Over the weekend, as a sort of unofficial farewell to summer, some 20,000 Angelenos caught indie acts like Death From Above 1979, Broken Social Scene, and the Cold War Kids in the shadow of downtown LA’s skyscrapers for the 2011 edition of the Fuck Yeah Festival. Organizers Sean Carlson and Phil Hoelting were determined not the make the same mistakes as last year, where long lines added to the general air of crabbiness. Comparatively, this year’s FYF was smooth affair.
Fans from all over LA (and many who made the drive down from as far away from San Francisco) enjoyed easy access to the fest site via LA’s notoriously spotty subway, and were treated to a stellar lineup of bands and comics like Marc Maron. Tickets were a measly $40, a welcome change from skyrocketing prices at bigger festivals (cough, Coachella, cough).
Nostalgia was also in the air, as ‘80s and ‘90s kings like Guided By Voices, The Dead Milkmen, and The Descendents played alongside younger, Pitchfork-approved acts like No Age, The Weakerthans, Girls, and Smith Westerns. Some of the best times at the festival, however, went down in the VIP area, where socializing amongst LA’s insular indie rock community reached a fever pitch. Backstage, against an urban backdrop of subways rolling into the Chinatown station, members of Broken Social Scene, Cults, and OFF were spotted drinking and hanging around Sailor Jerry’s airstream trailer, which stood out as a beacon of awesomeness amongst the slightly more drab trailers of other acts. Unlikely celebrities were everywhere, including working girl Bunny Love, from HBO’s Cathouse, who got her first tattoo inside the SJ airstream.
Now in its 8th year, the challenge for FYF will be to pull off the same trick next year, which won’t be easy. But with some good word of mouth, including a glowing review from the LA Times, organizers should expect a bigger crowd next year. The secret’s out.
Bottom photo by Tod Seelie.