By Athena Skapinakis
People of all ages gathered in massive herds to Stramler Park for the opportunity to listen to some of their favorite musicians play at the KRAB Radio’s seventh annual Free 4 All concert.
Echosmith, Big Data, Semi Precious Weapons and Nico Vega were a part of the line-up with headliners New Politics.
“My favorite part is the fact that we get to connect with so many people on such a cool level because music does something that no one else can,” said Sydney Sierota, the lead singer of Echosmith, after stepping off stage with a bright smile.
Echosmith is an alternative pop band composed of four siblings hailing from Los Angeles. Sierota said that she and her brothers got along remarkably well as band mates and as best friends. This was their first time in Bakersfield other than passing through as a rest stop, and Sierota said she “loved it out here” and that the crowd was “awesome.”
She also mentioned that Echosmith would be performing at this year’s Warped Tour.
“I thought the bands played with a lot of passion and energy. It was nice being at an event where everyone was there to have a good time and listen to some good music,” said Nick Pollard, 21. “It was a blast.”
Pollard makes it a point to attend KRAB Radio’s Free 4 All every year.
The venue featured a packed beer garden and housed many vendors. Some of the biggest sponsors of the event were Monster Energy, Family Motors and the U.S. Army. The military held a drawing, giving away a sleek black guitar autographed by the musicians.
“I’m excited to see all of [the bands],” said 29-year-old Captain Joshua Dawson of the U.S. military. This was his third time at the Free 4 All. He recalled seeing Imagine Dragons the year before their popularity exploded.
“Where else can you get 6,500 people to show up in one place to support bands who are up-and-coming?” Dawson said.
Bakersfield certainly is the place for that.
David Boyd, the lead singer of New Politics, described himself as someone who is “too old to run free, but too young to settle down.”
Boyd and Søren Hansen formed New Politics about four years ago in Copenhagen, Denmark. The two moved to America after signing a record deal with RCA and added their third member — the only American in the group — drummer Louis Vecchio. The three-man band currently resides in New York.
The move from one country to another was “quite an experience” for Boyd, but he said he was glad to have gotten through it.
“It was hard leaving everything behind and everything you know,” Boyd said. Leaving wasn’t easy for him, but he was able to find balance again.
He believes that the struggles have paid off and taught him not to take anything for granted. “It’s a nice feeling to enjoy the fruits of that.”
New Politics is most known for their songs “Harlem,” “Tonight You’re Perfect,” Stuck On You” and “Yeah Yeah Yeah.”
During their performance at the Free 4 All, Boyd entertained the cheering crowd with an array of dance moves, flips and head stands.
To quote the title of their hit song, Boyd said to the crowd, “Bakersfield, ‘Tonight You’re Perfect.’”
Security had a difficult time keeping fans from rushing the stage and hugging Boyd during his performance. Boyd just smiled and returned the hugs of the fans as he continued to sing.
“New Politics really felt like they had a connection with the crowd,” Pollard said.
There was a unique moment when Boyd stepped out and had the crowd lift him up. He stood, carried by the members of the audience, and sang. The thrilled fans screamed, taking pictures and videos to document to the experience.
“You put your heart and soul into it,” Boyd said. He believes music is “an expression of who you are,” explaining that each of the bands performing that evening were all different in their own way.
New Politics will be touring with Paramore and Fall Out Boy until Aug. and early Sept. The alternative rock band will also be headliners for a tour of their own later on. Boyd said that he and his band were writing many new songs and will hopefully have new material before they do their own tour in the fall.
“You kind of just let go and live in the moment, and these things get created. You have these songs that eventually touch people, and you go out and people sing along,” Boyd said. “It’s so surreal.”