Music festival report card: Which D-FW events are worth your money?

With school back in session, it's an ideal time to take a look back at the music festival season here in Dallas-Fort Worth and pull out our red pens. What grades do we give each major local festival so far in 2017? What was worth your money? What wasn't?

Some of the biggest factors a festival faces are ones the organizers can't control, such as the fickle Texas weather. But our report card combines those with controllable factors such as lineup and location to show that a successful weekend of music involves many moving parts.

Here are our grades for some of the area's biggest festivals.

TOYOTA TEXAS MUSIC REVOLUTION

March 24-25, Oak Point Park

Kacey Musgraves, Josh Ritter, Kiefer Sutherland, Paul Cauthen

Kacey Musgraves at Toyota Texas Music Revolution in Plano
  • Location: A
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: A
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: C
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: A

NOTES: The two stages were way too far apart, but Plano's Amphitheater at Oak Point Park is ready for another big fest. Going well beyond Texas country music, the Toyota Texas Music Revolution, presented by "The Range" KHYI-FM (95.3), offered as diverse a roots-rock lineup as one will see anywhere. And we'll admit it: Kiefer Sutherland and his band were tons of fun. -- K.D.

EDGEFEST

April 1, Toyota Stadium

Blink-182, the Offspring, 311, the Toadies, the Nixons

Edgefest 25 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco
  • Location: A
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: B
  • Performance quality: B
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: C
  • Parking: F
  • Lines for food/beer: B

NOTES: While Toyota Stadium in Frisco has always been an adequate and substantially sized venue (aside from the concrete-wall sound quality), the parking situation needs to change. For anyone who isn't willing to arrive before gates open, parking directly around the stadium is impossible. Most attendees had to park at least a mile away and walk across busy streets to get inside. We can't complain too much, though; it's good to have Edgefest live on even without the Edge radio station. --Brenna Rushing

OLD 97'S COUNTY FAIR

April 8, Main Street Garden

Old 97's, Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, the Jayhawks

Rhett Miller performs with Old 97's during the Old 97's County Fair at Main Street Garden in Dallas.
  • Location: A
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: A
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: A
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: A

NOTES: In only two years, this downtown Dallas festival has established itself as a legitimate Americana annual destination. There was a short power outage during Mavis Staples' set, but when the power was on, it was really on. Resisting the urge to add more stages, and instead having only one stage with a giant Ferris wheel where a second stage could've been, was just folksy and cool. -- K.D.

FORTRESS FESTIVAL

April 29-30, Fort Worth Cultural District

Run the Jewels, Purity Ring, Flying Lotus, Slowdive, Nathaniel Rateliff

Slowdive performs at the Fortress Festival in Fort Worth.
  • Location: A
  • Weather: C
  • Lineup quality: A
  • Performance quality: B
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: F
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: A

NOTES: The Cultural District in Fort Worth is a true gem that still doesn't get its due from Dallas types. The fickle weather could've been much worse, given the severity of the storms leading up to the fest, causing a slightly delayed start, but the cooler temps were nice on the second day. Certain construction issues made for an entirely too long trek. And, the forced disposal of beers at multiple checkpoints was off-putting. In a gutsy move, the first-year fest offered a cutting-edge, progressive lineup. -- K.D.

JMBLYA

May 5, Fair Park

Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane, Steve Aoki, Migos

Gucci Mane at JMBLYA festival in Dallas
  • Location: B
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: A
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: B
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: D

NOTES: Fair Park is great, but a massive asphalt parking lot with no shade on a hot day is not great. EDM and hip-hop sets offer quick changeovers, so having just one stage was fine, though it meant the crowd never shifted. Because the fest drew a massive teen audience, beer lines for those of legal age weren't too long; however, lines for merchandise and food were unbearable. But the music lineup saved it all. If we're going to have only one giant hip-hop festival this year in Dallas, this lineup was the way to go. -- K.D.

OFF THE RAILS FESTIVAL

May 6-7, Toyota Stadium

Miranda Lambert, Justin Moore, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley

Miranda Lambert at Off the Rails festival in Frisco
  • Location: C
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: B
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: B
  • Setup: B
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: D

NOTES: As far as pop country goes, the headliners were true giants, and having Northeast Texas' own Miranda Lambert on hand was a big deal. Toyota Stadium is a generic suburban soccer stadium, but Frisco as a location is fine. Unlike at Edgefest, the second stage was well off in the distance. Beer lines were nightmarish in length and slowness. -- K.D.

HOMEGROWN FEST

May 13, Main Street Garden

Tripping Daisy, Mutemath, Lower Dens, White Denim

The crowd cheers as Tripping Daisy performs during Homegrown Music & Arts Festival in Dallas.
  • Location: A
  • Weather: A
  • Lineup quality: A
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: A
  • Stage setup: A
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: B

NOTES: Downtown's Main Street Garden offers great urban green space, and on a clear spring day, it's hard to beat. The entire fest could've simply been a Tripping Daisy reunion show and we would've been happy, but the bill was filled out nicely. Complete with a dramatic visual display, the epic comeback set by Tripping Daisy was indeed worth the 17-year wait. -- K.D.

INDEX FEST

June 3, Panther Island Pavilion

Dawes, Shinyribs, Oil Boom

The band Dawes peform at the Index Fest in Fort Worth.
  • Location: A
  • Weather: C
  • Lineup quality: B
  • Performance quality: A
  • Admission price: B
  • Stage setup: B
  • Parking: A
  • Lines for food/beer: B

NOTES: As a hybrid of two former festivals, Index Fest at Fort Worth's Panther Island Pavilion had a prestigious legacy to live up to. But the event was dampened by poor weather and sparse attendance. Bands in the small-but-mighty lineup, topped off by headliner Dawes, gave it their all for the few hundred beer and music lovers who took a chance on Mother Nature. However, in a scene with too many similar events, Index Fest will have to enhance the experience to prove it's the one not to miss. -- Tiney Ricciardi

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