We live in age when music festivals are retreading and repeating themselves, driving fan apathy up and attendance numbers down. The glut of major music events has led to several shuttering their turnstiles across the country the last couple of years. Few can legitimately surprise fans the moment line-ups are announced.
Houston’s very own Day for Night is one of them. Organizers just announced the third edition set for December 15-17 at its perfectly-placed downtown location at the PostHTX basecamp in the historic Barbara Jordan Post Office. The line-up is gasp-worthy, based on its confirmation of musical acts, alongside cutting-edge visual art installations and a summit of talks by influential and news-making figures (Chelsea Manning, Laurie Anderson, Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova). The national music community immediately took notice.
The line-up features a top-notch mix of acts at the height of their powers (Nine Inch Nails, St. Vincent, Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Justice), those who are currently blowing up (Phantogram, Perfume Genius, James Blake, Tyler, The Creator), some old favorites (Roni Size, Jesus Lizard, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and special sets (Of Montreal performing all of Hissing Fauna You Are The Destroyer on its 10th anniversary, Saint Heron Presents: “Soul Cleansing” with Solange teaming with Earl Sweatshirt and Kaytranada).
At last year’s festival, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, frontman of one of the biggest bands on the planet and a Houston native expressed his gratitude for what Day for Night was trying to accomplish, stating that he never had anything this unique while growing up here. While organizers pulled off a well-run and expertly curated 2016 edition, the feeling among many was there was room to grow – that it still had a way to go to become a transformational music event for a scene and city that has long suffered from a lack of identity.
The potential for Houston as a music city has been building for some time now with an increasingly strong local scene and more attractive landing spot among touring bands as the number of younger residents climbs. Add a few years of stale ACL Festival rosters (Red Hot Chili Peppers and Killers? No thanks), an ever-commercialized South By Southwest, and the fight between newly built downtown condominium owners and music venues regarding noise ordinances in the “Live Music Capital of the World,” and it’s a perfect storm scenario where HTX supersedes ATX as the cool choice to see live music.
Judging from the reaction to the Day for Night 2017 announcement, this might be the turning point when instead of saying “Are you doing ACL?,” music fans start asking, “Are you going to Day for Night?”
What makes Day for Night – which is starting to resemble a symbiosis of Coachella’s smart musical bookings and Burning Man’s forward thinking art installations – so important, it ultimately could serve as the anchor event that makes the city even more vibrant as a destination for international acts that all too often skip this part of the country for other major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. In return, the ticket holders will come, injecting the local economy with much needed post-Harvey funds and marking a firm X on the map for Houston as a vital cultural hub.
While one half of Day for Night’s name conjures darkness, there are only sunny days on the horizon. It’s an exciting time to be a music fan living in Houston.
Tickets to Day for Night 2017 are $215 to $750 with fees.
Catch the video on the Day for Night lineup from our news partners at ABC13: