“There’s so many different kinds of people here,” my friend said. It’s the first thing you notice when you walk onto the grounds of LA Colosseum for Camp Flog Gnaw. The carnival is the brain child of Tyler, the Creator. Although he might be best known for his music, he has so many other talents that its an insult to only call him a musician. He’s an entrepreneur, a visionary, a force to be reckoned with, and he only keeps the best of the culture around him.
Camp Flog Gnaw has Tyler written all over it. He announced the first carnival shortly before his album Wolf, a project centered around his love for summer camps, was released. Near every stage you could find a Converse Golf Le Fluer collection-themed charging station. There was even a mechanical hot dog station (think mechanical bulls at a bar) that was sponsored by The Jellies, Tyler’s new show on Adult Swim. While on the hot dog people from all over threw hot dogs at whomever was on it. The games, rides, and performances were all reminiscent of elements of Tyler’s personality.
The Main Event
Like an Odd Future show, most of the rap sets included the initiation of a mosh pit. This year saw the individual performances of many Odd Future members who are normally grouped. Left Brain, Hodgy, and Syd all performed in solo shows, although Syd performed with her band, The Internet, on day 2. Stand out performances included Brockhampton, Solange, Kid Cudi, The Internet, and Kehlani. Each of these artists gave their best and was met with incredible energy from the crowd. Mainstream rappers such as Migos, Playboi Carti and Lil Yachty left a lot to be desired performance wise, but had the hits to keep the crowd lit. Jorja Smith and Kamaiyah made their marks as newer artists on the scene, proving that their Drake and YG co-signs are valid. 2Chainz injured himself, requiring him to switch time slots with Cudi and to perform in a wheel chair. Neither of those things mattered to the crowd as he was met with mad love.
Tyler’s set was strictly songs from Flowerboy. This came as a surprise since his biggest hits are some of his more rowdy songs. However, Tyler’s fans have grown with him. Since the beginning of his career he’s let his love of pretty chords and melodies be well-known. Now that he’s stepped into his ideal sound we can expect calmer, moshpit-free shows. The passion and the energy is still there, but certainly more matured.
During Asap Rocky’s set he asked Tyler how he felt, to which Tyler responded, “I ain’t never gotta go back to Starbucks, I know that.” That declaration holds a lot of weight when you realize there are little to no parts of the festival that Tyler doesn’t have a hand in. His influence can be felt in every aspect of the festival.
The Icing On Top
It’s apparent that tons of thought and care went into making sure this event would be a special experience. What stuck out most were the prices. At most music festivals you can expect to spend tons of water on refreshments, but even those costs were kept down. Carnival tickets were $208 for two days, making it one of the more affordable weekend festivals on the market. Water was being sold for two dollars, something I have never seen on festival grounds anywhere, even at a regular carnival. At the general store you could purchase little things we often forget: lighters, gum, pain medicine, floss. Whatever you needed, Tyler had it covered in every category. There were even free phone charging stations, something that’s being replaced with the sale of extra battery packs, but of course, he had those, too.
There were tons of greasy, fatty festival foods, like funnel cakes covered with not just powdered sugar, but also whipped cream and strawberries or apples and cinnamon glaze. Kettle corn, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and plenty of fries. However, in a world of unhealthy options there was a vegan booth and a couple of healthy smoothie stations around the festival grounds. Every single demographic was covered.
Camp Flog Gnaw turned out to be the perfect safe space to be yourself, or whomever you wanted to be. Both young and old came out to have the most fun they could possibly have.
“I bodied that,” Tyler proclaimed at the end of his set. And that he did.