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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How to survive Snowglobe

With New Years Eve quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about plans and where you’re going to spend it!

Hands down my favorite way to spend New Years has been at Snowglobe (I’m looking at you 2015 and 2016). It’s such a unique festival, being a winter festival in South Lake Tahoe! Most festivals are in the summer with warm weather, and I love how different this one is from all of that. Dancing outside in the snow surrounded by trees with fireworks going off is an amazing experience that everyone should have.

The biggest struggle of Snowglobe is figuring out how to dress for a cold weather festival so that a) you’ll survive through the night and b) you can still have fun with your outfits!

Each year I went to Snowglobe, I had friends complain about how cold it was and how they wouldn’t go back because of that. Now I’m the biggest baby when it comes to cold weather, and I’ve never had a problem at Snowglobe. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! You have to bring the right kind of layers.

You need to start with a good base layer made of wicking fabrics. A wicking layer draws sweat and moisture away from your body, making it easier for it to evaporate. This is crucial so that sweat doesn’t freeze to your body! Since you’re probably going to be dancing at Snowglobe (you better be!), you’ll want this layer. This layer needs to be snug on your body to make sure it actually picks up moisture. For my base layer I usually choose something made out of polyester that’s like a spandex/athletic shirt. I really like this long sleeve from amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075VK9T4C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This article was great  in terms of figuring out what kinds of fabric wick moisture and what the pros and cons of each were: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/underwear.html

Your mid layer is your insulating layer and provides warmth. It should be looser than your base layer so that it leaves insulating air between layers. A fleece works great for this and is pretty lightweight!

Lastly, you need a shell or outer layer. This is usually a ski or snow jacket that protects you from wind and water. This year for the first time I’m going to try a fur on one of the days, so stay tuned on how that works out for me.

This site does a good job of summing up the different layers if you want more resources:

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/layering-basics.html

Other essentials you want to bring include a scarf, beanie, gloves, and wool socks! I would also absolutely recommend bringing snow boots or at least waterproof shoes. There’s a waterproof spray you can buy and spray on your boots! I tried that one year and it worked just fine, but I’d still highly suggest snow boots over everything!  If your feet get cold or wet, you are seriously done for. Bring extra socks in case yours get wet!

A lot of people swear by handwarmers also, so if you get cold easily, think about scooping up some of these! Bonus tip, you can put some in your boots if your toes get cold!

So basically, I will be wearing a long-sleeve, a fleece jacket, and either a fur or snow jacket up top. For bottoms I will be wearing leggings that wick moisture, fleece-lined leggings over that, and then a fun bright pair of leggings over that! You could also just wear snow pants if you’re really worried about being cold (I did that both years I went and it worked great!). Then I have gloves, beanies/headbands, and scarves to choose from! I’ll also be rocking some LED jewelry for extra fun.

It’s better to have too many layers than not enough! Remember that you can always take layers off if you’re too warm. But trust me, when the sun goes down, you’ll be so grateful to have all of them.

Lastly, don’t forget lots of glitter 🙂

Here’s some of my crew from Snowglobe 2016 featuring my bright red snowsuit I scored at a thrift store for $3 (which I absolutely will be wearing again this year!) Stay warm and have fun friends 🙂 Remember to follow us on Instagram @festivalbabes2 if you want to see our Snowglobe adventures!

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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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