~Simply Serenity~

This should have been done so long ago but this past month has been pretty hectic and this review/recap kind of escaped us. Apologies!

Our lady group was driving on a dirt road zigzagging through grassy hills, not entirely sure if we were on the right path, until BAM, we heard the sound of electronic music playing loudly in the distance and a box office in our view with people waiting in line. Serenity Gathering is a 3-day electronic music festival that occurred April 26-28th this year in the beautiful Woodward Reservoir, which is about an hour and a half southeast of Sacramento, California. The festival included a range of music from Troyboi, Yheti, to Kaminanda and an array of workshops to attend throughout the day.

We figured we would have to wait in a long line to get into the venue and have to fight for the size camp we needed, but we were actually shocked to find out neither were the case! We drove straight in with no backed up traffic, almost no line at the box office, and a great spot! While there were already plenty of people that had gotten in before us (they provided early arrival camping for an extra fee), our campsite was still only a mere 10 minute walk, if that, from the center of the festival grounds! We knew this festival was about small-medium size but were so happily surprised with how quick and easy everything came in terms of arrival and set up. The lake was only a couple camps over from ours, and we took full advantage of spending our afternoons relaxing in our floaties while enjoying some drinks.

Something that my fellow festival babe and I do have to be honest about is the fact that there weren’t a lot of art installations or interactive art like we were anticipating. We are by no means throwing shade, simply just stating what we observed and what we wished there was more of. We have been to our fair share of festivals on both ends of the size spectrum and were definitely expecting more items that attendees could gawk at and/or climb on given the vibe that Serenity was promoting.

There were a few pieces, though, that we did enjoy! The first was a giant art car that was actually an old bus designed to look like a willow tree; you could actually climb up to peer out from a deck that was atop the car. There was also the Frick Frack Blackjack table where festival goers could play their hand at blackjack while using items they have on their person to use for bets (since they don’t allow any cash). I have to admit that was probably one of our favorite spots to be at since there were always people playing with such joy and excitement as more and more obscure items were brought on the table as the betting continued throughout the night.

They did do a good job with the stages! There were 5 stages each styled with very intricate designs and structures that promoted its vibe of music: Serenity, Psyrenity, New Moon, Heart of Serenity, and The Cove.

Serenity stage was the main stage and that is where the headliners of the festival performed, like Blunts & Blondes, Emancipator, and Mr. Carmack. What we liked about the Serenity stage was that it was big, had a great view of the other stages across the land’s many peninsulas, and all throughout the crowd there were flow artists moving to the music while their LED toys lit up the darkness. Of course our favorite headliners were Minnesota, Emancipator, Medasin and Troyboi; each had amazing sets that kept us wanting more, and we had a great time grooving to their energy regardless of whether we were front and center or in the back with the flow artists.

The Psyrenity stage is where, you guessed it, they had psytrance artists performing pretty much all day and all night, so there was plenty of music to go around. We aren’t big psytrance lovers so unfortunately we have nothing to report about that stage since we would only walk by it and never stayed to listen to any artists, don’t hate us! Haha

The New Moon stage was really dope. This stage played different types of dubstep and bass artists. What kept it interesting, besides all the bass heavy goodness, were all the fire dancers and aerial artists that would perform on their own side stages during various sets. One artist I did not know well prior to the festival was Tiger Fresh, and damn did he HIT IT, our group was getting down so hard to his set! Props to you man for getting weird and letting us feel those beats. I wish we had some pictures of this stage and the performers, but we were too caught up in the moment.

Heart of Serenity was another favorite of ours, with anything from experimental beats, psychedelic bass, to world singer-songwriters with haunting voices. The stage was set up more like a traveling performer’s tent with string lights hanging everywhere and foam pads on the ground, so if people wanted to dance barefoot they could do so without problems. Two artists who I’d like to give a shout-out to is Heather Christie and Arula, both I didn’t know about prior to attending, and their performances were so chilling and wholesome. They had the whole tent dancing freely and sensually to their sets. Another good point about Heart of Serenity was the fact they had many workshops held in it, making it a very relaxing yet engaging environment. From a relationship building class to a twerking class, there was plenty to learn, and many ways to open yourself up to new experiences and new people.

The last stage was The Cove, this stage played an abundance of house music and had a very mysterious yet appealing feel about it. We’re not sure if it was the moody lights or the fact it was tucked back on the left side of the festival grounds, but it always seemed to have many people dancing at any time of day. We never got a chance to check out The Cove since we don’t listen to much house music but there were some recognizable names on the schedule.

Another point we wanted to make was that considering this was a smaller festival, similar I’d say to Northern Nights, there weren’t many shop vendors or food vendors. What was nice was the fact the ice vendor also sold popsicles and iced coffee, which was much appreciated during the hotter parts of the day. Killa Dilla, the quesadilla extraordinaire vendor, was there whipping up insanely good ‘dillas into the late hours of the night. The water station was also very easily accessible and at the beginning of the festival grounds so the paths didn’t get too muddy.

Overall, the festival was a solid good time. The lake made for fun and relaxing afternoons with friends, and the festival’s smaller size made crowds nonexistent. This also meant no crazy lines when needing to use the Porto-potties, which by the way were always very clean and close by. Camp setup was not stressful at all and an easy walk from the festival grounds. There were no cops wandering through campsites making people uncomfortable. Everyone we encountered was very pleasant, friendly and open for conversation. The weather was never blazing hot nor freezing cold and most importantly there were different types of electronic music for pretty much everyone!

If you’re looking for a smaller electronic fest closer to you, if you live in Northern/upper central California, and need a body of water to relieve yourself from the warmer temps, this is a festival to check out. This is also a good festival to go to if it’s your first time going to an electronic festival, and even more so if it’s your first camping music festival, since it’s low-key and those with social anxiety won’t be overwhelmed. We hope this festival brings on more art installations so festival attendees have more to interact with, as well as get more food and/or shop vendors so there’s a little more variety in the future, but all in all our lady crew enjoyed our time and are happy we experienced Serenity Gathering for the first time.

The Knocks: NYN Tour

The Knocks. Ever heard of them? If you haven’t, you have been severely deprived of dancey, feel good music! Are they rap? No. Are they rock? No. Are they mainstream? Hellllll no. While many would label under an edm category, they don’t truly fit into any of the predetermined molds, and that’s what makes them so unique and probably one of the most fun duos to listen to, let alone watch perform. Do you like nonstop groovin’, vibin’ music that makes you smile from ear to ear while you’re dancing your ass off? Well that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Ben “B-Roc” Ruttner and James “JPatt” Patterson make up The Knocks, and they are a powerhouse duo from New York ready to take over the world.

We first discovered The Knocks at Northern Nights Music Festival in Piercy, CA in the summer of 2016 and we were instantly hooked to their music, however these guys had been in the music scene many years prior to this festival. Fast forward to fall of 2018 and The Knocks released their highly anticipated album “New York Narcotic” and of what we have been able to notice, the US has been very into it. When they released their “New York Narcotic” tour dates and one of their stops was at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento, us Festival Babes just had to see them perform. What was going to make this tour even more special was that they were also including a live band experience! Like, wow, they really did that for us! We’d also like to point out that their bassist babe, Blu DeTiger, was one of their openers as well as Young & Sick, who was an artist we got familiar with when looking up the M3F festival lineup. Both artists are exceptional and we highly recommend you check them out too.

Ok…back to the show! We showed up to Ace of Spades and made our way to the front and center (which was surprisingly easy to do since everyone was still very spread out throughout the venue) as we got ready for them to come on. The lights start flashing, individual platforms start glowing, the band was in position, and The Knocks started off the night with “New York Narcotic,” a fun, upbeat song that truly seems to embody their whole vibe for this album: addictive highs and lows that you can’t shy away from because of the excitement it gives you. I’d also like to point out that their fashion sense: sooo on point! The girls in the band, guitarist/singer Katie and bassist Blu, showed off everything from flame designed pants to silk dresses and studded white jackets, while The Knocks rocked everything from sequins jackets to jerseys and of course their recognizable black studded, stapled up, skull faced New York Narcotic jacket that we are both obsessed with and need pronto.

The scene was beautiful: smoke machines constantly going off, lights moving in all directions, giant mascot pigeons in tow, and The Knocks and band nonstop dancing, smiling, and just having a good ass time on stage while seeing all of us dancing and singing along to every song. You know how hard that is to do as an artist? To create such satisfying content that your audience does not stop until you walk off the stage?! We were very impressed with their show, and genuinely impressed and ecstatic about the performance they brought for us.

Young & Sick came on stage during the DJ set of the show and it was so entertaining to see him singing and rapping “Wizards of Bushwick” on stage with JPatt in his cheetah and dalmatian outfit! Respect. And yes, The Knocks really do rap and sing, and these boys got some range. Did you know they can play instruments too? Well they do, and we loved watching JPatt and B-Roc both take turns on the keyboard during different songs in the live band portion of the show. They kept us guessing and it made the show that much more invigorating.

They ended the show with the ever popular “Ride or Die” but slowed down at first, with JPatt on the keyboard and B-Roc sitting in the front of the stage, lights dimmed, creating the mood for a final song. As they started to get into the song, they brought it up to tempo, the band came out, and the crowd was in a full-on mesmerized state of mind as we all flowed with the music and sang as loud as we could. With that being one of our personal favorites, we couldn’t help but feel enthralled with happiness and satisfaction.

Some of our other personal favorites they played are: “Room for You,” “Shades,” and of course, “Classic”…but, we love every song, and the ones on this latest album are no exception. To be perfectly honest, the album is fire; it’s groovy, it’s refreshing, and we could tell that the guys were pretty stoked about this album and the reaction it was getting from the audience, and from all over. We left feeling high from the energy and the whole performance and couldn’t believe we finally got to witness them again, and this time being in a local Northern California music venue as opposed to a festival. We are so grateful for the experience we received from that show and are so proud of what The Knocks have created. We were pretty bummed out when we realized we didn’t take any pictures the entire show, but I guess that just shows how into it we were and we loved living in that moment. The West Coast still seems to need to get more on board of this train because we had mentioned this show to many people and only half had heard of these guys. Their music is a good time, literally, and we cannot wait to see what other genius music they come out with next.

CA loves you! We love you!

Snowglobe 2018 Review

Snowglobe is probably the most unique festival I have ever been to. It’s a New Years Eve festival that takes place in South Lake Tahoe. What makes it so unique? It’s outside. All three days. In the snow. Which means getting creative with your outfits and preparing ahead of time so that you stay warm! (See my previous blog post for tips on how to prepare and dress properly) I loved seeing how crazy people got with their outfits, there were people in onesies, retro snowsuits, furs, shimmery glitter, and everything in between!

I still have yet to find a better way to spend New Years than in the snow, dancing, with fireworks going off in the sky.

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New Years Eve is always the last day of the festival, meaning sometimes the festival falls on a weekend and other times it’s in the middle of the week! This year the festival fell on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday which was pretty perfect. This was my third year going to Snowglobe, so I was interested to see if some of the issues I had previously encountered were fixed. A big issue I had with previous years was how disorganized it was entering and leaving the festival. The last couple times I went it was always just a mass of people trying to get in, with very disorganized lines and lots of people cutting. I have to say they vastly improved the experience of entering the festival. This year there were very clear lines laid out and metal detectors, which made the whole process of getting in go by faster. Keep in mind I skipped 2017, so some of this could have been fixed last year!

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Snowglobe is a pretty small festival space-wise, but that makes it pretty easy to split sets and jump stage to stage. The Main stage and Sierra stage are both outdoor stages while the Igloo stage is indoors. I spent most of my time at the Sierra stage which had all of the bass and trap artists. The Igloo is known for mostly having house artists. There were artists I wanted to see in the Igloo, but it was so packed every night that it was impossible to even get in most of the time, which was such a bummer. Even if you did get in, you were pretty squished, which isn’t how I want to see music. It reminded me of when the Sierra stage used to be covered and had that same problem. I hope Snowglobe will move toward making this another outdoor stage so everyone can enjoy the artists they put in there. Snowglobe does have other indoor structures so I just don’t really see the need to have an indoor stage!

