As Monday morning rolls around and everyone who attended this year’s FYF Fest is groaning that the weekend is over, we can take a look back at the amazing and best weekend of the summer. When FYF started, it was one guys idea to have a couple indie bands play in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Who knew that 12 years later Kanye West and Morrissey would be headlining the huge festival at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Saturday afternoon came around and at 2:00 gates opened for the thousands of music lovers to gather at Exposition Park which featured 4 outdoor stages, The Coliseum, The Arena, two main beer gardens, and a VIP section with its own beer garden near the main stage. And even though that sounds like a lot of stuff to look at, you could make it from the main stage on one side of the park to “The Lawn” stage on the other side of the park in 5 minutes if you were determined and quick to maneuver around people (which I found I’m very skilled at.)
Before we talk about the acts, let’s talk about the activities that weren’t live music. There were many food vendors with a lot of different types of food including Japanese Hot Dogs, homemade popsicles, and the classic churro carts. They also had inflatable emoji’s you could take pictures with! There were also little market stands set up around in case you needed sunglasses, phone chargers, sun block etc. But the best part that FYF had for their festival goers is free water. Dehydration is the worst thing about music festivals but FYF was prepared handing out free water after you entered the festival, and if you saved your water bottle, there were free stations around the park that let you fill up your bottle and stay hydrated.
Now onto the music. The first set I went to see was Kevin Morby who started off the music with a light acoustic set getting everyone in the mood for some music. The sun was bright and hot for BRONCHO, Alvvays, and La Femme. Dinosaur Jr brought us into the evening with sweet guitar licks and bass lines, while Goldroom kept us dancing right as the sun was setting. One of my favorite acts of the night was Run the Jewels. The crowd was hyped as El-P and Killer Mike got on stage while Queen’s “We are the Champions” blared from the speakers. This hip hop duo threw down so hard that security was pulling out crowd surfers during their first song! As a photographer, you get to take pictures during the first 3 songs of an artist’s set before getting kicked out of the barricade. Out of all the shows I’ve been to, this was the first show where the artist on stage acknowledged us! As we left the duo commented on all of us leaving and had the audience give a round of applause to the photographers. Next I was able to see !!! perform while the singer danced his heart away in a very “Vogue” type dance that left the crowd screaming for more. It was getting late now and Chet Faker took to the main stage to get everyone dancing and pumped for the main stage act after him. I took a quick trip to see Bloc Party perform (they killed it) before heading back to the main stage for Mr Kanye West. The place was packed like sardines, but what else can you expect for Yeezus? Kanye’s stage was set simple yet perfect. There was a large square of overhead spot lights that shined gold down on the stage as smoke flowed everywhere. That’s when Kanye hit the stage and everyone went wild. I’m used to seeing the first half of a crowd with their hands up jumping around, but not the ENTIRE crowd! If I could guess how many “rows” of people there were, I’d say 300 or more. Kanye did take a break in between songs to ask the tech crew if they could raise the light board hanging above him a few feet. He said he didn’t want to go too hard, jump up, and hit his head on the lights. Kanye is all about safety first! The night wrapped up with Purity Ring and The Jesus and Mary Chain for everyone who still had energy after Kanye’s set.
Amazing, right? Well that was day one.
Less than 12 hours later, everyone starts heading back to the park for day two. A little more sun burnt maybe, but just as much energy. I started off by catching one of my favorite new bands, Girlpool. They started their set with “Ideal World” and kept things simple for everyone who was still kind of waking up. Following that was Hop Along who played my favorite song first, “Waitress”. Heading into the evening I was able to catch Neon Indian, Title Fight, Toro y Moi, and Mac DeMarco. Even though her set started late, Solange took the stage and wowed the crowd with her voice and beauty. I was able to catch Belle & Sebastian after, followed by D’Angelo and the Vanguard. I was most excited to see Morrissey. It was already 10:00 and his set started at 10:30 and there was no rumor that he had cancelled. Thousands of Morrissey/Smiths fans gathered at the main stage watching video clips on the main screen as we counted down the clock. Finally the lights went out and Moz himself stepped on stage and took the hearts of the crowd with his presence. He started the set with a Smith’s song “The Queen is Dead” followed by the crowd singing favorite “Suedehead”. As much as I wanted to stay for his whole set, I had to get back to “The Lawn” stage for the final act of the night. Going back to the stage I saw the familiar faces of the front row where fans had been waiting since 2 that afternoon for FKA Twigs’ 11:30 set time.
Let me just say if you have the opportunity to see her perform, do NOT pass it up. FKA Twigs was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. The best part of her performance was the way she took the stage. She owned it. After a little intro she went into performing “Water Me” followed by “Video Girl” and “Pendulum”.
By the end of the night I was exhausted and I had run out of memory for more photos. Lyft partnered up with FYF fest and had a special tent/parking lot for Lyft drivers to pick up festival goers so that people weren’t wandering the streets looking for their drivers. I happily took Lyft’s home both nights and used the pool option to ride with people who were going in my area. I woke up Monday morning still tired and wished I had a day to recover, but also wished there was a third day to attend. Who knows, maybe next year or in the years to follow FYF will expand to a three day festival, but I can’t even imagine what the future lineup is going to be. All I know is that they’re going to have to try to top 2015!