This article appeared in the West Sacramento News-Ledger on September 23, 2015.
TBD: 17,000 Gather By The River, Celebrating Music, Art, Food, and Drink
Writing and photographs by Thomas Farley
The TBD festival boomed into West Sacramento’s Bridge District this weekend, forming a youthful community centered on music, art, drink, and food. But noise complaints threatened to break up the sybaritic world its founders sought to create.
Electronic dance music fueled the festival’s beat, though hip-hop, garage punk, art pop, and a dozen other genres made appearances. Dance music, however, in all its forms, was always key and constant. 90 acts played, many of them familiar to the EDM crowd, performers like Dusty Brown, Peter Robinson, and Tycho.
Art was scattered about the grounds. It ranged from performance art, a glammed-out ballerina dancing and twirling with a hoop, to competitive art, the War on Walls event, in which artists had a fixed time to create a painting that would outshine their rivals. Free standing art installations appeared here and there, many of them lighting up as you interacted with them.
Drink choices could be simple, subtle, or hard-hitting. You could fill your own container with water, or dive into choices like custom made cocktails or perhaps a shot or two at Wild Turkey’s 50 foot-long “distillery tour on wheels,” a motor-coach made to educate people about bourbon and to provide tastings.
Food choices were similarly eclectic. LowBrau was at the center of the complex, dispensing crowd favorites like sausages and different sides. Organizers said that 17 food trucks were scheduled.
The music at TBD was not enjoyed by everyone. According to KCRA TV, there were 55 noise complaints on Friday evening alone. Organizers seemed to listen to comments and on Saturday evening volume from the venue dropped considerably. City of West Sacramento complaint statistics were not available at press time.
West Sacramento and Sacramento are two very different communities but TBD managed to pull the youth of both cities into a communal atmosphere they could all enjoy. Stephanie Flores is a music festival veteran and she expressed many of the sentiments people had at TBD on Friday.
“I live a few blocks over. This is my third time for the Launch/TBD festival. Last year I came on crutches; I was treated great. I just came from Outside Lands last month in San Francisco and I think the security is better and I like the tamper-proof wrist bands. No gate crashers. I hope to see TBD grow, especially since I can just walk down the street to get here. It makes somebody like me from West Sacramento proud. I even brought my 13-year-old daughter. Everybody looks fabulous and there’s good vibes. Great music. I’m here to see Purity Ring and RL Grime. I think it’s good for the economy. I really love that there are new homes popping up around here in the Bridge District. We’ve been nearby homeowners for 20 years. I absolutely love the festival and the area and will keep coming back. I’m having a wonderful time. I think it is amazing.”