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There was a food lodge and a drinks lodge (called the MTV lodge), and every time I went inside one of them, they were full of people sitting on the ground camping out (I assume because they were freezing haha). I appreciated that there were a lot of different places to get a drink (the drink lodge plus multiple outdoor spots to order drinks) because I never had to wait in line too long. My favorite was the hot drinks spot where you could order a spiked hot cider, hot toddy, or hot chocolate. That pretty much saved my life on Day 3 when it was the coldest and windiest. Warmed up our souls!

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So I’m going to lay out my favorite acts of the weekend, and then try the impossible task of picking one absolute favorite for each day, along with my surprise act of the day (this always goes to an artist I didn’t really have on my radar and played a great set!) Keep in mind this was so unbelievably hard to pick a favorite act of the day, but for some reason I thought it would be fun and I forced myself to, so go easy on me! I think my picks might be surprising since I didn’t really pick the huge names (which I wasn’t really expecting!). I also missed sets I wanted to see, especially if they were in the Igloo or earlier in the day (still crying over how early G-eazy was).


Top acts of Snowglobe 2018 (in no particular order): RL Grime, Big Gigantic, Ekali, Slumberjack, Nghtmre B2B Slander, Manila Killa B2B Chet Porter, Kaskade, Cray

Favorite Saturday Act: Big Gigantic             Surprise of the day: Party Favor

Favorite Sunday Act: Ekali                             Surprise of the day: Sam Gellaitry

Favorite Monday Act: Slumberjack             Surprise of the day: Medasin

I wish I could write about all of the sets I saw at Snowglobe as there were so many I enjoyed, but I’m going to try to limit myself to my top 3 favorites so that I can try to finish this review within my lifetime (and stay sane in the process).


Big Gigantic

If you have not seen Big Gigantic live before, then you really need to. What I love about this duo is they so perfectly mix electronic and funk music, that every set I see them just becomes a huge, funky, dance party. You can’t help but smile and have the best time at one of their sets. Dominic always plays the sax during their sets (just more reason to love Big G), and I have to give him major props for playing in that cold weather. It’s my absolute favorite when an artist or group can mix electronic music with live music like that. Their music is always big and thunderous; it’s addicting, it just invites you in. Big G is always full of surprises, and you honestly can’t put them in any one genre, you never quite know what they’re going to pull out next. During their Snowglobe set, they got down and dirty at times, throwing down some harder tracks. You could tell how excited the crowd got too, and I gotta say they did a great job at transitioning these tracks with their funky music.


Ekali

Full disclosure, I love Ekali, I will always love Ekali, he’s the freaking best. I’ve seen him so many times and will always go see his set at a festival no matter how many times I’ve already seen him. Not only is he just a good human who’s very open about mental health on twitter and very encouraging/grateful to his fans, but his music is so hard-hitting and fun to get down to. His music is trappy goodness where you’re just throwing down and getting grimy the whole time. This is a you-never-stop-moving-the-whole-set kind of set, trap music at its finest. He released some new remixes during his Snowglobe set and the crowd went freaking crazy for it. He really knows how to remix a song, but his original music is so good too, and I hope he puts out more of it. His new EP, Crystal Eyes, features some more airy music with really catchy lyrics, featuring some well-known female vocalists like Elohim and K.Flay. In my opinion these songs show a softer side of Ekali, and during his set, he manages to remix these songs so that they start off beautiful and then after the drop you realize they are complete bangers.


Slumberjack

Okay so I have been waiting to see Slumberjack for what feels like forever! I first discovered them back in 2016 when listening to artists on the lineup for Northern Nights. I put them on my playlist and was stoked to see them, but as happens often at music festivals, plans went out the window and I missed them. I’ve regretted it ever since and have been patiently waiting for my next chance. Slumberjack is a duo from Australia whose music (in my opinion) is always melodic, catchy, but then also unbelievably dance-y and hard-hitting. I love how they can combine two ends of the spectrum like that. They really experiment with their music and give it such depth. Their set was a great mixture of their own original songs and remixes they’ve done (that I had heard on Spotify and was dying to hear in person). I can tell you I definitely did not stop dancing during their whole set, and it was so fun being toward the front, watching them do their thing!  The energy was amazing and everyone needs to go see Slumberjack right now.


I also want to give a quick shout out to Manila Killa and Chet Porter for absolutely exhausting me with their set because I couldn’t stop dancing. They remixed all of my favorite songs and their set just made me so happy. It was just pure and good and absolutely worthy of a shout out! I didn’t give them my surprise act of the day because I already love both of these artists and knew without a doubt their set would be so fun!

And Kaskade is just always going to have my heart. I can’t tell you how much jumping up and down I did when he last minute got added to the lineup. I actually first discovered Kaskade years ago at Snowglobe, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. Not much can compare to listening to his song Eyes in the snow…talk about MAGIC.

Okay I want to take a moment to comment on the shuttle situation at Snowglobe because boy have they STILL not fixed the same problems they have had for years. First of all, you have to pay extra for a shuttle pass, which would normally be fine except they don’t even check if you have a shuttle pass to get on the bus! Each time I got on, no one checked that I had a wristband, which made me feel like I completely wasted my money. The organization of the shuttles also leaves a lot to be desired. Each shuttle line was just a cluster of people all trying to shove their way on, with many people having no idea which shuttle went where. They need to have more clear signs, and more people working to organize the lines. The one good thing is I appreciated that they had two different shuttles this year (Yellow line and Blue line) rather than just the one to the casinos like they normally do. It provided more options for attendees. But the Yellow line just dropped off in a liquor store parking lot (with no signs anywhere) which was kind of weird and unofficial. So shuttles were helpful, but disorganized.

To bring this to a close, I had an amazing time at Snowglobe this year! Shout out to Above and Beyond for bringing in the New Year with some crazy fireworks and emotional songs. Even though it’s not really my kind of music, it was definitely memorable. And a thank you to all the new friends we made, you guys were the best! This was absolutely a festival for the books, and if you haven’t made it to Snowglobe yet, you gotta put it on your list! Now excuse me while I continue to revel in my post-festival  blues…

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City of Trees 2018

City of Trees is a one-day music festival in Sacramento put on by the radio station ALT 94.7. Hosted at Papa Murphy’s Park, this year the fest featured artists such as Chvrches, Bastille and none other than Odesza as the headliner.  I was lucky enough to win free tickets courtesy of 94.7, and of course I had to bring fellow festival babe Jess along with me! She had never seen Odesza before, and I could not wait to share that experience with her.

Papa Murphy’s Park is home to Sacramento’s soccer team, Sacramento Republic FC. It surprisingly makes a great music venue, with the stage set up on one end of the field. The set up makes it so you can stand up front by the stage, sit in the back on the grass, or even sit on the bleachers alongside the field. It was nice to be able to bring in a blanket and sit down when we wanted instead of having to stand up the whole day! The venue was set up with multiple spots to use the restroom, buy alcohol, or get food, which was so appreciated as it spread out the lines and reduced wait times. Some of Sacramento’s most famous food trucks were there too, and I gotta give a shout out to my favorite, Its Nacho Truck. This truck makes its own chips, uses beer based cheese sauces, and puts together some really freaking good nachos! Seriously guys, if you live in Sacramento, you gotta try this food truck.

Okay on to the music….

Chvrches and Bastille both put on really fun, upbeat shows, but my surprise band of the day was actually lovelytheband. I had never heard of them and was really enjoying the whole set. They had an indie pop vibe going on and looking around, everyone seemed to be really into them! When the last song came on, I immediately got excited, realizing I knew this song! I had heard “broken” on 94.7 (of course), and had never known who the band was. I definitely went home and had their album on repeat the whole next day!

The highlight of the fest of course had to be Odesza. Even though I had seen Odesza three times prior to this, I was still way too excited. Odesza is one of those groups that I could see over and over again without ever getting tired of them. The best way to describe Odesza’s set is, it’s pure magic. Their music never fails to transcend me into another world. It’s twinkly and airy and emotional and just GOOD. You feel their music, whether you’re dancing or just standing there with your eyes closed, gently swaying.

They played old songs, new songs, everything I could have wanted. And when they brought their drum line out…oh man it was on a whole different level. Odesza has managed to make electronic music such a live experience, from the drum line, to the light show, to the artists they brought out to sing certain songs. They pulled out all the stops. I’ve gotten to see their live show evolve over the years, and I can easily say that was my favorite time seeing them.

There was a moment when “Across the Room” was playing where I thought, this is it, this is what pure happiness feels like. Surrounded by people I care about, all of us in our own world enjoying this music, I wanted to stay in that moment forever. Even today, listening to that song brings me right back to that moment, to that feeling.

We had an amazing time at City of Trees and are already looking forward to next year’s lineup! This is such a fun one day fest to check out if you live in the area, we highly recommend it! And if you haven’t seen Odesza yet…you need to! Seriously, do it!

Thanks 94.7!

 

 

For Funks Sake: For the Funk of It

California has many unique locations to choose from when it comes to festival venues; there’s the redwoods in the east, deserts in the south, and snow capped mountains in the west. With all these locations to choose from, dozens of electronic festivals, bass raves, mainstream mega festivals, and low key jam/folk festivals occur through the year…but not a lot of funk/soul type festivals if you think about it. Well…let me tell you a little bit about a funk festival that is located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains that usually occurs the second weekend of the month of August.

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For the Funk of It Music Festival is California’s only 3 day all funk camping music festival and is located in the Plumas National Forest two hours northeast of Sacramento, CA in a hidden gem of a town called Belden. It took place from August 10-13th this year and celebrated its 5th wonderful year at the beloved Belden Town. With a festival max capacity of just over 1000 people, due to the land space of the town being so small, it makes way for a very intimate and wildly euphoric experience as you are implanted into the mountainside as this lively festival takes place.

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Besides a small motel, restaurant, bar, a few cabin homes, and a tiny post office not much else is there but open land, which makes finding a camping spot for you and your crew very easy. While some people may bring their RVs and camp at the front of the festival grounds there are many beach access locations, tree covered flat land or hammock worthy spots to choose from as you walk down the path to get to the rest of the venue.

The overall vibe of the festival is something I know and love and is probably one of my favorite aspects of the festival. Everyone who goes there, whether it’s families with kids, young adults,  old hippies, unfamiliar festival folk with a love for brass, whoever…everyone gets along and no one puts up with any bad energy, shady behavior, or close mindedness. Every attendee smiles as they cross in passing and you can just feel the accepting nature of those that come to this festival. Every individual who comes to this festival just wants to have a good time enjoying good, live music in a beautiful environment during the summertime!

For the Funk of It, though small in size due to the intimate size of Belden, has 3 stages: the main stage, which sits more towards the front of the festival venue in a cleared out space with trees shading around it; the beach stage, which is pretty self explanatory- a stage on the main beach access part of the river where hundreds of people bring out there floaties while raging to the music; and the bar stage, which is inside the restaurant/bar part of the motel building that allows folks to dance inside while enjoying their cocktails and food. With all the music played at the festival being of funk genre, For the Funk of It does a good job of making sure bands do not overlap too much so the attendees are able to optimize their time at each stage without missing too much.

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Speaking of music, FTFOI always seems to get a lively bunch of artists to be on the lineup. From Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Afrolicious, Nigel Hall Band, and funk bands everywhere in between, FTFOI bring in musicians that the crowd will dance their asses to until the sunrises, literally! There technically is no noice ordinance so the festival is allowed to schedule music to play until sunrises, which of course it does! This year some of my favorites who blessed us all with their talent were: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Smokey the Groove, Mojo Green and Diggin’ Dirt.

