On August 23rd and 24th, FYF Fest returned to the neo-chic DTLA with a breathtaking line-up of alt-faves and Kanye West to prove to Southern California –- nay, The World! — that they know truly know Los Angeles better than anybody else. Packed full of the city’s most beloved food trucks (literally 100’s of them) and the hawtest #FASHUN you’ve ever seen, FYF was constructed to appeal to & identify with this bizarre metropolis we call home more than almost any other festival I’ve experienced here in LA.
Nestled into USC’s stunning downtown campus, the festival had four major stages, each differing in design and setting (and a small stage built exclusively for Horse Meat Disco – mad respect for that seven hour set, guys). I want to shout out The Main Stage particularly – although it occupied a parking lot adjacent to the LA Coliseum, there wasn’t a “bad seat” in the house. You could get up close without much hassle, but the view/sound from the beer garden was equally excellent. Everybody wins. +10 points for FYF
The Lawn Stage was similar though just a bit smaller and set on grass lawn, appropriately enough (with two beer gardens of it’s own, thank you very much). The Trees Stage was a smaller dome-style stage and was positioned directly in front of the Coliseum’s weird headless statues and epic torch. AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, you could “Enter The Void” by heading into The Arena, where hard-hitting, blood-pumping electro reigned supreme. Though the line-up was packed full of do-not-miss acts, whoever scheduled this weekend did a phenomenal job at avoiding overlaps and making sure you had a chance of seeing everyone you wanted. Yes, there was a shit-ton of walking – but what the hell, you’re at a festival. Stop complaining. +10 more points for FYF
The festival was met with some last minute strife, as two days prior to the show LA’s beloved sad-boy Frank Ocean dropped off the line-up. We were understandably devastated, but the addition of Kanye, Flying Lotus and Bonobo certainly softened the blow. Goldenvoice did a spectacular job of appealing to the Silverlake-sensibility of their audience. The on-brand aesthetic was all thought out. Charming bistro lights, colorful washes on the trees, inflatable emojis for prime Instagramming pleasure (special shout out to the moderately disenfranchised Eggplant emoji for making a strong showing that weekend outside The Arena #EggplantStrong #WeAreAllEggplant). As far as food goes, they had it all. I had an ice cream sandwich in between donuts and I regret nothing. There were lots of vegan options too and a special Craft Beer Garden?! You guessed it, +10 more points for FYF.
Having worked the festival circuit for several years now, I have grown accustomed to the fact that there are usually at least 2-3 sets I can totally bash. I don’t know if it was the excellent weather, the excitement of the eager audience boiling over or just the familiarity of LA for many of these artists, but I am scandalized to report that every set I saw was absolutely flawless. +100 points.
A couple of important honorable mentions…
Chet Faker: The biggest and best show I’ve ever seen him pull together. On the main stage directly preceding the headliner, he set that shit on FI-YAH. He carefully crafts each beat live on-stage and then steps away to sing with perfect execution and sultry soul. Banks was there too for their re-vamped version of his hit “1998” #girlcrush.
D’Angelo: The greatest comeback of all time. His set was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a religious epiphany. From the raucous highs of “Ain’t That Easy” to the hushed, sensual lows of “Betray My Heart” – it was pure spun gold.
FKA Twigs: She has finally arrived. Her set at Coachella was beautiful and bizarre, but a little inaccessible from a concert-goer’s standpoint. It was as much sound art as it was music. But this set changed everything – her stage presence was on point, her choreography was captivating, her sound was larger-than-life. I was in heaven.
Goldroom: With their ephemeral melodies soaring on top of sexy, funk-house beats, these LA-based feel-good groovers got Day 1 started right. Every time I see them they’ve improved by leaps and bounds. We think the sky is the limit for Goldroom.
Run The Jewels: Will never ever ever disappoint. They are always electric. They’re pissed, but they’re poetic about it. Zack De La Rocha and Travis Barker showed up – which is to be expected at this point, but never stops being fucking awesome as shit.
Solange: KWEEN!!!! She was like 20 minutes late but I trust her when she said it wasn’t her fault. She brought out frenemy Dev Hynes and other Saint Records’ faves like Moses Sumney for a stirring version of “Young, Gifted & Black”.
KANYE: EPIC. AWESOME. FLAWLESS. NO RANT. PRINCESS RHI-RHI WAS THERE. BELIEVE THE HYPE. 10/10. *Leaves set immediately after it ends and walks directly to merch booth for YEEZUS shirt*
This festival was such a hands-down success that it leaves me wondering “What’s The Point” with those huge, neon-clad/flower-crowned clusterfucks people so often associate with the Los Angeles festival scene. More so than the pre-teen crop tops and incessant beats of Hard Summer. Even more so than the after-party fueled attitude and flash-tats of mega-festival Coachella. FYF hits the nail on the head – it goes the distance without trying too hard, it gives you top-notch music but not so many artists that you miss half of the people you wanted to see.
This is the festival that LA needs. This is the festival that LA deserves.
Here’s a few more snaps from the weekend: