Why isn’t there a shirt at Fvded that just says “F’d In the P”? It’s the perfect double entendre for this annual fest and, because I thought of it, I think it’s frigging hilarious.
This year’s event saw a well-curated lineup that equally balanced the hip-hop and EDM ends of the rope.
My Friday adventure started with a twenty-minute scramble to find parking. Downtown Surrey is not well laid out in terms of public parking for Holland Park, where the event is hosted. Once parked and through the gates, I b-lined for the main stage to catch XXL Freshman Class of 2019 alumni Lil Mosey.
Lil Mosey’s set was fun. He was all smiles as he worked the catwalk spitting lyrics and hyping the crowd. It was a great way to start my day.
Next up was Bronx-born rapper A Boogie Wit A Hoodie, he had a little more fire in his performance. An amped up, jumping-to-the-beat display backed by sharp lyrical delivery and visceral excitement. Mosey had set them up but Boogie was knocking them out of the park.
Building on that fervour, Georgia-made hip-hop star Lil Yachty kept the party going. Bringing in his widely-popular catalogue, built on ground shaking bass, and chantable lyrics, the audience was rolling hard in that moment.
For me, the last set of the night was Moroccan-American hip-hop icon, French Montana. He stepped on stage in a ground-length burgundy coat just as the rain started to fall. This man is the Moroccan Drake, same style and presence with an Eastern edge. The performance was top-tier filled showcasing his vocals and ability to manage a large scale crowd.
I wanted to wait for Zedd, the headliner, but I just couldn’t do it. Extended rant at the bottom of this article – jump to it.
Saturday clouds were also threatening rain.
I showed up in time to catch Canadian R&B singer kick off his stint.
The twenty-three-year-old smoothly worked around the stage delivering contagious tracks that the crowd were excited to receive. He jumped down to the fence between him and the audience and grasped their outstretched hands, singing with them, stirring them into a frenzy. The young musician was unknown to me before his set but impressed me quickly.
Rising Brooklyn hip-hop star Saint Jhn took over and brought one of the most intense performances of the weekend. He brought his infectious energy and turned the crowd into a sea of fist-pumping, head bumping maniacs. He shed his shirt and worked his ass off. Solid lyrical set backed by a bumping rhythm, truly fantastic. We need more of Saint Jhn.
Canadian producer duo Loud Luxury took us on a cerebral journey full of dance and even a special appearance from Riverdale star Drew Ray Tanner. They carried that Chainsmokers vibe; a bro-tastic, turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy set that shakes every muscle you have to the unstoppable beat.
The Atlanta hailing rapper and singer 6lack toned things down a bit with a series of sweet songs filled with heart and soul. His set was more cool and calculated but it didn’t stop nearly every song from becoming a giant sing along. 6lack is the artist I was most excited to check out, he did not disappoint.
Chicago-based DJ and production duo Louis The Child turned the dance back on. Their visual display had my eyes glued to the video boards all around them. Explosions of colours racing all over the place, matched to their music creating this immersive mind melt. Beautiful and just downright fun.
I was getting pretty exhausted in the crowd and decided to make my way to the little VIP/Wheelchair Access area right beside the soundboard. I was shooting there the day before and have shot from here the last four years of the festival. As I walked up, a security guard was there and he told me I would not be allowed up on to that area to shoot. I asked why but he didn’t know but just reiterated that no photographers were allowed there anymore. I didn’t want to argue, so I just walked away.
I looked back at the crowd and saw that due to the sheer volume of people, I would now be about 100 feet away from the edge of the catwalk on the mainstage.
I chose to leave before Tory Lanez and Khalid took the stage.
Overall, the festival has become very well polished. The layout is great, keeping the three stages facing in different directions and the flow of foot traffic running in a circle.
The team on-site and behind the scenes has done a wonderful job managing safety without impeding on the vibe.
The curation of this event is on point, they have a fine balance of EDM and hip-hop and do well in aligning similar artists to the same stage.
I want to thank Fvded in the Park for a fun 2019 instalment and look forward to what the future holds.
Now for a little bit of a side rant –
One thing this festival does differently than most, that I bring up year over year, is they only allow their festival team access to the photo pit. This means that the media for any other outlet has to shoot from the crowd. It’s a struggle that the local Vancouver concert photographer scene has been irked by from day one and something that has seen the majority of them opt-out from even attempting to cover this festival. Leaving mostly new-to-the-scene photographers to try and cover it.
The reason for a media pit is so photographers can have a chance of getting great photos without impeding the experience for the patrons of the event. Without access to the media pit, a photographer has to press through an unruly crowd with thousands of dollars in equipment in-hand and get in peoples’ ways. I had about a dozen different concertgoers tell/ask me to get out of their way. It made me feel bad but I need to get the photos for this article or I am not living up to my end of the deal when I am approved for a photo pass. I do my best to limit my time in front of any given person but its a tough line to walk.
Each year I make a difficult choice of whether or not to cover this festival and each year I have opted to cover it, but it is not an easy decision. Every other festival I have been to allows media in the pit and in most cases has a media tent so content can be posted on the fly to help promote the event as it is happening. Fvded in the Park chooses to run things a little differently and I try to respect that but at the end of the day it’s a hard pill to swallow.
I try my hardest to generate quality content for my readers and for the promoters that allow me and my contributors access to their shows. I want to showcase their events to encourage people to attend the next one they are hosting. Fvded is a fantastic festival and I love it. The team behind the scene is great and they work hard and effectively to put on the event, but this one hurdle is making it harder and harder to want to show up and take part. Hopefully, in the future, they will make a change to be more inclusive with the media. Until then, I will be there yearly to catch what I can before being pushed out by the growing crowd due to the funnel shape of the main stage area.
This concludes my yearly rant about something very trivial.