When a last minute band cancellation happened Friday afternoon of FTFOI, none other than Smokey the Groove saved the day by gracing us with their lively sound during that Friday evening slot. Their music is unique and one that I thoroughly enjoy listening to every chance I get; their progressive yet upbeat, trippy style funk music has you breaking out in an energetic dance that you are happy to get lost in. Their stage presence is also so fun and memorable! They always bring different signs, toys, props, etc that they decorate the stage with and will sometimes dance around with masks on, to me that brings such an authentic vibe. I truly enjoy their music and get more and more excited about their sets each time they play whether at a festival or show, love you guys! Diggin’ Dirt came on later that night and oh man was that a fun show to witness and dance to. They gave the audience a sexy, smooth funk style whose sound ranges from old school blues to reggae-rock. Diggin’ Dirt is the type of music you can feel your whole body swaying to as you feel the sounds of the drums, brass and vocals flowing through your soul. Jenes Carter from Mojo Green ended up being a special guest during part of their set and hearing her and DD’s lead singer, Zach Alder, vibe together was such a good time.

Ok now for my other favorite sets this year. Mojo Green with Hornmageddon both seem to be a staple group and performance that happen at For the Funk of It. Mojo Green bursts onto the stage every time with such energy in their funky music that it will surely light you up. Their lead singer, Jenes Carter, has a beautiful voice and her spit fire dance moves get you excited as you see her petite self groovin away. A fun surprise during their set this year was that they brought Big Sam, from Big Sam’s Funky Nation, onto their set and let him absolutely kill it on his trombone, hitting these intense brassy notes that had us all vibrating. Now, what is Hornmageddon you’re probably asking? Well during the Mojo Green set they had a large selection of brass players from the various bands that were also performing at this festival come onto the stage and basically rage out all together on their instruments! How crazy is that?! It’s honestly one of the highlights of the festival because that’s just so much brassy, funky goodness all happening in harmony and there’s nothing better than that.

My final favorite set at For the Funk of it was the one and only: Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Big Sam and his band have such a presence to them, both in person and in their music. Their music is both invigorating and smooth, all while blasting you with that true New Orleans jazz-funk that we don’t hear enough of on the west coast. Big Sam’s Funky Nation has a way of getting you to move your entire body in such a way that could honestly only resemble that of a noodle, you find yourself doing endless body rolls all over the place and it’s as if you are under some kind of spell. Big Sam always gives it his all and you can tell him and his band have such a great time performing and dancing to their own music. They also love to engage the crowd in their performance; during part of their set they ended up hand selecting different women from the crowd to come on stage with them and shake all that junk in their trunks; it was so fun and a carefree show!

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For the Funk of It is a wonderful festival experience that I think everyone should go check out; whether you’re a die hard funk music listener, only know of one James Brown song, or enjoy live music but have never gotten around to the funk genre! The venue itself is quaint and perfect for people that want to get away from the large, hectic festival life or just want to enjoy a more intimate camping experience in the woods. Music goes all day and all night and people have the freedom to sleep into the afternoon, run around in the wildest toucan onesie or splash around in a floatie on the river at 4am (while of course being careful and at their own risk). The people who go to For the Funk of It want to enjoy live music in a beautiful part of California and make the most of an August weekend. I have yet to have a negative experience at For the Funk of It and I can’t wait to watch this festival grow even more.

On another note I’d like to thank Tony Dellacioppa for allowing me to share with you a few pictures he took of my favorite bands I enjoyed seeing this year, I only took a couple videos the entire weekend so I appreciate him so much for his quality photography. Thank you For the Funk of It for a memorable 5th year, see you next year!

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Bassrush: A Review

This past weekend was proof that even when Jess and I don’t plan on going to a festival, we somehow still end up at a festival! You seriously can’t make this stuff up!

While visiting friends in Long beach for a much needed girls weekend, Jess and I were surprised with guest list spots for Bassrush, a two-day massive put on by Insomniac Events. Big shout out to our friend Marlee for making this happen for us! Bassrush occurs at the NOS center in San Bernardino and focuses solely on bass music (shocking, I know!) Not only is bass music one of my favorites, but I hadn’t been to an event like this in years, making me pretty excited to get to experience this!

Insomniac did a great job organizing this massive, making it really easy and painless to get through security and leave the event at the end of the night. There were also plenty of water refill stations, which is super important, especially at an outdoor summer event like this. I  never had to wait in line for food, drinks, or to use the bathroom! For the size of the event, I was pretty impressed!

After getting past security, we were immediately mesmerized by the fountains and water surrounding them; the water was almost shimmering from all the lights strung above and in the trees. It was simple, but so pretty to look at! I also loved the multi-colored light structures they had by the stages. I think they did a great job at keeping production simple but still having fun lights and structures! The most impressive part of production in my opinion was all the LASERS! They were beautiful and different colored and coming from every direction at some of the stages! So ridiculously cool.

 

Music-wise, I was so happy with this lineup! There were so many favorites on here that I ended up having to make some hard choices on who to see versus miss. This lineup had favorites like Minnesota, G Jones, Zomboy, Bleep Bloop, Yheti, 12th Planet, and so many more! I have to give it up to Adventure Club, hands down this was my favorite set of the weekend! Adventure Club was the group that originally got me into electronic music back in college, and I’ve never been the same since! This set was full of nostalgia as they played old favorites like “Gold” and “Rise and “Fall”. I loved how on songs like “Gold” they stayed true to the song by starting it out slow and stripped down with the vocals, eventually building it up to an amazing drop I could just lose myself dancing to. You could feel the excitement in the crowd building as everyone realized the song they were going to end their set with was “Crave You”! I think I speak for a lot of people when I say “Crave You” introduced me to Adventure Club, and it will always bring up all the feels. Adventure Club was a feel-good dance party from start to finish, and I was left feeling such a sense of euphoria.

 

My other favorite of the weekend had to be G Jones. I’ve seen G jones a few times now, and I feel like each time he still somehow manages to surprise me with his set. This time around, (maybe it was just because I was riding the rails) it was the most bass in my face set I have ever experienced from him. The bass was vibrating through my body to the point where I just felt frozen in place, with a permanent stank face on. The whole time I was thinking, yup, this bass is swallowing me up. I felt like I could stay lost there forever, without really knowing what time it was or where I was, completely taken over by the bass. Thank you G Jones for such a memorable set!

