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Space Matters

A look back at the 2014 FYF Festival
By Devin Weil

 

Photo by Devin Weil

Photo by Devin Weil

 

The evolutionary trajectory of music festivals is as follows: Start small, grow in popularity amongst the locals, and then market away until your name is known. That is the explanation to how and why the Fuck Yeah Fest (FYF), which was started humbly 10 years ago at The Echo by music promoter Sean Carlson – then 18-years-old – before moving to LA Historic State Park in Chinatown in 2009, found a new and grossly gargantuan home this year at the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park, for two days in late August.

 

The space (and larger lineup of artists) affected the energy of the event, which was far different from the comparatively modest ambitions of prior years. This year’s lineup was packed with headliners and notable artists, including: The Strokes, Phoenix, Interpol, Blood Orange, Haim, Man Man, and Flying Lotus. In comparison to other music festivals, FYF this year felt as if it was the love child of Bamboozle and Coachella.

 

The music selections were as far stretched as the stages themselves. There was one stage devoted to alternative rock/metal music; a stage for mellow, lawn-laying Hippie music; a stage for rave, house, and dance music; and a stage for indie-rock.

 

As with all music festivals, the performances provided food for the ears and eyes, an all-you-can-eat-buffet of sounds, beats, voices, visuals, and rhythms.

 

Devin Weil

Devin Weil

 

Clearly the main flaw in the entire venue space was its lack of geographical legibility and organization. Concertgoers were required to walk around the arena-long lengths to get from one stage to the next, and the pathways were far too narrow. In addition, the space around the LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park is not the most photogenic — unlike the previous home at the LA Historic State Park with its backdrop of the Downtown skyline and the airy, breathable natural setting.

 

The claustrophobia of this year’s multiple stages and narrow walkways lent itself to herds of people being shepherded along circuitous walkways from one stage to the next.  While the general area may have been spacious enough to hold the excessively oversold number of ticket-holders, it was too poorly designed to comfortably accommodate the overwhelming capacity crowd.

 

Devin Weil

Devin Weil

 

Still, no matter how unfortunate these logistical impediments, the artists were the main attraction and their performances helped wash away annoyances and even some agony caused by the venue. The audiences feasted on each performance, as attested by the movements of joy in their bodies, and their synchronized belting out of each ballad.

 

The only element missing from the incredible lineup this year, the cherry on top of the sundae, was some comedic relief. Some standup may have lightened the load or poked fun at the frenetic nature of the new space and its overt Grecian athletic aura.

 

. . . Here’s hoping they iron out the kinks. Until next summer FYF!

 

 

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