•Fans of FresYes Fest can expect more downtown fun at the Catacomb Party, Grizzly Fest and Taco Truck Throwdown
•Last weekend’s FresYes drew a capacity crowd to downtown Fresno
It’s a quarter to 11 on Saturday night and I am standing outside a chain-link fence in a neighborhood of warehouses in downtown Fresno looking in at the mass of people gathered at the beer garden at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing. At this point, FresYes Fest 2015 is pretty much over. The bands have played and the taps are dry. The food truck left hours ago.
Without official numbers, FresYes Fest was a capacity crowd. As in, security stopped letting people in. There was a line down the block. When the gates reopened an hour later, only 20 people were let in at a time. The line at Dusty Buns was longer. Wait times for the food truck were an hour and a half and it still completely sold out by 9 p.m.
It’s easy to say the event was a success.
On Sunday morning, as the Instagram pics and Facebook thank yous were being posted, the social media comments started: “You need to do this every month!”
This kind of post-event euphoria isn’t new for downtown festivities.
It’s the same sentiment (if not the exact phrasing) that was thrown around after the first Fresno Urban Sound Experience, the downtown music festival launched in 2007. It was repeated after the first Catacomb Party in 2012, and again after the party’s second year. The Grizzlies have heard it after each Taco Truck Throwdown.
People dig having a crazy, vibrant downtown. They are drawn to crowds, noise and nightlife and not put off by the parking, grime or walking a few blocks to get from place to place.
It shouldn’t be surprising that hundreds of people lined up for a free concert at a hip downtown beer garden — or that they want to do it again.
The surprise is that many people don’t realize how often events are happening downtown.
FresYes Fest isn’t happening next month, but the Catacomb Party is April 4. The free music festival is stacked with a full day of music and beer. It should draw thousands to the Mariposa Mall and Tioga-Sequoia (the brewery is debuting a new Catacomb-themed beer and hosting an after party).
And some in attendance will still wonder why this kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time.
In May, they’ll get Grizzly Fest, a Rock-The-Bells style music festival headlined by Fresno rapper Fashawn. It happens May 16 at Chuckchansi Park. Fresno rock duo Strange Vine also plays.
After that, there is another Taco Truck Throwdown. The Grizzlies host the fifth annual event Aug. 6.
In between there will be dozens of concerts and art shows, soccer matches and baseball games — enough downtown parties to make Andrew WK cry uncle.
For those just discovering Tioga-Sequoia, the beer garden is open Thursday to Sunday and has an events calendar that’s booked fairly solid. This weekend it hosts Fresno Underground Art for its Heroes & Villains art show Friday, March 20, and the Fresno Beard and Moustache Club for a Music for Mustaches and Band for Beards benefit, Saturday, March 20.
Neither will likely have the crowds of the FresYes Fest. But for those yearning for cool downtown vibes, it’s a solid bet.