To my fellow San-Diegans, I have to apologize for being at Dodgers Stadium this weekend. I was not there to watch baseball though, I was there for the return of Tyler, The Creator’s music festival, Camp Flog Gnaw. The announcement of the festival was spotted in Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem’s music video for “The Hillbillies”. With the last festival being in 2019, fans were quick to sell-out this year’s festival within an hour of its presale – before the lineup was even announced. Fans patiently watched the reveal of the lineup be painted on the side of the Golf Wang LA store. Artists such as Ice Spice, PinkPantheress, Lil Yatchy, Kali Uchis, Dominic Fike, SZA, and The Hillbillies had the lucky fans who were able to score tickets eager for November 11 and 12 to roll around. Being an avid music lover myself, I have dreamed of coming to a festival ever since middle school. I was lucky enough to be formally invited to do press/media for the festival, and I’m here to go over the highlights of each day.
AEG PRESENTS Camp Flog Gnaw during sunset on November 11, 2023 by Hayden Stills
Walking into the festival, you are immediately overstimulated by the aroma of food, photo opportunities, and carnival rides and games – as if you were at your local fair. It’s crazy to see the impact Tyler, The Creator has on the music industry, fashion, and now sports. Not only is his own festival held at Dodgers Stadium, but Camp Flog Gnaw collaborated with the NFL this year. This is Camp Flog Gnaw’s first time collaborating with a sports league. They hosted a pop-up booth which featured games, a photo opportunity with the Vince Lombardi trophy, and even sold limited-edition NFL and Camp Flog Gnaw jackets. With tons of exclusive merchandise around the festival, fans lined up for hours to sell these items out while other fans ran straight to the barricades of the three stages (Camp, Flog, and Gnaw) to wait for their favorite artists.
Odd Future pop up merch booth at Camp Flog Gnaw on November 11, 2023 by Vanessa Chan
Opening the main stage, Camp, Beabadoobee set the mood with her soft, upbeat sound. As the crowd sang along and danced around, hugs were exchanged in the crowd as their favorite songs continued to play. Beabadoobee ended her set with my personal favorite, “Cologne”, which has the crowd going crazy. Nardwuar even came out after Beabadoobee’s set ended to say hello. Celebrities such as Billie Eilish, Steve Lacy, Rich Brian, and even Tyler himself were sighted this weekend roaming around the festival catching sets.
Kevin Abstract’s highly anticipated set at the Flog Stage warmed the hearts of fans when he did his live debut of “Baby Boy”. After his set, he was quick to jump into the comments of his socials to explain why he didn’t perform “Peach”. The plan was for him to perform it during Dominic Fike’s set on day 2, but due to some circumstances, they were unable to.
Kali Uchis had the crowd feeling euphoric with visuals from her Red Moon In Venus tour and her angelic, trancelike sound. The mood was instantly changed when she brought out Omar Apollo during her set. The roar of screams had Omar in disbelief. With a huge smile on his face, he took in all the love he was receiving from the crowd.
Tyler, The Creator entered the stage staring at the crowd in awe. A crowd of over 50,000 people – all there for him. He shared his appreciation for his loving fans who actually returned to Camp Flog Gnaw after its four-year hiatus. Tyler even joked about how last time, Drake was booed off stage. The intensity of the set increased as his songs “Who Dat Boy”, “EARFQUAKE”, and “Tamale” played. Tyler even ran around the stage with a flamethrower in each hand during “NEW MAGIC WAND”.
AEG PRESENTS Tyler, The Creator during his 2023 Camp Flog Gnaw set on November 11, 2023 by Hayden Stills
Closing out day 1, Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem’s live debut performing as The Hillbillies had the grounds of Dodgers Stadium shaking. The cinematic set had mosh pits forming as soon as the lights went down. The iconic trumpets in the beginning of “family ties” started booming through the speakers, and every single person’s phone in the crowd immediately came out to film. Transitioning smoothly between Kendrick’s discography and Baby Keem’s, their iconic set ended with “The Hillbillies” – how full circle. Tyler, The Creator re-entered the stage during this song and danced alongside Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem, just like in the music video.
