Float Fest: The Only Music Festival Combining Floating & Live Music

by Rilee Wong on July 18, 2018 in Living Texas, Austin, San Antonio, Music,

San Marcos: Grab your tubes and some friends, then head down to the river for Float Fest 2018 this Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22.

Now in its fifth year, Float Fest, the only festival in the world to combine the awesome Texas tradition of floating the river and live music, is offering attendees a highly curated mix of alternative, rap, indie rock, and EDM performers. This year, the event has two main stages, giving fans the chance to catch every moment of main stage action with non-overlapping sets.  

2017 Float Fest headliners included Blunt Force. Photo courtesy Chad Wadsworth

2018 Float Fest headliners Tame Impala, Bassnectar, Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse, Run The Jewels and Lil Wayne will close out the fest each night, performing popular crowd favorites. Float Fest will also host popular local and regional bands—including Austin’s high energy A Giant Dog and Houston’s ever popular The Suffers—to showcase their talent. There is some bad news/good news about this year’s lineup. Glass Animals has been cancelled. The good/great news is that Float Fest has filled their spot in the lineup with one of today’s most popular indie rock bands, Cold War Kids.

Held every year in San Marcos, Float Fest is the only festival in the world to combine the Texas tradition of floating the river and live music. Photo courtesy Chad Wadsworth

Do you float the river while listening to music? No. Those two activities happen separately. You float the river in the morning or afternoon, then when you’re done tubing on the San Marcos River, you head over to the festival site at Cool River Ranch to enjoy the music! We recommend you float early—there’s a lot of great music to soak up!

All Float Fest tickets include camping. Photo courtesy Roger Ho

While all this sounds great, what about the impact on the river of thousands and thousands of thirsty fans? What’s Float Fest doing about sustaining the environment? Well, the cool thing is, every year the music festival organizes a river cleanup project, Keep the River Clean, through partnerships with local businesses such as Don’s Fish Camp, Texas State Tubes, and The Eyes of the San Marcos River , employees, and volunteers. Activities implemented include mesh biodegradable trash bags available for free with tubes for floating, River Wranglers on canoes to help take trash bags, trash receptacles available after tubing at shuttle pick up stations, and the Float Fest crew cleaning up the river before, during, and after the festival with divers and boats to ensure a safe and clean zone.

Twenty thousand fans attend Float Fest. The organizers are pushing more efforts to help keep the San Marcos River clean before, during and after the event on July 21-22. Photo courtesy Chad Wadsworth

“The San Marcos River is a sacred gem to us and is essential to our community,” said Marcus Federman, founder of Float Fest. “Floating the beautiful river is a Texas tradition, yet we want to keep the river alive and clean. We’re thrilled to continue to host fans regionally and nationally, but doing so in a way that is the most effective and sustainable.”

Click here to buy tickets for Float Fest 2018. All tickets include camping.


Cover photo courtesy Katrina Barber