Ringing in 2015 at Snowglobe Music Festival
Held in South Lake Tahoe, CA, December 29-31, Snowglobe Music Festival brought music lovers together for one of the few outdoor winter festivals out there. It was small, the lineup was huge, the weather was freezing, and the people were warm. There are 5 things in particular that stood out in this year’s fest:
Snowglobe’s lineup blows me away each year. This year’s unique lineup brought the likes of Disclosure, Skrillex, Phantogram, Atmosphere, Odesza, Porter Robinson, and a ton more. With three stages, the festival was very easy to navigate. Unlike many festivals that try and cram too much stuff in a small space, everything was scaled down creating a little music community.
Each artist’s set at Snowglobe seemed to go without a hitch. Disclosure played a DJ set with only one Lawrence brother that blew away the crowd on the first night of the fest. I was a little worried that a DJ set would be lackluster, but I was proven wrong within the first few minutes. Skrillex came immediately after, and for the first time in history, he played music more than he spoke to the crowd. I couldn’t help but give a tip of the hat to that closing set the first night, it was well worth staying at the Main Stage that evening.
The second night brought one of my favorite bands of 2014, Phantogram. By the second day of the festival, the temperature had dropped heavily and Sarah described their set as the “coldest show we’ve ever done.” However the cold didn’t seem to change the fact that the group is extremely talented, Sarah and Josh’s vocals never shuttered, each track showcasing their flawless songwriting skills both musically and lyrically. After Phantogram at the Main Stage, the crowd had a little time before Flux Pavillion’s set. By the time the crowd made it to the Sierra stage nearby, Branchez was firing up his famous remix of “High You Are” by What So Not. The high energy brought by Branchez was a perfect build to everyone’s return to the Main Stage for Flux Pavillion. Having not seen Flux in over a year, it was a perfect set to bring me back to the dubstep scene. Donning a letterman’s jacket and looking a little bit stoic, Flux’s set spoke what his expressions did not, and the entire crowd had a chance to dance and warm up. Back at the Sierra stage, Classixx brought the grooves before Odesza blew the entire festival away. Up-and-omnipotent Odesza was the standout set for the entire festival. The duo got on stage, announced that they were “a couple weird dudes about to play some weird music,” but there was nothing weird about it. Each song was tapped live, with the little imperfections and twists that show these guys are doing it in front of you and truly have mastered their craft. They played every hit from their acclaimed albums and everyone walked away elated and exhausted. Unfortunately Porter Robinson’s set landed right on top of Odesza, and with an amazing vantage point, this gal was not about to leave her post.
Atmosphere brought a little Midwest spice to the lineup, and their set could not have been better. Slug’s passionate voice carried across the grounds, calling to arms any and all fans who appreciate true poetry. But, The set to talk about from day 3 is Flume, yet there isn’t much to say beyond that it was the perfect set to ring in the new year. High energy with sophisticated beats and seamless rhythms rang Snowglobe into the new year, and while there wasn’t a countdown, the feeling of elation that we get when we scream “Happy New Year!” was still shared as the festival came to a close. Of course, the closing DJ for the night, Justin Martin, didn’t let anyone go home without a smile on their face. His house and techno grooves made everyone want to stay a little longer, many asking “who was that?” on their way to the shuttles back. A festival isn’t only its lineup, but a great lineup can make a festival. This year’s lineup couldn’t have gotten better for the New Year.
South Lake Tahoe is very much a tourist spot. And while most would say that as a bad thing, it assured plenty to do until the festival gates opened. As a huge ski and snowboarding spot, those who had the time and money could bring their gear, ski/snowboard during the day, and dance all night. While this would exhaust most people, the passionate ones probably didn’t care. With the beautiful mountains and lake in the background, the natural setting of the festival truly felt like a winter wonderland. As Monday night drew to a close the snow began to fall, and everyone was caught in a natural snow globe with the snow gently kissing cheeks in the breeze. For those who “don’t do winter stuff,” the main strip of South Lake Tahoe lands smack dab on the Nevada border, which means one thing: casinos. Harvey’s, Harley’s and MontBleu all land within a block of each other, and the 24/7 fun was great for those not willing to endure the cold.
Few festivals land during the middle of the week, but with New Year’s Eve falling on a Wednesday evening, the people at Snowglobe decided to make an exception for the holiday. Starting Monday, December 29th and going through until New Year’s Eve night, it was the perfect way to ring in the new year. Although there wasn’t a fabulously lit object dropping from the sky, we all knew when to start watching the clock. The last set of the festival ended at 1:30AM, allowing festival goers to enjoy their celebrations before being sent back to the real world. Although, few people let their night end there, with shuttles that headed back to 3 casinos within a block of one another…yeah, party time.
While the Snowglobe grounds were held at the local community college, and most hotels were fairly close by, the festival offered incredibly convenient shuttles that left from the Mount Bleu Casino to the festival. Regardless of where they stayed, a shuttle ticket add-on allowed for anyone to get to and from the festival swiftly and safely. While wait times for the shuttle home reached as long as an hour, the moment we stepped on the bus it was well worth it. I highly recommend getting a group and throwing down on a room in the casino for this festival, it was well worth the extra penny to be so close to the fun.
This year’s Snowglobe was a cold one. The first day was a slightly uncomfortable 22 degrees, but the last two nights had us a little worried that we might lose a finger or toe to frost bite. With temperatures dropping to single digits, and a wind chill that wouldn’t hesitate to slap yo mamma, helpful hand warmers were a must have. Given away freely in VIP (as well as at the local CVS near the shuttle pick up) were hand warmers and foot warmers! Without them, the festival might have borderlined dangerous. While there were a few small fires (both stylistic and real) the wind often took the heat before it got to anyone, causing many attendees to wonder if the installations were truly for heat or pure decoration. The two tented stages offered some relief for the wind and cold, but only so many people can fill a tent before it loses its appeal. Investing in warmers helped keep everyone safe and warm in such cold conditions.
Despite the cold, which was a slight drawback to the phenomenal experience, Snowglobe is a festival that (given the right preparation) could be one of the best festivals one could attend. The idea of partying in the snow is great, and with the right clothing and know-how, the weather can kiss a fat rear end because the music will always rule in this snow globe.