FYF Fest 2012: A Complex Punk Portrait of the SoCal Music Scene

Categories: festivals
FYF fans at L.A. State Historic PArk
See Also:
*FYF Fest Two-Day Line-up Announced
*The Growlers Announce New Album Release
* Pacific Festival: The Dunes Announced

FYF Fest creator Sean Carlson would've been all of 12-years-old when Hawthorne natives Red Kross made their last album in 1997. Still, he cites some of the band's early releases in the late '80s as some of the most influential music he owns. So when the band recently emerged with its new album Researching the Blues, the fact that the first single off their record is called "Stay Away From Downtown," didn't discourage him from asking them to play his Downtown L.A. festival, which steamrolls into its ninth year on Labor Day Weekend.

"I've always loved Red Kross," the 27-year-old Carlson says. "They're one of those bands that were punk, but not strictly a punk sound and it was fun and I've always really appreciated that."

In a lot of ways, that sentiment rings true for FYF, which expanded into a two-day event this year on Sep. 1 and 2, hosting over 75 bands and as many as 25,000 people at the 32-acre Los Angeles State Historic Park. Celebrating four years downtown, FYF continues on its transition from poorly-executed punk fest to one of the freshest, well-oiled events of the summer. Many festivals employ the mixtape mentality of bands from multiple genres converging in a single space. But FYF's local, eclectic punk flavor mixed with big name out-of-towners is what continues to give the fest--run by Coachella Arts and Music Festival promoter Goldenvoice--its own gritty, fun-loving identity.

This year, Refused, M83 Beirut and The Faint headline over Coachella vets like Yeasayer and Aesop Rock and slew of championed LA/OC acts like The Entrance Band, Allah- Las, Nick Waterhouse and the Growlers. Not only do they supply you with a full year's worth of shows in a single weekend, but something that speaks to the diversity and unmistakable power possessed by the local scene that allows this kind of mixture to seem natural.

"I want people to be able to go and not expect something but for it to be an experience where they can let loose and really have fun but not have to spend too much to do so, and to be able to have diverse list of bands," Carlson says. The lineup (which he started booking last October) is all over the place. Weekend passes are going for $89 and single-day tickets will be sold for $45 each day at the event.

When we talked to Carlson last week, he described his life as remarkably calm. So far, he's been able to maintain a normal pace during crunch time-- just a week before the fest, he was talking about how he went to go to see the Entrance Band play and hang out with friends. "You have to do stuff like that," Carlson says. "Otherwise the stress will just get the best of you, which has happened in previous years."

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