A normally vacant lot in the Bridge District neighborhood erupted again with throbbing bass grooves and thousands dancing in the dirt. The second edition of TBD Fest kicked off Friday, with organizers expecting a combined crowd of 30,000 by the time the last note fades on Sunday at the West Sacramento music festival.
TBD Fest includes a lineup of electronic dance acts and forms of underground music not normally showcased in Sacramento on such a wide scale. Headliners include Glitch Mob, the acclaimed electronic trio, producer/DJ sensation Porter Robinson and Sacramento’s own Death Grips, the brash and widely acclaimed experimental hip-hop group.
But some residents complained Friday that TBD Fest was party-crashing their own need for quiet. According to Paul Hosley, a spokesman for the city of West Sacramento, 55 noise complaints were received as of Saturday morning. That number is more than three times the amount received on the first night of TBD Fest’s inaugural run in 2014.
The bulk of the complaints were logged by West Sacramento residents, but some were noted from as far away as Land Park and the Pocket area, neighborhoods more than 4 miles south of the Sacramento River from TBD Fest.
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On Saturday, festival organizers changed the angle of some speakers to help alleviate noise issues. TBD Fest ends Saturday at 11:30 p.m., and 10 p.m. Sunday.
Michael Hargis, a co-founder of TBD Fest, said feedback from city officials has been positive thus far, even despite rattling a few neighbors.
“If you’re going to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs,” Hargis said.
As of Saturday, TBD Fest was running fairly smoothly. There was an initial hiccup after inspections delayed the festival’s start on Friday for about 30 minutes, but set times for musical acts stuck fairly close to schedule.
The main concern for concertgoers leading up to TBD Fest 2015 was the dust, which clouded the festival grounds last year. Overall, the dust was controlled much better this time, but there was still no escaping airborne dirt.
Organizers used a biodegradable agent to clump the dirt, and the recent rains also added much needed moisture to the ground. But there’s only so much that can be done to tame dust in a vacant lot. An apocalyptic looking dust cloud formed above the crowd while mosh pits swirled to Death Grips’ set Friday night. Some concertgoers covered their faces with bandanas or surgical masks.
The otherwise vacant lot is the polar opposite of the impeccably manicured lawns of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, where the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival is held annually. And these West Sacramento grounds are far removed from San Francisco’s idylllic Golden Gate Park, which hosts thousands each year for Outside Lands.
But this area’s under-construction vibe isn’t going to last. By the time all development is completed in the Bridge District, some 10,000 residents will call this area home.
Until then, TBD Fest feels like a makeshift party in a vacant lot, like a kegger with craft beers and cutting edge bands on the grandest possible scale. This renegade spirit is a specialty of Hargis, who promoted raves in the 1990s and knows well how to turn otherwise unclaimed spaces into massive dance parties.
As the Bridge District continues to develop, the question will become how much residents want TBD Fest as their temporary neighbor each year.
At least in terms of traffic flow, TBD Fest doesn’t cause as many headaches compared to many music festivals, especially the parking lot crush at Gibson Ranch’s recent City of Trees festival.
Given TBD Fest’s proximity to downtown and midtown, biking is a popular transportation option to the event. Combined with ample parking at nearby Raley Field and a flux of Uber drivers and pedicab operators, getting in and out of TBD Fest is fairly breezy.
Bee staff writer Ed Fletcher contributed to this report.
What: Three days of eclectic sounds, local foods and futuristic arts in West Sacramento’s Tower Bridge District
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Riverfront Street near Bridge Street, West Sacramento
Cost: Single-day tickets $69-$89. VIP packages and group discounts are also available.