Festival blends music, food and comedy

For those souls who have long wondered where to find silk screening stands, vegan entrees, vintage clothing vendors and enough indie bands to make the editors of Pitchfork wet themselves in one place, get thee to Los Angeles State Historic Park this weekend. The Seventh edition of FYF Fest kicks off at noon on Saturday. And with a stacked bill headlined by Panda Bear and The Rapture, it will likely go down as the festival’s most opulent outing yet.

Photos courtesy of Lauren Dukoff, design by Katrina MacGregor

Before its growth in numbers and prestige necessitated some unfortunate title censorship, the festival was described by its promoters as “a mixtape of bands that would never play with one another but go so well together.”

It would be easy to deride the blatant hipsterisms of the event if it were not such a bargain. For $30, the rough price of a 3-D movie for two at L.A. Live, attendees of FYF Fest will be treated to 12 hours of art installations, record swap meets with dozens of participating stores, a cornucopia of ethnic food trucks and beer gardens and, of course, 37 bands that could normally be found playing anywhere from the Echoplex to Creamfields.

Closing the Oak Stage will be Animal Collective’s founding member Noah Lennox, known by his stage name Panda Bear, playing his first Los Angeles show since 2007. Panda Bear’s set will likely draw heavily from his masterfully melodic, Person Pitch, as well as his lesser known early material and perhaps a new song or two. In any event, the opportunity to hear the cryptic, Beach Boys-inspired epic “Bros” live should be enough to send thousands clamoring to the show.

Another serious grab for the festival is Spanish dance-rock outfit Delorean. Fresh off the release of its luminous new album Subiza (an arguable candidate for the best summer album of 2010), the four-man band plays with the pulse of any club act, but it is its beautiful air piano interludes, vocal layering and tonal range that allows the band to shoot beyond the artistic heights reached by Passion Pit and similar groups.

Those looking for a calmer form of transcendence cannot afford to miss School of Seven Bells. Last seen opening for M83 and Bat for Lashes, the New York trio, fronted by heavenly voiced twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, sits somewhere between high concept shoegaze and frigid dream, and the result is a heartbreakingly gorgeous collection of tremolo heavy sound-scapes that would likely put a smile on Kevin Shields’ face.

As for local talents, the festival lineup will feature Dead Man’s Bones, the new folk project of actor Ryan Gosling, friend Zach Shields and the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir (founded by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea). With a penchant for moody venues, including cemeteries, Gosling and company will share their eerie yet romantic compositions of supernatural sounds with those open to its unique, unsettling quality.

Rounding off the day are numerous bands that have paid their dues at The Smell and other underground venues. Chino tropical punk quartet Abe Vigoda will unleash its frenetic guitars in the afternoon before heading off to Europe with No Age. Lo-fi poster boy Wavves will unveil new material after his disastrous Barcelona Primavera appearance and subsequent rehab stint. Silverlake rock darlings Local Natives, a late addition to the lineup, will also be featured in a late afternoon slot.

FYF Fest founder Sean Carlson, at a mere 25 years old, has described the festival as an aspiration of resurrecting his earlier days of seeing acts such as Murder City Devils in warehouses and other unusual, unregulated locales.

While FYF will usher in more fans than any venues could have contained, the festival still feels like a miracle in its survival and growth. Whether it can retain it’s proudly indie vibe amid its ballooning in size and attractions (a challenge met unconvincingly by Coachella earlier this year) remains to be seen, but for now Carlson’s creation should make for a thrilling way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

FYF Festival will open its doors at noon on Saturday, with tickets available online for $30, which will be placed on will call at the entrance. For those looking to reduce their carbon footprint for a day, the park is easily accessible by taking the Metro Gold Line to the Chinatown Station. The shebang officially wraps at midnight, but don’t be surprised if the after parties rage into the early hours.