SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – More than 10,000 people will be floating a short stretch of the San Marcos River Saturday and Sunday for the annual Float Fest. However, those living nearby say the event leaves the river covered in trash.
Each year, thousands from all over Texas head to the San Marcos River to relax and have a little fun.
“I float the river every year and we all go party and rock on,” said Randi Howard.
Float Fest welcomes big name bands and allows those attending to camp out for the weekend. Floaters look forward to it every year, but those living along the banks dread every second of it.
“There are tents and camping vehicles and all degrees of nudity just across the fence,” said Dr. Roy J. Hotz Jr. Dr. Hotz lives within feet of the property where Float Fest takes place. He says he moved just Outside of San Marcos to find peace, but the addition of the festival has made his home anything but peaceful.
“It’s an absence of tranquility,” he said.
Another neighbor, Michelle Rumbaut says she’s watched floaters pass out on the river and struggle to walk away.
“There is a real party atmosphere, that is reinforced with lawlessness, do whatever you want,” said Rumbaut.
But as much of a safety concern as that is, Rumbaut says there’s a bigger issue that isn’t leaving the river when the event wraps up.
“The litter after one of these events is amazing and it is obviously affecting the river,” Rumbaut said.
Just hours into the event, litter can be found scattered all over the banks. Float Fest organizers say they are prepared to clean it up. “We’ve got dozens of people to pay attention to controlling litter, before, during and after the event. We have scuba divers in the river cleaning up refuse; we have dozens of people in the river right now making sure that litter doesn’t get downstream,”said Dutch Small with Float Fest.
Small says they even have medics on site if anyone becomes sick and off duty police officers to resolve any issues.
“We pay close attention to make sure the public is safe,” said Small.
Regardless, neighbors say they see and hear everything and, just like years past, they’ll spend weeks cleaning up after the festival.