And that’s exactly what happens at the Shrine. Two outdoor stages alternate between musical presentations, while the indoor spaces allow for retreats from the heat and the sun. If someone wants to sit down for a while, the Shrine Auditorium is available for that, with ample space to accommodate the crowd size, which has settled in at around 6,500 for the past couple years.
“Moving to the Shrine alleviated all of our issues,” says Ceazan-Fleischli. “It’s the perfect venue for what we’re doing. The second year Jack commissioned his friend to design this circus of death. It was insane. There were two trains, there were all these performance artists, and there were art installations. A lot of people dressed up because it was near Halloween but not on Halloween.
“We had the space to do what we wanted to do, and we were very proud that no one complained,” she says. “We looked at Twitter because so many people took to social media the first year, but we couldn’t find anyone saying anything bad.”
And settling into their new home allowed for Festival Supreme to highlight its biggest strength: booking some of the best comedy rock lineups ever curated. As to how Festival Supreme impresses every year with the artists they bring in, much of that has to do with the relationships Black and Gass have cultivated over the years, and the high bar they’ve set through their own creative accomplishments.
“Jack has my heart,” says Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live alum and star of numerous films and televisions shows. “He’s one of the people I’ve known the longest, since I was 14, so I would do anything for him. I didn’t really need to know what the festival was, but I already had some idea of what the festival would be because, in my opinion, Tenacious D is the template of music and comedy together as one, in the best possible sense. I say that because watching them throughout LA when they were first starting out was such a triumph to me. They were doing music and comedy so well and so beautifully, which was a testament to their musicianship, because we already knew they were comedians. I think a lot of people followed in their footsteps because of how well they did it. So, it’s only right that a festival has their stamp on it.”
Heidecker echoes the sentiment, saying, “We owe Jack so much. He was the first guest on the first episode of Tom Goes to the Mayor, and just a real early supporter of Eric and I. So if Jack wants us, it’s just a no brainer.”
This kind of esteem is why Festival Supreme is able to get big names to not only appear, but to be recurring figures. The 2016 lineup will see Sarah Silverman, Will Forte, Garfunkel and Oates, and Fred Armisen as just some of the talent making return trips to the festival. And that’s just what is properly billed. Festival Supreme has also made a habit of surprising fans with unexpected sets and appearances, a cue they’ve taken from promoter Goldenvoice’s most established property, Coachella.
In its first year, unexpected guests included Conan O’Brien showing up with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, while “Weird Al” Yankovic appeared unannounced in year two. And for year three, fans got a surprise set from Reggie Watts, who also played the inaugural fest on the Pier.
“It was super last minute because somebody cancelled,” recalls Watts, band leader for The Late Late Show with James Corden and star of the upcoming Netflix special Spatial, premiering on December 6th. For Watts, whose live performances are known for their use of improvisational song, playing on short notice was right in his wheelhouse. “It was a perfect situation for me, I’m always ready to go.”