Music festival takes over downtown Fresno

Local musicians from the central valley come together for Grizzly Fest 2016 at Chukchansi Park on Saturday, May 7, 2016. The event also includes 20-plus bands and DJs along with food, drinks, vendors, prizes and artists. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

This Saturday, thousands came out to Fresno’s Chukchansi Park to enjoy Grizzly Fest’s second annual music festival featuring local artists as well as popular headliners like the reggae band, Slightly Stoopid.

The festival kicked off at 3 p.m. with non-stop music coming from the three stages; Ram Stage, Card City Stage and Heineken Stage, going past midnight with artists like Cold War Kids, who were featured at other widely known festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands.

The festival was diverse and the three stages featured music for a variety of music tastes with a total of 21 different performances.

“I like the mix of the different genres since it’s reggae, hip-hop and rock, but regardless it’s always fun to go out with a bunch of friends to something local,” said Fresno State senior Trip Manley.

Cold War Kids, Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere and Fashawn were the main headliners of the night. The hip-hop artist Fashawn is a Fresno native and he shared his pride in his roots before he performed on stage.

“Me and Fresno go way back,” he said. “I started as a cub and now I’m a full on grizzly.”

“I’m familiar with Fashawn’s work but I haven’t heard all of his stuff. But I do know that he’s local so I definitely came out to support him here today,” Manley said.

Although fans were excited about the well-known headliners, there were also several local artists playing alongside them such as the Fresno hip-hop artist Zee Will and Rock band Dirty Limbs.

This gave local artists an opportunity to get their names out there and share their music.

“I’m familiar with a few of the bands like Slightly Stoopid and Cold War Kids, but I don’t know some of the smaller bands so it’s cool to listen to their stuff live for the first time,” Manley said.

The display of local artists also gave audience members a chance to see familiar faces on stage.

“A lot of the artists that are playing today are friends of mine that I’ve known for a while now so I came out to support them,” said Fresno State junior Michael Barakat, who was a photographer for the festival.

The stages were consistently crowded and surging with energy, bonding Fresno people alike over good music.

“I think it’s a good way to get all the artists together and have one big Fresno party, where there’s no drama and everyone’s cool so I think it’s a great thing for the city,” Barakat said.

Aside from the music, the festival also offered different things to check out such as local food trucks and several different booths selling goods from handmade jewelry, to cutouts of the popular artist’s faces to hold in the crowd.

With food, beer, ticket prices and transportation, this event could end up costing over a hundred dollars. However, Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro offered ticket vouchers to students in effort to support the event, making general admission tickets a mere $4 or VIP tickets offering side stage access and private bars for $19.

“It really saved students a lot of money. Like $19 dollars for a VIP ticket, when a general admission ticket for non-students is $35, you can easily get students to go,” said Fresno State senior Juan Zuniga.

The school even offered a free shuttle bus, taking students from campus straight to the park and back after the festival was done.

“With Fresno State offering the free shuttle it makes it pretty easy to get down here. I don’t know if me and my friends would’ve come out if they didn’t offer that,” Zuniga said.

Between the two student perks, it cut costs for students considerably making the event more accessible to those not willing to spend that much in a single afternoon.

The well known reggae band, Slightly Stoopid closed out the night, herding most of the crowd to their stage and had fans dancing and singing along to their hits like “2am”, which has over 8 million plays on Spotify.

After the music was cut and Slightly Stoopid gave no sign of an encore, the crowd was still full of energy as everyone frantically found their lost friends among the sea of people. This year’s turnout was larger than the last, going from hundreds to thousands of participants and the festival will only continue to grow as the years go on.

“I could see this becoming a yearly tradition as it gets bigger,” Zuniga said. Coming back next year to Grizzly Fest, which would be after graduation, and getting to come down to fresno to meet back up with my friends would be awesome.”

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