» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

October 11, 2006
George and Betsy Herman of Charleston, South Carolina, visited the great city San Francisco for the first time. Retired and married for forty years, they took the advice of an old friend to head west in late September where it is 100% sunny with a calming cool sea breeze. After a fresh morning walk along the Golden Gate Bridge with zero fog, the great spirited couple set into the heart of the city for some casual sight seeing. At 1:15 pm the Hermans entered the UN/Civic Center Plaza, the open space surrounded by massive Greco-Roman structures. Part of what attracted Betsy to the plaza was the colorful tents and the activity of vendors setting up shop around the center square.

"It must be one of those summer festivals. What great timing!"

I met George and Betsy shortly before the parade route would end up at UN Plaza. They asked me what was going on and I attempted to explain. I found myself struggling to accurately describe in detail what they are about to witness. About two hours preceding our conversation, I didn't even know what to expect. The couple looked at me with the fascination of a tourist in awe as I told them "you better have enough film in your camera."

The event was that was about to take place was the San Francisco Lovefest: A celebration of dance music that lasted non stop from noon until late evening the next day. It was held annually the past three years as The Love Parade San Francisco. This year, they have extended the celebration into an all night party with world wide recognized DJ's Oakenfold, Rap, Diesel Boy, Aphrodite, Dan and many more. As prominent as the big names that were in attendance, the celebration was really about the people and their ability to have a good time

The beginning of the festival was marked with a parade down infamous Market Street. The floats consisted of diesel trucks hauling trailers of balloons, furry pink stuff, and large expensive speaker equipment. The creativity of the floats themselves was enough for an onlooker to ignore the pulsating dance beats.

I staked a spot early mid morning where the floats set up. Throngs of young women with pink hair and tight leather panties frantically threw on makeup, fake eyelashes, and glitter before they packed onto capacity filled circus trailers. Roadie like soundmen fired up their generators, plugged in the thick gauged speaker cables and tested the sound. The relaxation of early morning San Francisco quickly turned into an adrenaline rush as the city sounded like a late night drum and bass party in the middle of a bombing raid at 11 in the morning.

Once the music turned on, the crowds started to gather. Random middle aged nudist men sporadically combed the scene desperately seeking the attention of the camera crowd. One man in is fifty's rode his bike with nothing but a hat and tennis shoes. I knew right away that this was an event that would provide no regard to the law or to the sanitation of a bicycle seat.

At 12:30 pm, The LoveParade started to make its way down the streets. While it might a typical parade for the most diverse liberal city in the world, it was not ordinary to me. I grew up in a conservative college town in Colorado and my perception of parades is preppy drunk college kids in gaudy floats and an endless amount of kilt wearing bass drummers and high school bands. Needless to say, this was a little more interesting.

As the floats made there way down the streets, the on looking tourist crowd kept enough distance to keep in photo range while the local music followers danced alongside the floats. While the floats slowly made their way down Market, I snuck off early to check out the final destination.

This is where I met George and Betsy Herman. I knew right away when the first float was near because George felt an uncomfortable feeling in his pacemaker. His doctor warned him that low frequencies might cause disturbances in his cardiac rhythm. As the first float made its way down the square, the Herman's immediately plugged their ears in tandem to torture bearing facial expressions. I don't blame them because the thumping base is started to make my hair rise. Still not sure how positively they would react to the chaos, I told Betsy to "start taking pictures."

She couldn't hear me because she her fingers would not leave her ears. Three minutes after the first float arrived, so did the waves of festival goers as well as the middle aged nudists. It might have been the dark skinned Italian guy with the full erection that sent the couple scampering. I didn't even see were they went or which direction they headed. They didn't even say goodbye to me.

Although I felt sad that the older couple didn't stick around, I felt proud to live so close to a place that can express itself so freely. For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening a larger crowd gathered and it was a non-stop party. Represented was fourteen floats representing varying styles of house, jungle, drum and bass, trance, and trip hop.

Around 8 pm, I was desensitized to the shock and awe of the uniquely dressed (or not dressed) festival goers and non-stop dance beats. My goal was to stick around and wait for one of the few people who made electronic turntable dance possible. Excited to hear some old school funk and hip hop, the legend Grandmaster Flash surprised me by spinning versions of Nirvana, Def Leopard and other forms of white bread alternative rock. I am not sure if he was just catering to the 95% white audience or he had to borrow somebody's records because his luggage was lost.

After ten hours at a one hundred beats per minute my day was ending and the all night rave was starting. Only the hardcore lasted from 11 am until the next day. True dancers waited until late to attend and see the big name DJ's. I'll save my energy, drink about twelve red-bulls, and attend the late night party next year.

From my perspective, LoveFest wasn't about the skilled DJ's mixing beats and dance fanatics letting loose. Everything from the parade and festival was something unexpected for me, like it was for the Hermans. Even the DJ's were surprised by the turnout and participation of the crowd.

It was about changing the pattern of Bay Area Art, Wine, and Jazz festivals that go on every weekend for three months. It was about breaking the trend of three music tents with an overload of vendors and replacing it with fourteen separate parties within 100 feet of each other. The true mark of a great event is the quality of the people who attend. In this case, the people were the main attraction. Expect this event next year to become a world wide destination for both dancers and sightseers.

SEE ALSO: www2.sflovefest.org

Ted Nixon
A contributing writer based in Oakland, California, Ted Nixon covers hip-hop releases for LAS.

See other articles by Ted Nixon.



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