festivals

High Sierra Music Festival 2018 Review

High Sierra Music Festival 2018 Review and Experience Recap

High Sierra Music Festival Review

High Sierra Music Festival 2018

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Last weekend I volunteered with my buddy to work as a volunteer to attend a festival called High Sierra Music Festival. It has a great reputation and honestly I had a lot of fun working and meeting people.  I worked my volunteer hours for a free ticket mostly before the festival, so got to enjoy the vast majority of the festival without any responsibilities. I just had to work another 5 hours during the weekend to make up for some hours that we skipped on Saturday because my buddy and I got there late… whoops.

High Sierra was a ton of fun because of the people who attended. The bands were just okay, with the exceptions of some of the headliners and late-night acts. I definitely recommend trying High Sierra at least once because you will have a great time with some awesome folks.

We drove up three hours two weekends in a row, no biggie. It’s always priceless to enjoy a ton of new bands and music that I had no idea existed! I’ll tell you about the music and the bands first, then talk about the experience of volunteering at a music festival, then finish off with how the whole weekend turned out. I had a great time though!

First things first, the Bands

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

These guys blew me away, especially the lead singer, who I assume is Chris Robinson? I felt like I was listening to some early 70s rock band that was never discovered and still toured the country, their stage presence was incredible. Definitely a must see.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

On the last night, I got a bit confused about which stage was which and ended up seeing the Chris Robinson Brotherhood on accident, due to thinking that the meadow stage was the grand stage. I ended up getting to see the last 10 minutes of their set on Sunday after leaving Chris Robinson early and they slayed it! Pretty sure they just play ‘f you’ the whole time and creating some incredibly intricate on the fly funk breakdowns with lots of meaningful distortion. Another must see.

The Floozies

Okay so the Floozies were actually one of the only bands that I knew of when I looked at the line-up originally. They were just as good live as they are in the studio, perhaps better because of the lead guitarist, Matt, and his multiple instrumental skills and the ridiculously good rhythm of his drummer brother Mark. Their unique combination of production and live instrumentation is fantastic to watch.

Lettuce

Jam Band is what I’m told they are termed? They had some great guitar solos and some fantastic lights. Well written music for sure, but a bit boring due to the lack of low-end. Would have really loved to see a DJ get involved with their set, but I understand that’s not their thing.

The String Cheese Incident

Again excellent music, missing something when it came to the live performance. It was almost as if I was watching a guy at work; he did this all day every day and that to me ceases to be art and gets into commercialism, but anyways, music was fantastically written, in my opinion lacked synthesis to fill out the sound.

Volunteering at a Music Festival

Volunteering was actually a pretty good amount of work, they expected me to work every minute of the 16 hours promised for a ticket. A little bit different from my experience at Lightning in a Bottle in 2014. Expect to wait around a bunch, 50/50 on getting fed and probably have to camp. My buddy and I were actually very well taken care of so thanks High Sierra! We were fed as well, not too shabby, but if we weren’t fed it wouldn’t be worth it imo and I heard that is often the case with volunteering at festivals.

Conclusions from the Weekend at High Sierra Music Festival

I have concluded that I like really good music of any genre. With enough craftsmanship and skill any genre of music can be transcendent. I did realize that jam bands aren’t quite my thing. Though I can appreciate the hell out of the instrumentalism. Lights are also a very important part of a performance for me. Both The Floozies and the Pigeons Playing Ping Pong had great light shows and that truly set them apart from the rest of the bands with the exception of the Chris Robinson Brotherhood who absolutely exceeded any expectations I had for the festival in general with the quality of their music and performance.

High Sierra Music Festival was a great time. I highly recommend waiting for a year with some bands that you like and going out to Quincy to camp for four nights. It was a blast (especially with a free ticket)!

