San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Camp Flog Gnaw 2023: Inside Tyler, the Creator’s festival

The iconic music festival-carnival hybrid returned to Los Angeles with a massive turnout, despite a nearly four-year absence
A sign reading “Camp Flog Gnaw Festival” welcomes attendees at the entrance to the festival. Photo courtesy of Amara Obijaku

Camp Flog Gnaw brought thousands of fans to Dodger Stadium on Nov. 11 and 12 to see a star-studded lineup of hip-hop, R&B and indie performers. 

With huge names like SZA, Ice Spice, Kendrick Lamar, Kali Uchis, Lil Yachty, PinkPantheress, Teezo Touchdown and more, the 2023 festival broke the four-year hiatus with a celebration of music culture.

The festival was organized by Grammy-winning artist Tyler Okonma, who goes by the stage name “Tyler, the Creator,” and has made a name for himself with his memorable stage presence. He had been hosting the festival annually since 2012 until the 2020-2022 hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, fans came out in droves to see the festival’s comeback featuring their favorite performers. The headliners included SZA, the Hillbillies — a duo consisting of rappers Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem — as well as Tyler, the Creator.

After the four-year absence, fans expressed their enthusiasm to be back on the fairgrounds to see their favorite artists.

“I’ve been so excited for Camp Flog Gnaw,” said Amara Obijaku, an attendee and long-time fan of Tyler, the Creator. “I went back in 2019 and was bummed when COVID hit and it didn’t happen for years. When Tyler announced it earlier this year I literally screamed.”

Fans came in a variety of elaborate and colorful outfits, including merchandise for artists on the lineup and clothes from Tyler, the Creator’s various brand collabs. There was an air of excitement to see some of the performers’ first concerts in years, especially Tyler’s.

“It’s going to be (Tyler’s) biggest comeback,” Obijaku said.

During his performance introduction Saturday night, Tyler expressed his gratitude for all the fans making it out to the festival for the weekend.

Kevin Abstract delivered a color-filled performance on the “Flog” stage. Photo courtesy of Amara Obijaku

“It truly means so much to me and the team,” Tyler said to a packed crowd of fans. “You know we just put the presale out and were like, ‘Let’s just see how it goes before we announce who we got and stuff,’” he continued. “And y’all just kept buying and buying and buying.”

Dodger Stadium’s parking lots were transformed into a vibrant fair marked by attractions based on Tyler’s past work. 

Attendees also had a wide variety of food, drinks, rides and carnival games to explore. All of these — as well as merchandise shops and stores — were affiliated with Tyler’s brand Golf all around the three main stages: Camp, Flog and Gnaw.

“To know that this random idea I had brings the spirit of LA out for two days,” he said. “Thank you.”

An important aspect of Camp Flog Gnaw is that it is based on the county fairs Tyler, the Creator went to growing up around Los Angeles. The festival had an array of classic fair snacks like funnel cake and popcorn, as well as stands for local restaurants like Monty’s Good Burgers and Birrieria Michi Mexican Food.

The food and attractions combined with the themed areas and games made Camp Flog Gnaw feel like much more than a music festival. 

The area had so much to offer, with a layout including pop-ups from brand partners, including NFL and Coca-Cola. Attendees were given a venue map laying out where everything would be, accessible through the Camp Flog Gnaw app attendees downloaded to activate their wristbands. 

The area was also well prepared for any public safety needs, sprinkled with medical tents and hydration stations throughout the lot.

Willow performs on the “Camp” stage at Camp Flog Gnaw. Photo courtesy of Amara Obijaku

The music was predictably on point, with every set offering a new sonic and visual aesthetic. The concert highlights included high energy performances from Kendrick Lamar, who performed his huge hits “Humble” and “Alright.” 

Indie vocalists Beabadoobe and Dominic Fike brought out crowd favorite slow tracks for people to sing along to. Willow and Kevin Abstract came with heavy-hitting rockstar energy that kept the crowd jumping. SZA brought a high production performance that included her swinging from a wrecking ball while singing her beloved song “The Weekend.”

Throughout the festival, artists also acknowledged their thankfulness to Tyler for making the event happen.

“I want to make sure we give a special shoutout and appreciation to my man Tyler, the Creator,” said day-one headliner Kendrick Lamar before leading into his beloved track “A.D.H.D.”

SZA closed out the second night with the beginning of a rendition of her hit song “Good Days” before her performance was cut off due to Los Angeles’s curfew rules. 

In response to this, the crowd of fans found a part in the song and a melody and sang along as the singer danced on stage.

The final song of the festival was an anthem of optimism and resilience sung by thousands of fans. It was a beautiful moment of unity that celebrated what Flog Gnaw has always been about: the shared love of music.