Music Matters

These 2 new events will shake up the local music fest landscape in 2018

2 new events will shake up the local music fest landscape in 2018

Beck will perform at the In Bloom Festival, March 24-25, at Eleanor Tinsley Park. Beck/Facebook
Incubus band
Incubus was named a headliner of the In Bloom Music Festival this week. Incubus/Facebook
ACL Festival 2013 Day One Queens of the Stone Age 6238
Controversial Queens of the Stone Age plays the In Bloom Music Festival from March 24-25. Photo by Jon Shapley
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper performed at JMBLYA in 2014. The hip-hop festival will visit Houston on May 6, 2018. Chance the Rapper/Facebook
Incubus band
ACL Festival 2013 Day One Queens of the Stone Age 6238
Chance the Rapper

It's been a buzzy week of music event announcements: Two festivals, In Bloom Music Festival and JMBLYA, will make their way to the Bayou City this spring. In Bloom is the new incarnation of the weather-damaged Free Press Summer Fest and takes place at Eleanor Tinsley Park from March 24 to 25, 2018. JMBLYA, a multi-city Texas hip-hop and DJ event, returns May 6, 2018, after kicking off its inaugural year in 2013 in the Bayou City.

In terms of lineups, In Bloom organizers played it relatively safe, going with established headliners that will bring the crowds, including multi-genre indie-rocker Beck, rock radio favorite Incubus, internationally known DJ Martin Garrix, and alt-rock band Queens of the Stone Age, the latter of which recently made cringe-worthy headlines, at no fault to In Bloom bookers.

JMBLYA, which heavily favors marquee rappers, has not announced its line-up or location yet, but is offering a blind presale $25 general admission ticket. Looking at the lineups from previous years, that price is a steal. The 2016 edition featured Future, Rae Sremmurd, and Post Malone and earlier years had Travis Scott, G-Eazy, Chance The Rapper and Tyler, The Creator.

These two festivals will be vitally important to the Houston music scene for several reasons. For one, it means future growth and diversity for the live music scene. When festivals draw national and international touring acts, it convinces others to mark Houston as a stop on upcoming tours. In addition, many artists will use a festival set as a launching pad to a follow-up solo headlining show at a smaller venue (think White Oak Music Hall or House of Blues).

It’s also a great decision to use Eleanor Tinsley Park as a festival site, where In Bloom will make its home. The space is great and if the weather holds up, it provides a wonderful view of downtown, akin to ACL Fest in Austin’s Zilker Park. It’s also central to mass transit and ride sharing options.

The springtime bookings have the chance to shakeup the festival circuit. In Bloom will be one of the first national festivals of the season. Even with South By Southwest a few weeks earlier, a more inclusive lineup means fan fatigue will be low. JMBLYA should benefit from its May slot, which is still early on the festival calendar.

The cooler months of March for In Bloom and still not-too-oppressive May for JMBLYA will be much more enjoyable than the sweltering humidity of Free Press Summer Fest that took place in June. A pissed off Mother Nature meant the last three years of that event saw venue changes, cancellations and flooding due to extreme weather. Earlier dates mean less predictable forecasts.

The two festivals will provide an opportunity for local acts to cut their teeth in front of bigger audiences. In Bloom features several Houston based acts such as Say Girl Say, Vodi, Velveteen Echo, among others, sharing stages with well-known touring bands. This is exactly how to build a solid local music scene.

All of this is good news for Houston as a music destination city. This weekend's Day For Night is firmly laying down roots and In Bloom and JMBLYA will keep the momentum going to attract bands and music fans from beyond the city limits.

The In Bloom Music Festival takes place on March 24 to 25, 2018 at Eleanor Tinsley Park. Tickets are currently $125 plus fees for a two day, general admission pass. JMBLYA festival is on May 6, 2018. Location TBD. Blind presale tickets go on sale December 15 at 10 am for $25.

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