Way Too Fun Fest Adds an Edge to Santa Ana’s Dia de los Muertos Celebration

Bobby T and the Slackers played an flirtatiously pop-y set inside Top Acid


Bobby T and the Slackers played an flirtatiously pop-y set inside Top Acid
Chill Rock/ Bobby T. and the Slackers played a flirtatiously pop-y set inside Top Acid./ Itzel Quintana/ el Don


I have been going to Noche de Altares since I was 17, when my parents felt comfortable with me going to Downtown alone.

It has changed a lot since then.

My best friend and I arrived at 4 p.m., too late to find a decent parking spot. We made the trek from 3rd and French streets to East End where Way Too Fun Fest was taking place at Top Acid.

It wasn’t until we reached Main Street that I realized just how big Dia de Los Muertos has become. Before, I anticipated painting my face like a Calaca and checking out the altares but this year I didn’t go beyond East End.

We weaved past low-riders, break-dancers and a funk performance harmonizing with a vocoder at the beat swapmeet.

Across Fourth Street were the Konsept Art and Music Festival and a blading cup competition that took up most of the street.

By the time we made it to Top Acid it felt like we had been to three different concerts. I forgot I was in Fourth Street.

Each venue featured a different audience, though they all mingled at local bars.

I spent the majority of my time at Way Too Fun Fest.

I went to the festival to see Current Joys and Surf Curse from Reno, but before their 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. sets, I got to see bands that I had never heard of.

 Bobby T. and the Slackers from LA played a pop-y set inside the venue at the Toothless Stage. Compared to the majority of the high-energy bands, Bobby T. was mellow and easy to listen to.

Glitter/ Self-described glitter grunge band Bobby T. and the Slackers serenade listeners./ Itzel Quintana/ el Don

Later, I saw Jurassic Shark from Monrovia. The band quickly lifted the mood, sparking a mosh pit.

Finally Current Joys showed up at the Chup Stage in the alley behind Taqueria Guadalajara. Nicholas Rattigan is the sole member of the band. He’s also the drummer for Surf Curse.

The songs he performs as Currents Joys are personal and reflective of his life and experiences, said Rattigan.

His performance was intense, as he stumbled around a ragged rug that served as his stage and barrier. The setting matched his introspective lyrics.

Current Joy’s intimate set gathered a large audience that circled Rattigan.

Fans surround Nicholas Rattigan, soloist for Current Joys as he performs an intimate set. / Photo by Jose Servin
Intense/ Fans surround Nicholas Rattigan, soloist for Current Joys as he performs an intimate set. / Jose Servin/ el Don

Surf Curse closed out the festival with high-energy riffs and lyrics laced with teen angst.

Fans waited in front of the steps at the Main Stage. When they began, riled up moshers stormed the stage and I lost my spot at the front.

My denim jacket shielded me from the sweaty shirts that surrounded me and I sang along to my favorite Surf Curse song with the people that pushed me around.

I almost lost my shoes a few times and wore them awkwardly until the beginning of another song when the storm of people would settle enough for me to adjust myself.

Despite getting poked in the eye by a stage diver, almost losing my shoes and still being sore two days later Way Too Fun Fest lived up to its name.

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