Music Tastes Good Festival will be ‘on hiatus’ this fall

The Music Tastes Good Festival, which has enjoyed three years of multi-day concerts and culinary celebrations in Long Beach since it was founded by the late Josh Fischel in 2016, is sitting out the crowded festival schedule for 2019, according to the festival’s executive producer John Molina.

“It’s not canceled; it’s on hiatus,” stressed Molina, who is a founding partner of Pacific6, the company that owns the Long Beach Post. He didn’t say how quickly the MTG Festival might return, but he noted “You can’t go dark too long, or else everyone forgets about you.”

An announcement on the festival website said organizers hope the event will return in 2020.

Molina cited a recent abundance of festivals in Southern California, with each featuring dozens of artists, including last weekend’s Beachlife Festival in Redondo Beach, featuring Bob Weir, Brian Wilson and Willie Nelson; May 11’s Like Totally Music Festival in Huntington Beach with the Bangles, Public Image Ltd., and the Smithereens headlining; “and the Queen Mary seems to have a festival every other month,” he said. Most recently at the ship was last weekend’s Just Like Heaven Festival, with Phoenix, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and MGMT topping the bill for the two-day event.

With such a crowded festival schedule, Molina said “you gotta figure out how to re-energize your event. And our team is working on lots of stuff in order to do that.” He did not elaborate on those plans. He did say the MTG team has done a “masterful job” with the festival that began in 2016 on the streets of Downtown with performances by Long Beach’s  Rival Sons, the RX Bandits, Living Colour, the Specials and Iron & Wine among others.

In 2017, Music Tastes Good moved to Marina Green with a slate that included Ween, Sleater-Kinney, Ride, Los Lobos and Built to Spill, and the fest returned to the same site last year with more than 50 bands headed by New Order, Broken Social Scene, Lil B, James Blake and Janelle Monae.

“We’ve had great headliners, but even farther down on the bill we’ve booked bands that would go on to become very successful, like we had Lizzo in 2017 and last year and now she’s hotter than anything,” Molina said. “She was invited to the Met Gala. It’s like how everybody says they were at Woodstock, years from now people are going to say they were at Music Tastes Good when Lizzo performed.”

Attendance had grown from year to year at MTG, said Molina: “We got great reviews and everybody had a lot of fun.”

And while he didn’t address the festival’s finances over the three years, he said, “It takes a number of years to work up a festival to the point where it’s a cash cow. I would just say that our financial expectations were met.”

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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