Goldenvoice, known best for the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals in Indio, launched a new festival in Pasadena on Saturday. Arroyo Seco Weekend took place at the Brookside Golf Course next to the Rose Bowl. So how did it compare to the desert fests?
It’s always exciting to experience a festival for the first time as you have no idea, exactly, what to expect. Here is a recap of the first day of the very first Arroyo Seco Weekend festival in Pasadena.
Way More Chill
For anyone who has complained about “the scene” of Coachella or the drunken rowdiness of Stagecoach, Arroyo Seco is the fest for you.
The vibe was much more relaxed and the promoters were successful in crafting what they called a “multigenerational event.” Attendees ages were across the board, from young tikes to those in their golden years. The event offered a children’s area, plenty of spots to picnic and relax, and was just had a much more relaxed atmosphere.
Things were so chill, there were even stands where you could grab a book and read for a while.
While the inside of the venue had plenty of signage directing attendees where to find food, stages, drinks, and bathrooms, the roads leading in could have used more signage. We ended up driving around the venue as there was no sign directing cars just where to park. And, after talking to several attendees, we were not alone in doing that.
General admission parking was on a section of a golf course and, without any markings or signage to lead vehicles to the correct area of where to exit – getting out was also kind of a pain in the ass.
The festival’s layout is pretty cool. There is a huge area to get your food and drink on that also includes a small shaded stage with some eclectic acts including Jeff Goldblum – who played piano and asked trivia questions for an hour.
The two main stages were accessed over a couple of bridges and offered plenty of room to check out the daytime acts and then got super-crowded at night for Alabama Shakes and Tom Petty.
While they trees surrounding the festival grounds were very pretty, they also blocked the views from a lot of areas of the festival.
Unlike Coachella and Stagecoach, there were not screens placed anywhere other than the stage and attendees, who were allowed to bring chairs and blankets, all seemed to bring the biggest blankets possible – marking off huge swaths of “territory” and making it impossible to get anywhere near the main stage for Tom Petty at the end of the day.
It would not be a Goldenvoice show without art. And, as always, the installations were perfect for everyone looking to post on Instagram.
Food and Drink
Arroyo Seco had grub from plenty of cool LA area restaurants like Kogi, Dog Haus, Wolf and Union. And, of course, there was Spicy Pie.
Several breweries were also on hand and you could get a specialty cocktail. My wife got a cool bourbon / mint thing for $13:
While I opted for a $16 Glendfiddich Bourbon Barrel Reserve Old Fashioned:
Yes, it was kind of pricey. But it was freakin’ delicious.
Oh, there was also food mascots.
You can never go wrong with Tom Petty – and he brought the hits. It was cool to relive the 90’s with Live and Alabama Shakes is a great live band. Charles Bradley and his Extrordinaires were a very nice surprise and a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Despite some hiccups on the first day, Arroyo Seco turned out to be a nice, fun way to spend a Saturday. Southern California has needed a more relaxed festival that’s not held on a dusty lot or a hot pavement parking lot for some time and this event looks like it fits the bill.
Here are some more photos of the festival.