By Eugine Chung
Beating strobe lights, thrumming instrumentals, and unsynchronized dancing made way for an impressive time at FYF. From the 30 minute trek from Haim to the Strokes, which was not without the masses of sweaty crowds, to smooth jams of favorite, underground indie bands, FYF proved to have both its ups and downs this year.
Nevertheless, the indie music festival has come a long way from its humble beginnings 11 years ago.
FYF is a two day music festival that showcases independent, indie artists. With four different stages this year, visitors could see whomever they wished according to the time slots of each scheduled performer. To put it simply, it is like having access to a cluster of different short concerts in one area.
Initiated by Sean Carlson, an American music promoter from Torrance, FYF was originally held in 2004 at Echo Park to showcase emerging, local indie artists. Until 2013, FYF was held at the Los Angeles Historic State Park. This year, from August 24 to 25, FYF tested out the Los Angeles Sports Arena and Exposition Park area.
Featuring a mix of hip hop, rock, electronica, punk, and indie artists, such as headliners Phoenix and the Strokes and other performers such as Flying Lotus, and Little Dragon, FYF is one of the largest, non-corporate local festivals this year that featured upcoming independent bands.
It’s unique set up differentiates it from other festivals like Coachella or Outsidelands.
However, as with any expanding event, FYF was not without some difficulties. On the first day, entry lines took up to three hours; the walking distance from stage to stage was around 20 minutes; the Sports Arena overfilled due to the closing off of the first floor; and sound wave difficulties prevented music fans from fully enjoying the live performance experience.
Nevertheless, all events develop some form of “growing pains,” and FYF proved to overcome its own expansion technicalities professionally and successfully. In fact, overlooked flaws and focused on this year’s inclusion of an indoor stage at the Sports Arena, filled with strobe lights galore, and the handy FYF phone app, which included maps, schedules, and a notifications of performances.
Indeed the organizers fixed most of the issues from the first day within a remarkable 14 hours by opening the second floor of the Sports Arena, passing out free water bottles, fixing the display screens, and minimizing traffic in entrance lines.
The performances themselves were legendary. With Phoenix’s lead singer Thomas Mars crowd surfing, during what would be Phoenix’s last performance until the release of their new album, the impromptu psychedelic visuals set up by ambient artist Tycho, the smoky set up for the electronic masters Darkside, visitors were left with a lasting impression that the festival was well worth the $130 tickets.
Additionally, FYF featured a playlist of unique performers for visitors to gape at or find newfound favorites like Japanese experimental metal band Four Tet.
Though the venue had its downsides, the festival was so successful that California is looking to renovate the park to accommodate more large-scale events like FYF.
Despite some worries that FYF is losing its original “raw, undercut indie vibe,” as expressed on the FYF Facebook page, FYF braved through its growing stage, creating an unforgettable memory for participants, and fans are anticipating next year’s festival to be even more memorable.