Festival Frequency is a monthly look at music festival-related topics that step beyond the shadow of the Ferris wheel, discussing everything from the performances to the inner workings that make this a global phenomenon.
“The best weekend of the summer.”
This is how FYF Fest would often describe itself in its social media posts over the last decade. The sentiment felt like direct communication with the festival’s founder, Sean Carlson, who longed for his little LA festival to become a sort of transformative experience for the young people that attended. In the early years, it was less a question of creating meaningful memories and more an issue of just getting people through the door, as logistical problems plagued the burgeoning event, and unforeseen issues with dust, plentiful food, and security screening earned the fest more of a reputation as the biggest clusterf*ck of the summer early on.
But things slowly changed, and within the last five or so years, FYF Fest became one of the best festivals in the country. Having an impressive lineup was never a problem, and neither was being affordable. The first year I attended, 2009, it cost $20 for a single day, and was headlined by the Black Lips and Tim and Eric. Even then, the rest of the bill, with the likes of Fucked Up, No Age, Converge, Wavves, Woods, and many more, made due through the taste level of the bookers. It didn’t need the biggest names, it was just a well put together program. And each year after, the festival seemed to outdo itself. So when Goldenvoice came along to help with logistics, FYF Fest finally became that “best weekend of the summer” that it strove toward for so long.
But this year, for the first time in 15 years, there will be no FYF Fest. For many, it might feel deserved, following founder Sean Carlson’s dismissal from the Goldenvoice family just months ago after the revelation of sexual misconduct. Carlson’s exit left the fest in limbo, with many unsure whether it would return at all until it was announced that the festival would not be rebranding or taking a year off. A new booker, Jennifer Yacoubian, was appointed, with some praising the decision to replace Carlson with a woman after what he had been accused of doing. But the reality was also that Yacoubian was the right person for the job, and the media and music world alike beamed whenFYF revealed its lineup last month.