In the city of angels, a little known music festival by the name of FYF Fest hosted its 14th annual celebration of music and arts with a demanding presence last weekend. Produced by Goldenvoice, an extension of AEG Live, FYF stepped into its latest three-day expansion at Los Angeles’ Exposition Park without any visible signs of growing pains.
The festival’s ability to book acts with long-term appeal, such as Björk, A Tribe Called Quest, Iggy Pop, Solange and Nine Inch Nails is only a slice of the grand pie served at this year’s event. Once-in-a-lifetime performances, unlikely to be topped anywhere else, were a major draw this year. From Missy Elliott and Frank Ocean’s long-awaited return to a North American stage, to A Tribe Called Quest’s final performance in Southern California, there was hardly room for error.
Beyond the music, circulation around the coliseum made traffic flow pleasant between stages and minimized ear bleed, which is usually a problem with outdoor festivals. The overall experience was as arbitrary as any experience could be in Los Angeles. Your favorite social media personality could be filming their next bit right next to you, while your favorite up-and-coming artist could be waiting in line with you to get some drinks, making for a unique experience in the heart of Los Angeles.
With Goldenvoice in charge of operations, the festival has naturally developed relationships with artists willing to perform time and time again, such as Mac DeMarco, Run the Jewels and DJ Harvey. New to the festival, artists such as Kehlani, Anderson .Paak, King Krule and Mura Masa kept the avid music fan delighted with fresh talent.
Below, we have highlighted some of this year’s most memorable moments per day.
Missy Elliott closed out the main stage on Friday with her first U.S. performance in 10 years. It was the ultimate hip-hop throwback fans have been yearning for, playing hits like “Get Ur Freak On,” “Work It,” “I’m Really Hot” and “Ching-a-Ling”. Despite having a cold the past week, Missy expressed gratitude for her fans’ support in the past two decades as they helped solidify her legend as a female MC.
Music started later on Friday, so attendees who had work and other daily obligations didn’t have to skip it in order to make it to the festival. Earlier performances on Friday included a beautiful post sunset serenade session by Bjork on the main stage with her colorful ornate costume. After Bjork played on the main stage, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals put down an energetic performance at the Lawn stage, during which .Paak performed more than half his set from the comfort of his drum set.
On the only day to completely sell out, MGMT opened the main stage with a roulette of hits from their extensive discography, ending with their most popular “Kids” and “Electric Feel.”
As the night went on, A Tribe Called Quest took to the main stage in one of the last shows the group will ever perform, due to the passing of their founding member, Phife Dawg. The group took every chance available to honor his legacy with moments of silence, visual tributes and his own microphone set on stage throughout the night. Performing hit classics such as “Electric Relaxation,” “Can I Kick It?,” “Oh My God” and a special introduction from Raphael Saadiq on “Buggin’ Out,” there was not a moment fans felt the show should end.
By nightfall, arguably the most sought-after set of the weekend came to the mercy of Frank Ocean. As one of the most beloved artists of this generation, Ocean’s appearance comes two years after a cancelled performance at 2015’s FYF Fest. Many were unsure if he would show this year, but the R&B crooner took the stage with the ever-endearing presence fans have come to expect. Of course, he would perform on his own stage adorned with hand drawn artwork, a custom disco ball and famous movie director Spike Jonze on hand, directing the show’s cinematography. Ocean would go on to perform cuts from his latest album, Blonde, with a few of his latest singles, including “Biking,” “Lens” and a special rendition of Stevie Wonder’s cover of the Carpenter’s “Close To You,” as Brad Pitt acted out a scene for what many are hoping will be a feature film of Ocean’s latest performances.
To preview Frank Ocean’s set, view the video below.
On the third and final day, FYF stacked its line-up for the grand finale. While many people were looking forward to Nine Inch Nail’s first real show in three years, Mura Masa, Solange, 6lack and Kehlani put on amazing performances.
With the release of his first album, Mura Masa was a relatively new act with lots of promise. On stage he was joined by Desiigner to perform their hit “All Around the World” and NAO for “Firefly” and “What If I Go?”
However, Solange taking the main stage on Sunday may have been one of the most graceful, elegant but, extremely empowering performances of the weekend. After releasing her album, A Seat at the Table, Solange has only done intimate private concerts, and FYF Fest attendees were lucky enough to see her music performed in full force.
Closing the festival on the Trees stage, Kehlani and her girl tribe entranced the audience with an R&B set full of choreographed songs and a crowd filling in wherever vocals were needed.
As another year is officially in the books, anticipation and speculations are already afloat for the 15th annual FYF festival in 2018.
Below, we have a visual taste of the energy felt at this year’s FYF Fest.