In its third edition, the Odd Future-curated Camp Flog Gnaw has steadily become one of the most anticipated events on the late-autumn concert calendar. On an idyllic Saturday afternoon, Tyler, the Creator and company turned the parking lot around the L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena into a carnival ground with two music stages.
With the event’s growth in popularity, it’s expanded and become more ambitious with its execution. Camp Flog Gnaw is the rare event that's able be family-friendly and raucous at the same time.
Here’s what we loved about the 2014 edition of the mini-festival.
As fresh of an idea now as it was in 2012, there still isn't anything else like Tyler, the Creator’s grand vision on the current festival circuit. Others have incorporated some variations on the carnival theme, but no other event matches Camp Flog Gnaw's state-fair-meets-traveling-circus vibe. If you weren’t snacking on cotton candy or playing Whac-a-Mole, you could be riding the Pharaoh’s Fury or the Ferris wheel. (Of course, there was lots of live music to enjoy as well.)
Use of the Coliseum/Sports Arena grounds
Unlike FYF, where everything was a disaster on day one, the site was easy to navigate and there was never any fear of being stampeded by crowd bottlenecks. The ample space allowed for a steady flow of people roaming between stages, food trucks and the rides. It was nice to see a show with so many moving parts be so crisply organized.
It’s not surprising that the Flog Gnaw lineup reflected the varied tastes of its, um, creator, Tyler. However, cultivating that into a cohesive lineup that that melds R&B and various hip-hop subgenres is an impressive feat.
From big men like Rick Ross and New York’s favorite stoner Action Bronson to the smooth sounds of Pharrell Williams and OFWGKTA’s own The Internet, there was music every type of Odd Future fan could get behind — even if some didn’t head towards the stages until sunset. With Tyler anchoring the lineup, the festival was able to showcase a little bit of everything to everyone. Bonus points for the N.E.R.D. reunion during Pharrell's set.
The Tyler, the Creator billboard
Nothing else could sum up the event better than the gigantic, megalomaniacal billboard that graced MLK Boulevard. During his set, Tyler said he deserved to have his face plastered 50 feet above for everyone to see, because he had a vision and was right. It gave the event brand recognition and cemented Tyler's status as a forward-thinking mogul who knows exactly how to give kids what they want. If that includes a little idol worship, then so be it.
For fans who wanted to take home swag without having plunk over money at the merch stand, you could participate in amusement park games where the only prizes were from Tyler's Golf Wang clothing brand. From a branding perspective, this was genius: You couldn’t walk more than a couple of feet in the games area without bumping into someone proudly sporting their newly won gear.
The prize-giving continued during Tyler’s set, when he raffled off a customized 1990 red-and-white-striped 1990 BMW 325iS, which an 18-year-old proudly got to take home with him. Hopefully the young man realizes that the tax man and DMV may put a slight dent in a wallet — but that couldn’t put a damper on getting the keys to his new car from the evening’s ringmaster.