There are better ways to tell, but one indicator of whether your music festival is meeting expectations is the “Chi’lantro Test.”
It’s not a real thing — I dreamed it up — but it seems reliable enough. If the Chi’lantro Korean BBQ truck is parked at your festival and there’s not a line in front of it, attendance might be subpar.

This was one of the troubling signs for Houston Whatever Fest, the latest addition to the city’s always-growing music festival slate. This one featured an amalgam of national acts, some very talented comedians and a robust lineup of locals. Everything was located on five stages within walking distance on St. Emanuel.

Maybe everyone simultaneously opted not to indulge in kimchi fries this weekend? Let’s hope that’s the case, because this festival has a lot going for it and needs to return in 2015.

For one, the layout was pretty fantastic. Three outdoor stages were perfect, because that meant there were two indoors. As in indoors, safe from summertime pop-up thundershowers, a.k.a. the place where luxurious, polar vortex cold blows nonstop from air conditioning. Also, with everything so compact, I never felt as if I was running a marathon on Allen Parkway just to get from one act to the next.

Speaking of Free Press Summer Fest, it no longer really affords local bands what Whatever Fest can, which is a chance for scores of them to play alongside big, heralded acts. As the festival grows, fans will come. And when they come to hear their favorite, known acts, maybe they’ll wander in and discover a Fox & Cats or a Featherface or something else spectacular from their own hometown. It’s nice to see HWF fill a niche FPSF has simply outgrown.

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