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Volume 68, Issue 151, Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

WestFest rises from long exile

By Zach Lee
The Daily Cougar

Its fate was hanging in the balance for quite some time. The city moved the Westheimer Street Festival to Eleanor Tinsley Park in 1999. But this weekend, itis coming home. 

This colorfully adorned patron at last years festival reminds Houstonians that West Fest "is the best people-watching festival in the State of Texas."

Photo courtesy of West Fest

After four years "in exile," WestFest is coming back to the Montrose. Since 1973, this semi-annual party has been a popular place to check out music, weird performances and even the people who show up. In fact, the festivalis official Web site ( reminds everyone "this is the best people-watching festival in the Sate (sic) of Texas."

This year, there will be seven live music stages for the homecoming celebration, and more than 50 bands are scheduled to perform.

Among others, Gone Blind, Paris Green and M87 are going to play on the Engine Room Stage at 403 Westheimer Rd. Poor Dumb Bastards, Faceplant and Skitle Crew lead the attack at the Guitar Center Houston Music Alliance Stage. At the Bacardi Watering Hole, youill find a full bar, cool down area, the Sum Poosie girls and Houstonis hottest DJs.

There will be a punk/goth fashion show on the Engine Room Stage at 7 p.m. Saturday. Those attending will be treated to people black velvet dresses and bondage pants.

The biggest issue this year is parking. When 200,000 people showed up to the festival in 1999, the Montrose streets were a mess. This year, police and tow trucks will be out in force. Official parking for the festival will be in the Heights, downtown, the Medical Center, and the Galleria Area. Metro will offer buses to and from these locations for the majority of the day, but some routes close earlier than others, so donit get stranded in Montrose. Bus fare is $1 each way.

Illegal parking and general rudeness resulted in the last transplantation of the festival, and this year, John Florez, the president/producer of the festival wants patrons to know its fate is in limbo once again. He is urging festival goers to "Please, use the port-o-cans at the festival, and donit take trash into the residential area as you return to your bus," he said on the Web site.

Also included in the weekendis festivities is the Gay Pride Parade. There have already been harsh words exchanged between organizers of the events. But if all goes smoothly, its return to the Montrose wonit be temporary visit.

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