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TBD Fest Site Visit – A Look Behind The Making Of A Music Fest

Melody Stone / CapRadio Music

Melody Stone / CapRadio Music

Why have a Ferris wheel, tents, geometric sculptures and shipping containers all popped up along West Sacramento’s waterfront over the past few weeks? They are there for “TBD Fest,” a three-day music, arts and design festival starting Friday at 3 p.m. in the Bridge District next to Raley Field.

More than 100 people have worked around the clock to transform a dusty, open field into an interactive creative expression of life in Sacramento. It’s the first time this festival – previously known as LAUNCH – has been held in West Sacramento.

More than 8,000 people a day are expected to attend the festival – many drawn by the star power of performers like Blondie, Moby, Justice, and Empire of the Sun. But the crowds might be surprised and delighted by TBD Fest’s sights, sounds and activities unrelated to music.

TBD-Site -overview

On Thursday morning the crew was gearing up for the final push.

“We’ll be here all night long,” said Patrick Harbinson, public relations manager for TBD Fest. “We’ll break for burritos.”

Most of the large art installations were in place, including staging, the Ferris wheel, tents and a swing ride. Harbinson estimated set-up to be about 60 percent complete.

“What we’re doing now is setting up our VIP cabana areas and some of our art installations,” said Harbinson. “We wanted the art to be very inclusive. Crowd participants will be able to walk on the installations, walk through the installations. They provide light at night, so they’re useful in that way as well.”

There’s a giant geometric arch over the main entrance and then a forest of shipping containers waiting to be painted by local artists. This space will become “Rise and Create” – an open space collective marketplace.

TBD-Site -trees

TBD fest producer Lisa Kennedy and Justin Bilbao direct the delivery of topiaries and gerneier for the marketplace and main entrance. Melody Stone / CapRadio Music

Justin Bilbao owns the clothing boutique Goodstock. He’s coordinating “Rise and Create.” He says the goal for this and everything else at the festival is to engage and activate the crowd.

“Rather than just being little individual booths, everyone gets to curate their own area, have a little bit more interaction, not just vending but interactive activations – national brands, local stores, local eateries.”

For example, a sock company is hosting do-it-yourself sock building, and Goodstock will be silk screening custom t-shirts. 

Elsewhere at the festival there will be yoga and cooking competitions with some of the most celebrated chefs in the region. They’re calling it “The Pit”- and every day, chefs will square off over wood-fired ovens and grills and whip up farm-to-fork creations for festival goers.

Bilbao’s company has participated in this event for four years. He loves the exposure his brand gets. As the festival has grown, he says it’s just gotten better for the small businesses involved.

“TBD is bringing a national platform to a regional market and our exposure rate is going to be huge,” said Bilbao. “We’ve got Rolling Stone magazine and everybody else coming here. It’s huge exposure for Sacramento. What these guys have put on here is unlike anything anyone’s ever seen.”

Looking at the venue, it’s easy to see what everyone’s talking about. There’s a two-story catwalk/stage being covered with panels of weathered wood. Models will walk this catwalk during the festival. When it’s not being used for a fashion show, attendees are encouraged to walk through it and interact with it. There’s a giant swing ride and of course the Ferris wheel. Greenery and topiaries are along the main entry way and among the shipping containers. The vision is coming together.

“Be prepared for the unexpected,” TBD Fest co-founder Michael Hargis said, as he paused for a moment while rushing through the venue. “This thing is enormous. It’s the biggest thing we could possibly put together. Incredible food, incredible music, incredible design, awesome location on the river – it’s just an enormous project and it’s going to be incredibly fun.”

TBD-Site -Woodsticks

The wood pieces for the catwalk were provided by a local company called Stickwood. After the festival they'll take the wood and turn it into adhesive wood panelling to be used in interior decorating. Melody Stone / CapRadio Music

TBD-Site -containers  


Want to meet your favorite band? TBD Fest organizers just published the meet and greet times.

The Drums 9:00 - 9:30
Zak Waters 7:30 - 8:00
Dillon Francis 6:30 - 7:00
Gramatik + Exmag 6:00 - 6:30
Com Truise 4:30 - 5:00
Little Daylight 4:00 - 4:30
MNDR 3:30 - 4:00

Ghost Beach 7:30 - 8:00
Cherub 7:00 - 7:30
Mainland 5:45 - 6:30
Skaters 5:00 - 5:45
Smallpools 4:30 - 5:00
French Horn Rebellion 4:00 - 4:30
Sister Crayon 3:30 - 4:00
Nick Waterhouse 3:00 - 3:30

YACHT 7:00 - 7:30
Goldroom 6:30 - 7:00
Viceroy 6:00 - 6:30
Craft Spells 5:30 - 6:00
PAWS 4:30 - 5:00
Flashlights 4:00 - 4:30
Total Slacker 3:30 - 4:00

 TBD fest

Melody Stone

Former Interactive Producer

After working in newspapers and doing print journalism for years, Melody transitioned into digital marketing and design. With a healthy blend of journalistic and digital media skills she builds out interactive web stories for  Read Full Bio 

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