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I have to mention DC Breaks as they were my surprise of the weekend! I had never heard of them before, but they ended up being a really fun drum and bass sound. Highlight of the set was when the singer made eye contact with me, jumped down right in front of where I was standing, and handed me the Titos bottle he was chugging from! Too funny!

 

Bassrush was such a fun event with beautiful people in attendance! Everyone was so nice, and I always felt like I had enough room to dance and move around. No one was pushing or shoving to get to the front, which can be so prevalent at EDM events. Great job to Insomniac for putting on such a fun event with a dope lineup! We had the best time dancing and headbanging to the point where we were all sore the next day. One for the books!

 

Lightning in a Bottle 2018 FULL RECAP

If you read our hype post for Lightning in a Bottle this year, then you know it is our most highly anticipated event. Four days in the desert with a lake right there, what could be better??! We were so excited to hear that the level of Lake San Antonio was high enough to swim in, even though it was much lower than last year. Having a lake at a festival is a game changer for many reasons, and we took full advantage by getting our float on in our ridiculously large floaties!

Lightning in a Bottle, a festival by Do LaB, is known for being about more than the music, featuring workshops, yoga, and many interactive structures and places to play! Some of our favorite structures this year were the spinning orb “Zoa” (which actually broke off one of the days and had to be reattached), Grandma’s House (a shrine to retreat to and meditate in), the Hideout structure (which you could climb in to view the whole fest), and the ferris wheel! There were also some interactive events planned like the Soap-Box Derby, where contestants create their own crazy vehicles and race down a huge hill on Saturday! There was always so much going on as you walked through the festival, like live painters and even fire spinners. The festival goers themselves were even their own works of art, as people really go all out with their outfits. LIB is a place where you can truly express yourself, and we loved seeing the crazy outfits people have come up with or created themselves.

 

Even though Lightning in a Bottle is known for being about more than just the music, they featured an amazing lineup this year, with artists from MK to Giraffage to Tokimonsta to Anderson Paak, and everything played in between. We’ll be reviewing some of our favorite artists below, but I wish we had time to review so many more people!

Entering the Festival

One thing LIB always does well is get people into the festival quickly, trying to get people off the roads as much as they can. Our group got into line around 11 am and it probably only took us around an hour to get into the festival and to our camping spot! I was pretty impressed by how quickly we got in. What I was not impressed with is how they got rid of free-form camping this year. LIB has always been a festival where you find a spot wherever you’d like, and take up as much room as your group needs. There have never been assigned spaces or people telling you where to go. This year was completely different, making me feel like LIB has gotten one too many tips from Coachella. We were directed to our spot, and the volunteers wouldn’t let us drive anywhere else to see if there was more space elsewhere. We were then squished in next to other cars as close as they could get us. We had to fight for more space, trying to explain to the volunteers that we had ten people’s worth of tents to set up, even though we only had two cars. One volunteer in particular was pretty rude to us, mocking us for needing more space. Thankfully we were able to get the amount of space we needed, but it was a weird way to start off the festival, leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

We realized after failed attempts to get the rest of our group to our campsite, that they had camped us in the lakebed. We weren’t even on the map! We had been giving our group wrong directions the whole time as we were under the assumption that we were the last camping area before the lake. There were no marked streets, no water stations, and barely enough restrooms. I was pretty disappointed that LIB would camp people in areas not even set up for camping just to cram more people in.

Even though it was a weird start, we were ready for some music! Below we’ve reviewed some of our favorites.

Buyepongo

Our group was walking across the bridge on Friday night, headed toward the Thunder stage. At this point we didn’t have anyone in particular we wanted to see and were hoping to stumble upon someone good. All of a sudden we hear what sounded like cumbia music coming from the Beacon on our left. Jess and I took one look at each other, yelled YES, and took off sprinting toward it. Our group had no choice but to take off after us (sorry not sorry). We proceeded to stumble upon an amazing, latin-infused, ridiculously upbeat dance party! The band (we didn’t find out their name until the very end of the set) had many live instruments playing while the lead singer kept us all involved with chants and shout outs. This isn’t your traditional cumbia band; there were elements of cumbia, merengue, and African beats, all blended into a style they call “buyangu”. We danced hard, we danced fast, and we left that place thinking, this is the magic of LIB. Discovering bands you had no idea existed or ever thought would be playing at a festival like this, that’s the magic!

GRiZ

Oh GRiZ…you seriously have my heart. Both your music and your personality are just so genuine that I think you’d have to be a heartless, tone deaf alien to not fall in love. I’ve seen GRiZ and Muzzy perform together on stage countless times at this point (can we please be bffs?!) and by the end of each set I just want more…honestly I could listen to their music nonstop and never get tired of it. GRiZ started off his set at the Lightning stage with a bang, like always. His energy and music is just so personable and upbeat it was no surprise to see everyone around me in that super packed crowd jumping up and down and vibing to the feel good music. He was constantly killin’ it on the sax while Muzzy would be jammin’ and shredding the guitar throughout the set, adding to the electronic funkiness that we all know and love so much. What I really appreciated about GRiZ’s set was that it wasn’t predictable; many artists that tour may play the same type of set when they go to festivals and concerts, and having gone to many GRiZ shows, I could tell that he was mixing things up and keeping the crowd on their toes.

I don’t know how one can make the perfect blend of brassy goodness with hard hitting upbeat electronic notes, but GRiZ does it with ease. GRiZ and Muzzy looked to be having the time of their lives as they danced around on stage playing such loving and animated music for all of us to groove to. They even did some funky remixes and had everyone dancing to the songs of the ‘70s, which was both invigorating and refreshing since everyone in the crowd was into it, no one had any judgements or negative vibes. That is one important factor about GRiZ and the music he creates, the people and crowd that are attracted to his music are full of love and acceptance, just wanting to have a good time with all those around them. GRiZ does a fantastic job making sure that music goers understand his music and environment is a safe space for all walks of life, and I can tell he is doing a beautiful job holding that platform true. The big screens on the side of the stage were constantly flashing a collage of images that all centered around fighting injustice and coming together for peace and love, and I can’t think of anyone more appropriate to spread this message than GRiZ. Besides the set being flawless, musically speaking, it was also a full-on experience. Every festival attendee who had the pleasure of listening to GRiZ’s set that Friday night walked away feeling wholesome and optimistic for what’s to come, whether that be in life, at the festival, or just for that night…GRiZ makes sure we have all been touched by the power of music, every time.

