Last Saturday, members of our fine society were brutally violated in San Diego’s East Village. I’m referring of course to the SoCal Music Festival.
“Southern California’s lifestyle is synonymous with sunshine, music, art, parties, beautiful people and outdoor activities,” the festival’s website reads. I would like to add that a phrase can definitely be synonymous with six unrelated ideas, and these people definitely know how synonyms work and I definitely hate sarcasm. Also, I’m shocked that “art” came before “parties” and “beautiful people” in their list of non-synonyms. I’m surprised because I went to this festival.
From the moment I walked in, I could tell this festival wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but I suppressed my snobby tendencies and tried to keep an open mind. I strolled past the scantily clad go-go dancers twisting and dropping it low in front of a giant, futuristic-looking Red Bull can that seemed to have been morphed into a turn-table, from which four white guys blared dubstep.“Keep your snob levels low, Hutton,” I tryingly told myself between deep breaths. “You can’t hate this after being here for only five minutes.” But resistance was futile. My friends and I continued walking to avoid the terrible onslaught to our ears, only to be blindsided by another tasteless attack. We arrived in the center of the festival: a four-way intersection with different elements of the festival in each direction. We heard what music was coming from our right, and immediately decided to go left to avoid being subjected to a Linkin Park-esque rap-rock group covering “Pumped Up Kicks.”
To our left, we discovered the art that was promised to share a nice secluded area with numerous Porta-Potties. Here, we found about six booths, most catering to the vividly colored, visually shocking, “trippy” art that bros love to put around their bro pads. It was Salvador Dali but with more swirls and rust colors. There was a big fan made of surfboards and skateboards. It was kind of cool in an “I might buy this if there ever exists a place to put this” sort of way.
We then returned to the four-way intersection. We saw, and unfortunately heard, the same rap-rock group later identified as Vokab Kompany was still jamming on, so we decided to go down the only other unexplored direction.
Here, we found a thin walkway with drink stands, a half-pipe and one of those flying saucer rides that spins around and pushes you up against its inner wall. I sawtwo people on the ride. There were some people on the half-pipe who were either paid to be there or just happened to bring a skateboard to a downtown music festival.We then walked back just as Vokab Kompany finished its set. We moved to the front because Too $hort was next, and we wanted to hear him play, “Blow the Whistle.” Too $hort has a very liberal stance on using the word “bitch.” For example, at one point he said something along the lines of “If you ain’t shakin’ your ass, then you’re a bitch.” My female friend, who wasn’t shaking her ass, was not amused. Though, with song titles such as, “Shake That Monkey” and “Porno Bitch,” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by Too $hort’s derogatory comments toward women.
We left the festival midway through his set, only a little more than an hour after arriving. I don’t write negative reviews often and don’t enjoy doing so, especially when it comes to something that takes as much work to produce as a festival, but this event unfortunately warrants a negative review. The festival doesn’t pay tribute to music, art or Southern California. It uncreatively and thoroughly exploits the shallowest parts of these three entities to turn a profit. If Southern California was anything like the region this festival claimed to embody, I’d be driving fast to the Arizona border rather than writing this article.