If you decide to make the plunge into the untested waters of this weekend's In Bloom Music Festival—Houston's latest outdoor concert experiment—we're here to help you navigate the lineup. Dozens of acts will be spread out across four stages spanning the narrow stretches of Eleanor Tinsley Park. This list should help you plan which acts are worth it, and which acts are better spent napping in the sun (assuming the clouds don't win out).
Saturday, March 24
Pearl Crush / Vodi (Ostara stage at 12:50 p.m. / Fauna stage at 1:10 p.m.)
While many (including Houstonia) have ragged on In Bloom for a lack of big-name bands, the lineup conversely features a number of excellent local acts. Mandy Kim Clinton’s solo project, Pearl Crush, tackles love and relationships layered atop her thick, saccharine guitar sound. And Vodi, fresh off a debut album, was summed by our own Laura Furr Mericas as "if Fleetwood Mac produced a soundtrack to Stranger Things." Both have our hearty endorsement for the early afternoon slot.
Ugly God (Bud Light stage at 3:30 p.m.)
This Houstonian rapper was named as part of the 2017 XXL Mag Freshman Class, perhaps the biggest recognition for upcoming hip-hop artists (Chance the Rapper, Future, Iggy Azalea, and Kendrick Lamar are all members of previous classes). He's only been rapping for two years, but we're already huge fans of his hilariously crude lyrics and unstoppable confidence.
DRAM (Bud Light stage at 5:10 p.m.)
Rarely seen without a smile on his face, the aggressively pleasant and incessantly catchy sound of DRAM's music is hard to resist. He's both Queen B-approved and stars in perhaps the most adorable music video ever created (linked above). What more do you need?
Wolf Alice (Fauna stage at 5:10 p.m.)
To offer a counterpoint to DRAM's shenanigans, head over to the Fauna stage for an updated take on '90s rock. Ellie Roswell's gentle-yet-assertive voice cuts through the reverb guitar to create a sound she has described as "the lovechild of folk and grunge."
Beck (Bud Light stage at 9:30 p.m.)
Defying all pop culture odds to maintain a slow burn of fame across nearly three decades, the "Loser" musician headlines Saturday as part of the tour for his 2017 album, Colors, in which a newly-updated electronic sound feels as fresh as ever.
Sunday, March 25
T-Pain (Bud Light stage at 3 p.m.)
C'mon. Why wouldn't you stop by T-Pain and bask in that pre-financial crisis glow of the 2007 hit "Buy U a Drank"?
Sylvan Esso (Bud Light stage at 4:40 p.m.)
A duo of musicians who "make pop songs about complicated feelings," Sylvan Esso's otherworldly coffee-shop-on-amphetamines sound reflects their late afternoon time slot.
Explosions in the Sky (Flora stage at 6:30 p.m.)
Known as the soundtrack for both Friday Night Lights and moving video montages the world over, the Texas-born instrumental rock band shreds their way to the center of your emotions. Through masterful use of melody and countermelody and a unique, textured approach to electric guitars, you won't even notice there are no lyrics.
Gramatik (Ostara stage at 7:45 p.m.)
Because every festival needs an Eastern European electronic artist, Gramatik is here to serve. His downtempo beats will be the perfect warmup for the big headliner, so ease into the volume before you head over to...
Martin Garrix (Bud Light stage at 8:30 p.m.)
With collabs with big names including Dua Lipa, David Guetta, and Troye Sivan, the high volume, high octane earworms of this 21-year-old electropop wunderkind are the perfect exclamation mark on the festival weekend.