Another FYF Fest has come to an end. It's likely one that people will remember for a host of reasons, good and bad. After all, it's hard to forget those times in our lives when we've encountered a major growth spurt. That's exactly what Sean Carlson's annual festival endured over the weekend after moving from LA State Historic Park and settling on a newer, bigger location at the L.A. Sports Arena and Exposition Center. It doesn't take more than a few seconds on social media to see how the crowds and the press reacted to the changes. And while there's much to be discussed regarding how things went, we narrowed our praise and complaints down to a select few. Here's our recap of the Best and Worst of FYF 2014.
Julian Casablancas and the Voidz: There's something romantic about a band showing up for a festival completely unprepared. The rawness of a live show it seems has disappeared in favor of slicked up pop production. That's what made the Strokes frontman's side project (or is it?) so endearing. Seemingly flying by the seat of their pants most of the set, there were a number of production fails that would have frazzled a band solely dependent on sizzle instead of substance. Yet the haphazardness (in the best sense of the word) was charming in the sloppiest sense, and the new music the outfit performed was some of the most ambitious the singer has performed since the Lakers last lost in the Finals. When things didn't go right, the group didn't seem bothered nor it didn't prevent them from rockin' out on Casblancas' 36th birthday. --Daniel Kohn
The fashion On a hot afternoon, most attendees managed to be stylish, but not offensive. There was plenty of variation, from the ultra punk look to vintage gear that brought you back to your childhood. Who didn't do the Jump For Heart as an elementary school student? And who didn't like Randy "Macho Man" Savage? These vintage outfits were a refreshing nostalgic trip and even better, the gear wasn't even of the Urban Outfitters variety. In this case, the definition of offensive in the sense that, gasp, there were no headdresses! Congratulations FYF, your attendees have common wardrobe decency that's escaped other major events. --Daniel Kohn
The Blood Brothers at the Trees Stage It seemed like there were two kinds of people at FYF on Sunday: the people who came for a festival and the people who came to see The Blood Brothers. The Seattle quintet is just one of those bands who, despite calling it quits in 2007, still remain relevant to those with a thirst for thrash. The throat-shredding carnage from Johnny Whitney and the disturbing bellows of Jordan Blilie are still a match made in hell. And the atonal explosions of synth, drums and guitar on tunes from "...Burn Piano Island Burn", Crimes and Young Mechetes still hit as hard as ever. As we were sucked deeper and deeper into the pit in front of the Trees Stage, enduring the endless crushing crowd contractions and man sweat is as close as we probably could've felt to dying and being born at the same time. By the end of the set, exasperated fans could be heard above the feedback chanting "Don't break up! Don't break up!" The demand might've been wishful thinking, but considering they all had a big group hug on stage when it was over, it doesn't seem totally out of the question. --Nate Jackson
No dust! At every festival, it's inevitable that people will unintentionally create a dust storm. That was the main issue with with having the festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park. Yet, all seemed to be well for people with dust allergies. There was no need for surgical masks, bandanas and the like because it was easy to breathe in the dry air without feeling like you were being choked or in fear of hacking up the black lung. If nothing else, people with dust allergies could rejoice, assuming they actually had space to huff and puff. --Daniel Kohn
Thundercat on the Lawn Stage Few musicians in LA have turned the genre of jazz on it's head like Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat. Born in the backyard of FYF in South Central and nurtured by fellow FYFer Flying Lotus and the Low End Theory crew, Thundercat's sound, style and shredding ability are creatively unparalleled right now. With a beastly six string bass slung over his shoulder at the Lawn stage on Sunday, his acrobatic fingers danced over the fretboard while delivering songs from his to two Space Age R&B albums inspired by The Apocalypse. And of course, no Thundercat set is complete without an insane costume or piece of headgear. That fox pelt chilling on top of his head made him look like he just escaped from the Natural History Museum down the street. --Nate Jackson
Earl Sweatshirt takes us on a Journey Yeah, we all came to see hip-hop wunderkind Earl Sweatshirt throw down on some Doris tracks on Sunday night at the Lawn Stage. But we also got a good laugh out of watching him warm up the crowd with an uncomfortably long sample of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Steve Perry should be pleased to know he was relevant again for an entire minute of this festival. --Nate Jackson
Next page: And now for the Worst of FYF Fest 2014 The Worst
The clusterfuck entrance For a festival that's been going on for 11 years, one would think that by now, things would be ironed out. But the first of many logistical problems occurred when the fest decided there would be one entrance for everyone to enter and exit from. The lines were up to three hours (!!!) long, and snaked around Vermont Ave to MLK. On a warmer than expected first day, it was cruel way to spend a chunk of the afternoon. The fest made attempts to smooth things over Sunday, but still, at this point in its existence, an event like this shouldn't be having fleshing out basic logistical problems, and is a reason it will be lumped in the second or third tier of festivals for the foreseeable future. --Daniel Kohn
The Labyrinth layout Once inside, you could either stay at the easily accessible Lawn Stage, or wander around to the main stage, which could take between 25-30 minutes to get to depending on the time of day. Running around the festival, after a certain point, became pointless. The number of people moving around in narrow quarters at any given moment was unbearable, and with the larger space, the festival should have been fine. Not quite. There were a few times we tried to hop between stages and the effort was fruitless. The only thing that could sum up Saturday's debacle: lines, lines and more lines. --Daniel Kohn
The $10 Burger Everything involving food and drinks is expensive at festivals. This is nothing new, right? But whether we were scanning through Twitter, reading media reviews or eavesdropping for quotes on inside the fest, one thing kept coming up: the outrageously overpriced, terrible-tasting hamburgers. $10! We swear we heard random complaints about hamburgers at least two dozen times over the course of both days--the taste, the price, the wait, etc. Sounds like you need to step up your grill game, FYF (and lower those food prices!)--Nate Jackson
Phoenix. Just...why?! Seriously, haven't we all had enough of Phoenix already? FYF is a festival built on discovery. What discerning festival goer in the last three years hasn't discovered these synth pop Frenchies and walked in the other direction?--Nate Jackson
Getting into the Arena Stage With a 14,000 seat area on site, it makes to have it available as a usable asset. Yet, the planning was naive at best, laughable at worst. On Saturday, the seats in the arena were covered, and it made getting to the building a near impossibility. It reached max capacity (in an ARENA) for the floor area on multiple occasions, and forced attendees to decide whether or not the wait was worth it with confusion reigning supreme. Thankfully on Sunday, things got better. The the curtain was lifted and a second entrance opened, but not after chaos ruled and the first day due to shortsighted planning. --Daniel Kohn
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Pandering to the selfie Despite being having one big mess of a layout, there seemed to be no shortage of spaces designed to take a selfie at FYF, usually in places where people are just trying to walk. Sure taking a quick one in front of the giant FYF letters near the entrance is a given, but the "I Am Here, Where are You?" wall, the inflatable giant Pile of Poo emoji near the arena stage and the flower-filled exit pathway (which would've been helpful had it not been closed so people could take selfies with it) got a little annoying after a while. It's one of those things you know is only going to get worse as this festival continues to grow into L.A. Coachella. --Nate Jackson