The 2017 edition of FYF Fest was a game changer, to say the least. For starters, it successfully expanded to a three day event with a lineup that never felt stretched thin. And that lineup is where FYF really puts so many other festivals to shame.

For far too long, the pleas for festivals to book musicians that better represent the racial, gender and orientation diversity of the world have gone ignored. Well, FYF actually listens, and in 2017 offered the most compelling evidence yet that it can, and should, be done. Because really, enough with festivals being so overwhelmingly stacked in favor of white guys with guitars, already.

A lineup overloaded with a variety of musical riches also gave FYF its most diverse crowd and welcoming, inclusive vibe. If last year’s FYF cemented its status as a world class event akin to Primavera Sound, then 2017 is when it set the example that other U.S. festivals must now follow to stay relevant. In any case, the festival gave us all memories and experiences that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Here are 10 of our favorite sets in alphabetical order. – Frank Mojica

Björk


Photo by Natalie Somekh

In 2007, Björk headlined the Friday of Coachella’s first three day iteration of their now legendary festival. In 2017, Björk headlined the Friday of FYF’s first three day iteration of their burgeoning festival. Quite the good omen for FYF’s fortunes, no? And Björk, ever the forward-thinking revolutionary artist, further legitimized her bonafides as one of the most justly celebrated musicians on the planet. Colorfully couched in disguise (as did many artists at FYF, coincidentally enough) as a quasi-masked luchador-meets-ballerina, Björk and her ensemble ran through a music video-enhanced, career-spanning setlist that was nevertheless heavy on material from her most recent release, Vulnicura. Fireworks of both the musical (quintessential crowd pleasers like “Yoga”, “Bachelorette” and “Hyperballad”) and literal kind (on-stage) were a perfect match for this turning point of a festival set. – Lee Bedrouni

Little Dragon

Photo by Lee Bedrouni

What is it with artists and a penchant for somehow dropping the exact song someone in the crowd happened to need at the time, particularly if it’s a number people didn’t expect. For me, it happened with Nine Inch Nails and “Something I Can Never Have,” but earlier in the day, Little Dragon gave a surprise performance of 2009 banger “Feather.” It’s the kind of emotional intuitiveness that makes one a great artist (or person in general), and should come as no surprise from a group that delivers the feels as deftly as Little Dragon.

The Swedish electro quartet has been captivating crowds for nearly a decade now, and their brand of irresistibly danceable beats, soulful croons and impeccably trippy outfits (Yukimi Nagano’s neon orange veil won the day) proved as fresh as ever. Bonus kudos to FYF for masterfully scheduling the perfect opener for Solange. The fans camped at the front all day for Solange seemed enthralled, and Little Dragon appeared genuinely thrilled to be playing before her. Fantastic vibes all around. – Frank Mojica

Nine Inch Nails

Photo by Lee Bedrouni

Just in case anyone thought fighting one’s demons was an exercise in futility, here was Trent Reznor to prove them wrong. And he did so with such crushing intensity that fans moshed, shouted and sobbed in equal measure for an hour and a half. From the quintessential hits like “Closer,” “Hurt” and “Head Like a Hole” to surprise gems like “Something I Can Never Have” and a cover of David Bowie’s “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” Nine Inch Nails’ FYF set offered a different flavor of catharsis every step of the way.

Once upon a time, Nine Inch Nails were so popular that “Closer” was a staple of Top 40 radio. For the younger readers, imagine hearing the “I wanna fuck you like an animal / I wanna feel you from the inside” band in the same programming block as Warren G, Salt-n-Pepa and Ace of Base. Yeah, 1994 was a weird year, but in a lot of ways it set the course for the unpredictable, genre-hopping, anything-goes vibe at festivals such as FYF. After all, the true music head gets down with a little bit of everything. – Frank Mojica

Frank Ocean


Photo by Natalie Somekh

Well, it had been two years since Frank Ocean famously cancelled his 2015 headlining set at FYF and was replaced at the last minute by Kanye West (which, hey, that old story about lemons and lemonade holds true). Were there any technical snafus? Only if you count Ocean insisting on playing “Running Around/Good Guy” a second time around as a snafu and not a deliberate ploy for his live set (if it’s the later, good one). Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. Hearing “Self-Control” and “Nikes” live felt cathartic in that setting, which is quite the feat. Though fans of Channel Orange might be disappointed to see but one song (“Thinking About You”) sneak into his set, given the almost eerily chill yet massive crowd on hand for the Frank Ocean live experiment, I think it’s safe to say there won’t be too many people turned off by hearing mostly Blonde and post-Blonde material played live. Especially not for this writer. – Lee Bedrouni

