New Year’s, the universal time of celebration, renewal, midnight kisses, fireworks, and dancing the years problems away with good friends, old and new. We experienced all of this and more when we ventured yet again into the windswept cold of South Lake Tahoe for our third round of what is quickly becoming a tradition amongst our ever expanding group of friends. Snowglobe will always hold a special place in my heart, and after taking last year off to party up in the Redwoods, I was excited to reunite with some old hooligans of mine and ring in the new year as only we could.
As soon as we hit the festival grounds sometime in the late afternoon, the first thing I did was make a quick mental note Sweet baby jesus mother of god it’s cold. It was, and it would only get colder as the night drew on; so dress warm kiddies, we certainly did. After a quick and easy check in with the media heads at the gym, and some additional cold weather defenses courtesy of my third-time’s-the-charm level of preparation, we refolded our tactile-necks and ventured forth into the festival.
It came as a mildly pleasant surprise to see everything relatively unchanged from the last year I had come. The main stage was still directly on your left as you entered, full adorned with every bell and whistle you could feasibly hustle out in this cold (it was a lot). This was still the only uncovered stage of the three on site; completely necessary due to size but a minor problem if you happened to be on the fringes when it got late and was, in the words of G Eazy, “seven fucking degrees outside.” But people in hell also want ice water, ironically enough, so we just made sure to stay towards the center of the crowd whenever we were out there. The Sierra and Igloo tents (where we spent most our time) were at the very back of the festival, past the two heated bars and sandwiching all the food trucks, pretty perfect if you ask us. There were also more heaters, we like that.
Once we got reacquainted with the grounds, things got hectic pretty damn quickly, so we’ve gone ahead and combed through the very best of who we saw during the course of this truly legendary, sold out weekend adventure, and compiled it below. This is our very best of Snowglobe 2016.
To say that day one started off with a bang is most definitely an understatement. With performances from Lafa Taylor, & Mailboux vs Blvk Sheep up first, on their respective stages, the energy bar was set high early. Things kicked off rather nicely Friday evening, as well, but the party didn’t really start until NGHTMRE took over the Sierra tent and made us all forget just how cold it really was out there. This guy has been an absolute powerhouse in 2015, easily claiming a spot in the top 5 breakout artists of the year in the hearts and minds of bassheads everywhere. Seeing him live is what really sealed the deal for me, though. His performances are so much fucking fun to experience, every single person left that set with a giant grin on their face, hungry for more debauchery.
On the first day, the Igloo tent was a complete and total Dirtybird takeover. This is where I, and many other like minded dirty house deviants, spent most of my most glorious evening, and it was everything I imagined it could be. From 3:30 to 11:30, Will Clarke, Justin Jay, J Phlip, Shiba San, Justin Martin, & Claude Vonstroke gave us exactly what we all needed, and we couldn’t get enough of it. Deep, dark, and dirty house music most certainly came through for the complete and total win on Friday night. If you don’t already, get to know this crew immediately.
One of the only other times I emerged from that wonderful house filled Igloo was to see the two legends, Diplo & Skrillex, put on a performance. And, oh my goodness did they perform. Say what you will about their off stage antics or some of their questionable musical decisions, but Jack Ü live is the truth. I’ve seen both of these guys separately and they have yet to disappoint, but never before had I seen them together as Jack Ü until that very moment. These guys are a force to be reckoned with, let me tell you. Their stage presence and track selection could not have been more lit, a most heady cocktail of shenanigans indeed. I laughed, I danced, I screamed, I believed in Harvey Dent.
Let me start off by saying that this girl’s set might have been the best of the whole weekend. Alison Wonderland captured our hearts and dancing shoes last year with the release of her album, Run, and has been on a whirlwind of a tour ever since, crushing shows left and right with her outstandingly bass heavy tunes and wondrous stage presence. The amount of people packed into the Sierra tent to see this young Australian native was quite frankly unreal. It took us half an hour to get to the center of the dancefloor, and once we were there, there was no going back – or forward for that matter; but that was perfectly fine because we were exactly where we needed to be. If you haven’t seen Alison rock the party yet, you have yet to truly experience just what that phrase really means.
