Call this a sampler platter or some remnants from the buffet. It’s not meant to be a full meal, but perhaps these 12 nibbles will impart a bit of flavor from Long Beach’s first-ever, very own, full-blown music festival, a super success showing that we’re finally old enough to dine at the big-kids’ table. Bon appétit.

1. It was trippy to be standing in locations I frequent on non-festival days and momentarily feeling unfamiliar with my surroundings. Hiding and changing visual cues can do that to you. Getting to re-experience my home turf like that would have been worth the price of admission even if the music hadn’t been so great.

2. But the music was so great (at least what I took in, which was maybe a dozen acts). My favorite discoveries: Skinny Lister and Vintage Trouble. One was Pogues-like folk with a punkish sneer, while the other was retro rock ‘n’ soul with more than a little James Brown fire, and each of their sets was a complete presentation, from the moment-by-moment expenditure of energy to the overall arc of the performance. Being a pro is not just having good music and playing it well. There’s a lot to be said for knowing how to present it.

3. Fab sound and lighting. Great stages. Always plenty of room for the audience, including as much as you needed to dance (important!). Perfect use of urban space.

4. Well, almost perfect. Do you know about the East Village Arts Park? I doubt it, because this fab little shady nook—complete with comfortable seating—is chained just about all the time. Since it sits right in the middle of Saturday’s footprint, it seems like this would have been an obvious time to open it up. If not then, when? Never, I guess, because visitors could only gaze inside. Might as well make it a Starbucks if we’re not going to use it. (Just kidding. We’ve got more than enough of those downtown.) If you reserve a hotel room with a Jacuzzi and the Jacuzzi doesn’t work, it’s not a hotel room with a Jacuzzi, you know? Amenities are only as good as their availability for use.

5. Saturday’s festival footprint (basically Atlantic Ave. to Long Beach Blvd. and 1st St. to 3rd St.) worked perfectly, including having the businesses inside open as usual. I’m sure it was a drag for businesses on the outside looking in, but….

6. I’m not a fan of MTG’s “no reentry” policy (which surely withheld customers from nearby businesses)—although it’s fair to say that this was not exactly over-enforced.

7. Did you check out the art installations? Highlight: Rumination Attuning (perhaps a.k.a. “the bell one” at Linden/Broadway), a sort of gazebo adorned with dozens of bells and gongs, above each of which was a provocative statement (“I am an adult still having ‘what I want to be when I grow up’ moments,” “I am humbled by the endless generosity of my city,””I don’t have the discipline I need to be the person I want to be,” “Being painfully honest with myself is making me happier,” “There are songs that make me weep for joy”). The idea was to ring a bell when you read a statement that resonated with you; but with so many people on so many different journeys, a host of other types of interaction were mixed in, and the flow of the way people were encountering it was always changing, with the music from the Linden Stage playing into experience.

8. It felt like there was just the right amount of police/security, and that they were just the right sort of presence. If some real shit’s happening, you want them right up in it; otherwise, they should just sit there and enjoy the music.

9. WeedMaps, an official sponsor of Music Tastes Good and a good way to help you circumnavigate the City of Long Beach’s continued criminalization of cannabis. Fuck yes. (And fortunately we’re all gonna get together and pass Proposition 64 so the landscape will be different next fall, right?)

10. “Boxed Water Is Better.” Good slogan, good packaging (that sculptured skinny box is an image we’ll all retain), and maybe it’s true that boxed water is better than plasticked water. Great. Sell it. But what’s better better is people bringing their own canteens brimming with water and refillable at water stations within the event—as opposed to what we got: nowhere to get unboxed water (except at a couple of eateries within Saturday’s footprint) and having security make people dump their water before entering. Raising a minor stink each time they tried that with me was enough to get them to let me keep it so long as they could sniff it, so not a complete fail here. But can Music Taste Good 2016 please be the last event in Long Beach where people are actively discouraged from doing the right thing environmentally? At an event like this, water is the most essential thing you can put in your body, and there is a simple way to give it to us with minimal environmental impact. Make this mandatory, automatic. It’s a reasonable cost of doing business.

11. Every time I go to a concert, I am appalled at the amount of garage left on the ground, like people think they’re doing the cleaning crew a favor by giving them extra work. At MTG there were plenty of clearly marked receptacles for refuse, recyclables, and compostables (not to mention the ones specifically for the water boxes).

12. After I got home to my downtown condo complex Sunday night, I was in the elevator with a 20-something kid in a Michigan college football jersey/hat. He was carrying a can of Red Bull and looked contentedly tired. “Did you go to the music festival this weekend?” I asked. He was confused for a moment, because he had just attended one in Las Vegas but sniffed the gist of my question. “There was one here? Where was it? Do you know what it’s called?” Music Tastes Good, I told him, making sure to enunciate. “I’ll have to check it out online,” he said. I’m guessing that if he does he’ll be getting his fest on closer to home next September.

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