On September 10th, 2016, Radio 94.7 and Budweiser hosted their second annual City of Trees Festival. The festival experienced a venue change as they said goodbye to Gibson Ranch and re-located to Bonney Field at Cal Expo. The festival brought quite the lineup with both Weezer and Panic! At the Disco serving as the headliners for the one-day spectacle. Other acts included Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness, Phantogram, and The Rebel Light.
The festival strived their best to bring a comfortable experience for everyone, as it only consisted of two stages being the Main Stage and the Music Discovery Stage. The stages were located directly next to each other, which provided a much more intimate feel than you would expect at any other festival.
Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness brought nothing but soul and a piano to their set. Former frontman to bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, McMahon started his solo project around two years ago and has already toured throughout North America under his new name. His set consisted of jams such as, “Cecilia and the Satellite, “Synesthesia,” and even hit from his Jack’s Mannequin days, “Dark Blue,” which provided a little nostalgia for the die-hard fans.
Stand-out act of the day was UK-based glam-rock band The Struts. They definitely brought a unique energy to Bonney Field with hits such as, “Kiss This,” “Could Have Been Me,” and “Put Your Money On Me.” It was just the right amount of energy to pump up the crowd for the headliners. Towards the end of their set, a young Freddie Mercury-reminiscent frontman Luke Spiller sought to leave a lasting impression on the crowd. “Remember this name! The Struts,” Spiller proudly proclaimed. Trust me, we absolutely will not forget them.
Weezer took the stage shortly after at 6:50pm. The signature vocal stylings that front-man Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the gang brought to the festival made for one overall amazing experience, that only Weezer could truly accomplish. Attendees were clapping to the beat through their entire set, as they busted out hits such as “Hash Pipe,” “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Beverly Hills,” and “Say It Ain’t So.” Weezer also brought the creativity to their set with Hawaiian-inspired attire for “Island In the Sun” and golden crowns for “King of the World.”
Panic! At the Disco closed out the night with a nearly 20-song setlist. The lights and stage production were possibly the most captivating part of their set, aside from Brendon Urie’s unique sound. Utilizing strobe lights, spotlights, smoke machines, and many other stage elements, everything came together seamlessly for the set. What started as a five-piece band, evolved into a rock duo, to eventually a solo project led by Urie. Surprisingly, Urie carried his own weight as he introduced the crowd to the newer Panic! sound that has been established since Urie became the only remaining original member. They kicked off with their latest single, “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” off their newest release, Death of Bachelor. Panic! also included several other hits to cater to older audiences as well as new, such as “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” “Hallelujah,” “Miss Jackson,” an incredibly stunning rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and yes… even their breakout hit that put them on the scene over a decade ago, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” Urie’s energy was present throughout the entire set, and fans were definitely satisfied by the close of the festival.
A massive thanks to Radio 94.7 and Budweiser, as well as the other various sponsors for putting on yet another incredible festival for its second year. With just how stacked the line-up was this year, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!
Photos and Words by Curtis Vadnais