This past weekend, tens of thousands of youngsters, hipsters and rock stars attended the Free Press Summer Fest at Eleanor Tinsley Park, a music festival with a lineup spanning Willie Nelson to Snoop Dog and back. Event organizers estimated attendance at 92,000 (“FPSF 2012 attendance estimate breaks record,” 29-95.com, Monday).
Having completed its fourth year, the festival feels like a love letter to Houston. And that love of local was demonstrated not just in the eclectic band lineup or the Houston-centric food and drink offerings, but also in the political messages prevalent throughout the grounds. Rather than the usual youth-oriented political campaigns, such as Obama for President or ending the War on Drugs, these messages were all about Houston - notably, reforming the noise ordinance and improving METRO funding.
Between acts, the giant screens above the main stages cycled through a mini-slideshow explaining the problems with Houston’s noise ordinance (it lacks a clear, objective standard with which bars and music venues can comply) and what people can do about it (write City Hall). And among the crowd’s wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses was a smattering of T-shirts from HoustonTomorrow, advocating that transit taxes actually be used for mass transit.
These issues may seem more at home with political wonks than concert-goers, but for the young creative class in our city, they address regular concerns.
Houston rightly takes pride in being pro-business, but sometimes that attitude seems more tailored to large-scale companies and developers. To attract the next generation of business leaders, Houston needs to be a place where people don’t just have to live for a job, but want to live for the city. This means having a variety of transportation options beyond cars, such as an extensive mass transit system and citywide bike lanes.
Full Story: Editorial: Summer Fest feels like a local love letter
Source: Houston Chronicle, June 5, 2012