FYF Fest: A fixed-up festival makes the music sound better

FYF organizers saw an impending brand disaster and fixed it overnight

Anyone looking for evidence of the sudden turnaround on Sunday at FYF Fest should have been there for Darkside in the Sports Arena.

Just a day after fans pelted the festival with complaints of long lines and difficulty seeing shows in FYF's lone indoor stage, the floor was full for the NYC electronic combo. So were the seats upstairs -- a new addition as part of the logistical turnaround -- but overall there seemed to be space for anyone who wanted to be there. No one rushed the doors; it just worked.

As the duo of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington played their noisy, Pink Floyd-for-the-dance-floor cuts, a huge spotlight refracted off a mirror in the middle of the stage, sending a beam of light around the arena. It showed thousands and thousands of blissed-out fans, finally getting what they'd paid for at FYF. 

The many crowd-control improvements weren't just relief for fans making their way around the festival's massive Expo Park complex. It made the music sound better.

From Blood Orange's spot-on set of crystalline funk to Blood Brothers' vicious, invigorating hardcore, when you didn't have to lament your FYF line-waiting woes, you could actually see music and get into the spirit of the day.

The Strokes' fest-closing set wasn't too different from their Coachella return show a couple years ago. But after the challenges of Saturday, it sounded regal by comparison. Julian Casablancas' punky mullet haircut seemed to fit the mood Sunday -- after a close shave Saturday, the party hung on in the end.  

Sunday's lineup was probably the superior day, but maybe it was just the sweet relief of breezing through entry lines and slipping through the lessened crowds on the thoroughfare. Even waiting for the Expo Line in downtown was less of a madhouse.

Lesson learned? Festival logistics are something people notice only when you mess up. Credit where credit's due: FYF organizers saw an impending disaster and fixed it overnight. That was the best performance at FYF this year.


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