Day one of Snowglobe Music Festival 2012 was full of incredible performances, beautiful scenery, great people, and unfortunately – transportation nightmares. And in the end, the nerds brought more swag than the famed rapper. Here’s a recap of what went down.
To get to the venue, Lake Tahoe City College, most festivalgoers (myself included) purchased $35 shuttle passes. My stop was the Montbleu Casino, so my friends and I went over at about 3:30. There was a group of about 300 people standing at the side of the hotel with no clear line anywhere. After about 20 minutes of waiting and no sign of a shuttle, the crowd grew restless. I tried to find a Snowglobe employee, but none were to be found. Finally, after 45 minutes of waiting, four shuttles appeared. However since there was no line, the crowd pushed and shoved its way towards the doors. I was near the front, and was lifted off my feet for the last 10 feet onto the bus. It was a dangerous situation, but we were finally on our way.
The venue itself has three stages: Main Stage, the Sierra Tent, and the Techibeats.com tent. After getting through security, we headed towards the main stage for Big Gigantic. Their set started at 5, and due to the shuttle situation, we arrived at 5:30. It was an incredible intro to SnowGlobe. Hailing from Boulder, CO, the electrofunk duo is comprised of Jeremy Salken on drums and Dominic Lalli producing and playing the saxophone. And man did they put on a show. As soon as I walked up to the stage, in the middle of a snow-covered forest, I noticed that literally everyone in the crowd was dancing. The set ranged from originals like “Stronger,” and remixes from an incredible rendering of “I Need a Dollar,” to a cover of Doctor P’s “Louder.” By the time the set ended at 6:15, they had become one of my favorite live acts.
After Big Gigantic, we headed over to the Sierra Tent for 20 minutes of Clockwork. Having just seen RL Grime, I was familiar with the feel of Henry Steinway’s sets: craziness. This time, instead of insane trap, he mixed moombahton. The entire tent was off its feet the whole time. My one complaint is that the music wasn’t quite loud enough at the end of the tent, but once we got closer to the front, it was fine. Great vibes through and through.
This being a festival, we had to miss some sets, and we decided to see Beats Antique instead of the end of Clockwork. We went over to the main stage, ready for the Oakland, CA group to blow us away. And their set did just that. David Satori’s violin and guitar coupled with the drumming of Zoe Jakes and Tommy Cappel created an unearthly fusion of traditional Turkish music and modern electronica. Some highlights were the cover of “Whole Lotta Love,” when Lynx joined the band on stage, and ‘Revival.’ And, of course, the final song, when the band put on different animal masks and jumped around the stage before inflating a 30-foot long Giant Squid and dancing with it. Yes, that happened. And yes, Beats Antique joins Big Gigantic as one of my favorite acts.
It was now time for some astral dubstep. Minnesota, aka Christian Bauhofer, was playing the Sierra Tent, and he played a perfect set, mixing trap and seriously heavy dubstep. He had some serious swagger, and the crowd loved it. From his track “Push It” to a remix of “California Dreamin,” the dubstep was pristine. He also mixed in some hip-hop, with “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris and “Gobstopper” by Phigure making an appearance. One of the best dubstep artists I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to play his last song because he fell off of the table that he was standing on.
After Minnesota, the only music playing was Wiz Khalifa at the Main Stage. For a while, his set was pretty fun featuring your basic casual hip hop. After a bit, I realized that he really was just the face for a production team, as most of the songs had little actual rapping. Then, at about 9:20, I noticed that he was way out of it. He started telling some story about his ‘journey to Snowglobe’ with dramatic music playing in the background, then shouted, “What’s my name?” It was probably the biggest example of megalomania that I’ve ever seen. There were some guys standing on the side of the stage, who I thought were part of his posse. But ten minutes later, he started screaming at the crowd, and his production team shot a bunch of steam out at the crowd as he was grabbed and taken off stage. It happened so quickly that very few people noticed. His posse wasn’t a posse; they were his handlers. He literally acted like an animal. With the headliner leaving 30 minutes early, the crowd stood around for a bit, confused, then headed towards the shuttle lines.
The biggest problem was that there were no organized lines. There was a fence and a pathway through the snow, but the fences quickly fell, and people just walked through the snow. All of Snowglobe was fighting to get on to a few busses. Then, there were rumors of someone getting stabbed, as there was blood on the snow and an ambulance was called. I’m still not sure what happened there, but I do know that there was total chaos. After waiting for 40 minutes, my friends and I decided to try and call a cab as we did not want to be involved in a riot. But for some reason, no cab company picked up the phone. While we were waiting, we saw Minnesota right in front of us. Not only were Snowglobe attendees unable to get a ride, but an artist, scheduled to play an official after-party, was stuck in the snow. We decided to try and head back to the busses, and finally, at 11:20, got on a shuttle.
Overall, Snowglobe Festival was incredible. Not only was the music great, but the crowd was the best I’ve ever seen at any show. It’s only the second year of Snowglobe, and since the City Collegecampus is not exactly meant to be a festival venue, some glitches are to be expected. If they work out the shuttle mess gets worked for Day 2, this will definitely be the ultimate way to ring in the New Year.