Float Fest does more good than harm for San Marcos


Illustration by Valkyrie Mata.

Naomi Wick

Held at Cool River Ranch on Dupey Ranch Road for the past four years, Float Fest is a one-of-a-kind music festival that attracts people from all over the state. With last year’s headliners ranging from Tame Impala to Lil Wayne, Float Fest has something for everyone and is a rite of passage for Bobcats and San Martians alike.

Last week, Guadalupe County Commissioners Court voted Thursday to deny a large gathering permit to Float Fest. The reasons given were primarily based on the appeals of residents, many claiming that traffic and litter is a big issue for them regarding Float Fest.

One of the complainants, Tom Goynes, co-owner of San Marcos River Retreat in Caldwell, opposes the festival because he claims it hurts his business. Hurting one business, however, is a small price to pay for the $12.3 million generated, with nearly $670,000 in taxes alone.

Goynes’ business is upstream from Cool River Ranch and shouldn’t be affected by litter, just heavier traffic and noise. Persnickety residents don’t want the traffic and noise, but the weekend of Float Fest is no different than the Fourth of July or Labor Day weekend; the people of Texas will always flock to rivers for fun-filled weekends in the sun.

Some say the county doesn’t profit because the private company makes the bulk of the profits, but shutting the whole festival down isn’t a solution to these minor complaints. Residents claim Float Fest isn’t good for them, but Float Fest isn’t for them. People of Caldwell County can enjoy their river town all year long; there’s no good reason not to let others enjoy the water and their favorite artists, too.

Other complaints include worries of medical issues and trash destroying the river. Though the San Marcos River is home to over seven endangered species, these animals are sturdy enough to handle a weekend of higher-than-usual river traffic; after all, they’ve been doing it for decades. Local divers are more than happy to help clean up the river if air tanks are provided, and it’s not too much to ask for the festival’s planners to allocate a small portion of their profits to provide supplies for divers to clean.

Residents can plan in advance for traffic and a few days of potentially slower business. San Marcos residents have to prepare themselves for busy weekends like graduation days and move-in days at Texas State; it’s part of what residents learn to expect when living near a college down with a spring-fed river in Central Texas.

Naomi Wick is a journalism senior

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