 

High Sierra Music Festival 2018 Review and Experience Recap Read More »

TBD Festival Review

TBD Festival Review | Night 1 | 2015 Recap

TBD Festival Review for:

  • the artists,
  • production value
  • crowd energy
  • festival layout
  • the overall energy of TBD Festival in Sacramento

Overall TBD Festival Review:

TBD festival was an awesome experience. My TBD Festival Review for 2015 is vastly positive, though I will admit that as far as festivals go, TBD Festival definitely lacked a lot of the conscious mindfulness efforts that go into most of the camping and extended stay EDM festivals. There was quite a bit of mindless consumption. However, being in the city it made sense as more of a concert venue, so I understand the shift and was very appreciative to go spend the afternoon in the grounds and to be able to go back to my apartment at night and the convenience of it all. I could have eaten dinner there. It was a lot more of a mini-vacation, especially since I only went for one night. I would definitely go again for the crowd, which was full of great fans, for the production value, but mostly for the artists and the vibe that they brought to the festival grounds.

The Artists:

Here is the official Line-up for TBD in 2015

Purity Ring Review from TBD Festival 2015

I ended up going to see Purity Ring and got there about one-quarter of the way through the performance. You can see the video here on my Instagram. Definitely one of the better performances I have seen in the past couple of years, their lights show was absolutely incredible. The drummer had a great set-up, but the singer stole the show were her soulful dancing and heartbreaking and uplifting singing. This is one band that I will look forward to in the future. Production value was extremely high, as evidenced by the lights show on the Instagram video.

Death Grips Review from TBD Festival 2015

Death Grips is a band that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS. The experimental Hip-Hop group is reminiscent of Cypress Hill’s originality and creativity, but boosted forward to 2015 technology and production techniques with a rapper that absolutely throws his shit down and goes hard. I honestly cannot wait to see these guys again, Stefan Burnett (aka MC Ride) had such incredible energy and anger in his voice that you couldn’t help but feel a calming wave of relaxation afterwards. The drummer, Zach Hill stole the show at times with his ridiculously powerful and well-organized drum solos that perfectly complimented Stefan’s lyrics and style of rapping. Andy Morin was also a great performer, but next to Stefan and Zach was simply more in the background, though not to ill effect. His presence uplifted the other twos. Definitely a show that will have you shouting, jumping up and down at times, and going nuts with a calming after-effect.

RL Grime Review from TBD Festival 2015

RL Grime was a surprisingly innovative and very powerfully unique act. It was easy to see how he has led the trap music genre for the past 3 years, even helping to create and shape the sound. His blaring 808’s, harsh and filthy sub bass, live remixing, and his visuals were absolutely on point. He tore the stage to shreds and blasted the audience with pounding drum beats, voice synths, and lead synths that cut through the air and right into your heart and spine. A very powerful performance, recreating my image of the artist’s repertoire of skills and abilities. Definitely a show I would and hope to see again.

Tyler the Creator Review from TBD Festival 2015

This was one of the most unusual and well put together productions I have seen. Tyler is nothing short of a genius with his interactions with the crowd and his two back-up rappers pull their own weight and more on stage. Discussing everything from the ego to love to hatred to death, Tyler seems to touch aspects of life that you don’t normally examine, giving a surprisingly introspective look into the minds of us all as humans. He also had some songs that absolutely shown through and I was so incredibly happy to have been introduced to him as a live performance. Slow it down was my favorite song of the night, but I also think that he had some great improvisation performances because he also seemed to be very off the cusp. His energy was fantastic, the lights show was something to be remembered and the complexity of his message was intoxicating. Definitely someone to watch as they grow, though I wouldn’t mind seeing another performance in a year or so.

Glitch Mob Review from TBD Festival 2015

Here is the icing on the cake, definitely the highest production value performance of the night. At the end of their summer tour, the Glitch Mob threw down a show to be remembered, their live sets and electronic industrial instruments were perfect to get the crowd up, moving, and rowdy. The lights show was incredible and intricate and the band itself had enormous amounts of energy. Edit lead the charge, it was hard to take your eyes off of his performance, but OOOO-Ahhhhh also kicked some major ass up there. Boreta was definitely more in the background, though he was simply not as visible from my vantage point. This was one of the BEST shows I have ever seen, hands down. Don’t miss the Glitch Mob is they perform near you, the crowds go nuts!

Production Value Review of TBD Festival 2015

Extremely high. The is the most powerful part of TBD Festival’s 2015 review because it was so good! Lights shows were unforgettable, screens were plenty large and the crowd was awesome. There was plenty of food to go around and for a little but of money you could get pretty much anything you needed. The Artists were on time, security was plentiful and the cops were seemingly nice enough that night. Definitely not a festival to miss, especially as the Line-up has plenty of more awesome artists for the next 2 nights.

