The start of September means a lot of things for different people. For some, it’s the beginning of things like Pumpkin Spice and “spooky” season. This year, for fans of Asian American musicians and YouTubers from the late 2000s until now, it also marked the first ever That Feeling When (TFW) music festival, a collaborative two-night concert hosted by 626 Night Market and MYX. Despite the unusually gloomy and humid weather, the outdoor event took place as planned at the Santa Anita Racetrack, adjacent to the night market itself, and brought in a full crowd on both nights.
Consisting of a diverse lineup of Asian Americans artists, TFW aimed to showcase both emerging and veteran artists, and to provide a platform for authentic Asian American cultural representation. Performing night one was Mark Dozens, Jessica Domingo, Melissa Polinar, Jeremy Passion, Joyce Wrice, and eaJ, and night two featured Demxntia, Jamieboy, Sarah Kang, Justin Park, P-Lo, and UMI. With a mix of different musical colors and styles, there was a performing artist for every genre, and each performer prepared a diverse setlist to show off their own personal charms.
Although each singer and rapper gave their all and performed to the best of their abilities, the event did not go without a hitch. The weekend was unfortunately riddled with technical difficulties, especially on day two. There also were just a few qualms fans had with the overall setup and organization. Taking place on the racetrack adjacent to the 626 Night Market, fans who were camped out at the barricade all day to see their favorite artists were saddened when some fans were unexpectedly allowed in front of the barricade during headlining acts such as UMI, suddenly turning their front row spots into fourth or fifth row. Additionally, as a collaboration event with 626 Night Market, there was surprisingly no food or beverage vendors into the separated TFW festival area, and fans were required to leave the festival and head to the opposite end of the night market if they were in search of food or non-alcoholic beverages.
Technical difficulties included speakers not working properly, with feedback and sudden increases and decreases in volume, screens not being synchronized, with background graphics being lopsided or skewed, and even an instance of the wrong artist name being displayed, and most importantly, microphones not working during artist sets. The first time this occurred during the weekend was during eaJ’s headlining set, but thankfully, the spotty connection issue was resolved within a few songs. Other artists on day two were not as lucky, as the issues persisted throughout their sets, and UMI was even unable to perform their cover of Daniel Caesar and H.E.R.’s “Best Part.” Thankfully, the singer’s positive mindset and energy were able to turn the situation around, as UMI instead thanked fans for serenading them on stage.
Given this was the first TFW festival and the weekend’s weather was unusual with rain sprinkling throughout Saturday night’s concert, the difficulties the event faced along the way were a little more understandable. Attendees still danced, sang, and cheered along to every performance, and the audience only grew larger as the weekend went on. The most important piece to take away was that fans still enjoyed the show, and had fun being able to see their favorite Asian American artists together in one event. In such a rare occurrence, the crowd were thrilled to see rappers such as P-Lo and Jamieboy, RnB singers such as Joyce Wrice, singer-songwriters such as Sarah Kang and Jessica Domingo, and old YouTuber legends such as Melissa Polinar and Jeremy Passion all stand on the same stage.
Every artist put together a setlist for fans new and old to vibe with, and the two nights of concerts were filled with nostalgia and great music. Creating a moment when artists can re-connect and build new connections with their fans, TFW did ultimately succeed in creating a unique new event for fans, regardless of how imperfect it was. With this being the music festival’s first run, fans are hopeful for better editions with improved technical conditions in the years to come.
Click on the photo below to see all our photos from the party on Facebook!