At first, the extensive flooding of Houston, Texas on May 26 (where homes and major highways were enveloped by as much as 11 inches of rain) seemed likely to derail plans for the seventh annual Free Press Festival, set to take place in Houston June 6 and 7.
Originally scheduled for Eleanor Tinsley Park, which was severely impacted by the floods, the festival had just 10 days, 75 bands and over 35,000 paying ticketholders a day -- to relocate. Headliners include Skrillex, R. Kelly and Weezer, with additional showcase performances from the likes of Steve Angello, Major Lazer, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, St. Vincent, The Decemberists, Flume, Belle and Sebastian, Mastodon, Chance the Rapper, Tears for Fears, Band of Horses and Welcome to Houston featuring Bun B throughout the weekend.
But on May 29, shortly after the concrete NRG Park (adjacent to the city’s famed Astrodome) came onboard as the festival’s new venue, all 15 of the festival’s sponsor brands followed (as well as four partner companies), including blue-chip companies like Verizon Wireless, Anheuser-Busch, Taco Bell, Ford, Monster Energy, PlayStation, Xfinity, Kroger and Reliant, whose parent company NRG happens to have naming rights of NRG Stadium. Not only did the companies maintain their spend (cumulatively valued in the mid-seven figures), Anheuser Busch, Verizon and booking company The Windish Agency all confirmed plans to contribute to a charitable fund to aid families affected by the Houston floods.