Do you hear that?
It’s the sound of my Camp Flog Gnaw cherry being popped.
Now in it’s fifth year, Flog Gnaw (‘golf wang’ reversed, get it?) is the brainchild of goldenboy Tyler, the Creator. Part festival, part carnival, and full awesome. I’ve done a shitton of festivals in my lifetime, but I’m gonna go on a limb and say that Camp Flog Gnaw is the best and most cost efficient festival of 2016 (and ever?). I could blab about CFG and why Tyler is one of the greatest black men to have every walked this earth, but decided to spare you and just deliver a ‘best of’ list.
Tyler did not skimp on any aspect of Flog Gnaw. When lil baby said he was throwing a carnival, he meant it. There were rides on rides on rides! CFG had every carnival ride you can think of and two ferris wheels. No carni is complete without funnel cakes and cotton candy, but they upped the anti with bacon wrapped corn dogs on the menu too! With so many rides to choose from, the lines weren’t nightmarish at all, especially because the DJs turned the wait into a fullllllll on party. A special treat was ASAP Rocky’s carnival video game that he made specifically for CFG.
Tyler has his own fashion line and all of his disciples have a particular aesthetic, so everyone looked super cute in their GOLF and Vans lewks. Not that ‘I’m trying hard to prove to you I’m cool, but I really bought this outfit months ago’ thing or the kooky costumes people drown their bodies in for AfroPunk. Everyone basically had on the same thing, but made each piece their own. CFG had multiple merch tables and a GOLF store to get some real duds with reasonable lines. I goofed and went the second day to break the bank on some pants. Alas, they were all gone. Maybs I can just get a pair of these custom jeans made.
The New Vocal Arrangementssss
The CFG lineup is easily the best festival roster this year, just edging out Roots Picnic. I’d seen a good chunk of the artists before and was familiar with their sets. Oh, but how things have changed!
Namely, Toro y Moi and Erykah Badu. I’ve seen Toro manymany times, even flew to Chicago to see him play Pitchfork, but baybeeeee! The band released a live(ish) album this year “Live from Trona” and performed those iterations of some of my personal faves. “High Living” and “Grown Up Calls’ nearly killed me and this cute black couple next to me.
Badu and I have met at the stage upwards of 15 times over the years, but the addition of Durand Bernarr to her background vocalists has changed the game. They were on that stage screaming like Nicci Gilbert on Brownstone’s “5 Miles to Empty”. I was overwhelmed. #Honestly #Truly
Another necessary mention was superbabe Kali Uchis being backed by Phony People. I love Uchis’ music, but the live accompaniment made the songs so full and lush. They need to do an unplugged set ASAP!
Speaking of ASAP, they are just the gift that keeps on giving. Rocky continues to push the limits of what a rapper can do on stage. Most festivals, artists get a banner or a screen and call it a day. Rocky on the other built a stage on the stage. Legit, a full a** set. Playing on the Sega-like game he created for CFG attendees to play in between acts, he performed under and atop a video game controller. It was out of this world. His attention to detail never ceases to amaze me. Not to mention his performance was live AF.
What makes CFG so great is that it’s essentially all of Tyler’s friends having a jam session. Whether they are his mains or artists he admired growing up, there is the kinship that permeated, allowing for the best festival cameos. Ferg came out for Uzi. YG and Ty $ign came out for DJ Mustard. Tyler came out for The Internet. D.R.A.M. came out for Chance. Isaiah Rashad came out for SZA. Chris Brown came out for Wayne. Mac Miller came out for Anderson Paak. CFG is def a family affair.
After my month-long LA stay, the left coast has been calling out to me. I’m actively ignoring because who wants to be warm and full of joy 24/7 ya’know? But trust, every November, I’ll be in Expo Park with my OF plush doll and corndog singing “F*cking Young” at the top of my lungs. Thanks for the ride Ty!
See more of my latest LA escapade and my back in NYC happs via my IG stream