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The TBD Festival, an enormous party of concerts, art displays and vendor exhibits, kicked off in West Sacramento on Friday to the delight of its fans

TBD, which stands for The Bridge District, is now in its second year.

Underground music and electronic dance acts pleased fans.

TBD Fest Kicks Off in very loud music that  draws attention in the neighborhood.

The TBD Fest includes a lineup of electronic dance acts and forms of underground music not normally showcased in Sacramento on such a wide scale. Headliners include Glitch Mob, the acclaimed electronic trio, producer/DJ sensation Porter Robinson and Sacramento’s own Death Grips, the brash and widely acclaimed experimental hip-hop group. Organizers expect to attract 30,000 people to the riverfront this year and have secured nationally-known musical acts. Last year’s music,art and culture festival brought noise, dust and vendor concerns. Promoters said they’ve made the festival bigger, better and more neighbor-friendly this year. This year, more than 80 bands will perform on five stages.

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Capital cities can have it rough if you’re looking for real fun. The masses aren’t quite lining up to get their rave on in Pierre, South Dakota or Salem, Oregon, for example. But this year in Sacramento, California, residents, visitors and even a curious Belgian man on a road trip to Alaska, had plenty to wild out about as the THUMP-presented TBD Festival took over the city’s Bridge District, September 18-20, for three days of music and Sac-town pride.

In tandem with steamy temperatures in the high 90s, the weekend set sail across four stages, as well as a sprawling vendor village of cold-brew coffee, weed vapes, cookies, hats, a live chef cookoff, works from local artists, as well as headlinersPretty Lights, Chromeo, Tyler the Creator, Porter Robinson, and a rare appearance by famed 80s outfit Tears for Fears, who definitely played that song you heard in that movie once. Armed with a notepad and a raucous crew of Russian Sacramentoans (Sacramentors? Sacramentoners?), I set off to discover what California’s capital city is all about.

TBD’s lineup operates in an interesting place in the realm of indie-electronic music, a term that gets thrown around so much one has to wonder what it even really means. The stylings were niche when compared to some other big festivals, yet not quite weird enough to be an FYF, or dancey enough to be a HARD Summer. With the music presented, the crowd also was something of an occasional oddity—not quite bro, not quite hipster, zero glow sticks in sight, with people expressing themselves in ways where you at times couldn’t tell if they’re on psychedelics, stimulants, or just really damn hot.

Pretty Lights hit the stage for an hour set as headliner of day two with a one man showing of electro-soul and atom-splitting bass. Beneath psychedelic LED disco balls and his classic flat-brim, he dropped one of the weekend’s most jubilant sets. The festival also interestingly put focus on a variety of off-beat aggro rap stars throughout the weekend, like quasi terrifying Sacramento natives Death Grips, Tyler the Creator, Mobb Deep, as well as Chance the Rapper, and Ty Dolla $ign, the latter of which actually slapped da damn bass. Adding some nice balance to the beats, these performances all took place on the same stage, acting as either an escape, or catalyst to everyone’s perpetual turnup.


As a New Yorker who had never once visited the city, it was clear after a mere couple of hours that TBD wasn’t just in Sacramento, it was for Sacramento. Described by my Uber driver as a sleepy town where not that much fun happens, the festival acted as a place for residents and nearby neighbors to flex their pride, fun-ability, and appreciation for cool, on-trend music being lauded in bigger cities like LA and San Francisco. With a village of personable local vendors, as well as easy access between the cities downtown, and the festival’s location aside the golden Tower Bridge, you couldn’t help but feel the city’s vibe.

Named “TBD” in honor of their shifting styles and thirst for an ever-evolving future as a festival, just like my new friend Kenny, here’s to hoping that they keep on dancing.


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