Brad Paisley’s moment of realization came well into his set. A country music superstar whose current single is “Water” and whose 2010 road trip is known as the H2O World Tour, Paisley is accustomed to watery props. But here on Lake Travis, outside Austin, Texas, boaters have taken it to the extreme. Thousands are floating in front of his lakefront stage wearing bikinis and board shorts, straddling noodles or tubes while trying to keep their most-important assets — their drinks — above water level. Just beyond, tens of thousands more are dancing atop an estimated 7,000 boats, rafted together in relatively neat rows to form the most unlikely of concert halls.
Finally pausing to take it all in, Paisley suddenly blurts out the obvious: “This has got to be...the coolest show I’ve ever done!”
My question from the middle of it all: How will all these boats, in close quarters, escape unscathed?
Welcome to AquaPalooza, what promoter Sea Ray bills as the biggest on-water celebration in the world. By summer’s end, there will have been more than 100 individual AquaPaloozas scattered across 12 countries. None, however, will hold a candle to AquaPalooza’s 2010 “signature event” in Texas. This mega raft-up will attract an estimated 70,000 people. Here in Texas, it’s the can’t-miss event of the summer...and you can get to it only by boat. From my standpoint, that’s exactly the rub, a potentially deep rub.