Crowd Energy at TBD Fest 2015

Great. Wonderful. Weird, silly, but also a wide diversity of people. Everyone was having a good time. The normal festival crowd was interlaced with working professionals, housewives, city kids, and pretty much everyone in the city below the age of 30. Plenty of older hippies could easily be found nearer to the outskirts of the dance area and the stages were completely filled from the moment I got there. Everyone was nice, I didn’t see a single fight, any violence, and people were a bit more self-conscious than that I am used to, but not in a bad way. More of an unexposed kind of way, like there was a mixing of people from all over the place. Diversity is definitely a word I would use to describe everyone, beautiful another, but many were a little bit under-dressed for my personal tastes.

Layout Review of TBD Festival 2015

It was set-up well to walk between stages from one main stage to the other while a band set-up on the stage you just left. It was perfect to walk through concessions, though I don’t usually spent money on food that these types of events. Security was set-up poorly, though they were plentiful enough to make it not matter. The entrance was a nightmare, which is why we got there a little, but I would expect it to be improved next year. I’ve also learned to have the QR code and the PDF, not just the email and the confirmation number. It was kind of lame. Also, we got pretty tired from dancing at a couple of points and could have used a bench or two to sit on. There was only the dirty ground with stickers in it. But besides that, everything went really well!

Overall Energy of TBD Festival 2015

The artists loved it, the fans loved it, and a very positive exchange of energy between the two. Extremely high production value, such powerful performance that I really can’t wait for next year and am a sad to miss Porter Robinson and Pretty Lights tonight. I am sure that it will be amazing. The people who came were awesome and the artists put their heart and soul into the performances. What more can you ask for?

TBD Festival Review | Night 1 | 2015 Recap Read More »

Transcendence Festival

Transcendence 2014 Recap

Transcendence exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I was really doubtful that a new festival so close to the city could even be fun; man was I wrong. We got in a couple of days of yoga, dancing, partying, etc, until Saturday when the cops shut down the music. Most of the people will tell you the shutdown is when the true party began.

I was supposed to have a 7am meditation on Saturday morning. I was tired, but woke up at 6:40 to go to the space where I would teach and no one was there. I stuck around for about 45 minutes, but I don’t think anyone ever has said I wanna wake up early to meditate. Most would rather sleep.

I volunteered for about 5 hours on Wednesday and helped to set up a dome and the artsy stage, which turned out to be awesome. Then I headed down to Camp Pollock on Friday after I taught my morning yoga class. I bought a tent the night before to break in, there’s no where better than close to home for these things. I brought my friends and it was really a cool Friday afternoon. There was good music, but the stages weren’t very prepared and the festival itself was a bit disorganized. It kind of felt like festival boot camp.

Which is cool. Artists were learning how to be artists. It’s not too often that you get to see something great in its infancy.

Afternoon Dream Serum was a band that I am really excited about now; I got to see them Friday night, though not at full capacity because the electrical wiring on the stage was messing with the bass. The sounds they were making before the electrical problems were pretty amazing. These guys are going to be a big deal someday if they stick with it.

Friday night also came with some unexpected disturbance; the Dancetronauts are cool, but Transcendence was not the right festival for the type of party that they wanted to throw. EDM at a fast beat with little distortions and not too many effects is only good for so long; I put my limit at about 3 hours. Not these guys though, they were playing until 7am, for no reason! There wasn’t even anyone at the stage. So next year, I will be looking to see that they are not a collaborator. I like sleeping at 3am, not listening to EDM repeat beats reverberating in the valley.

Anyways, so Saturday morning comes and I’m exhausted and go to teach my class, but no one shows. Which is totally cool, I think of my role of a yoga teacher as holding space for people. Sometimes, people won’t be in my space and that’s totally fine. But I don’t think I am going to sign-up for a morning meditation next year. I think that during the day, yoga should be performed at the main stage in unison with whoever is making the music. That would be pretty awesome.

Anyways, so Saturday night we were planning on listening to some really rad bands, but the music got shut off at 8, so that didn’t really happen. I’m not sure why it got cut off, but it had something to do with permits and electricity. I’m not sure if the cops needed more permits than what the organizers got, or if they just wanted to shut down the festival. I think they shut it down because of the all night blaring EDM that the dancetronauts were playing. The band music was going to be good, but people started to congregate instead, taking out their own instruments and playing and dancing all together. It’s funny how much more important community is than the music; they compliment each other, but people care more about each other than the sounds that we make. Music is just one way we express our selves to each other. Arguably, it is the most expressive. Community is what the festival scene is all about and Transcendence really helped to show us that. People are what make these things happen.

So Saturday night was a blast, every seemed to be able to breath and really enjoyed themselves. Sunday morning we had to leave by 8, so I got up and left. It was so great to see all of my friends and yoga people from the area though and I am definitely looking forward to going back next year.

I personally am grateful for the experience and big thanks to James Kapicka for putting on the show. Yes, I will be going next year and hopefully teaching more yoga there. Maybe I’ll even have some music made by then. If you’re going, get ready to see the raw scene of artists learning their craft as they go and the up and comers that are going to change music for the rest of us. There were definitely some amazing people who gathered to celebrate, maybe you can join next year.

Transcendence 2014 Recap Read More »

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Pranafest 2014 Recap

Pranafest

Tonight I got back from Pranafest, a yoga festival in Ashland, Oregon that’s been happening for 3 years. The festival was based around yoga, kirtan, music, and healing ceremonies, though the music was definitely secondary to the yoga and healing, which was interesting. I got to meet and experience a lot of amazing artists and overall the festival was definitely one that I will attend again. Firstly, the yoga was great. I took two of James Kapicka’s classes which were amazing and a Hanuman based class from April Martin, who was pretty good.

The hot springs were a nice addition to the grounds; they made it possible to shower and clean up easily, which can be very difficult at festivals. The grounds were rather small, but it made for a nice and intimate festival; although, I do think that the festival needs more room. The spaces for practice were simply not big enough; next year I wouldn’t be surprised if they move the location to somewhere bigger.

Ashland is an amazing place. It took the festival from okay to great simply based on the perfect weather and the huge amount of trees that sprawled the mountainsides. The stars were bright in the sky and the food was amazing; Ashland certainly does have a good selection of health food. Nice Cafe is usually at festivals and always has amazing food, their salads are pretty incredible.

The music scene was very interesting. What I mean by this is that the whole Kirtan and chanting scene was a bit weird, but the electronic yoga music and ‘dub-yoga’ were incredibly stimulating and invigorating. But for some reason, they are very disparate right now. I think that there is going to be a major Kirtan movement in combination with electronic music that is coming 5 years down the road; someone just has to figure out a cool way to do it. Jai Uttal was actually pretty boring, though CC White was entertaining and has some great presence on stage. The low toned, monotonous chanting wasn’t very exciting, though I do appreciate that type of group energy in a room where call and repeat chants are done. But just listening to someone else chant is definitely not very interesting to me.

On the other hand, the electronic music was incredible! I was definitely not expecting to have a full blown party at the pranafest, but the last night Shaman’s Dream and Rara Avis took over a stage in a small room, covered with carpets and mirrors and they threw a huge dance party. Rara Avis had music that blew my mind; it made me want to sit and meditate simply to the music. Dub Sutra was also very noteworthy; they recorded a live song while we were in the room listening. The Liquid Fire mantra was great, extremely entertaining and Dakina Rose Devadasi both put on some great shows, both did things that I would have thought impossible for the human body before watching them do them.

It was a really enjoyable trip, got to spend time by myself and really focus on getting to optimal health. I am going to start taking more oil in my water to keep my organs lubricated, which I hadn’t realized can really release internal pressure and keep things flowing smoothly through the digestive tract. Dr Nick hooked me up with some blood orange oil and it made my stomach aches go away, which have been bothering me for month. It was a great opportunity to learn more about healing, to do some yoga and listen to amazing music while camping in some of the most beautiful nature in the world. I will definitely do my best to head back in 2015!

Pranafest 2014 Recap Read More »

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