1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! : Sprawled out on manicured green lawns nestled amongst shady scrub oaks, this event took on a decidedly sylvan aura. Strolling from stage to stage was literally a walk in the park, and it was always easy to find shelter from the persistent California sun.
  1. WAIT…DID I JUST SEE LOBSTER ROLLS?: A dazzling array of delectables was on hand, from gourmet grilled cheese to poke bowls, there was something for every palate – a far cry from the usual burgers and pizza (although upscale versions of those were offered as well). The fact that this delicious food was brought to the scene by local Pasadena and L.A. restaurants, and not national concession chains, made it all the more special.
  1. CHEERS, MATE!: To wash down your culinary selection, an equally extensive selection of libations was offered: from kombucha to cold brew, Chardonnay to IPA, virtually any food pairing was made possible. Again, it was local brewers, vintners and beverage gurus bringing us these tasty treats. A personal favorite: nitrogen-infused iced coffee – cold and surprisingly subtle.
  1. DON’T LOOK NOW… BUT YOU’RE LEARNING SOMETHING: Scattered throughout the venue were tents and exhibits sponsored by community organizations like the  Kidspace Children’s Museum, Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), and Visit Pasadena  that presented mini-lessons in creative and captivating ways to an audience looking for something to fill the 15 minutes before the next band hit the stage.


  1. DAMMIT! I’M OUTTA SUNSCREEN!: No problem. There were General Store tents or carts posted literally every 500 feet  If you forgot your Claritin or needed that extra layer of Coppertone, it was readily on hand without having to walk back to the car. The tents also offered parasols and blankets to further ensure your comfort in style.


  1. EXCUSE ME, BUT CAN YOU DIRECT ME TO…? : Unlike other festival events we’ve attended, where trying to find a knowledgeable staff member can be like a quest for the Grail, this event was literally overstaffed. It was remarkably effortless to find a helpful and friendly employee to answer even the most inane of questions.


  1. KEEPIN’ IT GREEN: As part of the effort to appease the residents of Pasadena, and out of respect for the planet in general, it was obvious a tremendous amount of thought and preparation went into minimizing this event’s impact on the environment. Clean-burning generators, biodegradable food utensils, and differentiated waste receptacles were in full use. A veritable army of yellow-shirted waste management staff kept the venue virtually spotless.    
  1. THE ROAR OF THE CROWD: Perhaps due to the selection of bands, or the location, or the family-friendly nature of the event, this festival drew a delightful cross-section of folks who really seemed to be there more for the music than the party. Conspicuously absent from the event were the obnoxious slice of the concert-going population that seems hell-bent on drinking themselves to a point where they’re not likely to even remember what bands they saw play.
  1. ARTFULLY DONE!: Partnering with Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts Project brought a whole other layer of fun and culture to this festival. Giant inflatable Buckyballs and a quarter-mile long snake-like “Red Line” played with one’s sense of scale and provided great conversation and photo opportunities. One very popular exhibit allowed visitors to concoct their own fragrances by mixing aromatic essential oils as an expert parfumier described their characteristics and explained the chemistry behind the olfactory experience.
  1. IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE MUSIC: Regardless of all the other trappings, any music festival lives or dies on the selection of music being presented. The promoters of this festival did an outstanding job of selecting an array of incredibly talented and important musical acts. Regardless of one’s musical tastes, the quality of the musicianship was undeniable. It was a real music lover’s dream to wander among the stages and discover, and rediscover, some truly terrific tunesmiths.   



Arroyo Seco Weekend