The San Marcos underground music scene came to light to open up the Halloween season during the Frights and Sounds Music Festival on Friday and Saturday.
Sean Patrick's Irish Pub transformed into a spooky lagoon, decked with vines and creepy signs directing folks to the stages and East San Antonio Street became a monster bash block party with vendors and costumed audience members and performers wandering about partaking in the ghoulish spirit of the season.
Frights and Sounds started in 2019 when Mitchell Meitler, lead vocalist for local pop-punk band Our Last Daze, and Ricky Fullen, vocalist for the local metal band HateWaker, fused the spooky ambiance of Halloween with their love for Texan alternative music bands.
"We realized that no one in this town ran a spooky Halloween festival, and we were like, 'what's up with that?'" Meitler said. "[At the time], our bands were kind of taking off and blowing up. So we're like, 'why don't we throw something?' We know enough people, we played shows out of town, done stuff and people always want to hop on our shows."
The combined dedication and planning of the local band members since the festival's start is what lead to the success of the niche rock and Halloween-inspired event and lent itself to become what it is now.
Eventgoers wandered into The Square in costume and metal band shirts to enjoy the 34 different artists and bands that performed on the two Sean Patrick's stages, the Black Lagoon and the Green Lagoon, 'til midnight.
Right outside the pub, East San Antonio Street was closed for vendors selling horror-themed crafts, artwork and printed goods, tarot readings and gifted free poems to festival goers and the curious folk wandering The Square who followed the music.
With several alternative genre artists performing for the event, Fullen and Meitler turned the festival into an experience that brought the San Marcos underground artist to the main stage.
“Our vision was to take Warped Tour at a small scale for the city and see what we could do for San Marcos," Fullen said. “[Going to these festivals] just gave a feeling that I survived on through my youth. And I just love being able to kind of give that atmosphere back.”
Frights and Sounds was previously held at the metal and rock venue Ragnar's On The Compound in 2019. The event was planned to go again in 2020 but was canceled during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival returned to Ragnar's in 2021, and the demand for live music and Halloween fun had grown.
“It was weird that it took two years of silence to branch out a scene that's been thriving for 15 years now,” Meitler said. “Now everybody just wants to be a part of something big and have a good time.”
With larger audiences being drawn in, Meitler and Fullen decided it was time to relocate and hold the event closer to The Square and bring that scene to the heart of San Marcos. Fuller and Meitler invited their friends at Headwater Audio Productions to provide production equipment and help entertain the large crowd they had anticipated.
Dave Sims Jr., a sound engineer on the production team has helped produce Frights and Sounds since it began in 2019. According to Sims, the number and variety of bands have doubled in size since last year, but the festival still keeps the spirit of showcasing Texan alternative talent at its core.
“Frights and Sounds is a kind of a hyper-local San Marcos festival, with a lot of friends performing and showcasing a lot of crazy music things,” Sims said.
In the future, Meitler and Fullen hope to take Frights and Sounds to San Marcos Plaza Park and expand to hold haunted houses, a larger vendor market and performers in spooky garb wandering and interacting with people. Meitler said as the event grows, they still hope to keep the festival a San Marcos tradition.
“We wanted to bring it closer to the city and keep it in the hardest city,” Meitler said. “Me and Ricky swore that we'd always do this festival no matter what in San Marcos, no matter how big it got.”
For more information on Frights and Sounds, visit its Facebook @frightsandsounds.