Moving Castle Allstars
As a self-proclaimed sad kid and deeply embedded trap music industry nerd, the closest thing to heaven and/or my ideal natural habit all weekend had to have been this extended set by the Moving Castle Allstars. Thanks to the schedule shifts, Robokid and Yung Wall Street got to rock us all to pieces for almost two hours with an insane amount of special guests from their label throwing up tracks and hyping up the crowd to a fever pitch of excitement and feels that none of us will soon forget. So much yes in what felt like (but most definitely was not) such a short period of time.
Run The Jewels
If one group could successfully start a riot in the snow and freezing cold, it’s Run The F*cking Jewels. This unbelievably poignant, electro-trapstyle hip-hop group made up of Killer Mike and El-P has been a favorite of underground EDM community for quite some time, and this performance gave you every possible explanation as to why. Their lyrics, their beats, and their raw attitude and power, all come together onstage for an incredibly vibrant, and viscerally intellectual experience that is absolutely one of a kind. Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy would be very, very proud.
There’s only one group that I know of who’s live performance is capable of making you fall in love with house music all over again, and it’s Hotel Garuda. With Manila Killa and Candle Weather, at the helm of this wildly fun and soulful, high energy Deep House collab group, it’s literally impossible not to dance until you can’t no mo’. Probably our favorite House music performance of the weekend.
Of all the most beloved and incredibly talented goofballs in the upper echelon of EDM’s heirarchy, Dillion Francis has got to be our favorite. We’ve had the pleasure of following his antics and incredible musical growth for years along the a massive horde of die hard fans that make his shows even more insane than they already are. Anyone who wasn’t already a long time Dillon fan at the beginning of Snowglobe left with a whole new discography to drool over after Francis absolutely decimated the main stage. Hip-Hop, Trap music, and all mighty Moombhaton madness reigned supreme for an hour and a half, working the crowd into a fantastically hyped up frenzy of anticipation and joy as Dillion threw out some the filthiest, wildest, and most iconic tracks we heard all weekend. Truly glorious.
Voted most anticipated artists of the festival (they even got a trophy!), this fantastically unruly duo from down under did not disappoint in the slightest. They had the Sierra Tent packed almost as tight as Alison, and when you got within earshot it was exceedingly clear why. Banger after absurdly tasty banger crashed and smashed into the wildly roiling mass of screaming fans that had come to see some of their favorite anthems and learn some new ones. They absolutely crushed it. We want more.
What So Not
The biggest benefit to the schedule changes in our humble opinion was that What So Not got to play at midnight on New Years just weeks after the debut of the long awaited Gemini EP. Formerly consisting of Flume and Emoh Instead until early last year, What So Not has been caressing and moving our hearts ever since their debut a few years back. Their most recent album was a shining and fitting final testament to the work they’ve done together before the project moves on with just Emoh; and the reflection of that work, as well as of all the wonderful things to come, played front and center before all our smiling awestruck faces as the clock struck midnight and fireworks lit up the sky. It was pure magic.
Louis The Child
We would have stayed at What So Not until the very end if not for Louis the Child. A duo whose magical musical prowess caught the attention of celebrities like Lorde & Taylor Swift over the summer and thrust them suddenly, and deservedly, into the spotlight. Most of their songs might venture on gentler side of future bass, but their live set was peppered with all kinds of ridiculously groovy high bangers and hip hop remixes that went along perfectly with their masterfully crafted originals. Also when it came time, everyone and I mean everyone sang the words to “It’s Strange” to finish things off. Couldn’t have asked for a better ending to an incredible weekend.
So there you have it. That was the best of our Snowglobe, and we’d relive it all in a heartbeat. It was fun, it was magical, it was cold as f*ck and I came away with more crazy stories than you can shake a jar of fireball at. A special shout out and big thank you to all the staff and security who helped keeps things lit but not too lit all weekend long, we would have probably, quite literally been lost without you. Also so much love to each and every one of you fantastically amazing festival heads who made it out this year. We experienced and witnessed so much love and proper festival fam mentality it gave a bit of hope for this insane scene of ours. For our money, Snowglobe is definitely still the coolest place to ring in the new year. So until next time family; stay safe, be well, and for the love of god stay warm.
Photo Cred: Jorgensen Photography