New Years Eve for music heads like us equates to massive festivities with the EDM stars of our choosing. With so many phenomenal NYE lineups for festivals and clubs there comes a time when we have to decide where to hesitantly blow our paychecks. After feasting our eyes on Snowglobe‘s beautifully crafted roster of artists it was no question that we would be kicking off 2015 in South Lake Tahoe for this icy experience.
We landed in Tahoe after driving over 450 miles from Los Angeles. We’ve seen plenty of what SoCal festivals have to offer so it was about time to venture outside of our comfort zone. The anticipation really hit once we made our way through the snow covered mountains surrounding the gargantuous lake. Slowly the temperature began to crawl down reaching a spine tingling 16 degrees; we knew we were in for something out of the ordinary.
The festival was hosted at a community college with the main stage taking place on the football field. Upon arrival we noticed everyone was dressed like ravers with bright colors and fuzzy gear, but this time it was overlapping layers of ski wear. There were tons of white trees around the festival giving it a natural holiday feel. We began the first day with Woolymammoth and The Schmidt, two locals from San Francisco. Wooly threw down some bass heavy trap and dubstep beats in the Sierra Tent. Right off the bat everyone was dancing like crazy either because they were stoked to be at Snowglobe or because they were cold; maybe both? The Igloo stage where The Schmidt was spinning was way warmer since it was a smaller tent that was covered at all ends. This stage was dedicated to deep house and Schmidty did an awesome job to kick the party in motion with some epic future house.
Later on we went to checkout the downtempo artist Emancipator with his ensemble performance on the main stage. It’s always great seeing live bands perform at electronic based festivals. These guys set it off right with some chill soul inspired music utilizing their live hip-hop drummer. Afterwards we put on our rage faces for one of our favorite rising trap artists: Party Favor. This guy has been releasing track after track of fire with an odd production quality apparent in all his work. The best part about Party Favor’s set was his ability to mix different genres in different ways. At this point we’ve all heard the big DJs going along the buildup, drop, breakdown and repeat routine, but Party Favor’s set was not following these generic structures making it a fun and unpredictable set. The highlight was when he threw in Kendrick Lamar’s Backseat Freestyle and abruptly dropped into Baauer’s edit of RL Grime and What So Not’s Tell Me without any buildup.
After some awesome performances by Disclosure and Bro Safari we went to the center of the main stage field to wait for the madman behind West Coast bass music and leader of the now ironic brostep scene, of course we’re talking about Sonny Moore a.k.a. Skrillex (a.k.a. Grillex). He began the night by taking us there with some Jack U and continuing with a bunch of gut wrenching trap and dubstep. He was constantly teasing samples and dropping edits making it difficult to follow. At some point he built up Turn Down For What and dropped something 10x filthier along with the vocal sample from Try It Out, his track with Alvin Risk. The energy level was complete madness while Skrillex dropped banger after banger of greatness. Our favorite moment of his set was when he dropped the classic Beastie Boys track Intergalactic only adding to the spacey theme of the set. About midway through his set Sonny instructed the audience to put their fingers up like if they’re about to shoot a laser beam, then when the drop hit actual lasers shot out into the sky. As if this wasn’t cool enough it also began snowing making it a surreal way to end the first night.
After snowing all night we came back to the festival being completely covered in snow. The weather reached extreme lows making it the all time coldest we’ve ever been…ever. The weird thing is that the colder day got everyone even more stoked making the energy levels even higher. We caught some funky smooth electronic music by the London based duo Snakehips. After that we caught some classically influenced complextro beats by Overwerk in the side tent.
After that the L.A. based trap producer Djemba Djemba hit the decks opening up with Caribou’s track Second Chance. Djemba is pretty much the man who introduced me to trap music at an underground club in Los Angeles. After catching him perform several times in my hometown it was pretty cool seeing him out at this festival. Djemba brought the beat scene style into his set but also dropped some great festival appropriate remixes like a dirty rendition of Danny Brown’s Lie4.
