At the start of Beetlejuice, Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis’ characters both express gratitude for the fact they are on vacation. Only seconds later do they tackle the topic that they are spending their vacation in the confines of their own home. This hardly seems like a vacation. Part of the reason we as a society go on vacation, and go to festivals for that matter, is the illusion that we are escaping reality. Festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, Sasquatch, and even stuff like Moe Down and Outside Lands do a great job of making you forget where you are. Yes, Bonnaroo is in Manchester, TN, but once you’re inside, you’re just at ‘Roo, and anything is possible. And usually, as festivals wind down, people constantly complain about “going back to reality.”
This was not a feeling one would experience at FYF Festival, the single-day punk/indie/electronic event in downtown LA (to be more specific, Chinatown), held in the Los Angeles State Park. This park is a small plot of grass and trees smack-dab in the middle of the city. While the view of downtown is quite radical (much like All Points West and NYC), the immediate scenery is not so breathtaking. Storage facilities and homes surround the entire venue, and the Metro drove by one of the stages every few moments. Speaking of the stages, they were very close together (two literally next to one another), and the sound bled many times. There were also very busy roads that stretched behind the stages, with billboards for McDonalds and Contagion, and at one point the entire main stage crowd got to watch somebody get pulled over by the LAPD. This is LA alright.
Photo by Ted Maider
But sometimes, people don’t go to a show to “escape”; sometimes, they just want to hear some good tunes. With that in mind, one could not have asked for anything better. The sun was out, summer was drawing to a close, and the bands on the bill were a great combination. Indeed, their sets were short, but this is the kind of show where short sets are alright. Bands like No Age, OFF!, and the Descendents could play a wide variety of songs in the time they were given. (The Descendents had the longest set of ONE HOUR.) Meanwhile, electronic groups like YACHT and Four Tet got slightly longer sets to deliver the danceable goods. It should also be noted that each stage was named after one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I personally am a sucker for my childhood memorabilia. Sometimes, it is what is inside the festival that counts.
Basically, what it comes down to is FYF Festival was a really tasty sandwich with all the right ingredients. It just had some stale bread…