First, let's get the bitching out of the way (I wouldn’t be a New Yorker if I didn’t have a complaint or two): transportation to Randall's is a dog, a beast, a descent into the mouth of the hellhole located somewhere under the east river and maintained by the MTA. Having said that I would like to take a short moment to apologize formally to the line of over 100 at the Brooklyn Bowl who watched as I was allowed to bypass the masses and immediately board the first shuttle. Many onboard told me they had already been waiting well over an hour before the first bus arrived. Traffic was traffic, those of you that drive will understand if I just say BQE and leave it there.
There, that's all I am saying on the matter, but just know I am still scarred by a certain motorcycle cop who really should try a calmer approach, we could go on all day over that one... so… on with the fun!
Luckily, everything changed as soon as I stepped onto the grounds. I could feel the energy all around me, young, enthusiastic and ready for three days of art, food and music. Right over the first rise from the east entrance the row of pylons led the way to the main stage. As I arrived on Friday there were already lines of people in front of each capturing memories and selfies galore. Particularly popular this year: ODB by Damien Mitchell with his gold rhinestone grill (happy to report they lasted the entire festival) and TomBob's NYC Kites, complete with strings!! As always Baron Von Fancy's words also drew a crowd.
It was fun to see Hanksy debuting a new style for the crowd: his graphic heavy pieces have a strong New York flavor and fit right into the surroundings. Also with works this year, Australian artist Straker, who brought his distinctive neon and Atlanta artist Greg Mike whose creation "Larry Loud Mouf" caught the crowd's eye.
Over on the driving range, near the shadow of the Big Apple and Honda Stages, work by Askew, Persue, Dmote, Magda Love, Baron Von Fancy, Steffi Lynn and Stae2 became instant meeting points and landmarks for scores of people catching up with friends in between sets. I think it would be much easier to choose an artwork to meet by than say wearing an American flag onesie with cowboy boots... but...
But my favorite moments were after dark, when the field turned to magic with fantastic lighting effects. Beautiful colors danced across the pylons in rhythm with the music on the main stage. It was really amazing to see the art and music joining into one to create an experience not soon forgotten.