HOUSTON – Houston’s Free Press festival in Eleanor Tinsley Park had a rough start Saturday.

Partiers showed up in droves and fought off the heat by wearing as little clothing as possible.

Things seemed to be going well, though, until around 5 p.m. when the storm clouds started to roll in and hover over downtown.

“We went under the highways,” one rain-soaked partier said. “Everyone was kind of ducking.”

The thunderstorm continued with severe lightning striking near the festival at around 6 p.m.

Partiers say festival staff directed them to get away from the metal structures nearby and eventually sent out an alert via the festival’s app, instructing attendees to evacuate immediately due to the lightning.

The evacuation sent thousands of festival goers into Houston’s downtown streets and nearby neighborhoods in the rain, wearing all manner of dress, looking for shelter from the storm.

Many of them are teenagers dropped off at the festival by Uber drivers or their parents.

“Hopefully tomorrow will be better,” one teenager said.

The gates to the festival re-opened at 8 p.m. and many of the day’s evacuees returned for the rest of the evening’s events.

Four stages play host to a variety of music ranging from hip-hop to electronic dance music, to some indie performances.

Ticket prices range from $150 to nearly $1,000 for access to this weekend’s events.

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