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AquaPalooza docks on Lake Travis

Country music fans say boat-only event was laid-back and fun.

Kate Alexander

Thousands of country music fans bobbed in the waters of Lake Travis on Saturday at AquaPalooza, a free two-day music event accessible only by boat.

They came armed with canoes, water noodles, inner tubes and anything else that would keep them afloat while they waited for the big attraction: country music star Brad Paisley, who took the stage about 5 p.m Saturday.

Dubbed the world's largest on-water celebration, AquaPalooza was expected to attract about 4,000 boats and 35,000 people.

The boats were moored in orderly rows behind what essentially became a floating mosh pit in front of the stage on land.

The event has been held in different locations over the years, and Phillip Sansom of Buda said he had seen coverage of last year's event in Alabama on Country Music Television.

"I think this one blew it smooth out of the water," said Sansom, who brought his family. "It's really, really cool and really, really Texas."

Revelers on Saturday said the event was laid-back and friendly. Art Gomez of San Antonio said people were hopping from boat to boat, enjoying the music and having fun.

"It's actually less chaotic than I thought it would be," Annie Sansom said.

On Friday, 11 people were arrested, mostly for drinking-related violations. Four were charged with boating while intoxicated, two with driving while intoxicated and another two with resisting arrest. One person was arrested on a warrant; and another was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

At least another four arrests were made Saturday, said Clara Tuma, a spokeswoman for the Lower Colorado River Authority.

She said there were also some minor medical issues and two boat collisions that happened at low speed.

Paisley's show was scheduled to end around 7 p.m., so all the boaters could get off the water before nightfall.

"Our goal is for them to have a safe day and then to get off the lake safely," Tuma said.