Fortress Festival came home in a BIG Way. In its 3rd consecutive year, the Fort Worth festival proved it is the premiere destination for consistent pre-summer activity. Selling out for the first time with over 14,000 attendees over both days, a 50% increase from the previous year, the fest battled rain on night one and STILL came out on top.
Even before the gates opened on April 27th, the activity and hype built around the event was well manicured. Pre-events such as the now reoccurring Yoga party at Indigo Yoga and the Creative Meet-up at Ampersand gave attendees and creatives alike a reason to be excited, the ladder gave away a media pass and a year of free coffee. Co-founder of the fest, Alec Jhangiani attended a Visit Fort Worth Panel about the rising Indie Scene in North Texas, “Fort Worth Rising: Is the Indie Music Scene Achieving Liftoff?” and if the turnout is any indication, the scene is bound for the stars. On the 27th, Fortress Presents Partner, The Modern Art Museum offered a Cardi Silent Disco class in the sculpture garden in the afternoon before the gates opened as well as free admission for the museum not just on festival days, as previously offered, but the entire week leading up to the Event. Hosting a pre-party at Deep Ellum Brewing Company the weekend before and finally, the inaugural “Tour De Fortress” Bike Marathon led by Mayor Betsy Price on the day of the event. The marathon led to the front doors as our own mayor set the day off right by opening the gates, accommodating doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Fortress Presents strived to achieve this year.
Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop offered bike Valet services for attendees that took 2 wheels to the gates, introducing the Electric Assisted bike share service, over 150 attendees took advantage of the service. Something that will be sure to return in the future
Set up for success, Day one saw Dallas local Bobby Sessions take the stage as well as Austin Natives The Bright Light Social Hour closing out the side Seagrums 7 Side stage. Gio Chamba brought some rythym while the Cush took it a little easier. Other acts of the day were Tinashe, hip-hop Wonder Duo Rae Sremmurd, bringing Energy and crowd participation to their set, and finally Chvrches closing the day out strong, talks of “Bulletproof Tuu-Tuus” in a speech aimed at Chris brown didn’t damper spirits in the slightest, but the weather ended the party a tad earlier than anticipated, with Thunder and Lightning threatening equipment and communications, but no one would argue it ended without the fun, Chvrches only losing 2/3 songs in the cut-off.
Day 2 was bright and without a cloud in the sky, the day started earlier at 1:30 with Meach Pango & locals Luna Luna getting the early crowd bopping and into the groove. Superorganism brought off-beat sounds to the main stage at its hottest point in the day, and just in time for the sun to set, Houston Locals Khraugbin treated everyone to the smoothest jams anyone had ever heard. A hip-hop medley of recognizable beats was a good break in the mostly instrumental set, spanning content from the groups 2 albums. Mellow vibes and not a bad attitude in sight, Khraugbin led the way for Abhi the Nomad to close out the side stage for good, and paved the way for the undebatable Hometown Hero of Fort Worth, Leon Bridges to take the main stage. Anyone who had been In attendance either days knows the grounds were full to the brim, not a soul was missing as he led the masses in a medley of all his material, a set spanning 90-minutes left no room for misstep and kept the crowd very happy for every second of the performance.
Year 3 ended with it’s first sold out shows, setting forth a legacy that will be reinvented every coming year