Story and photos by Sarrah Wolfe, Contributor
This past weekend, Music Tastes Good Vol. 3 provided attendees with a near perfect festival experience. The two-day food and music festival was one of the most well-planned and organized events I’ve attended. There were artists that satisfied everyone’s palate, from the middle-aged dads sporting their Joy Division shirts and the four-year-olds perched upon their shoulders to the millennial hippies passing around a joint. The festival gracefully captured the communal love and tolerance upon which Long Beach has founded its reputation.
That’s not to say I didn’t have my reservations before entering the festival on Saturday. Looking at the schedule, I saw the artists on the main stage were set to perform back-to-back, factoring in no time for setup. I was certain there had to be some sort of mistake until I caught the last few minutes of zany husband-and-wife indie rock duo, Quintron and Miss Pussycat. As the crowd danced to the end of their set, the stage slowly rotated to reveal UK indie rock quintet Shame already prancing about before the stage had settled before the crowd. I was both impressed and fascinated, and my trust in the Music Tastes Good curators was solidified.
Although the smaller second stage didn’t have the luxury of a rotating platform, it did do complete 180°s in terms of genre, sandwiching hip-hop artist Lizzo between the mellow singer-songwriter Bill Callahan and Australian psychedelic New Wave veterans, The Church. I was emotionally on my toes the entire weekend, never sure whether an artist’s set would move me to tears or have me dancing like a fool, or both. The gentle vocals of Big Thief’s Adrienne Lenker nearly evoked a mental breakdown, until later consolation by Grammy-nominated R&B-pop singer Janelle Monae and 80’s dance-rock innovators New Order had me dancing without a care in the world.
My most cathartic moment, however, came as Broken Social Scene graced the stage to perform their preeminent, and personally sentimental album, “You Forgot It In People.” I came prepared for the tears that would ensue during their set, but as frontman Kevin Drew acknowledged the current tumultuous climate of our country and proclaimed that as Canadians, they were our “frustrated neighbors,” I found myself more vulnerable than I had predicted. Drew, in an earnest speech to the crowd, provided us with an essential hope that seemed to be dwindling in the midst of a devastating political era.
“We believe in you,” he assured us, “and we believe that you’re gonna get through this.” And as they went on to perform “Anthems for a 17-Year Old Girl,” a personal and crowd favorite, I was able to believe it.