Day in the Life of an In Bloom festival-goer

Lilah Gaber, Assignments Editor

Free Press Summer Festival was Houston’s biggest music festival but, unfortunately, was not known for its artists or its food; it was known for flooding. The owners of the festival, C3 and Pegstar, announced last year that Free Press would be no more, and out of its ashes would rise In Bloom Music Festival. In Bloom was conveniently moved out of flooding season and to March 24 and 25. I applied for a media pass back in January, and, on March 5, got an email saying that I had been approved to cover the festival.

In Bloom was what Free Press should have been, weather permitting. It had a lineup that ranged from small Houston-based artists like Pearl Crush and Astragal in the mornings, to bigger acts like Beck and the hard-to-book Lil Uzi Vert in the evenings.

To me, the success of a festival is not based solely on its lineup; festivals are an all-day experience and have to provide the resources for an 11-11 schedule. In Bloom did not disappoint on this front either, providing accessible hydration stations, charging areas and a clean space for festival-goers. Attendees also did not have to worry about keeping cash on them; the festival offers a cashless option that lets you put money on your wristband before going. The In Bloom app also made organizing my day and finding friends and stages much easier.

One of my main concerns, though, was food. For a little over a month I have been pescatarian (though I also try to avoid fish), and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find good vegetarian options that weren’t carb-based (no offense to the Waffle Bus, I love you guys, but sometimes breakfast food just doesn’t do it). While I had to exercise extreme self-restraint at the sight and smell of all of the meat options, I found my solace in the vegetarian tacos from Goodnight Charlie’s. They weren’t the only stall offering vegetarian options, but I don’t think anything could rival those tacos. They put my regular diet of rice and salad to shame. The festival was also able to satisfy my artsy insta-photo requirement with a super cute flower-clad wall with “In Bloom” at the top and the festival name spelled out in flowers on the side of a hill. In Bloom was everything I needed it to be, so I want to help others live through my experience.



9:00 a.m.: I wake up and freak out internally. This is really happening.

9:30 a.m.: I tell myself I’m not going to do any extreme makeup. I need to look professional.

9:31 a.m.: I now have blinding glitter liner.

10:45 a.m.: My uncle is driving me to the festival and we are desperately trying to avoid downtown traffic. Google Maps doesn’t realize how many streets are closed off due to March for Our Lives so we end up circling one part of downtown for a long time.

11:00 a.m.: We finally escape the loop of traffic from the march. Google Maps now doesn’t understand that Allen Parkway, where the festival is located, is closed off, so we cannot take it to get to the festival. I finally decide to turn off my phone and navigate myself.

11:20 a.m.: I make it to the park and get my press credentials. I get to feel more important than I am asking them for my media pass and then being instructed to go through the VIP security line (even though at this hour there is no one in any of the other lines so this doesn’t really award me any real privilege).

11:30 a.m.: I stumble around trying to find the press area and wonder if I really am qualified to be doing this job.

12:00 p.m.: I decide to walk from the west end of the festival to the east end to see how long it takes. I need to be prepared so I know how long it will take to get from the press area to the stage Wolf Alice are playing on later.

12:07 p.m.: I make it to the Fauna stage on the east end and get disappointed at how long that took.

12:10 p.m.: How. I have already lost my sunglasses. I decide to retrace my steps and as soon as I return to my starting spot, I see a kid pick up my glasses. This is real fear. He puts on the glasses and I have to interrupt him to tell him they’re mine. He looks good in them, if that’s any consolation.

12:20 p.m.: Velveteen Echo plays, and I can’t help but be jealous of how perfect the lead singer Lauren’s hair is.

Lilah Gaber
Lauren Warthen, lead singer of Velveteen Echo.

1:20 p.m.: I am waiting in the press area for my first interview of the day. I sit at a cute table under the tree. The onslaught of spiders and unidentifiable, scary-looking bugs begins now.

1:35 p.m.: After a large spider crawls up my leg, I decide to move out from under the tree.

1:36 p.m.: Free Goldfish and cookies, that is all.

2:00 p.m.: I get to interview Velveteen Echo. Peep the Review Online later when I finally transcribe the half-hour interview.

2:30 p.m.: I interview Pearl Crush. I get all sappy because of how cool she is.

3:00 p.m.: I fast-walk to the stage Wolf Alice is playing on at 5:10. I arrive to see a gaggle of old people who look like they’re trying to relive the 90s. I immediately get scared of who I am about to unintentionally watch out of my dedication to Wolf Alice.

3:30 p.m.: A band walks on stage and I will myself to have fun in this crowd of old people.

4:20 p.m.: I no longer have to pretend that I like metal. My friends join me at the front of the crowd.

5:10 p.m.: Ellie Rowsell, if you’re reading this: I love you. I have never been so hype at a show before and my vocal chords could tell you that’s probably for good reason.

Lilah Gaber
Ellie Rowsell, lead vocalist and guitarist of Wolf Alice.

6:00 p.m.: Joff throws his pick into the crowd but it falls short. I ask one of the security guards to grab it for me before anyone else can. For the next 15 minutes I proceed to shout at every crew member on stage until one of them finally brings me their setlist.

6:15 p.m.: We play Head’s Up to pass the time, drawing a lot of looks, but I assume they were of jealousy.

6:40 p.m.: H.E.R. comes on stage, and I am convinced I have died because of how angelic her voice is.

Lilah Gaber

7:45 p.m.: I realize I haven’t eaten since 10:00. Tacos have never tasted so good in my life.

8:00 p.m.: We eat and watch Lil Uzi Vert from the safety of a hill.

9:15 p.m.: Does anyone know how old Beck is? I do: he’s 47. Also, now is an amazing time for ice cream.



10:00 I go for some bold red overalls that I will later regret when I see Instagram photos of me looking like a fire hydrant.

Juniors Anna-William Kornberg (left) and Lilah Gaber (right) relax near flowers spelling out “IN BLOOM.”

11:10 We don’t make the rookie navigating mistakes of yesterday. I once again relish in getting to use the empty VIP lane.

11:30 I catch the tail end of Astragal’s set.

12:20 p.m.: I interview Astragal. Definitely the funniest interview I’ve ever gotten to do.

1:00 p.m.: I pull out my phone and go to the work area in the press lounge. I proceed to try and organize my physics class’ Rube Goldberg project. At the festival. I’m doing school work. Did I mention I’m at a festival?

Lilah Gaber
My workplace in the press area.

3:00 p.m.: I meet up with a friend and we get really into T-Pain. No matter if you’re an art kid, old person or frat bro, I believe we can all find unity with T-Pain.

4:20 p.m.: We catch some of Houndmouth’s set, but leave early to see Sylvan Esso. Don’t blame me.

6:10 p.m.: Ice cream and cookies, life is delicious (shoutout to Fluff Bake Bar, y’all are real ones).

6:30 p.m.: We get caught in a really energetic crowd at 21 Savage. I seriously contemplate trying to crowd surf, but remember I have trust issues. Any previous plans to see Broods were dashed, leaving this crowd would have proved impossible.

6:40 p.m.: I run into more people from my grade. They tell me they all had their phones stolen in a mosh pit at 21 Savage. I’m reaffirmed in my decision not to crowd surf.

7:50 p.m.: I leave early because, surprise, I still have work to do on the Rube Goldberg project.

Check out the Review Online later for interviews with some of the artists who performed at In Bloom!