FYF Fest moved into spacious new digs this year at Exposition Park, with four stages spread around grounds that border the California Science Center and the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. With roots dating to 2004 in Echo Park clubs, the new home solidifies the FYF brand as one that long graduated from the underground and can now command a yearly a audience of more than 30,000 people.
Yet early on Saturday the mood around Exposition Park was one of a festival that was still transitioning to the major leagues. Fans stood in lines for hours to get in, some complaining of waits of three hours, and a smaller stage located on the floor of the L.A. Sports Arena, a basketball stadium, reached its 6,000-person capacity as seating areas were roped off.
The festival took to social media in attempt to assuage fans that it was working through the kinks. "We know many of you are still in line trying to get in," FYF posted to its official Twitter account. "Rest assured, scanning and searches are moving as quickly as possible. Thank you."
Lines started moving more briskly around 4:30 p.m., and for every concertgoer who complained of a two-hour wait another was able to get in the gates within 15 minutes. While the line was moving at a snail's pace, those who walked straight to the front of the venue were able to skip the waits.
The festival continued to give a space to craft makers. Participants who want a break from music can make a button, or a coaster or a bandana. The new locale also provides some creature comforts not found at most festivals, such as a plethora of bathrooms with actual plumbing.
Musically, the day got off to a gripping start with the not-quite-vintage scorched-earth love songs of Angel Olsen. The singer/songwriter's voice is a constantly-shifting instrument -- quivering to an ache one moment, snarling with Western bite the next and becoming higher, lower and even scarred without warning.
Elsewhere, New Zealand's Connan Mockasin kept it light and airy, bringing a bit of soft adult rock to orchestral pop. Longstanding indie rock act Man Man were carnival weirdness while New Jersey's Real Estate were lushly sublime. The lyrics may be bittersweet, but Real Estate's sound is pop at its most comforting, with arms-wide-open melodies and vocals that were all warmth.