Words and Photos by Joe Calixto
As the summer’s end approaches, Southern California got out one more incredible festival. Since it was announced, Pasadena Daydream Festival has been a hot ticket for the summer’s long list of festivals. Unlike other southern California fests like Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF, Sound and Fury, Flog gnaw and more, Pasadena Daydream was a single-day festival at the Brookside Golf course right next to the world-famous Rose Bowl.
The festival lineup is beyond incredible considering it was just gonna be a one-day excursion. Names like The Cure, Pixies, Deftones, Chelsea Wolfe, Throwing Muses and so much more were spread across two stages throughout the day to make this a fest to remember.
Aside from the amazing musical line up, I just want to mention all the great food vendors that showed up to provide some good eats during the entire festival. From your basic festival diet (Pizza, Chicken Tenders and Fries) to a good variety of vegan options, to lots of Asian food choices (there was a fucking Korean BBQ stall), the festival had it covered in the food department.
Anyway, back to the music. The Willow stage showcased some of the best women in music. Iceland’s Kaelan Mikla got the festival started, treating early fest-goers to their own brand of post-punk. Both not strangers to the festival circuit, Emma Ruth Rundle and Chelsea Wolfe mesmerized the willow audience with back to back sets. And like what I tweeted that day, I hella transcended during Chelsea Wolfe.
Dream pop faves, The Joy Formidable gave a performance to remember as the afternoon was slowly rolling out and alternative rock legends, Throwing Muses brought in a crowd even though they played right before the Cure to close out the willow stage festivities.
As awesome as the Willow stage artists were, the Oak (main stage) was nothing short of phenomenal. I absolutely love the fact that none of the artists on both stages overlapped each other, and although we had to walk in-between stages in the heat, people got to enjoy both stages if they were willing to trek.
Scotland’s The Twilight Sad opened things up on the main stage and Mogwai (a band that I’ve been personally looking forward to seeing) just gave the folks in Pasadena an in your face mid-afternoon post-rock performance. I was very happy with the 45 minutes of Mogwai that the music gods have given me.
Deftones was smacked right in the middle of the Oaks schedule and I’m gonna be real with you, I fanboyed hard for Deftones. The smile on my face has been from ear to ear as I walked in the photo pit and as they got on stage, my heart was absolutely pounding. They opened their set with ‘Be Quiet and Drive’ and from there I absolutely lost my shit. All professionalism aside, I was singing every song with all my heart as I snapped these photos. Yeah, this was the biggest reason I took this assignment. I’m pretty sure I cried at one point.
Another blast from the past followed them, the Pixies came out to give all these indie rockers a run for their money. The lawn (or should I say fairway) was already packed by the time the Pixies came on and as they played all the hits in front of thousands of people the sun was setting on the daydreamers.
At this point, almost every single area around the Oaks stage was packed with people anxiously waiting for the Cure. I was in line to get into the pit and it totally hit me, ‘holy shit! I’m photographing the Cure.’ Shortly after I got in, the band stepped out and frontman Robert Smith walked around the stage and looked out the crowd for a few minutes. An ocean of tens of thousands of people who gathered to see a legendary band, his legendary band. And the Cure didn’t waste any time and just went for it. From all the hits to deep cuts and to even deeper cuts of songs they’ve never played in the United States. The Cure definitely gave these festgoers’ daydream into a reality.
For one day only, the older folks got to relive a part of their youth, the youth got to experience something incredible that a lot of them wouldn’t have thought they’d see, and people from all around the world gathered in a golf course in Pasadena and brought their inner AND outer goth, to celebrate music, food, a good time and the goddamn, Cure! It was just like a dream.
Dancing in the deepest oceans
Twisting in the water
You’re just like a dream