Brenna von den Benken
Over 20,000 wayfarer sunglass-wearing punk and indie rockers gathered for an entire day’s worth of live music for the annual FYF Festival Saturday at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in Downtown Los Angeles.
“Today is the best day of summer,” was the headlining phrase that flashed on widescreens and posters that hung all across the park, advertised by Altamont promotions.
Dozens of bands performed from noon until midnight on four different stages across the park grounds named after the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and an additional tented one called, “Splinter’s Den.”
Metro trains rattled mutedly by as No Age, the Strange Boys, OFF!, Japandroids, Cults, the Weakerthans, Cold War Kids, Kid Dynamite, Four Tet, Yacht, Guided By Voices, the Descendents, Explosions in the Sky, Death From Above 1979 and other acts rocked out with oceans of mosh pits and crowd-surfing.
“It’s basically for the locals who missed out on the Coachella Festival, or for people who just really love music,” festival attendee Aleksey Calvin said.
Now in its eighth year, the FYF Festival has become a Los Angeles music institution as it developed from a music charity act of saving state parks despite its vulgar “ F*** Yeah Fest” name held at the Echo and Echoplex.
This year, its main sponsor Altamont teamed with powerhouse Southern California promoter Goldenvoice to draw an uproaring crowd and some of the continent’s most appealing artists, both emerging and veterans.
The more subtle-hearted attendees gave ears to the divergent cast’s house music scene such as Portland’s Chromatics and Glass Candy, Nosaj Thing, Broken Social Scene, Girls, Smith Western and Simian Mobile Disco.
A unity among the genres, however, is the DIY aesthetic that the festival exudes. Only four of the 36 set-listed bands belong to a major label. The rest are independently labeled, pushing barriers and promoting fusion.
A general population of teens and adults peppered the festival grounds in sheer dresses and flower crowns, cut-off jean jackets and slashed band T-shirts, casual shorts and face-painting.
Although it might as well have been considered an Angeleno fashion event and everybody’s loud outfits were nothing short of unusual art, although everybody’s get-up may have distracted your attention on any other average day, when frontman Christopher Owens of Girls tuned his guitar and sung with his sulky voice, eyes and ears were fixed, and the dancing began.
Had anybody been bare naked or completely covered in some weird rave-esque costume, it would not have mattered.
All inhibitions were removed and attendees from assorted cities and states far and wide fell into trances and were each in their own world.
Head-bangers, electro beat-dancers, indie rock slow-dancers and even instrumental experimental star-gazers absorbed the thematic musical genres and lost themselves in the night.
“I don’t care for this 80 plus degree weather; Just as long as I get to see Broken Social Scene play their last show before their announced upcoming hiatus, I’m good,” attendee Jazmin Guevara said.
To make the heat and anticipation more tolerable, a handful of diverse food trucks, merchandise, vintage and art booths, a gated beer garden, and stand-up comedy acts were set up at the event.
“It’s all about the Gogi cheesesteak sandwich food truck, bro. Are you jealous?” attendee Gregory Cole said.
Brenna von den Benken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.