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Glitch Mob

I’ve had an unhealthy (or very healthy depending how you look at it) obsession with The Glitch Mob ever since my first LIB in 2016. When I was listening to the lineup, I realized all 3 members were going to be there, but as their other musical projects. Ooah and edIT had a set together, Panytraid closed out Sunday night, and Boreta had a surprise set at the Pagoda bar. Then in 2017 when they made a surprise appearance at edIT’s set, I about lost it. I have been patiently waiting for them to be on a LIB lineup officially, so this year they were my most anticipated set. To make it even better, they had just released their new album in three years, “See Without Eyes” which I thoroughly enjoyed. They managed to take their music in a different direction while staying true to their glitchy sound.

This was the only set of the whole weekend that I showed up early to in order to get right up to the front, I wasn’t messing around! The stage was set up with these huge gears in the background, with three touch-screen dj stands set up, and drums next to each of them. The lights go off, the lights start changing colors, and the glitchy goodness begins to vibrate through my soul. They start off into Fortune Days, asking us if we are ready. The crowd cheers (because how could we not be ready?!), and here we go. They alternate between who is playing the drums versus djing, and you can just see how into the set they’re getting. We’re all right there with them, lost in the music, dancing way too hard. My favorite part of seeing The Glitch Mob has always been how you can feel their music penetrate you and vibrate through your whole body. You’re not just listening with your ears, you’re experiencing it with your whole body. If you haven’t had the chance to see them live, you need to! They absolutely killed it, making them arguably one of the best sets of the whole weekend.

NAO

Can we talk about NAO, please?! Like…where have you been my whole life?! Not only was she one of the artists I was unfamiliar with until I got to the festival, but she is a serious force to be reckoned with, and I am so disappointed in myself for not finding her in the music world earlier. A goddess. A powerhouse. Her voice…holy shit. I get emotional just thinking about her set because of how powerful her lyrics are and how on point her voice is. Our group had done a lot of wandering and exploring after Tokimonsta’s set and were wanting to get a clear ear shot of NAO’s performance. We decided that instead of being in the crowd at the Lightning stage, where she would be performing, we would be all the way back by one of the crossing bridges near the vendors on that same patch of land and post up there; i’m so happy we did that. NAO begins her set and we are all speechless and amazed. Even from all the way back there the sound was so strong we could hear her sing perfectly and even hear the band with no issues.

Her voice is both angelic and emotional, wrapping around you and giving you a sense of both ease and desire with its unique sound. Her sound is soulful, with notes of r&b and even funk at times, and it just made me want more and more from her. As we sat and watched from afar I could see how entranced my group also was in her set, which seemed very significant to me due to our group enjoying all different types of genres…but NAO was the one style of artist that we could all love and appreciate. What made me respect NAO even more was that during the middle of her set she began to sing her song “Bad Blood”, and less than a minute in she stopped the band, stopped singing, and told the crowd that she didn’t think the sound was up to par with what she was wanting to give us and thus began to redo the song! Having an artist know what a song should sound like, being strict with wanting to give nothing but perfection, and actually deciding to start over at a live set is something that is rare to find nowadays! That really made my mind up, NAO’s performance was one of my favorite performances I’ve ever witnessed at a festival or concert.

CloZee

We had just gotten into line for the small ferris wheel when I realized CloZee’s set had begun. Though I was initially wanting to see CloZee’s entire set I was happily surprised to notice, once on the ferris wheel, that the sound quality was so on point I was easily able to listen to the beginning of her set. Once finished with our ride we briskly walked over the the Thunder stage to see CloZee perform and oh man was it a fun set to listen and dance to. First off, the crowd was huge but we had no troubles wiggling our way deeper into the stage and found a comfortable spot near what I believe to be the sound control booth. Though distant from the stage I could still see CloZee on stage swaying to her music while smiling as she witnessed all of us LiB attendees grooving to her eastern and tribal influenced electronic music.

She played all my favorites, never missing the beats of the Japanese rooted sounds she and I love so much, and always allowing the instrumentals within her songs to tell the crowd a story. The bass was also so fun and intense, but in a good and not overwhelming kind of way! During parts of her set, the bass would vibrate the wall of the sound control booth, and I couldn’t help but move closer to it, wanting to feel the vibrations and dive further into a trance. Besides the beautifully engaging music she gave us, CloZee also brought out fire spinners who did a wonderful job exciting the crowd with their skill, using high end lasers throughout the set. It was a magically hypnotizing performance that left me wanting more.

Zhu

After Clozee’s set I was even more excited to see what Zhu had in store for us on our last night at LiB. Our group took a quick bathroom and water station break and then headed over to the Lightning stage to prepare ourselves for the sounds of Zhu. The stage was packed; it was very difficult to get anywhere within the designated area for that stage, but we managed to squeeze ourselves onto the right side of the stage and essentially be in the front. The stage lit up and the lights began to go on and off in a dimmed pattern until finally the music begun, a darker downtempo vibe that I can only describe as both seductive and trance-like. The video screens would show silhouettes of Zhu, the sax player and guitarist in strobe style fashion as the music progressed into a full blown hard-hitting underground/ industrial vibe, both exciting and intriguing the crowd.

