On Aug 28-29, Street Scene invaded downtown San Diego for a weekend loaded with blazing temperatures, a mixture of high energy and mellow acts, and thousands of concertgoers jumping and swaying in the streets.
The crowds, decked out in mostly cowboy boots and slinky, barely-there tops, tried their best to enjoy the two-day festival under the unmerciful San Diego sun. Guarded with high SPF sunscreen and colorful paper mache hats, they enjoyed more than 45 bands spanning across five stages.
Bands like New York’s “Ra Ra Riot,” drew numerous early street sceners with their indie, electric violin and their unique cello sounds.
Mexican electronica heroes “Nortec Collective” pumped up the crowds with synthesized beats that played second fiddle to the band’s accordion and tube players.
Pittsburgh based Girl Talk caused a stampede towards the stage, as hundreds of screaming females rushed security for a chance to join the club-like atmosphere surrounding him. Armed with his laptop full of music samples from all different genres of music, he rocked Metallica and Jackson Five mixes, as confetti and toilet paper shot into the crowd, all building to close out the set with a cascade of fireworks.
Public Enemy and Busta Rhymes, undeclared replacements for the cancelled Beastie Boys act, drew a huge crowd anxious to get their hip-hop fix. Flavor Flav took the stage in his classic oversized Movado garb and baseball cap. Rhymes got the camera-happy crowd going when he asked the audience to “remind (him) to call out some EMS units for cardiac arrest” with his blasting bass music set.
The Beastie Boys were still acknowledged by headliner M.I.A. as she sampled “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic” to compliment her song’s “Bird Flu” lyrics.
The scorching temperature on both days was a hot topic for acts and audience members alike. Zee Avi took the stage with her soft acoustic guitar tunes on the Green Stage, inconveniently placed in direct sunlight.
“I didn’t think it took two minutes for ice to melt,” Avi said, as she picked up her newly warmed beverage.
With bottled water priced at $3 and other refreshing beverages, like strawberry lemonade priced at $4, some concertgoers felt that Street Scene was too expensive to brave the heat.
“It’s so damn hot out here,” Tommy Sewell, a Mesa College student said. “There’s not much else to do other than spend money on overpriced food and then stand in the heat to watch a B- minus show. At least at shows like Coachella, they have arts and crafts to do.”
Street Scene vendors did their best to sell a variety of food and beverages to keep audiences energized. Woodstock’s Pizza, a San Diego local pizzeria, offered tow slices for $7, while Rubio’s Baja Grill brought along their signature burritos to sell for $8.
Alternative Rock band, Silversun Pickups,’ lead singer Brian Aubert commented on his favorite Street Scene treat, the California Burrito.
“Back in LA, we have San Diego folk…putting french fries in their burritos,” Aubert said. “It’s delicious and it’s less work to just (buy) them here.”
Some vendors did offer activities to promote their products, such as Coed Adult Sport Leagues, who gave sporty fans a chance to throw a football at a target to win prizes. Kyocera sponsored “The Art of Expression” booth where artists showcased their talents in real time with a mixture of Behr paint and Gibson acrylic paints.
Street Scene also included numerous clothing and jewelry vendors. A large collection of hippie bohemian dresses and mixture of wooden and silver jewelry sold for as little as $15.
Also adding to the aggravation of the heat were consistent sound problems from stage after stage. Both supporting acts and headliners alike were plagued with ear-piercing feedback and altogether sound loss.
Yvette Soliven, a Mesa College psychology major, was excited to check out Kentucky bred-band, Cage the Elephant, but was disappointed with the sound quality.
“The sound went out completely during their set.” Soliven complained. “It was terrible. (We) thought about asking for our money back.”
A moment of remembrance for recently deceased DJ AM was also ruined when the lights went out completely during Chromeo’s set.
“Talk about a bad time to have technical problems.” Sewell added.
Others felt the music was worth the sun’s stunning temperatures.
ASG President David Campbell was also in attendance and joked, “It was so hot, I almost fainted at The Faint.”
Campbell did mention that bands like Cage the Elephant “smashed it hard” and that “it was totally worth the heat.”
Security changed up from last year’s event, as a main barricade was formed between legal drinkers and under age music fans at both Fulano and Fulana stages. The barricade formed a center walkway, allowing security to walk up and down between sections, surveying concertgoers involved in moshing and crowd surfing.
Although a large fight broke out during the Modest Mouse set at Fulana stage, Street team member Johnny Stamford praised the new addition.
“It’s much easier to control the crowd when your forces are in the middle of it,” Stamford said.
New security features were also met with an overabundance of police present. San Diego Police Sergeant J.G. Cesena commented that they were there “to make sure things stay(ed) safe.so far we’ve done a pretty good job with that.”