Call it a wet and dirty man’s Coachella. In the end, 52 bands played at the second All Points West Music & Arts Festival — the East Coast’s answer to that Palm Desert music-and-fashion extravaganza, organized by the same Los Angeles-based company, Goldenvoice — which ran from Friday to Sunday in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. Braving, yes, ankle-deep sludge, the weekend’s on-again, off-again weather and production snafus, tens of thousands of fans came by ferry, train and car to take in such varied acts as Jay-Z (Friday night’s headliner and a last-minute addition to the lineup), Vampire Weekend, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tool, The Ting Tings, Lykke Li, MGMT and Coldplay.
To a large degree, the forecast dictated the fashion, with the main story starting from the ground up. Boots — whether combat, cowboy, Wellies or of the $28 Marc by Marc Jacobs variety — were near-essential for those who weren’t gutsy or inebriated and skipped footwear altogether when traversing the muddy, puddle-filled field, which became even more harrowing after Sunday morning’s deluge and the resulting four-hour delay in opening the main gates. Once inside, most festivalgoers paired their footwear with Hefty-like or more label-conscious cover-ups, cotton dresses, jean shorts and oversize T-shirts.
Taking a page from the Kate Moss playbook, catwalkers including Agyness Deyn, Lily Donaldson, Catherine McNeil and Lily Cole worked the festival grounds, taking time to hang out near the artist trailers — festival-speak for the only VIP area that mattered. There, and furnished with a Grey Goose open bar and porta-potties (upgraded to fake wood), they mingled with the likes of DJ-musician-model Lissy Trullie, Alexa Chung (whose beau, Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner, performed on Saturday), Courtney Love, rapper-actor Ice-T and his ever-subtle better half Coco, and actor-drummer Adrian Grenier, on hand to play with his band, The Honey Brothers, on Saturday afternoon.
Muck and all, it was the surroundings — glittering Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island and Lady Liberty — that made the All Points West experience, at least for one participant, singer Lykke Li Zachrisson. “[The crowd is] there because they want to be there,” said the Sweden-born musician, who opted for a “very DIY” all-black getup for her Sunday afternoon set. “So even if it’s raining, it’s a very good atmosphere and it’s nice scenery, too — I was feeling very emotional when the sun went down and I saw the [New York] skyline.” As for her choice of footwear, Zachrisson “skipped the shoes and walked in the mud instead,” she said. “It felt free. I felt very liberated to go barefoot.”