The only thing constant about Sacramento’s TBD Fest is its ever-changing nature.
Known previously as Launch, this homegrown music festival has brought to town major and emerging acts—Girl Talk, Imagine Dragons, DJ Shadows and Chromeo, to name a few—since 2012. This year, the festival has a new name and venue, and is branching from a two- to a three-day celebration of music, art, and the creative culture authentic to Sacramento.
“We really pride ourselves in identifying a bill that … features a lot of emergent talent that maybe people aren’t familiar with but probably will be one day,” said Clay Nutting, who has helped Launch creator Michael Hargis organize the event since 2012. “The ethos of our event is … to showcase emerging artists alongside some established, genre-defining artists.”
In its third year as a major regional music festival, TBD Fest will feature recognizable acts like Blondie, Empire of the Sun, Deltron 3030, as well as local artist Autumn Sky and more. Originally a single-day hotel party, Launch was founded in 2007 by Hargis to converge and celebrate the city’s wealth of creativity. Fashion, art, music, food, architecture, and more have been festival highlights since day one.
“It’s really a passion project, so each year we have to gather the resources to pull it all off,” said Nutting. “The only way that it was possible was to start off small and continue to build.”
Previous years have included fashion shows, a kickoff party at the MAARS building, and other build-up events at venues throughout the midtown area like Ace of Spades and Harlow’s.
Aside from the name, another major change is the concert venue. In the last two years, Cesar Chavez Plaza has been the site of the music festival. This year, TBD Fest will cross the bridge to be held alongside the river in West Sacramento. According to Nutting, the location change is emblematic of the changing nature of TBD as well as the city of West Sac.
“We were really compelled by the story of the community that’s being built in West Sacramento and how it connected to the growth and trajectory of our event,” he said.
With TBD on track to expand each year, they felt it had outgrown Cesar Chavez. Also, the view of Sacramento isn’t so bad from West Sac.
“It (has) an open backdrop for an event where we are trying to showcase Sacramento. (It) tells a compelling story about the city we love, having the skyline right there.”