Definitely come prepared. I would recommend camping because you don’t have to worry about driving. You need to drink a lot of water and bring a lot of sunscreen. I would also say, party responsibly. Don’t come out there thinking you’re invincible, because you’re not. Our VIP experience this year is phenomenal. I’m sure I could think of a thousand other things.
FPH: Well, that’s the essential part of it. The festival has been around for five years, correct?
MF: Correct. This will be our fifth year.
FPH: So, how do you feel the event has evolved within these past several years?
MF: We’ve grown in size tremendously. We have learned a lot. You read comments at music festivals about different mishaps and stuff like that. It is very difficult to pull off a solid music festival. There’s a lot of things at play. You have situations where it could be weather or a bad vendor or it can be a bad vendor management — there’s a million different things that can go wrong; but I think over the past five years we’ve learned a lot. This is our fifth anniversary. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy making this festival the best one yet — not just from our lineup, but on the operations side. I feel like the evolution of the festival is simply attendance and learning how to operate a music festival efficiently. The lineup is pretty awesome.
FPH: Yeah, I love the lineup. What’s been your favorite moment so far of Float Fest based off the past years?
MF: There’s been so many. That’s a good question. Probably last year. I was standing in front of house and I was watching Cage The Elephant and they put on probably one of the best sets in the festival’s history. It was just unbelievable. It still to this day sends chills up my back. Seeing everybody out there enjoying themselves. It was a lot of years of hard work kind of culminating in this one moment. That was pretty heavy. That’s probably my favorite moment.