Festival sets tend to be hit or miss, but this weekend at FYF Fest in Los Angeles I didn’t see a single disappointing performance. Big main stage names Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, Vince Staples, Grace Jones, and LCD Soundsystem all delivered enjoyable sets, but many of the most magical moments took place on the side setups. On Saturday night, bands like Sheer Mag and Ty Segall & the Muggers provided a raucous alternative to mellow jams from AIR and Tame Impala. Corbin, formerly known as Spooky Black, and Anohni, previously of Antony and the Johnsons, had me in my feelings by the time Grace Jones arrived in a headdress and body paint on Sunday night. Andy Stott DJed on the Woods stage, which in the daylight almost resembled a zoo enclosure with its iron bars, but at twilight, with an array of disco balls, a haze of smoke, and a good performance, the depressing setting could be ignored.
Mirroring his output, Young Thug’s set was inconsistent, but had highlights like “Digits” and “Best Friend,” and even though it’s played out, the shimmery pop vibes of Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle” had the entire crowd singing, “Living life like a beginner, and this is only the beginning” at the top of their lungs. But Rae Sremmurd stole Sunday night shortly afterwards, turning up to 11 and testing the limits of the sound system. They have so many official and unofficial hits—“Blasé,” “No Flex Zone,” “No Type,” “Black Beatles,” “Come Get Her”—and they played them all. That set let out just in time to catch LCD Soundsystem nail “Dance Yrself Clean” on the mainstage, take one last bathroom break, and wrap the festival up with James Murphy’s definitive closer “All My Friends.”
This was the third year that FYF was held at Exposition Park, near USC’s campus and abutting the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The setting thankfully means no Porta Potties and access to actual bathrooms, but it also creates its own set of frustrating logistical problems, the biggest being the sheer square footage that must be covered. Every stage is a satellite situated around the stadium, so unless you camp out at one for the entirety of the day, you end up travelling the concrete goliath’s circumference a few times over. The Health app on my phone tells me I walked about 14 miles during the course of Saturday and Sunday, and today, my body believes it.