County sides with neighbors in denying permit to Float Fest

Neighbors say Float Fest is harmful to the river. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)
Neighbors say Float Fest is harmful to the river. (KXAN Photo/Lauren Lanmon)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – Guadalupe County Commissioners denied a mass-gathering permit for Float Fest organizers during a special meeting held in Seguin on Tuesday.

Each summer the festival brings in thousands to float the San Marcos River and enjoy a concert by big-name bands. Since the festival began, neighbors have been voicing their concerns to state and county leaders saying the festival is dangerous.

“They drink, they trash our river, and they get in their cars and they head out and unfortunately people die,” said Mike McClabb who lives along the San Marcos River.

Tuesday afternoon, Guadalupe County Commissioners sided with the neighbors and denied the organization’s application for a mass-gathering permit. During the meeting, county commissioners stated they had their own safety and health concerns.

“We’ve been fighting to protect this river for a long time. So anytime we get any kind of victory, it’s actually shocking I mean, we aren’t used to it. We sat there for a while looking at each other like ‘what just happened,’” said Tom Goynes who also lives along the San Marcos River.

But, it’s not a complete win for those who have been fighting to have a clean and quite river. “Regardless of the permit, it doesn’t stop the event, there are just certain things we can and can’t do without a permit,” said Float Fest Founder Marcus Federman.

According to Federman, without the permit, the festival can still be held, but would be capped to only 5,000 people each day for their planned three-day weekend event. “It’s just a hiccup, it’s a hiccup you know? Float Fest isn’t over, you know like it’s not ending. The permit isn’t some major roadblock in my business, it’s just part of the process of doing a music festival,” said Federman.

Organizers say they will be paying another registration fee and will re-apply for the permit in the future.

“We are going through that process and making sure that all standards are met and doing everything we can to meet them and working with the county to make sure both sides are happy and you know we are doing everything correctly,” said Federman. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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