Though I had a great time at White Wonderland down here in sunny SoCal, not attending SnowGlobe Festival was one of my biggest bummers to begin the new year. The three-day festival was one of the first large scale [snow x music] festivals available to California residents (that I know of) and seamlessly mixed electronic music with the California-heavy snow sports culture (which has historically always been associated with alternative and rock music). The amazingly stacked line-up included the likes of Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, The Glitch Mob, and more.
Luckily, my good friend Will was in attendance and was awesome enough to write a thorough recap of the inaugural SnowGlobe Festival in South Lake Tahoe. Thanks, Will, for letting me live vicariously through you. With enough luck, you’ll find me at this March’s Snowball Festival in Vail, Colorado!
Heading out from the safe and comfortable grasp of LA to celebrate New Years for the first time ever for me was an intimidating thought, but the line-up and enticing location of the first ever SnowGlobe Festival (coupled with my lack of anticipation for any of the scheduled LA events) gave me pretty strong hope the reward would be worth the risk.
SnowGlobe boasted one of the best bass music line-ups I’ve ever seen in California (or most of the US for that matter). After an intense 9-hour drive up to Lake Tahoe, we settled in at the South Lake Tahoe Community College where the show was located, literally minutes from the gorgeous lake. The school’s football field, which was surrounded by ancient pine trees and art installations, served as the main stage and was quite a sight to see. The other two sizable tents were located past the main stage and through the vending section, which featured many homegrown food/drinks including handmade pizza, specialty coffee drinks, and many other delicious foods and beers.
The first thing I noticed about SnowGlobe was the atmosphere and the people. The distinct lack of neon, skimpy, and glowing clothing was amplified by attire that could only be described as “survival gear” in the form of ski jackets, beanies, and scarves. The forecast said temperatures would be around 22-degrees during the headliners, but this didn’t put a damper on the electric mood of the attendees. After traveling for hours, many people were eager to mingle with the other festival goers whom they’d be seeing for the next three days, and the necessary use of venue-supplied shuttles gave people an easy way to travel to and from the event.
On to the Music:
One of the more thorough line-ups of dubstep, glitch, alternative, and more to hit the festival circuit, SnowGlobe set the bar high with headliners Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, the Glitch Mob, Porter Robinson, Thievery Corporation, and many more, packing some of the top of the game into three days of bass music.
The first day started off well with Kraddy and Dillon Francis each playing immense sets for their early time slots. Pretty Light’s headlining set didn’t quite provide the intensity the big crowd was craving for the last show of the night, but Porter Robinson more than made up for it with his set right before PL.
Changing the vibe up from dub with one of the best electro house set’s I’ve heard to date, Tiesto’s 19-year old protégé showed why he is one of the biggest names in dance music today, dropping mashup after mashup and many tracks from his new EP.
Big Gigantic’s live set brought the soulful vibe to the main stage with their live drums/saxaphone, and Dom showed why they have been blowing up so fast in this scene.
Day Two started with a bang, featuring French wunderkind Madeon, turntablist expert A-Trak, surprise guests Helicopter Showdown, and some amazing lyricism from Dilated Peoples and Theophilus London. As the epic day came to a close, Bassnectar showed Tahoe why he has been one of the most influential basshead’s for the last decade. His heartstopping subbasses and beautiful melodies shined as he dropped tracks like “Timestretch,” “Upside Down,” and, for the first time, his new remix of the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic.”
The biggest set of the night, however, was that of Datsik, who played a nonstop dubstep/glitch/DnB set that had the crowd going until the very end. Some of his most memorable songs were the Funtcase remix of “Swagga,” his new collab with Infected Mushroom, and the unveiling of his insane new remix of the Skrillex/Kaskade joint “Lick it.”
New Years Eve felt more like just trying to survive SnowGlobe Day Three than anything, but once again, the line-up was enough to get anyone pumped for the show. Robotic Pirate Monkey, a trio from Colorado and one of my “Artists to Watch” in 2012, started the day off right with their trademark free-flowing style of mixing dropped epic remix after epic remix and layering nearly every song with an acapella.
Following their performance was a much more mellow but equally as compelling show from Emancipator. Combining epic indie-atmospheric EDM with a live violinist on an outdoor stage surrounded by huge trees and the steam rising from the cold and weary, but energized crowd evoked such a beautiful feeling that this set easily found itself among my favorites from SnowGlobe.
After Emancipator finished, however, it was back to the bass business for Samples, who played my favorite set of the night. Dropping a set that was nearly 100% his originals, he played hit after hit of his remixes and had the biggest crowd in the smallest tent I saw all weekend. Thievery Corporation’s groovy live set was entertaining but took place towards the end of the night and was no match for the epic time-slot conflict of Figure and Paper Diamond. Each played insanely high-intensity sets of electro and dubstep, but the drumstep king Figure took the crown. Monster bassline after monster bassline kept the crowd jumping and warm all the ’til he closed with his signature remix of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”
The Glitch Mob was the last act of the weekend, and they ushered in the new year with their epic live glitch performance. The three members, each with their own iPad, midi controllers, and midi drum set, tore up the crowd with a whole new level of live electronic dance music. The new year came in with a bang, and Glitch Mob ended their set with their epic remix of the White Stripe’s “Seven Nation Army.”
Overall, the weekend was one of the best events I’ve ever attended. The security/promotion companies kept the festival running very smoothly minus the first night’s lines for tickets/shuttles, but both problems were fixed by Day Two. The amount of beautiful, friendly people in the naturally stunning landscape gave the music a surreal quality, though to be fair, the lack of actual snow gave the festival the nickname “DirtGlobe” by Day Three. This is certainly an event you do not want to miss in the future if you want to be on the cutting edge of the bass music scene (check out their upcoming Colorado event, SnowBall).