AEG PRESENTS fans at Camp Flog Gnaw on November 11, 2023 by Hayden Stills
A mixture of the exhaustion from the previous day, the blazing sun, and hours of waiting for merchandise had fans drained. But, that wasn’t going to stop them from enjoying everything the festival had to offer. Never back down, never what?
WILLOW, opening the Camp Stage, had fans going “BATSHIT!” crazy with the live debut of “alone”. The screams increased when she brought out her brother, Jaden Smith. The crowd sang along with them as they performed “Summertime In Paris”.
AG Club rocked out the Gnaw Stage raising adrenaline levels through the roof when jumping into the crowd of mosh pits. Opening for OhGEESY earlier this year, the duo returned the favor by inviting OhGEESY out during their set this weekend. As “Bands” and “GEEKALEEK” played, the shocked crowd couldn’t process what was happening before their eyes. Originals such as “Memphis”, “Barry” and even the live debut of “CAJH* DAY” had fans posting about AG Club’s 30 minute set being the highlight of their weekend.
Syd embraced the feeling of nostalgia throughout her set by singing her hits from The Internet days. Singing “Special Affair”, “Girl”, and “Hold On”, the dancing never stopped during her set.
Lil Yatchy had the rowdy crowd at the Flog Stage going insane within seconds of his set. Starting off his set with an unknown and unreleased song, speculated to be called “Gimme the Light”, the moshing never stopped. Keeping the energy going with “Get Dripped” and “Coffin”, he also held a moment of silence for Juice Wrld before going into “Yacht Club”. The energy immediately came back as soon as Offset entered the stage during “SAY MY GRACE”. The duo performed “Peek a Boo” and “Bad and Boujee”.
AEG PRESENTS Lil Yatchy during his 2023 Camp Flog Gnaw set on November 12, 2023 by Hayden Stills
Dominic Fike, before entering the Camp stage, showed live footage of him on facetime with his mom. He went on to explain to the crowd how nervous he was before performing his set, and how he used to sneak into this festival before his serious singing career. During “Phone Numbers”, he transitioned into a short cover of “Clint Eastwood” by Gorillaz. He even performed an extended version of “10x stronger” which I’m 100% certain is what will play when you enter the gates of heaven. He kept the transitions going by jumping straight into “Politics and Violence” right after. Fans were screaming each verse off his setlist word for word (I lost my voice and cried three times during his set).
Dominic FIke during his 2023 Camp Flog Gnaw set on November 12, 2023 by Vanessa Chan
With his first U.S performance this year, Rex Orange County took the Camp Stage with amazing stage presence. His performance felt so nostalgic and full circle, because the last time I saw him was in 2018 – a day after his 2018 set at Camp Flog Gnaw. He performed his indie classics “Television/So Far So Good”, “Corduroy Dreams”, “Sunflower” and “Loving Is Easy”. He even performed an unreleased song, which is coming out soon. He ended his set by asking the crowd to put their phones down during the second half of “Pluto Projector” to truly be in the moment. It was a beautiful and unforgettable moment.
AEG PRESENTS Rex Orange County during his 2023 Camp Flog Gnaw set on November 12, 2023 by Hayden Stills
SZA, closing out Camp Flog Gnaw 2023, had her amazing set designs and eye-catching visuals from her SOS tour. She started her set on a light tower, looking out at the crowd during “PSA”. As she came down she expressed how in shock she was by the huge crowd there to see her. Singing songs from her latest album SOS, she also sang classics from her album Ctrl, which had everyone emotional. “All the Stars”, “Kiss Me More” and “Rich Baby Daddy” had the crowd losing their voices while they were singing along. Due to curfew, her mic was cut off during “Good Days”, but that didn’t stop her from performing. She screamed along with the crowd during this, wrapping up Camp Flog Gnaw 2023.