Summer down south means one thing—finding ways to stay cool enough in sticky, humid weather in order to enjoy the great outdoors. For one wet weekend in San Marcos, Texas, Float Fest offers an ingenious solution: listen to some of the hottest artists in rap, rock and EDM while tubing down the river and enjoying a cold beverage. Splashed across the Water and Sun stages in the most sweltering slice of summer festival season, Float Fest is the most chill way for you and your best buds to hit a fest in the friendly South without suffering from heatstroke.
July 21 – 22
San Marcos, TX
WHERE TO STAY
Your best bet is to camp on the sprawling Cool River Ranch. A pass is included with your ticket, and with temperatures dropping into the 70s at night, you’ll actually be able to sleep and recharge—unless the party rages on till dawn. If you prefer to stay in a hotel (air conditioning!), there’s a plethora of national chains in San Marcos as well as Palmer’s Guest House, a whimsical option convenient to the river and fest. If you bunk in Austin or San Antonio, the two closest cities to San Marcos, there are party buses that run back and forth from the fest all day.
Compared to the swarms of people that flood festivals like Coachella, Float Fest is downright cozy. Still, this year they’re expanding capacity to allow 20,000 people attend daily. Expect lots of Texans with ready smiles and beer cozies.
CLAIM TO FESTIVAL FAME
Float Fest is the only outdoor music festival that offers river tubing along with live music and camping. Tubing is an activity fairly unique to Texas, and Float Fest is a great way to make like a native and “go tubin’.”
SKIP IF …
You have zero tolerance for summer temperatures that make you feel like a wet woolen blanket has been wrapped around you. Texas in July is notoriously hot and humid even at night. Floating down a river might be the perfect way to cool off, but it’s also a great way to fry sensitive skin to a crisp. Still can’t resist? Dip into the Frigid Float Lounge when you just can’t bear to be drenched in sweat another second.
Get into the groove with this sampler:
“Float On,” Modest Mouse
“Solitude Is Bliss,” Tame Impala
“Gin and Juice,” Snoop Dogg
“Big Pimpin,” Jay Z ft. UGK
“Don’t Get Captured,” Run the Jewels
WHAT TO WEAR
You’ll pack light when you attend Float Fest—all you really need is a bikini. If you prefer to pass on tubing, dress in light colors. Slather on plenty of sunscreen, and bring a change of clothes and light sweater for cooler nights.
Sip on a Lemon Splash cocktail (Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka and soda) from the Deep Eddy Vodka’s Dive In tour trailer near the main stage and cool off in the shade in between sets. The trailer will also have charging stations, photo booth, games and an art installation!
Make sure to catch Snoop Dogg with the whole crew for a sing-a-long to “Gin and Juice.” Run the Jewels will put on an aerobic performance that’ll make you sweat just watching them. Take advantage of the cooler night temps and rage during Bassnectar’s late-night set.
TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME
Want to extend your vacation down south? San Marcos is great for outdoorsy types game for adventure—stick around and rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards or a snorkel and explore the river. Had enough fun in the sun? Head back to Austin, one of the hippest cities in the country, for chic bars, distinctive art galleries, any cuisine you desire and even more live music—if you aren’t yet satiated.
FLOAT FEST IS FOR YOU IF …
You’re a Texan and want to hit a fun, easy and cool summer festival, or you’re an out-of-towner and want a real Texas experience without (all) the heat. Float Fest recognizes that tubing on the San Marcos River is as important a component as the lineup, therefore keeping the latter tight. As opposed to other fests, you won’t find yourself racing from stage to stage and missing half the set you really wanted to see.
Float Fest is the only music festival that lets you tube while you groove and if you’re looking for a fest that will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated—not to mention sunkissed— fill the cooler with ice, slip on your swimsuit and roll to Float Fest.