Camp Flog Gnaw unites dreamers

For the first time since 2019, Tyler, the Creator’s music festival returned to Dodger Stadium.

By AUBRIE COLE

A vibrant liminal space of exuberance and color overlooked Los Angeles this past weekend as Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival drew thousands of ecstatic fans clad in gaudy Geneva Blue sweater vests and fluffy ushankas, reminiscent of their host’s eclectic fashion taste. The moment the clock struck 12 p.m., the pastel tidal wave cascaded through the admission gates into a wonderland of Tyler, The Creator’s creation.

Dodger Stadium morphed into a whimsical carnival complete with LED-studded amusement park rides and cotton candy kiosks. As the sun sank lower on the horizon, spirits only rose as the rainbow lights of the Ferris wheels washed over the grounds. Camp Flog Gnaw was far from ordinary — and so were its performers.


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Camp Stage — the central stage of the festival — was opened on the first day by the British alternative phenomenon beabadoobee, who drew a crowd of thousands. Bea, joined by her magnificent band, bewitched the festival with her mellow voice and impressive guitar skills. Though the first few songs of her set were tainted by poor mic quality, it was impossible to damper Bea’s immaculate vibes.

Playing fan favorites such as “Cologne,” “the perfect pair” and “Talk,” beabadoobee’s electric set was undoubtedly the perfect way to kick off the festival, leaving all attendees in high spirits.

Between sets, concertgoers were presented with a wide selection of food to choose from. From dumplings to pizza to Korean barbecue, Camp Flog Gnaw’s vendors could satiate almost any craving. For attendees with a sweet tooth, churros and frozen lemonade were almost unavoidable thanks to the plethora of carnival-themed kiosks scattered throughout the grounds. Even Odd Future’s pop-up shop was selling donuts alongside its merch — if anything, Camp Flog Gnaw was a foodie’s dream.

The eccentric street fashion at Camp Flog Gnaw toed the line between trendy and retro. Many attendees looked like they’d walked straight off a golf course (pun intended), while others sported Tyler’s classic flaxen bob and blue suit. Knits and pastels abounded throughout the grounds, mimicking the style of GOLF le FLEUR*.

The first day saw performances from numerous artists, including Kali Uchis, BADBADNOTGOOD, The Hillbillies, Balming Tiger and many other talented artists. Set against the backdrop of the carnival, each artist brought their best during their performances.

As the sun set on the first day, the festival only became more lively. Illuminated by blinding stage lights and carnival LEDs, Ice Spice performed her Camp Flog Gnaw debut for a sea of zealous munches. The princess gifted the festival with “Bikini Bottom,” “Munch (Feelin’ U)” and “Deli,” as her audience deafeningly cheered on her rapping and ass-shaking. Despite the rapper blowing up to untouchable heights of fame only this year, Ice Spice’s audience was incredibly impressive — a testament to her influence and charisma.

The main event of the weekend however was undoubtedly Tyler, The Creator’s set. It felt as though the entire festival flooded toward the Camp Stage to see his performance. The theme of Tyler’s set centered around gratitude, and the artist repeatedly expressed how thankful he was for everyone who made his vision possible.

“To know that this random idea I had brings the spirit of L.A. up for two days: I say this with every bone in my body, thank you all,” Tyler said.

Tens of thousands of voices rose in a cacophonous union as Tyler played both old and new tracks. “IFHY,” “DOGTOOTH,” “I THINK” and “EARFQUAKE” had fans both happily crying and screaming. Tyler didn’t even have to sing during “She,” as his audience knew every single word.

Tyler cracked jokes about the audience booing Drake at the previous Camp Flog Gnaw during “LUMBERJACK,” while “NEW MAGIC WAND” had him waltzing across the stage with flame throwers in each hand. The hour-long performance reconciled insanity and catharsis, which was fitting considering Tyler’s unhinged discography.

The second day of the festival brought Earl Sweatshirt, Dominic Fike, Willow and Lil Yachty to the stage, introducing a day arguably more lively than the prior one.

PinkPantheress cast her enchanting Y2K spell over Camp Flog Gnaw. Her heavenly vocals and hypnotic tracks entranced the audience as she played both old and new songs such as “Mosquito,” “Angel,” “Break it off” and “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2.” She performed each song with a unique live backtrack, a special experience for festival goers. PinkPantheress’ set was a party that anyone could enjoy.

Rex Orange County and SZA closed the festival with sublime, contrasting sets. While Rex Orange County played melancholic songs like “Pluto Projector” and “Sunflower,” SZA treated fans to her R&B sound with “Ghost in the Machine” and “Love Galore.” Attendees met both artists, despite their vastly different discographies, with equal appreciation.

Unfortunately because of curfew, SZA’s mic was cut right as she began her smash hit “Good Days.” However, in a poetic testament to the unity and passion the weekend brought, the audience sang the song to SZA, a fitting conclusion to the long-awaited festival.

As the carnival rides stopped operating and the lights dimmed on Camp Flog Gnaw, the atmosphere of jubilance and satisfaction lingered over Dodger Stadium — an atmosphere that will remain until the carnival returns next year.

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