Music-festival season is almost over, and it seems like every town has their own version of the stereotypically debaucherous, overly expensive drug buffet. I had my heart set on covering the Calypso Music Festival in Valdosta, Georgia this year. I've been eager to see Harry Belafonte live ever since I learned that Harry Belafonte wasn't dead yet.
Alas, I got stuck going to FYF in Los Angeles instead. The only thing that could assuage my disappointment was learning that I'd be chilling hard in the VIP. As hot, dusty, and lacking in modern conveniences as a music festival can be, I knew that not being afforded the perks of VIP status would guarantee I'd have a miserable time. I wanted to see some good music, and I wanted to do that without getting sand all over my glasses.
You might think it's not worth it to spend extra on a VIP pass. Think again, pal. FYF takes place in what looks like an abandoned cow pasture near Chinatown. As you can see in the background of this photo, civilization is not far off; the skyscrapers of Downtown peek out in the distance like an older brother with a mouthful of candy taunting you from behind a wall. It's so very close to the sweet, sweet candy called "flushable toilets," but it feels like a world away. Fortunately, all the wood chips and hay on the ground mean you can shit outside and quickly bury the evidence aboveground.
Speaking of shit, the world-famous poop emoji made his/her FYF debut. It already amassed a few fans eager to see and be seen with the international symbol of anthropomorphized feces. It's not every day that a piece of shit smiles at you and isn't your landlord!
If you think paying extra for VIP is a mistake, take a gander at this blurry photo of a woman doing hula-hoop tricks in the non-VIP section. There was no interpretive hula dancing in the VIP. It's just all people chill enough to spend a lot of money on a music festival, which is exactly what I was looking for.
You might be asking why the picture is so blurry. The answer is, "it's hard to take photos that are in focus when you are desperately trying to run away from a stinky, weird hippie who's into hula-hoop tricks."
I arrived in the VIP hoping to see something resembling comfort. Instead, I got a bunch of food trucks, a couple couches that people refused to vacate, slightly wider port-a-potties, and "Lena Dunham from the Future" cutting me in line for wacky fusion tacos. If Lena Dunham doesn't look exactly like this woman when she's 60, then I'll eat my hat… or I won't because I forgot this promise due to the creeping onset of Alzheimer's.
One thing that's not lacking in the VIP section is a sense of humor! Check this little rascal out. She's the Miley Cyrus of the animal kingdom. Of course, by appropriating black ratchet culture, this dog shows a great lack of racial sensitivity. I mean, does this dog even like hip-hop?
Eventually, some music started happening, and I had to leave my enclave of wealth and privilege in order to actually enjoy what I came for. What I didn't realize was that by not standing out in the miserable, godforsaken heat for 30 minutes between bands is the only way to ensure a quality view of the show. That's as close as I got for this band, whatever their name was. I think that's a picture of Glasser. Maybe it's How to Dress Well. All I know for sure is that it's not Harry Belafonte and the music they were playing wasn't calypso.
I got to catch Washed Out, which was a major highlight of the night, and he played a nice mixture of old classics and new hits from his current record. I'm fairly certain that Ernest Greene is somewhere behind that gold pitchfork thing on stage. Maybe this was a subliminal message to the editors of Pitchfork.com, asking for an elusive 10.0 on his next album. He might get one if he considers doing a calypso song or two.
This is what it's like trying to watch a band from the VIP section at FYF. I can confirm that the band playing is My Bloody Valentine, because they had the decency to open their set with, "Hey, we're My Bloody Valentine."
I was totally comfortable during MBV's performance, plus I had a really killer view of this guy's orange backpack. In the bottom left corner is either a guy with spikey hair or a porcupine. I'll let you be the judge.
To conclude: I highly recommend the VIP at FYF. I give it ten Harry Belafontes on the "Harry Belafonte Funtastic Time Scale."
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