Angel Olsen


Photo by Katherine Wilburn from Pitchfork Music Fest 2017

Though tearing through her most recent collection of songs, My Woman, with her electric live band was chief on her mind, Angel Olsen did allude to other distracting thoughts mid-set. Between songs, she commented that the crowd looked particularly attractive, even wondering if we’d all been working out. But to say Olsen needed to flatter the audience to be captivated by her band and her powerful, piercing voice would be disingenuous. “Sister” is the kind of spindly, Wilco-esque guitar-powered hit that’ll be echoing across festival grounds for years to come. – Lee Bedrouni

Iggy Pop

Photo by Lee Bedrouni

If anyone knows how to open a festival set, it’s Iggy Pop. In fact, more acts should borrow a page from his book. The living legend and his iconic torso were a must-see on many an attendee’s wishlist across all tastes and demographics, as they damn well should be. However, the tricky part of festivals like FYF is everyone has somewhere to be and can’t catch every moment of every set. Nevertheless, that opening run from “I Wanna Be Your Dog” to “Gimme Danger” to “The Passenger” to “Lust for Life” gave everyone one hell of a crash course in his legacy. Although it was only a third of the set, this writer (and everyone else going to Blonde Redhead) gained an experience with the punk godfather that we’ll always remember. – Frank Mojica

Run the Jewels

Photo by Natalie Somekh

Run the Jewels play every festival so frequently that they might as well be given the skeleton key equivalent of artist wristbands. Yet, somehow I’ve missed them every time. Two years ago, I went to the Green Man Festival in Wales, which was lamentably the same weekend as FYF. Last year’s Coachella set was at the same time as Lush’s first (and final) reunion tour after 20 years away, so no contest. And their Day for Night showing was during a one-off set from Aphex Twin.This year I slowly, but surely, limped my way all the way from the Club to the Lawn, determined to break my Run the Jewels curse.

Thankfully I never gave in to the temptation to just stay off my severely blistered feet for a while or go home early, because Killer Mike and El-P delivered everything I expected, and then some. Favoring last year’s third album, Run the Jewels stormed through some of the best hip hop of the last few years, with special appearances by Gangsta Boo and Joi. And like true class acts, they made a point of telling the raging crowd mid-set to step back and give the women in attendance some space. – Frank Mojica

Ty Segall

Photo by Natalie Somekh

Ty Segall has become a legend in Los Angeles and in the garage rock and thrasher hall of fame. How do you attest to his heaviness? Well, none other than Henry Rollins himself was side stage watching the set with what can only be described as a pleasant smirk. That alone should place Ty Segall’s set at the top of the list for best moments of FYF this year. Oh, also, Ty brought his trademark scuzz to an adoring crowd that loved every minute of it. Decked out in a floral outfit that would make just about anyone jealous, the prolific rocker proves a must see and must hear for an eager crowd.

Solange

Photo by Natalie Somekh

As in her captivating recent Pitchfork Fest set, Solange has developed and choreographed a live set befitting her status as a modern day musical touchstone. Running through the majority of her 2017 opus A Seat At The Table, Solange and her accompanying backing band (framed almost exclusively in red, from lighting to backdrop to wardrobe, signifying power and unity) were utterly on point. Between moments like a full brass band joining on stage to amplify the anthemic “F.U.B.U.”  or Solange twerking on center-stage mid-song, Solange’s live set is quietly becoming a can’t miss amid the 2017 festival circuit. – Lee Bedrouni

A Tribe Called Quest


Photo by Katherine Wilburn from Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

As unfortunate as it is to see the legendary hip-hop group get its proper due amid the thousands in rapturous attendance at FYF Fest in the least desirable of circumstances, one could see that this is probably how the late Pfife Dawg would have wanted it. With Tribe effectively bowing out at their modern peak, as We Got It From Here… served as the kind of critically acclaimed book-end that all musicians aspire to. It was awe-inspiring to see even the newest songs receive so much love from the crowd in attendance, who sung along to set closer “We The People” just as loudly as any other ATCQ classic joint. This “funeral” for the seminal group’s work was a celebration of it and one hell of a party at that. Having the fortune to witness Tribe perform these songs one more time? All I can say is Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammed, A Tribe Called Quest, thank YOU for your service. – Lee Bedrouni

And you can’t forget…

Mac DeMarco

Photo by Natalie Somekh

It wouldn’t be FYF without Mac DeMarco. Rumor has it (or it’s just a well accepted fact at this point) that Mac is invited to play FYF whenever he feels like it, which has been quite a few times so far. Even if he’s not officially on the lineup release until later, you know he’s as big a part of FYF as Vans, dad hats, and the best weekend of summer. Don’t ever miss the chance to watch the Mac attack.