The Best and Worst of Musink 2016

For the ninth straight year, Musink brought tattoos, classic cars, and a wide variety of music to the OC Fair and Event Center. As always, the Weekly was on scene for all three days to bring you the best and worst from every aspect of the festival.

Tim Armstrong’s Beard
There was a lot to like about the musical performances at Musink, but Tim Armstrong’s beard during Transplants’ set might’ve been the highlight. Considering that Armstrong is now almost as much of a fixture of Musink as Travis Barker (he’s performed for three straight years), it’s only appropriate that his look is as distinguished as his musical talents. The Action Bronson-esque mane nearly made up for the hundreds of terrible facial hair decisions going on in the crowd.

Mini Wooden Barrels
Most of the booths that had nothing to do with tattooing were pretty weak this year, but one stood out. Tiny whiskey barrels with spigots are a cool enough addition to your home bar, but then decorate it with your favorite team’s logo (or other designs), and it’s hard to beat. Next year, maybe Musink can skip on some of the vape pens and pin-up related paraphernalia and do more cool pieces like these. 

Local Tattoo Artists
From black and gray to American traditional, Japanese to color realism, there were tattooers of all styles at Musink. Many of the top artists were from right in Musink’s backyard, including OC shops like Gold Rush Tattoo, Laguna Tattoo, and Yorba Linda’s Action Tattoo and other SoCal icons like Carlos Torres, Opie Ortiz, and Charlie Roberts. Sure, there were also plenty of great tattoo artists from outside of the area, but it was great to see the local talent representing.

The local hard rock heroes drew one of the most dedicated and ecstatic crowds of the weekend, and for good reason. The pride of OC sounded as good as ever, and they seemed more excited to be there than many of the festival’s acts. Even if they won’t be performing or making music as often as they were before, it’s good for OC’s rock scene to have Atreyu back on a relatively permanent basis.

Even if you’re not into lowrider culture, you had to appreciate the beauty of the cars at Musink. They seemed to come in every color and shape, and each one was more stunning than the last. Whether or not you like tattoos or music, you should consider going to Musink for the car show alone.


Food Options
Really though, with all of the food trucks and whatnot around OC, why do the tattoo conventions always have the same handful of terrible edible choices? Is the crossover market of tattoo fans and foodies really that small? Because it seems like plenty of chefs and famous food personalities have numerous tattoos these days.

Attendees’ Facial Hair
Ever wanted to see an abundant amount of goatees, soul patches, chin straps, and other terrible outdated facial hair trends in one place? Look no further than a tattoo convention. Musink is no exception to that rule. While there were also plenty of hipster beards to go around, more than enough looks straight out of the ’90s walked the OC Fairgrounds this weekend.

Random Vendors and Obnoxious T-Shirts
There’s nothing wrong with selling T-shirts at Musink. Tattoo artists and bands should be encouraged to move as many shirts as possible, and tattoo-based brands like Sullen will always have a welcome home at conventions. Unfortunately, Musink is now dotted with as many cheesy clothing booths selling obnoxious shirts involving booze and/or misogyny as there are tattoo-related products. Those shirts might make sense on a beach during spring break, but they don’t really have much to do with tattooing.

All the Young Bros
While Musink certainly has plenty of avid tattoo aficionados, it’s also an annual destination for some of OC’s douchiest bros. Just because it’s technically legal to puff on a vape pen while wearing an Affliction shirt (no, really, in 2016), black work shorts and high black socks doesn’t mean you should do it in public. Everyone else is there having a good time, maybe you shouldn’t be trying to pick a fight with anyone who accidentally bumps into you. 

Lack of Organization
This one’s not just for Musink, but for tattoo conventions in general. If you go to pretty much any other type of convention or festival, there’s at least some semblance of organization, but tattoo festivals have always been a free-for-all. Maybe Musink could change all that by grouping artists by style or geography, or at least communicating with all of the artists as to where they’ll be well ahead of time.

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