Kids See Ghosts lights up the stage while performing "Fire" (Photo by Nick Dybel)
Mission Viejo High School

Camp Flog Gnaw: A Los Angeles musical paradise

Camp Flog Gnaw originated as a collaborative concert at the Novo (formerly the Club Nokia) for the Odd Future crew and friends, but has evolved into a sprawling musical celebration since 2012.

The festival was held at Dodger Stadium on November 10 and 11, its largest venue to date, as it was previously held at Exposition Park.

With an impressive roster highlighted by Kids See Ghosts, SZA, and Tyler, the Creator himself, many flocked from states over to also see their favorite artists all in the same vicinity.

Along with the new venue, Camp Flog Gnaw’s status as a full-fledged festival was cemented by an official YouTube live stream, a massive attendance of 56,000, and hour-long lines for merchandise.

Tyler transformed the Retired Numbers Plaza into a Golfwang store reminiscent of its flagship location on Fairfax Ave., and paid homage to the venue by dressing his employees in customized baseball jerseys.

Ferris wheels and swing rides towered over Dodger Stadium while carnival games littered the parking lot, painting a picture similar to the O.C. Fair.

The festival grounds were filled with butterflies, flowers, and bursts of color that the nearby fires could not overshadow. Even though the Los Angeles skyline was obscured by smoke, attendees still swarmed the stages, clad in trendy clothes inspired by Tyler’s own style.

On Saturday, Rex Orange County played on the Camp Stage as the sun went down, attracting a sizable crowd for his first show in the U.S. since August. Either manning the keyboard or electric guitar at al

l times, Rex had a pleasant set that welcomed in the majority of concert-goers for the night.

A$AP Rocky performed at 6:45 p.m. on the Camp Stage, ascending a giant head of a test dummy while dizzying graphics of flashing lights and tumbling cars played behind him.

Tyler, the Creator followed his close friend Rocky, bringing him back on stage for “Who Dat Boy.” Tyler’s set on Saturday may have been a special one, since he tweeted earlier that the carnival would be his last time performing some of his hit songs.

SZA emotionally closed Saturday night, talking candidly with the crowd about her youth and eventually crying over the loss of her friend Mac Miller.

Despite Saturday’s impressive schedule, Sunday drew in an even larger audience to the Camp Stage than seen yet.

The swarming was ignited by Taco, who brought out YBN Cordae and Juice WRLD as special guests, and had people running across the festival grounds to catch his closing song, Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.”

Later in the night was Ms. Lauryn Hill, who enchanted many of Camp Flog Gnaw’s older attendees while performing her classic album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” for its 20 year anniversary.

After she left the stage, fans relentlessly pushed forward in anticipation for Post Malone, causing mayhem at the front of the pit. Those who could not handle the “canned sardines” feeling were lifted out of the pit while security worked hard to pull others out themselves.

At long last came Kids See Ghosts, who fans had eagerly anticipated the entire weekend. After spacing themselves out earlier to reduce the chaos, the sight of Kanye West and Kid Cudi singing from a floating cage sent every crowd-goer into a frenzy.

The duet performed the entirety of their self-titled album, along with some collaborations from West’s “808’s and Heartbreak” album, Cudi’s own “Pursuit of Happiness,” and finishing the night with “Ghost Town.”

Camp Flog Gnaw marked Kids See Ghosts’ first performance since forming and West’s first since being hospitalized in 2016, a fitting end to a historic weekend for all involved.

The only hiccup of the weekend was when Brockhampton’s set was cut short by the L.A. Fire Department on Sunday night due to poor air conditions.

Camp Flog Gnaw’s variety of electric performers and carnival activities were only some of the factors making it one of the best festivals of the year. Camp Flog Gnaw indirectly served to capture the essence of teenage excitement in Los Angeles, truly making it a place like no other.

Teens of all backgrounds came out to Dodger Stadium with their hearts on the sleeves, free to adventure for two days without parental supervision, judgement, or limitations.

“The craziest thing is, in this crowd there’s somebody that makes beats or raps or sings, and in four to five years you’re gonna scare me and be my competition,” said Tyler during his set.

This perfectly captures the essence of Camp Flog Gnaw, a furnace for creativity and expression above all else.

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