FYF Fest 2011 Wins Punk Rock Hearts with Nearly Flawless Festival

This year's FYF Fest — last Saturday at L.A. State Historic Park — had something for everybody and at $40 entry for 10 hours of music on four stages (plus a comedy tent) was the ultimate no-brainer for live music aficionados.

The lineup, curated by Sean Carlson, who founded Fuck Yeah Fest in 2004, featured every shade of modern indie music (with the notable exception of hip hop). Early sets featured sunny-day soundtracks from LA's Fool's Gold, Long Beach's Avi Buffalo, SF singer-songwriter Cass McCombs and Seattle's The Head and the Heart.

Punk, the underground musical response to disco in the late '70s, carries on today both as a reflection of the lo-fi hardcore sound and in attitude, as a middle finger to the establishment. Dan Deacon, for example, who is not associated with punk music, engineered a memorable punk experience, setting up in the middle of the crowd and inspiring a sea of crowd-surfers with some high voltage electroclash and weirdo beats.

There were the hot indie bands of the moment, most notably San Diego's Cults and SF-based Girls — both highlights of the day. But the dominant sound was from the old guard, whether the punk purist rock of Off!, led by former Black Flag and Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris, the satirical punk of Dead Milkmen, the 90's Athens indie sound of Olivia Tremor Control, or the return of the legendary Descendents.

A year after FYF Fest experienced some growing pains the festival seems to have come into its own, with the help of Coachella promoters Goldenvoice. Lines were relatively fluid, sets started on time across the board and artists had a semi-secluded trailer village. The festival was originally slated for the streets surrounding City Hall but the L.A. State Historic Park was ample space for the 20,000 reported attendees, even if we're still hacking up dust kicked up from the barren north end of the park a few days later. On a day featuring an ideal respite from the late summer heat — temps topped off in the '70s — it was a perfect day to spend outdoors.