(And why FYF Fest is the best music festival of the summer)
Outside Lands, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Pacific Fest, Splash House, Hard Summer… The music festival lineup is verdant, flourishing, and maybe overgrown. Unrecognizable from the nascent, barren musical wilderness of five years ago that called Coachella its only oasis, the questions have changed from “how to survive Coachella” to “how to go to five music festivals in a summer and keep your day job.”
The major festivals are still a great experience if you can afford them. But crowds are growing, ticket fraud is rampant, and lineups are getting less relevant. One friend and Outside Lands comrade paid full price for a resold Ticketmaster stub that security said had been scanned fifty times already. If we assume each scan was a different copy of the ticket, that means some Craigslist villain made $15,000 ruining weekends. Depraved or genius? Additionally, Outside Lands sold out for the first time this year. But the high intensity of a huge crowd turns for the worse when you’re so far away from the Flume stage that a fan next to you is wondering when “Kanye” got “so instrumental.”
Then FYF Fest enters the scene. At a cool $129 for a weekend pass—compared with $250 for Lollapalooza, $275 for Outside Lands, and $375 for Coachella—it’s doing to festivals what the Model-T did to the horse and carriage. One could argue about who has the better lineup, but I’ll give you a few highlights from this year’s FYF Fest lineup and let you make the call.
1. Flying Lotus
He’s the great-nephew of John Coltrane, but you don’t need a family tree to guess he got some artistic genes from the only musician to ever see a church founded in his following. FlyLo has been bringing a creative edge to electronic music with his intricate, glitchy, jazz-inspired grooves for so long you could call him the J Dilla of electronic music. With a new 19-track album debuting later this summer, and his favorite bassist/collaborator Thundercat performing his own set at the festival, you’d be crazy to miss this Flylo’s set at FYF Fest this weekend. Check out a music video from his last album below – yeah, it was selected for Sundance.
2. Chet Faker
You’ve heard of Flume, and I’m hoping you’ve heard of his good friend and fellow Aussie virtuoso Chet Faker. He got famous from a Blackstreet cover he made in his garage a couple years ago. If that doesn’t impress you, you should probably just play a couple of his tracks. He makes his own brand of soulful vocals over hip-hop inspired beats, Rhodes pianos and synths, but he usually brings out a full band for the live shows. Check out his video below.
3. Little Dragon
This Swedish electronic group is gaining a cult following with its uniquely colorful mix of rock, pop and electronica. They combine inventive synth textures, plain-old catchy bass lines and entrancing female vocals for a haunting sound that isn’t easily categorized. Check out their live chops in the video below to get a taste of what their set will bring to FYF Fest this weekend.
4. Mac DeMarco
The Canadian singer/song-writer still plays with a guitar he bought for $30 when he was 16, has a hit song about cigarettes, and describes his style as “jizz jazz.” But his lo-fi, melancholic surf rock anthems grow from intriguing, to endearing, to addicting in a matter of minutes. He advertises for a pretty niche audience with his gap-toothed smile and the dirty flannel that often takes the backseat for his birthday suit, but he’ll win the rest of us over with his music.
5/6. Phoenix, The Strokes
These two don’t really need a description. They’re playing at FYF this year, and it’s in your best interest to see them at least once in your life. Their sets will likely draw from all parts of their vast discographies and the incessant creative output that has spanned decades. Don’t do yourself the injustice of missing them.
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