F Yeah Fest: An Effing Food Nightmare
Still early, this is a shorter line at Lee's Philly
For those at this year's F Yeah Fest, an annual concert held last Saturday in Los Angeles State Historic Park, time existed only in musical signatures, dictating the tempo of their collective movements, willing them to dance or sing or move between stages, or it seemed to, until they got in line for food. When standing in one of only a handful of food lines, time measured definitively. Stuck in the LASHP equivalent of Siberia, the floral print-clad masses measured in favorite bands missed and in hours and minutes queued under the 97 degree sun, both of which usually numbered at least two.
The day-long concert, billed as a music, comedy, and art festival with "over a dozen food trucks," did not have over a dozen food trucks. It had two. Two trucks--Frysmith and Lee's Philly--and a small handful of food vendors, to feed an estimated 20,000 people in attendance.
To be completely fair to the festival organizers, there were a few more trucks. They were in the gated VIP section and catered exclusively to a small group who had purchased tickets for more than double the cost of general admission. By the same token, the VIP compound also had their own bar run by the Cha Cha Lounge, but that did nothing to alleviate the lines outside the beer gardens, about which the LA Times said, "Soviet bread lines moved quicker."
In addition to the sheer proportions (number food trucks/number in attendance) and the heat, there were also the clouds to consider. By 2 p.m., curious clouds had formed just above each of the three stages, most likely a combination of dust stirred up by dancing hipsters and cheap weed, and seemed perpetually to hang there the rest of the day producing in all those who were standing under it the same Pavlovian hunger for french fries and liquid refreshments -- simultaneously. This, of course, was the final ingredient in the FYF recipe for disaster. By 2:30, those in line at the food trucks totaled in the hundreds. (Luckily, these same curious clouds rendered the crowd fairly docile.)
After that, there was no point during the day when the number of people at the food trucks was fewer than 200 and wait time for an order of Rajas Fries or a Gogi Burrito was up from two hours. It should be mentioned, however, that while the generic food stands were running out of toaster oven pizzas and Styrofoam cups of styrofoam-y noodles, Frysmith and Lee's Philly continued turning out their signatures through the night. Thus, while we will not soon forget the poor planning at 7th annual FYF, we should also remember the day for the exemplary service of these two trucks. Also the music. Both were very hip.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.