He played a few songs from his latest album, Ringos Desert Pt 1, which showed a much more intense and haunting side of Zhu than we are used to. At the same time, it was so refreshing to hear these new songs in a live setting and see all the realms of entertainment Zhu can bring forth to us. The sax, guitar and piano were three components that really pushed the set to perfection. The crowd would be flowing into the mysterious tunnel Zhu was leading us into, and then one of these instruments would come out in full force, leaving us melting in response to this beautiful fusion of both live and progressive electronic music. He played all his classics and even remixed a couple classics by adding more sax into the beat to really set the mood. He even played a few songs that he had remixed from other artists and surprisingly added a trap style influence to the songs and/or would add a sense of rock to the songs. Somehow the music still blended together so well. His set was both moody and addicting and I loved every second of it. Good job, Zhu.

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Con Brio

Con Brio is a group that I had been wanting to see for quite some time. I was bummed out when I couldn’t see them perform in San Francisco for this past New Years but I was determined to make their set at LiB, even if it was late at night and on the last day of the festival. Con Brio, musically, means “with spirit” or “with vigor” and boy do they bring that energy tenfold. After Zhu’s set finished at the Lightning stage I convinced the remaining members of my group who were out to rush over to the Grand Artique where Con Brio would be playing so they too could experience the liveliness of this band. This band is one of the most alive and energetic bands I think I have ever experienced in my life; they fully engulf themselves into their music and you can see how much passion they have for the sounds they’re creating. The lead singer, Ziek, had a very memorable and interactive stage performance; whether it was flips, dancing next to his bandmates, or doing dance moves that brought us all back to the Michael Jackson and James Brown times, he kept our attention and had us hypnotized.

One thing about rock & roll soul music that makes it so special is that it really is infectious! The brass instruments flowing through the air, the beautiful singing, the drum and guitars fusing it all together in harmony…you can’t not go into a full body groove as the music fills your soul. Con Brio even let people get on stage! About three quarters of the way through the two hour set Ziek started grabbing girls at the front of the stage and let them dance right next to him. The friendly energy was so exciting to see and the bandmates were all the more happy to share the stage with fans that truly loved the music they were playing. Another factor that made me appreciate the band that much more was that each was able to have a mini solo on stage during their set and it all seemed to work in their favor. By the end of the set there were dozens of people on the stage, shaking their booties while smiling and laughing at the whole experience. Con Brio finished the set horns blazing, drums vibrating the stage, and Ziek doing a flip and ending in the splits. My cheeks were sore from smiling the whole set but I was so in love and so satisfied with the weekend coming to an end like that. I turned to my friends and they all just looked amazed, one asking, “why aren’t they on the mainstage?” and I just smiled and knew I had succeeded in showing my friends what fire this style of music brings to the world. Con Brio, thank you for lighting up my last night at LiB, I can’t wait to see you again.

Rollerblading

A brand new interactive area this year was a roller rink called Rink Dink. It was set up on the ramp next to the ferris wheel, giving you an amazing view of the festival as you skated. I was so happy to hear that it was free to skate, meaning all I needed to do was sign a waiver and tell them my shoe size! The rink was 80’s themed, featuring all of your favorite musical hits and even a disco ball! This was definitely one of my favorite moments of the festival, getting to skate with everyone all dressed up in their festival outfits, and seeing everyone acting like a little kid again!

 

Kritter Klips Photoshoot! ✨✨

One of our favorite moments of the festival was being part of a photoshoot for Kritter Klips, one of our favorite vendors! The shoot was done by the sweet and talented James, who owns James R. Photography. We had so much fun with all of them that we will be covering this in a separate review for Kritter Klips!

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Themed Days

We wanted to make this year a little more fun and decided to coordinate themed outfit days for our group. Our 10 person crew did not disappoint! We came out full force Thursday night in our 80’s outfits all ready to hit up 80’s Prom at the Favela Bar with Kraddy and Patricio. Dancing the night away to 80’s and 90’s hits was the perfect start to our weekend! Friday night was onesie night, so we got to spend the night frolicking around the festival like the animals we are. We were so pleasantly surprised to see many other groups also decide to rock onesies that night, meaning the festival was overflowing with creatures! Saturday was tie dye day, and we finally got to show off all the great tie dye we had made ourselves!

 

White Library

I first saw the White Library in 2017 and was so glad to see that it was brought back! The structure has beautiful art on the outside of the white walls and has no roof, with multiple entrances. The inside is left blank, a canvas ready for festival goers to write inspirational quotes, feelings, or anything they can think of! There’s something liberating about writing your thoughts on the wall, knowing they will be anonymous and most likely read by others later on. It’s also great to return to the White Library later on in the festival and see what everyone else has written! I was very disappointed to learn that this year people ended up tagging the outside of the White Library with spray paint, ruining the beautiful art. The tagging was so bad that the creator decided they will not be bringing this interactive area back next year. This is yet another example of the culture of LIB starting to change as the festival gets bigger and attracts different types of people. As the festival continues to grow, LIB is going to have to think of how to maintain the ethos that they’re known for. How do we get people who’ve never experienced this festival before to contribute to the respect, love, and community that is LIB?

No Trace Event

I was very disappointed by the amount of trash that was leftover at the end of this weekend. LIB has always been a no trace event, instilling the motto of “Pack it in, Pack it out.” Essentially, if you were able to bring it in with you, you can take it back out (including your trash!) LIB had waste sorting areas near the entrances where you could drop off your trash for free if it was sorted, or for a small fee if it was not. I thought this was so great of the festival to have these resources, and I was shocked at the amount of people that just left their trash at their site or by the restrooms. It seems like every year as the festival gets bigger, the trash problem gets worse as well. I remember at the beginning of 2016, LIB had volunteers going around camp to camp informing people that LIB was a no trace event and giving tips on sorting trash. They also had volunteers going around Monday morning doing those same reminers. This was a great way to spread awareness, and it’s unfortunate it was not done again this year. This might also just be due to how much the festival has grown even just since 2016.  Shout out to the Green Team and Trash Pirates for all they did to clean up the festival and leave it better than before!

 

To sum this up, LIB was amazing, healing, and reviving. I think this festival will always hold a special place in our hearts and will always be the festival to beat. If you’ve never gotten to experience LIB, we highly encourage it! But take the time to understand all this festival has to offer, and experience more than the music and partying. Go to a workshop, visit the interactive areas, spread the love!

That’s a wrap on 2018!

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