Not to be overshadowed by the gamut of artists in the lineup, the food headlined Saturday evening with a Farm to Table dinner, highlighting ingredients sourced from local suppliers which were showcased in personal sized entrees from neighboring restaurants and chefs. To those outside of the ropes of the VIP dining experience, heirloom tomato tartar with quail egg yolk and crème friache was one of the delectables offered leaving guests to ponder which tastes better; the music or the food?
More art installations populated the festival grounds. The life sized Tetris installation let children and adults stack larger than life, three dimensional Tetris pieces to together into forts, walls and designs. More young children accompanied by their parents arrived for Saturday’s festivities as some decided to make this a family affair. Another installation inspired introspective thought. A bell hung from small wooden planks with statements like “I am still learning my truth” and “I don’t have the discipline I need to be the person I want to” caused some to reflect on their lives, future, faults and personal thoughts that often go unshared. If the statement is true, participants are encouraged to ring the bell attached to that. A 4 sided panel display had lyrics from the bands playing at the concert painted on it in a cartoon caption bubbles. A constant rotation of people frequented the art installations, a perfect past time to the upwards of 30 minute wait times in between acts.
Saturday features four different stages. Between shows, the streets are filled with an array of different age ranges and ethnicities. In essence, the festival is a pot that houses all the aromatics and flavors of the different backgrounds of the Long Beach region. Even the food speaks to the diversity among the persons that attended there are tacos, vegan food, Indian food and barbeque.
The Easy Star All-Stars kept the mood light with reggae vibes with “One Likkle Draw”. Smooth guitar licks and a rhythmic bounce is laced with heavily accented vocal presence while lyrics encouraging ‘one little drink from a chalice’ is all but the perfect catalyst for further inebriation to those who had already imbibed on spirits from the line laden Lagunitas beer tent. Shortly after, organized chaos ensued.
Elsewhere Jack Pharoah strings together a sequence of improvised beatscapes kneeling, he engages with the crowd effortlessly triggering samples on his Maschine. Another artist freestyles over Jack’s creation, the crowd bobs their heads intently. Treats like these happen all troughout the night and one would be lucky to catch these lovely, often spontaneous “treasures” in a set where the performer does something unexpected. These moments last as about as long as the glint and sparkle of a firework before fading into a stage clean up crew for the next set. Another notable ‘treasure’ moment is the P.O.S. Set wher Stefon gets real close and personal with the crowd.
Stefon jumps off stage to perform in the midst of the crowd. They form a tight knit circle barrier around Stefon as to keep all the energy and excitement captive. The crowd shares their enthusiasm by reciting lyrics; the bond between performer and crowd is solidified through the sharing of sweat with one another from dancing and bobbing heads in such close proximity. In between songs, the DJ asked Stefon if he wants to join him back on stage, Stefon looks at the crowd and said, “I think I’ll stay.” The crowd goes wild and the party ensues once more right before asking for “one of those boxed waters” P.O.S. proceeds into “Goodbye” and somewhere in the not so far distant another musical entree is served on the main stage.
Much like a pet left at home, Dr. Dog delivers “Lonesome”; in unison the crowd sings a strong “Hey!” is in perfect sync with the band’s vocal performance. The band sings on as a bright blue flame burns intensely under a tent draped with blue glow sticks. A closer look reveals Jimmi skillfully blowing glass pendants that he then gives away to people at the festival. Jimmi switches between different sticks of glass that also change the color of the flame. Brilliant orange and deep blue flames have forged an intricately coiled octopus tentacle. The reaction of the glass to the flame mimic the colors seen on comets blazing through the solar system. Speaking of solar systems, Dr. Dog provides the perfect backdrop with “That Old Black Hole”.
All thoughout the festival show times begin and end. Of which are The Specials who came with a full horn ensemble. The most interesting combination of instruments is the harmonica and trumpet collaboration on “A Message to Rudy”. The rhythm is very much similar to East Star All-Stars reggae but much less influenced anywhere other than the instrumentation. But the message in “Too Much Too Young” is the perfect PSA encouraging those who don’t want to have a “pickni”(which is partway for child/children) to wear contraception; fitting at a festival with beautiful people and booze, the perfect recipe for “pickni”.
Saturday is one of the largest turnouts of the festival. This is one of few concerts that have hit long beach in this outdoor format. Taking up about 4 blocks, the melodic sauce that oozed from each stage and into the surrounding neighborhood provides something from every genre of music, much like a sample platter providing participants with a little taste of this and a little taste of that. So much more is still in the slow cooker for Sunday!