Fuck Yeah(No) Fest
Fuck Yeah Fest was yesterday, and of course I’m still feelin’ it. As with any show/fest/what have you, there were ups and downs. Unfortunately the up was arriving at the show, and the down was everything to follow. I arrived around 1:30 to find $20 parking and a will call line six blocks long. It was a little over 90 degrees and only getting hotter. By the time I got inside, all stages were up and running. The comedy tent was full and the venue had pretty much run out of water. With thousands of visitors, most of whom were too young to wait the forty minutes to get into the beer garden and buy a cup of overpriced PBR, there were bound to be problems. The venue, L.A. Historic National park, was little more than large dirt pit and a few small half-dead patches of grass. Up until the minute the sun went down, the thing to do was find shade, of which there wasn’t much while trying to relax and avoid being hassled by the overwhelming amount of security, park rangers, and local cops (not to mention ghetto birds).Let me mention the utterly useless map we were provided with. The front displayed a map of the entire park: vendor locations, stage placement, and beer garden hideouts. These were all named using a simple ABC system. On the back, however, everything was named some kind of tree–Redwood stage, Oak stage, Sequoia stage. This showed the front and back being totally independent of each other. In addition to mislabeled maps, there was a list of bands playing showing them in one time block with a smaller, different time below each band. The map’s only useful purpose was wiping sweat from your brow.
I found myself a spot of shade and sat for hours waiting for friends, doing everything I could to survive the sun and potential dehydration. As the sun slowly fell behind the downtown skyline, I was able to enjoy a few minutes of 7 Seconds’s set. From early on, I knew I stuck out like a sore thumb. More than 90% of the crowd had something ‘vintage’ on, or were wearing glasses with no lenses, suspenders, etc. I was a metalhead in a sea of 17-year-old hipsters. Then 7 Seconds arrived and changed the dynamic of the entire event, bringing with them the slew of metalheads I was expecting to see. Finally things were picking up. While their set was winding down, I decided to go find food, wanting to be fully prepared to see the band I had put up with so much to see: Sleep. I was glad I went to find food three hours before their set, because it took nearly every minute. After standing in the tail end of the hot sun, in a giant dust ball of a field for two hours, I was allowed to pay $10 for a small cup of fries and a warm coke. At this point there was no water; not even the sinks worked anymore.
With something in my belly, I fought my way up to the main stage while Mountain Goats were finishing their set. I never made it all the way to the front due to the insane amount of rude fans and people that had no doubt been holding their spots all damn day. This was easily the worst fan base I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know if it was angry, stoned metalheads or the simple fact that the masses were now tired and completely miserable that made it so; either way, I had to put one of them in their place to allow me to enjoy the set.
Sleep played an absolutely amazing show. Playing for over an hour, they pushed out more tracks than I imagined they would play, including random requests we were shouting from Volume One. In the combination of dust/cigarettes/weed smoke, I had to remove myself from front center about half way through the set just to go breathe. It was a wise idea which allowed me to get into a calm place and enjoy the band I came to see. I would have liked to stay for Panda Bear, but I just couldn’t be there any longer. This show, hands down, is the absolute worst I have EVER been to. Totally disorganized, long lines and high prices, and people trying their hand at fighting off death instead of getting any food or water. Not only do I have strong words to say to the organizers and promoters of this event, I suggest to you to never go to FYF. (Unless, of course, you want to pay $30 and just go right before the band you want to see starts. Not worth it, trust me.)
While FYF was an epic failure, Sleep was more than I could have asked for, and may have encouraged me to go catch their show next week in San Fransisco. To tide you over until that gig, or just to try and rock out a little at home, check out this short clip of their set.