I was debating whether or not to go to First City Fest before my friend invited me. Being that Monterey is about three hours away, the smart voice inside of me obviously said, "No. Why would you torture yourself with that drive?" It was even more temping when I saw a LivingSocial deal that was selling tickets for $40/day.
However, I did end up going and it was really like walking into a foreign city for the first time. Which, I guess it really was. I've never been to Monterey (Yes, not even for the Monterey Bay Aquarium) so I drove around with fresh eyes. I just really have to ask, Monterey... What is it you do for fun out there? From what I saw, there were no music venues, no theme parks, no... nothing. What is it? I want to know. The weird thing too was that the venue (Monterey Fairgrounds) was located basically in the middle of the residential area. I mean, if I were a homeowner in that area I guess it's cool I get free entertainment but it's probably a nightmare if you have to sleep early for the next day.
The festival was setup just like a typical county fair. PLUS there was a carnival area with free rides. AKA I didn't have to spend $5 to ride the ferris wheel. I did get super motion sickness but that didn't stop me from riding some rides I'll probably never get the chance to ride again since it's super expensive. I was half expecting a Ryan Gosling/The Notebook or Liam Hemsworth/The Last Song thing to happen but I wish that almost every single time I'm at a carnival. IS THAT SO HARD TO ASK FOR? JUST SWING OFF THE FERRIS WHEEL. MOVIES ARE REAL.
Spoiler alert: It didn't happen. Another spoiler alert: there were no stuffed animals worth playing those rigged games over.
I wasn't too familiar with this lineup this year. The most I knew were Geographer, The National, The Naked and Famous, Best Coast, Beck, Phantogram, Tokyo Police Club and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Even then, I wouldn't consider myself a dedicated fan to the music. I've listend to one or two tracks so I'm only qualified to say I'm familiar with their music.
But that made room to learn about artists I never knew about and will (most likely) listen to such as How To Dress Well, Cults and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Cults consisted of a killer front-woman who kind of looked eerie since I had no glasses. My friend and I concluded she somewhat looked like Samara from The Ring but that's only because it was dark and her hair was black and sleek and she wore a white dress. How To Dress Well had horrible speakers during his set so I wish I was able to hear more of his sound. Ironically, he wasn't dressed well but that didn't take away from his music. So, that's chill. On the other hand... Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. can put on one hell of a show. They weren't on the main stage but hey, that's totally fine. They get all up in your face which I absolutely LOVE when a performer does that.
Special thanks to my friend who works as security so she was able to grab me a little souvenir. None other than The Naked and Famous' set list!
If you're a first timer and you decide to check it out next year, I recommend the following:
- Wear shoes you don't care about. The ground is non-existent. Dirt everywhere!
- Chug your water bottles before you enter the venue. You're able to refill it inside!
- Pass on paying $20 parking from places nearby and save your money. The neighborhood is about 2 blocks away and it's not even a bad walk.
- Just make sure you leave your "weapons" in your car or else you'll either end up throwing it away or making the long trek back. This includes pepper spray, ladies!
- Layers. Wear layers. It gets cold at night!
- Wear hats and/or sunglasses. The sun is almost always on top of the stage and you'll be squinting the whole time like I was.
- Cash. Cash. Cash. Cash. Cash. Skip that $3.95 fee.
- If you must catch one show, ever. WATCH PUDDLES THE CLOWN
- Puddles the Pity Party -
- Phantogram -
- The National -
- Best Coast -
- I had a "Are You My Mother?" moment -
- Free rides! -
- Beck -
- The National -
- I guess no one wanted the stuffed animal they won -