Fresno Beehive

Here's what you missed at Grizzly Fest day one

While an official tally is yet to come, thousands of people swarmed into Woodward Park Friday for day one of Grizzly Fest, seemingly unencumbered by this year's venue change.

The festival continues 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday, with more than a dozen performers including headliner Snoop Dogg.

Here are the day one highlights:

The sounds

NAS performs on the Yosemite stage on the first day of Grizzly Fest 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Day one's musical lineup included psychedelic Latin soul (the charming-as-heck Chincano Batman), '80s-inspired gothic dance rock (San Luis Obispo's Night Riots), reggae rock (Soja) and classic hip-hop (from Nas, who had the largest crowd of the night).

Night Riots' version of "Wonderwall" was a sing-along hit.

Foster The People's cover of the Ramone's "Blitzkrieg Bop" seemed less so. It was an odd minute and a half or so from the band, which headlined the night with a set of up-tempo indie-rock that ended minutes under the festival's 11:30 p.m. noise ordinance and still didn't feel shorted.

The sights

You can judge a music festival by how well it works on social media.

Grizzly Fest has plenty of places for Instagram-worthy shots. The top of its ferris wheel is one. Five dollars will get you five spins, about a 10-minute ride. The wheel was running most of the day, but was much more impressive once the sun went down and the lights came on. The line to get on picked up accordingly.

There is also a series of art installations, near the festival north entrance.

There's a human-sized spray-paint can with bat wings and a giant Simpsons-esque television set that you can pose inside.

#grizzlyfest2018 and whatnot. #dayone

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But the choicest Instagram spot is just off the main entrance. It's an oversized inflatable bear, fists in the air, 'cause it's a party. He's standing behind large block letters; "Stay Grizzly."

The food

There were three rows of food trucks and plenty of seating, which filled out at several point during the day. Choices ran the gamut, from fair food (corn dogs and Orange Julius) to shawarma fries and waffles (not from the same truck).

There were vegan, or plant-based, options, because people will ask.

And also, Dog House Grill.


Foster the People did not play, "Pumped Up Kicks." It's arguably the band's biggest hit and for some maybe the reason they stuck around for the set.

But its lyrics delve into the issue of school shootings.

Instead, the band lit a series of candles for the victims of Friday's shooting at a high school in Texas and frontman Mark Foster asked for a moment of silence from the crowd (Nas asked for a moment during his set, as well).

"All politics aside, with love and togetherness, we can overcome all of this," Foster said.

The band ended the set with "Sit Next to Me."

Props to whoever is marketing for the local Wienerschnitzel restaurants. While you couldn't get one of their hot dogs at the festival, the chain was well-represented at Grizzly Fest. Just ask anyone who got hit by one of the logo-ed beach balls that kept bouncing through the crowd.

The chain's mascot, a giant hot dog in a bun, was totally feeling Nas' set (and still had time to pose for pictures).

Jhene Aiko performs on the first day of Grizzly Fest 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 in Fresno. ERIC PAUL ZAMORA

Jhené Aiko's stage setup was full-on floral. It include giant flowers and live plants. Those plants weren't being used again, apparently. They were being handed out to audience members after her set.

The security and police presence was visible, but not overwhelming and included Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, who was seen at the festival throughout the day touring the concert grounds with organizers and city officials (Mayor Lee Brand, Councilman Garry Bredefeld).

Whether it was a show of support or a show of force, the chief was treated as bit of a celebrity, getting stopped throughout the day (and into the night) to shake hands and pose for group pictures.

Dyer seemed pleased by the turnout and impressed by the festival's organization and overall vibe and the fact that there were no major incidents to report.

"This is a great event," he said.

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee
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