Catch Up or Die: An Open Letter to the Sunset Junction Festival (or, How FYF Fest is About to Own You, Big Time)
[UPDATE -- Ed.'s note: Chris Morris at the Variety blog SoundCheck thinks that "it appears there [is] an invisible agenda" behind this post, namely that the sales department of the LA Weekly is listed as a sponsor of FYF Fest on the poster (a fact, which is pretty "visible" on the poster, we might add). The editorial department (i.e., us) are often not aware of the sponsorship deals the LA Weekly strikes and thus our reporting is blissfully uninfluenced by those deals, as we're sure you can tell by reading our print section and blogs. Next time SoundCheck can go ahead and just ask us if we're nefariously biased. The real answer is boring, though, so even we might rather enjoy the conspiranoia you're spreading!]
Dear Sunset Junction,
What the hell happened? You used to be it. The local music festival. The best of local talent -- upcoming national acts, even music legends, they all beat a path to your door. You weren't just a music festival, you were a local institution. Hell, you were instrumental in putting Silverlake on the map.
Somewhere along the line, you lost it. This year was not your year on so many levels. The upstart Silver Lake Jubilee was cheaper than you, had better local bands, was more environmentally responsible, and didn't block up Sunset Blvd. And when it came to national music muscle, FYF Fest just blew you out of the water with yesterday's announcement of their lineup.
Panda Bear? The Rapture? Titus Andronicus? Ted Leo and the Pharmacists? Not to mention the older bands Unbroken, Sleep and 7Seconds which will draw people longing for their glory days in the '90s. This lineup is so good that we're willing to forget all about last year and the hours we spent in line in the scorching heat trying to get into FYF Fest 2009. And all for around the same price as your festival.
I mean, you got smoked.
Face it, Sunset Junction: You got beat. Just two years ago you had The Black Keys, Cold War Kids, Broken Social Scene, and The Germs in your lineup. Fast forward to 2010, and, unless you're looking at the local stages with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Saint Motel, Red Cortez and Leslie and the Badgers, there are no big, big name bands at all, except for Ghostland Observatory and the ghost of Lee "Scratch" Perry. Lord knows you can't build a festival on that. And the truth of it is, no one is gonna pay $20 for excellent local bands that they could see at the Echo next week for $10.
I mean, really: you guys are a music festival located in Silver Lake who didn't pay attention to the hype bands coming out this spring. It's embarrassing. There are so many fantastic bands that came out this year, who haven't toured heavily in Los Angeles, whom people are curious about and would pay money to see. Bands that could have easily been booked at the Junction, but weren't. Why is that?
People like Cults, who were an Internet sensation this year with only a handful of songs on their EP, but who were hailed by the critics as the hot new thing (for the love of LiLo, even Perez Hilton knows who they are!)
Or Let's Wrestle from Britain who were just signed to Merge this year and have been getting a ton of press and who have only played in LA twice. Or Magic Kids from Tennessee who were just signed to Matador and whose album dropped a couple weeks ago. Where are those bands in your lineup?
But the most of unforgiveable offense of all, beyond local up and comers, the hyped kids, the old favorites, and national bands with clout, is the fact that you didn't pay attention to the SoCal bands who have done extremely well this year. You ignored the bands who were in your backyard, who had huge albums and are getting tons of attention nationally. That is suicide. Bands like The Soft Pack, Wavves, Best Coast, Warpaint, and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffitti -- oh, thet's right: all booked for FYF Fest 2010. Where were you on that? Honestly, if you aren't paying attention to what is coming out within your area, why throw a festival at all?
Don't lose heart, Sunset Junction. I know keeping up with the latest hyped bands is a huge hassle, but if you're having trouble reach out to someone. There are people all over this town who obsess over that kind of thing. I know twenty kids you could hire to book next year who follow the music trends because they love it. I'll send you a list. It doesn't have to be this way.
Catch up or die.
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