Fullerton Day of Music happened–a significant feat in and of itself for an inaugural event of this scale, with two dozen official stages and a few others that seemed to pop up busker-style along the streets of downtown Fullerton and Fullerton College.
Indeed, the event had a miniature SXSW feel to it. It seemed that one in three festival goers performed in some capacity on this warm, sunny Sunday, wheeling around stacks of gear on dolly carts, and backpacking their ax from venue to wherever they parked. A procession of kettle drums briefly stopped traffic on Lemon Street near the Plummer Auditorium.
Fullerton Day of Music happened pretty much hitch-free as I saw it. As a resident of downtown Fullerton, I witnessed it both as a festival goer and as a neighbor. The good neighbor policy put forth by festival organizers wasn't just lip service to the community; had I not been in attendance, I might not have known it was happening in the first place. When I stopped to at home for a midday cool-off, it felt just like another quiet Sunday afternoon.
Downtown Fullerton residents are used to Friday and Saturday night shitshows frought with roving packs of 909 kids and CSU-Fullerton undergrads. The Fullerton PD has been working hard to reverse its reputation of clashing with the homeless community here. Sunday's event saw none of this nonsense.
The best thing about downtown Fullerton being a party destination is that in infrastructure is in place for a righteous street festival. Parking accomodations can probably support a festival attendance twice what we saw Sunday; this is a good thing for next year and the years after. Fullerton Day of Music will only get bigger, of this I am sure.
Here are my best ofs from the first of what I hope is a long line of Fullerton Days of Music.
Lunch at Burger Parlor. I have a lot of love for the food trucks in attendance. But Burger Parlor just brings it. The Sunday special there is the Paris Burger (aoeli, arrugula, bleu cheese) which was all too appropriate for the day's celebration, which is based on the French tradition of fete de la musique.
The coolest thing about the Burger Parlor is that it overlooks like the Night Owl's stage, which is where I discovered my new favorite prog power trio the New Octaves. The Whittier band have a White Denim feel–airtight riffs and a penchant for odd time signatures. The guys are in a process of recording their debut, so they are definitely a group to watch in the coming year.
Having lived next to a legendary blues dive during my college days in the Midwest, I will always be a sucker for a rollicking I-IV-V and pentatonic leads. There was plenty of this happening at the Fullerton Museum Plaza. I caught the searing guitar acrobatics of Southside Slim, who gets his Stratocaster as hot as I have ever heard single coil pickups sound.
The cool, dark Plummer Auditorium welcomed me in after a couple hours out in the shadeless plaza. Picking up a complimentary copy of Theatre Organ Journal, I sat and listened to David Marsh hammer out a silent film score on an 85-year-old Wurlitzer organ, followed by the JZ Big Band, a group of teenage band kids performing classics like “Don't Stop Believin,'” and “Somewhere Beyond the Sea.”
Naturally all the cool kids (most notably Kyle Newacheck from Workaholics) were hanging out at the Burger Bowl at Hillcrest Park, smoking joints and riding skateboards down the dried out grass berm above the stage. Fullerton's own The Audacity came correct with their headlining set, paying tribute to hometown punkers Social DIstortion playing a cover of “Story of My Life,” and dedicating “Desert Man” to Mike Atta of the Middle Class. Pulling off an event that actually combines some of the best sounds to come out of Fullerton's past and present makes us hopeful that A Day of Music Fullerton will continue making noise in the future.