The first day of the Fest was postponed from 3PM until 5PM, cutting three local acts’ sets. There was a constant threat of rain the entire day, but the storm didn’t hit until after RTJ finished their set (perhaps out of respect for the duo).


Modern Stage

The main stage is in front of a sprawling lawn dotted with trees, bordered by the many vendor carts and tents. The walk to the Modern stage, which is built in the reflecting pool behind the museum, is about 10 minutes from the main to the Modern, but about 15 from the Modern to the Will Rogers stage due to a winding, circuitous path that takes you all the way around the lawn (thanks to construction in front of the Modern). While I didn’t have the funds to try every single food item offered at the festival, the shwarma and Salsa Limon trucks seemed to be constantly busy, and the cucumber kale agua fresca from JuiceLand (arguably the most #healthy thing you could find at the festival) was amazing.


Will Rogers Stage

As for the music, the haul between the two stages—now fixed the second day by a gate open for media alone—meant that getting every single act was a stretch. The acts I did manage to catch were a testament to the organizers’ excellent taste for this inaugural event.


Blue, the Misfit





Run the Jewels


Flying Lotus



Sam Lao and Blue, the Misfit, two of the local acts that remained on Saturday’s bill, were on top of their game and definitely entertained the early arrivals at their respective stages. Houndmouth, Wolf Parade, and Flying Lotus, who put on incredible visual shows, kept crowds entertained until the evening when S U R V I V E and Run The Jewels closed the day out. While the crowds were thin until the later acts, there were over 9,000 attendees over the course of the two days.


Dengue Fever




Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats


Purity Ring

The second day was full of energy. So-So Topic and Sudie, two local acts, opened the day, followed by Whitney, Golden Dawn Arkestra, and Fort Worth’s Quaker City Night Hawks. Later in the day, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats played just as the sun was going down. English shoe-gaze group Slowdive, who only recently started playing shows again after 20 years, carried the evening until the headliner, Purity Ring, ended the festival with a hypnotic light show.

Fortress Presents has already announced a 2018 presale, indicating that the festival might stick around, unlike so many of the one-off festivals that Fort Worth has seen over the years. Overall, we were ecstatic to find ourselves at the first ever Fortress Fest, and hope that it continues into the following years.


Words: Annie Nelson