Sacramento’s TBD Festival may be unknown in much of the country, considering its name changed from Launch Fest and moved to the bridge district of Sacramento (hence the name TBD), but this year was an attempt to step out from the shadows, gain some national recognition, and become the “other” major state capitol festival of the weekend. In terms of booking and execution, the festival did its part. Saturday night sold out, with music fans storming the venue to check out Empire of the Sun, Explosions in the Sky, and a fantastic MS MR, who have really taken a mediocre debut album to a high level with their live presentation.
The other nights weren’t too shabby, either. Headliners Moby, Justice, and Blondie, atop a strong undercard, focused on keeping the family atmosphere alive on stage with hopes that it would spread to the crowd. Sunday saw five Captured Tracks bands on the bill, Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs were both given similar time slots on Saturday and Sunday, and DIIV’s No. 1 fan Sky Ferreira was given the chance to hang with her idol Debbie Harry. Sure, the fest had its drawbacks (dust, dust, so much damn dust), but it had a pretty neat local vibe, what with the Sacramento river, local musicians (highlighted by Sister Crayon), and notable eats, drinks, and vapor smokes.
Sure, TBD has a long way to go to compete with ACL. But, with Live Nation’s impending acquisition of C3, maybe TBD has its independence as a key card in its deck for maintaining identity. With ticket sales a clear success, its likely that TBD will be back next year even bigger, and October in Northern California sounds better to me than October in Texas. Just sayin’.