Fortress Festival Recap

Photo: Austin James

The first year of Fortress Fest has come to a close, ringing in the beginning of our favorite time of year — festival season. With looming weather conditions and first year kinks to work out, the festival was far from a flawless, however there definitely is potential for Fortress Fest to be one of the few successful North Texas festivals.

Posted up at two landmarks in the Fort Worth's cultural district were Fortress’ two main stages, The Modern at the Modern Art Museum and Will Rogers Stage at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Going between stages posed some problems Day 1 as each switch between stages felt like checking into the festival all over again. Festival-goers were required to finish any food or drink and have their bags checked and wristband scanned before crossing over to the other stage. Crowds of festival-goers were found scarfing down their food and chugging beer and juices just to see the next band. By Day 2, this kink was addressed for the media folks, but general admission still had problems.

The Fortress Fest team made serious efforts by Day 2 to provide a smoother festival experience — and at that rate, we’re excited to see what they can do with another year of planning.

Despite a few issues, the performances stood up to the hype, heating up what was quite the chilly weekend. Houndmouth found silver lining in the weather, commenting, “It’s a little chilly outside, but at least it’s not Fyre Fest.”

Photo: Austin James

Day 1 at the Modern stage, Wolf Parade sent the crowd into a frenzy. While the water was enough to create an obstruction for the photographers, it wasn't enough for the Wolf Parade fans. So naturally, as “I'll Believe In Anything” came on, fans rushed the stage, skipping through a foot of water and enjoying one of the greatest dance parties that the Fort Worth Modern Museum pond has ever seen. Needless to say the security guard’s were on extra watch Day 2.

However, on Day 2 it was a bit more dicey at The Modern stage. Sound quality gave Alvvays a troubling start to their performance, that must have been the cherry on top to their flight being a delayed 5 hours. The group powered through playing crowd favorites like “Next Of Kin” and “Archie, Marry Me”, despite them openly admitting they were "just trying to get through this."

In spite of it all, Alvvays inquired, "Tell me something about Fort Worth,” while the crowd shouted back clever responses like: “It's cold. It's not Dallas. There is no fort.”

Photo: Austin James

Other stand-out performances from the weekend included some great local acts like Sudie, Sam Lao, Blue, the Misfit, So So Topic, and Quaker City Night Hawks. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats had one of our favorite performances of the weekend playing crowd favorites like “S.O.B” and “I Need Never Get Old”.

When it’s all said and done, Fortress Fest had some serious issues that need to be addressed, but the potential of what it could become in future years is too great to let the first year kinks keep us away.