Every music festival carries a unique reputation. They develop stories based on the collective experiences of their attendees.
All of the rumors and I had heard in an anticipation of my first experience at South Lake Tahoe’s SnowGlobe included two things: snow and great music.
When I arrived in South Lake Tahoe, I was immediately concerned with what I saw. Something was missing from the spectacular view of the lake. There wasn’t a drop of snow.
Ski runs looked unskiable. The final miles of the drive felt surprisingly comfortable with the windows down. If my car would even make the final miles of the drive at all was something I had worriedly pondered the entire way drive over from the Bay Area, and rode on with absolute ease.
I began to worry that I had been misled. But with encouragement from a new crew that I quickly bonded with, as only a music festival can allow, and made the journey to South Lake Tahoe Community College to kick-off the weekend.
Friday’s lineup appeared the weakest on paper heading into the festival but truly delivered a spectacular opening night. Early performances from Louis Futon, The Floozies and Khalid got fans grooving right away before the Grammy award-winning and internationally renowned DJ and producer Zedd blew the roof off.
His primetime performance included some of the weekend’s most complex and exhilarating visuals along with an endless stream of fan-favorite tracks
The stage was set for what should have been an all-time show from La Flame himself, Travis Scott. Even after fifteen minutes of waiting, anxious fans seemed ready to explode by the time the Hucho Jack co-collaborator burst on stage. They were disappointed when he left with 15 minutes left in his scheduled set time; however, and only after stringing together brief, though energetic, cuts from various tracks off the 2017 collab album with the Migos’ Quavo, along with various singles from previous albums.
Luckily, fans had plenty left in store for the night with killer performances on the two secondary stages. Troyboi threw down a groovy trapfest, as he is oft to do on the outdoor Sierra stage, with its colored-block visuals rotating amongst the forest in the background while Tycho melted the crowd in the Igloo tent. With the single disappointment from Scott among the absolute parties held throughout the first day, I knew this festival would still live up to all of the hype I had heard previously and couldn’t wait for Saturday.
Day two brought more wonderful vibes, a little more mud and a lot more onesies. K?D stood out in the early performances, rocking the Sierra stage prior to a long stretch of powerful main stage shows. Porter Robinson delivered with the hardest of any set I had ever experienced from him in exactly the fashion I’d hoped for following the release of his debut Virtual Self album in early December. Later on, Dillon Francis delivered an hour of nonstop, Tahoe-shaking drops before Madeon closed down the main stage with a show that couldn’t have felt more fluid in its set planning and well-timed visuals.
That it was New Year’s Eve only added to the promise of an unforgettable Day Three that lay in wait Sunday. The likes of Joyzu, DROELOE, Quinn XCII and Petit Biscuit ignited the crowds in the early performances before Snakehips and ultimately Gryffin brought the energy to a peak that would ride well into the early hours of 2018.
One of the most highly anticipated shows of the festival, San Holo on the Sierra stage, delivered on all of my expectations with crowd-pleasing drops of canon tracks We Rise and Light, as well a few surprise jam sessions on his guitar.
E-40, Jai Wolf and Oliver kept the energy level high heading into the final shows of the weekend and the countdown to the new year as nearly every fan in the venue made their way to the main stage for headliner Alison Wonderland.
The Aussie DJ and producer left everyone in awe with her stunningly dark but perfectly calculated visual transitions and back-breaking drops. Mixing her own classic originals like Run, I Want U, and Messiah, along with incredible remixes of tracks such as Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, Blink 182’s What’s My Age Again and Benny Bennassi’s Cinema, her midnight set was truly one of the most memorable performances I have ever witnessed.
I was disappointed in not getting to see SnowGlobe and Lake Tahoe in all of its snow-covered glory, but both were everything I could have asked for. Festivals, like life, are only as great as the friends you experience it all with and the attitude you bring towards them. The three days of escape into the joy, beauty and endless bass at SnowGlobe will definitely bring me back again. We thank them for allowing us to cover this unparalleled NYE experience once again and will be counting down for another year to come. Maybe with some rubber boots next time, just in case.
Story and Photos by: Aaron Nelson