A Letter to the Community from Free Press Houston
It has come to light that over the past weekend an 18-year-old girl, Megan Tilton from The Woodlands High School, passed away after she left FPSF by medical transport. We don’t speak for the festival, only for Free Press Houston, although it’s easy to recognize that this is an utter tragedy, one which causes us profound sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends, first and foremost. We have always seen our young attendees as the core of why we got into live events, publishing, and more, so to see the loss of a precious life makes us take pause and remind ourselves that our obligation to our community is paramount. We encourage everyone to join us in contributing to the GoFundMe for Megan Tilton to help her family with the funeral and aftercare.
For 7 years, Free Press Houston has been proud to be a producer and sole founder of Free Press Summer Festival (FPSF). What started out as a collaboration by half a dozen knuckleheads in the community who had no business in the music industry eventually grew into a leviathan larger than the people who created it. We have been proud to see this little festival turn into an important civic event that has made Houston a better place for live music. However, after bringing in more and more partners, and as the festival takes on its own inertia, we have come to a place where we can no longer contribute to FPSF. We’ve done what we can. We put our heart and soul into this event and it’s grown into a community fixture, though it’s time to let it go. The majority interest of FPSF was sold to C3 Media effective December 18th, 2023, producers of Austin City Limits (ACL), Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, and C3 was purchased by LiveNation last year. Our publication, Free Press Houston, is entirely locally owned and operated. As such, we hope this translates to a bigger, better FPSF, yet we hope they keep all of the elements that make this festival so uniquely Houston.
We wish the best for the new leadership and festival staff of FPSF and we hope to see the festival thrive, grow, and maintain its importance in the local musical ecosystem. We also hope to see Houstonians urge the new leadership to keep the festival inextricably tied to this city and always provide a place for local bands to show their talents to a larger audience. Local bands are what made FPSF special in the first place. It’s what made it different from other festivals and this festival was built on their backs. They are owed nothing less than everyone’s absolute appreciation and a seat at the table.
This festival is still special and can continue to be beautiful. Thank you to all the staff, attendees, musicians and artists who have put so much of their blood, sweat, and tears into making this an honored Houston tradition. We love you, Houston.