I’m sitting in my snazzy Hotel Indigo room, still excited that I made the drive from Austin to Dallas for the 9th Homegrown Festival. I’m a first timer and even went solo so I want to give you my first impression and very honest review.
I got into Dallas around 12:30 and there weren’t many people strolling around the park or standing by the stage. Slightly worried I decided to stay in my room for a bit, clean myself up, and head down around 1:30. It was still pretty quiet but it was nice to make the loop of food trucks, bars, and vendors without being surrounded by people. The park isn’t a large space so I could only get myself so far away before heading back to watch VODI. When people really started showing up around 2pm you could feel and hear the relief from everyone running the show. The joke “You had me worried Dallas” might have been spoken while introducing the next band. I was a little relieved myself.
Let’s talk location. As a first timer, I’m not sure if this is always where the festival has been but its actually kind of a sweet spot. There is a lot of shade, access to the stage, and room for people to sit down (not just in the grass). My personal hotel pick was literally right across the street and I could have easily enjoyed the entire festival from the 14th floor overlooking the park. Kudos to me but I feel sorry for anyone staying that wasn’t aware of the festival because it rocked my hotel window a few times.
The only complaint is cars. People generally can’t drive so honking horns and alarms going off drove me crazy a few times. I don’t know if you know this but car alarms don’t really keep a great beat.
I’m far from a foodie but the options were there. Basic American, Pizza, Asian, Italian Ice, even a waffle bar which I didn’t go near just to avoid the temptation. A little bit of everything. Bars were pretty basic Texas. Shiner, Deep Eddy, Red Bull. I didn’t see any sort of water station but there were water fountains at the park which I saw people use. I don’t know that it’s really a minus but if it existed I would have bought a Homegrown branded water bottle and filled up. In fact, my VIP ticket came with a t-shirt that I never grabbed. A bottle would have been a nicer touch for the weather and I would have carried it around with me.
Speaking of VIP. I never saw another pink wristband. There seemed to be a VIP section (though I never would have known until I started looking for a bathroom). It was slightly behind the stage and covered but because it didn’t feel like it was a part of the festival I didn’t want to hang out back there. I’m happy I bought the ticket (it was still affordable) because it goes into the pockets of the festival but I’m not sure what I got out of it.
I’m not going to nitpick about individual performances but overall I’d give the music piece of the festival a 3.5 out of 5. It was solid and worth the drive. There were a few glitches in audio from start to finish. A few long breaks to check but I’m not about to claim that any of that can be done perfectly in 15 minutes. They handled it and the show went on. For Dallas locals, this would be a dream come true. For everyone else… it would definitely depend on the lineup attending.
So, final thoughts. Would I go again? Definitely. Do they need to make some tweaks, yes but I give them all the credit in the world for keeping local acts the main focus. When it comes around next year you’ll know cause I’m going to blast it everywhere.