The rest of the night was spent at the main stage for a block of our most anticipated performances. Phantogram played when the sun came down with a surprisingly upbeat performance. Their set had a lot of hip-hop tempo beats that translated well over the large sound system. The danceable bass was overlapped with gloomy vocals by lead singer Sarah Barthel and ambient noise from Josh Carter. They played tracks from both their albums closing it off with When I’m Small. We met the group as they ran from backstage into the artist lounge looking like they were about to freeze into ice cubes.
Throughout the night we were treated to some extreme sports via the massive ramp near the main stage. Professional skiers and snowboarders launched through the air while a hype man got the crowd going for them. Near the ramp was a tent with tables, a bar, and a miniature stage powered by cyclist energy. Across the way there was the VIP tent that was lined up with heaters making for a cozy view of the main stage. In between the main stage and the Sierra Tent was perhaps the coolest spot in the festival: a brigade of giant hammocks hung up on the pines perfect for resting in between sets. Overall it was a comfortable festival setup that accommodated for the weather while remaining organized throughout the 3 days.
The final act we witnessed on the second night was Porter Robinson as he headlined with his Worlds live show. This was probably the best set of the weekend for many reasons. First of all his Worlds album is a complete masterpiece having made it to our Top 10 Albums of 2014 List. His show went through our favorite tracks from the record which sounded even more epic on the big stage. He transitioned between tracks with mystical ambience all themed with Japanese cartoon samples. It came as a surprise when Porter threw down some of his older hits like Easy and Say My Name but remixed them in a new indie style to fit the rest of his set. Even though it wasn’t the usually electro house set that Porter normally performs, the energy of the crowd was just as hyped. His bass heavy style and catchy melodic progressions were something out a dream and it was the absolute best set we could have asked for to close the second night.
So far the festival had been getting better and better but out of the 3 days the final day of New Years Eve topped it all. Tasty Treat kicked it off with some banging chill trap and jersey club, eventually throwing down a trippy remix of Danny Brown’s Blunt After Blunt (notice how much Danny was dropped at this festival). Later on we came back to this stage for Trippy Turtle’s set where he threw down one of the hyphiest jersey sets we’ve ever witnessed. His mixing was extremely seemless going through all of his biggest originals as well as a ton of recognizable tracks dropped with the east coast club style. Next came one of the bigger acts on the bill, electro house prodigy Zedd stepped on the stage to bring us a wild NYE worthy set. He threw in all of his popular originals with party mashups in between. After dropping some classics such as his Zelda theme remix and Empire of the Sun’s Alive his set came to an end leading us to What So Not in the side tent. This set was absolutely madness with trap bangers and throwbacks reaching the likes of R. Kelly and Beastie Boys. Emoh’s set as What So Not was possibly the best trap set we heard all weekend partly because of his unique track selection and killer mixing abilities, not to mention he snuck in a bit of deep house in there.
So far the night was going great and it only got better when we checked out Atmoshere’s set on the main stage. We walked in while he was performing God Loves Ugly bringing the crowd to another level as they bounced to the beats of this notorious hip hop duo. The best moment of their set was when Slug began free styling for the crowd rapping with great speed and emotional power. Their performance was a cool change of pace from all the EDM and with its end we prepared for the final act of Snowglobe, the Australian mastermind who has single handedly changed the game of electronic music.
Harley Streten, a.k.a. Flume, stepped on stage easily being the most anticipated performer of the entire festival. There’s something about his soul infused hip hop beats and gliding vocal samples that make the underground attitude relatable to fans of experimental, rave, and pop music alike. He is one artist that has been able to bridge gaps by the simple fact that his music is good and fun.
Flume opened up with Sleepless and traveled through his tracks with no rush at all, almost playing them out completely. What made it fun was his ability to mash them up since he possesses all the stems for the originals. After playing some What So Not tracks, his Lorde remix, and Insane, it was finally time for the countdown. Flume began with the string intro for his remix of Disclosure’s You and Me while the numbers began to countdown on the big screen. When it hit 0 fireworks blasted through the sky and Flume continued the track easily being one of the best New Years experiences we’ve ever witnessed.
Our three days spent at Snowglobe seemed like something out of a fairytale. The positive energy and dreamy snowfall made it an extreme adventure for the modern festival goer who has seen it all. If you’re looking to try something new and different then we would recommend a trip to Tahoe next year, don’t be surprised if you find us coming back for more!