Photo courtesy of Arroyo Seco Weekend
When I found out that a music festival was coming to my Californian town, Pasadena, I was incredibly excited. When I found out I would be covering that festival, Arroyo Seco Weekend, for Affinity, I was exuberant. I listened to all of the bands, planned out where I would go, and even managed to land an interview. Day One of Arroyo Seco weekend completely exceeded my expectations. I ran from set to set to catch as much music (and comedy in Jeff Goldblum’s case) as I possibly could. Though absolutely all of the acts from Day One were phenomenal, my favorites had to be Avery*Sunshine, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Alabama Shakes.
Walking into the festival, I was immediately greeted by upbeat music pouring out of the Willow Tent. Avery*Sunshine was truly the perfect opener for the festival. Her music put a smile on everyone’s face as she sung about her soon to be husband and used cars, two things that she thought had a lot in common. Even a little rain didn’t stop Avery*Sunshine from bringing joy and happiness to Arroyo Seco Weekend.
Next, I was lucky enough to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform. Preservation Hall is a music hall in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and their jazz band is known to be among the best in the world. The whole crowd was on their feet, families were dancing to every song together on their picnic blankets, and it was truly a spectacle to see. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance and, being someone who isn’t that well-versed in the world of jazz, I can’t wait to go online and listen to all of their music as well as the music of other famed jazz musicians.
I could never have imagined that I would be in the front row for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. After watching me being pushed and shoved around, minutes before his act, a lady pulled me in front of her where there was enough space for both of us to stand without feeling as much of the aggression of the crowd. Bless her soul. I was so close to Tom Petty that even my dad was jealous. It seemed like he had a new guitar for every song, and each one was louder than the one before it. The crowd danced and sang and cheered together and I even heard a woman next to me say “it’s just like the high school days.” Though I was among the youngest in the crowd, and could not relate at all, I really enjoyed the show. Tom Petty’s set had my ears ringing long after the festival ended, but I’m not complaining.
My favorite act of Day One though had to be Alabama Shakes. Lead singer and guitarist, Brittany Howard, is incredibly talented and she plays with so much energy and enthusiasm, it feels contagious. I had been a fan of Alabama Shakes for a long time, but seeing them live was so drastically different from just hearing their song off of a phone. Alabama Shakes is one of the best performing bands I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend that everyone gets their hands on tickets when they can.
Day one of Arroyo Seco Weekend was quite possibly one of the best days of my life. I got to spend the entire day listening to great music from basically my backyard. I really cannot wait to see what Day Two holds, but I know it will be just as good as Day One if not better.
Be sure to add Affinity on Snapchat @affinitymag for updates and look out for more articles to come about the food, art, and maybe an interview with one of the bands!