Fresno Beehive

Grizzly Fest ups the ante for its 2018 lineup. Here’s who’s playing

Grizzly Fest released the lineup for the 2018 festival Monday morning.

There’s plenty to get excited about.

Up top, there’s Snoop Dogg, which should appease fans who had been looking forward to seeing him at Save Mart Center opening for Linkin Park (the latter’s national tour was canceled after the death of lead singer Chester Bennington).

The West Coast rap icon headlines the annual music festival, which is scheduled for May 18-19 at Fresno’s Woodward Park.

Note that the festival has expanded to two days – Friday and Saturday night – and moves to northeast Fresno. It has been at Chukchansi Park each of the last two years. Early bird VIP and two-day tickets are available online at 10 a.m. Tuesday and will run through Christmas. EZ Pay installment plans are available.

Ticketing will include RFID wristband technology – the same kind you’d see at Coachella.

The expansion to two days is needed to accommodate the lineup of talent. Gone are the reggae vibes Grizzly Fest cultivated with its headliners in years past – though Dirty Heads and Soja are still there for the reggae fans. Instead we get hip-hop and indie-rock heavy hitters. Following Snoop Dogg high in the lineup is Nas (who will finally join his Fresno tie-in Fashawn for a local show), plus Foster the People and Phantogram.

There also are buzz-worthy acts like Action Bronson, Chicano Batman (just off a sold-out show at Strummer’s last month), Washed Out, Cults and the return of Thee Commons. The Cumbia punkers had a stand-out performance at last year’s Grizzly Fest.

Thee Common will return to Grizzly Fest in 2018. CRAIG KOHLRUSS

The local scene is well represented, with Strange Vine, Hayashi (both Grizzly Fest alums), plus Gospel Whiskey Runners, Sharks of Dance and Zee Will.

You can see the entire lineup at the festival’s website.|

The change of venue may seem odd, or at least ill timed. There’s been a good amount of attention paid to downtown Fresno of late, and having a high-profile, well attended event of this sort would go a long way in keeping with the atmosphere the area is trying to cultivate.

It was mostly an operational decision, says Aren Hekemian, with the IAN Group, which organizes the festival. Grizzly Fest happens in the spring, in the middle of Fresno Grizzlies season. Having thousands of fans on the field (not to mention two stages and sound) makes it difficult (and expensive) to transition back into a ball park.

“There was no way to expand, unless it was in the off season.”

And this year’s festival is expanded, both in terms of the lineup and its non-musical offerings. There’s a Farris wheel on the flier for a reason.

Besides, music festivals of the sort Grizzly Fest wants to become – Lollapalooza or Outside Lands – typically take place in parks, Hekemian says.

“Every major festival is in every city’s major park.”

This story has been updated with comments from organizers.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee