FIRSTHAND: My personal experiences and highlights of attending the 2017 Camp Flog Gnaw carnival and music festival.
By Kelsey Chamberlain, Staff Writer
As soon as I tore open the pearl pink envelope and looked over my new green wristband that proudly boasted “VIP,” it finally registered that this was really happening. Camp Flog Gnaw, a carnival and rap/alternative music festival, was just over a month away at that point, but most Tyler, the Creator fans who were to attend, including myself, had been extremely antsy to get their tickets mailed. I looked over the little cartoon map with thrill, imagining how to comprehend the incredible experience I had ahead of me so soon in the future.
My first day at Flog Gnaw was surreal. My friends and I all agreed to leave extremely early so we could be the first people inside the carnival. We found that there were only about 10 others in line once we arrived.
Surveying the carnival was a beautiful sight. It was littered with game booths where one could win prizes from Golf, Tyler’s company, including hats, lighters, pillows, and socks instead of regular prizes. Several thrilling rides lit up playfully at night. String lights hung from all of the trees and mouth watering smells oozed from food stands and trucks bordering the Coliseum, which nestled in the middle of the park. The two stages were on opposite ends of the park. Camp Stage was the main stage, where all of the headlining acts performed, featuring a VIP area, and Flog was a smaller, but still very exciting stage. The first concert we watched at Camp Stage was Brockhampton. I quickly found myself squeezed into the mosh pit.
My friends and I decided sometime around this point not to leave the Camp Stage so that we could keep good seats for Tyler, The Creator and Lana Del Rey, the final performances of the night. I sat tight through the special guest, Mac DeMarco, as he drank a beer while singing “One More Love Song,” my favorite song of his, and even tighter during Syd’s performance afterwards. Syd’s voice was just as lovely in person illuminated by the purple lights on the stage, as she performed “Never Looking Back,” as well as “Know,” and “Over” with guest Steve Lacy.
Tyler, The Creator was supposed to be onstage at 9:40 P.M, but at 9:47 there was no sign there was no sign of him. We all wondered where he was, until we heard music begin to seep in. Tyler opened up with his new song, “Where This Flower Blooms,” then played old jams such as “Deathcamp,” and “She,” some of my favorites. He played a good amount of music from his latest album, “Flower Boy,” including “See You Again,” and my personal favorites, “Foreword,” and “November,” which nearly made me cry. Tyler, wearing a green Golf Le Fleur jumpsuit and a couple of chains during his performance, sang on a floating stage, which made him seem close enough to touch. I personally feel that Tyler, The Creator, is one of the best live performers I’ve seen. He truly has a special connection with his fans and his ability to hype up a crowd just by his presence alone is like none other. The fact that he can go from leaping across stage screaming during “Deathcamp,” to sitting and singing softly to us while asking, “Y’all ever been in love?” during “See You Again,” is not something I’ve ever seen other artists accomplish.
What came next was my favorite performance of the night: Lana Del Rey. Unexpectedly coming out from the left side of the stage, she entered with an almost ghostly walk, a slow but confident strut, wearing a black minidress with matching heels, sharp, thin eyeliner, and her dark hair pulled back. We screamed and sobbed as she performed all of my older favorites, including “Diet Mountain Dew,” “Video Games,” “West Coast,” “Born To Die,” as well as some from her new album, “Lust For Life,” such as “Cherry,” “White Mustang,” “13 Beaches,” and “Lust For Life.” During “Lust For Life,” she walked offstage to meet all of us, and was so close I could see her face perfectly clearly.
Waking up the next morning felt impossible, and we arrived to the festival in the afternoon. The first thing I did on the second day was pick up my VIP merch and put it into my friend’s locker. The merch package included a black Golf Le Fleur duffle bag, a cream Golf snapback, a Golf patch, a Camp Flog Gnaw lanyard, Camp Flog Gnaw socks, and a pair of Tyler’s unreleased Golf Le Fleur Uno converse. The converse are green suede with a blue suede flower on each side, and come with 3 different pairs of colored laces.
My friends and I were so exhausted that we decided to take it easier on the second day. For all of the performances on this day, we stayed in the back and just enjoyed the music. I first heard Steve Lacy, who I love, perform “C U Girl,” then rested for a while until Playboi Carti. To be quite frank, I thought Carti was a pretty terrible performer, and I left his show early. He didn’t really rap at all, it was mostly just the speaker playing his music and him screaming out “Yuh!” and “Mosh!” to try and hype the crowd. After Carti, my friends and I were sitting on a lunch table sharing a lemonade when in the distance we heard the all-too-familiar trap beat to YG’s “BPT.” We all looked at each other, screamed, “YG!” ditching the lemonade and sprinting as fast as possible to the Camp Stage. Taco had brought out YG as a special guest. He performed “BPT” as well as “Toot It And Boot It,” “FDT,” and “Bickin Back Being Bool,” and yes, it was amazing.
A$AP Rocky’s performance wasn’t the night’s final act, but it was the last act I truly enjoyed. Rocky played “RAF,” “Telephone Calls,” and “Yamborghini High.” He brought out guests like Tyler, The Creator, to perform “Who Dat Boy,” Dexter to perform “Pick It Up,” Lil Yachty for “Peek A Boo,” and G-Eazy for “No Limit.” The crowd was obviously pretty excited at this point, and only got more hyped when Rocky announced that 2017 is “Flacko Jodye season,” meaning he’s probably going to put out new content this year, and performed an unreleased song. After watching Rocky, my friends and I watched a bit of Two Chainz, who was wheelchair bound due to a broken foot. Kid Cudi was to follow him, but we were too tired to really even get into it so we just mostly went on rides at this point in the carnival. We left at around 12:20 that night, and after dropping off 3 friends I didn’t roll into my own house until 2:45 or 3 in the morning.
Although I didn’t even get to see every performance, the sheer amount of great artists made this an overwhelming and surreal experience. I believe that with the increasing popularity of Tyler’s content, this carnival is really on the rise, and this year has been the first year it’s been more of a mainstream festival. Between the cool VIP merch, all of my favorite rappers, crazy rides, and grand times with my friends, you can bet I’ll be back next year.