Article By: Gracie Roberts ; Photos By: Mason Trinca
The last few days of 2011 marked the birth of SnowGlobe Music Festival, a 3-day jamboree that took place in the winter wonderland of South Lake Tahoe. In addition to the picturesque surroundings, SnowGlobe offered a lineup jam-packed with some of the world’s most popular electronic music artists.
Thursday, December 29, marked the beginning of SnowGlobe’s festivities. Crowds of fans flocked to Bijou Park, a cordoned off area inside of South Lake Tahoe Community College, to get the party started. After several minutes of waiting at the park’s front gates, swarms of bundled up concertgoers invaded the venue. As a festival with just over 10,000 attendees, SnowGlobe proved to be more intimate compared to some of the larger shows in other parts of the country. Bijou Park was appropriately sized for the event, allowing fans to easily navigate through the venue while still being able to participate as fans inside of crowded, shoulder-to-shoulder audiences.
Blockhead was given the first spot on the main SnowGlobe stage. As an artist performing during the early hours of the day, the Manhattan-based producer had an enjoyable amount of fans dancing freely in front of the stage. Born Tony Simon, Blockhead has largely collaborated with hip-hop artists such as Aesop Rock, Mac Lethal, and Murs during his years of music production. However, his solo work has also caught the attention of many EDM and hip-hop fans. With four albums released between 2004 and 2009, Blockhead is on track for a new release in the coming months. Simon entertained his SnowGlobe audience with tracks from Downtown Science and The Music Scene, keeping the crowd guessing by remixing his own work throughout the set.
Stephan Jacobs and Mux Mool, two featured up-and-coming artists of the day, took the stage back-to-back at The Igloo. Stephan Jacobs, a dubstep and glitch hop maestro hailing from Los Angeles, shook SnowGlobe’s daytime crowd with sounds from his newest and greatest EP material, Mad Era. Jacobs has collaborated with fellow SnowGlobe artists ill-esha and Samples, in addition to Nit Grit, Love and Light, and RuffHauser.
Mux Mool was next to take The Igloo’s stage, contrasting Stephan Jacob’s heavy sound with a funky, mellow groove. Born Brian Lindgren in Minnesota, Mux Mool launched his musical career out of Brooklyn in 2006. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that Lindgren released his debut full-length album, Skulltaste. Tracks from Skulltaste and other EPs filled The Igloo with reverberating bass and bluesy electric piano, resulting in a chilled-out atmosphere enjoyed by both the artist and his fans. He even lifted some choice Stevie Wonder grooves, with a remix of “My Cherie Amour” topping off Mux Mool’s impressive performance.
Over in the Sierra Tent, Kraddy took the stage at 3:45 pm. As one of the founding members of The Glitch Mob, Matthew Kratz has had a lengthy musical journey since 2006. From his breakthrough 2008 hit “Android Porn” to the innovative tracks comprising his latest album, Anthems of the Hero, Kraddy continues to hybridize the genres of hip-hop, dubstep, and dance with face-melting flair and bravado. Perhaps one of the most unexpectedly brilliant performers of the festival, Kraddy had jaws drop at his adept ability to work the Sierra Tent’s dance floor. Featuring a remix of SBTRKT’s “Wildfire”, Kraddy’s SnowGlobe set kept the audience on their feet, bobbing and swaying along to what this surprising artist had to offer.
As night fell, the real party was about to get started in SnowGlobe’s Sierra Tent. With Dillon Francis and Porter Robinson performing one after another, fans were ready for three hours of straight bass. Another L.A. native, Dillon Francis has quickly broken from the throng of young EDM producers and DJs. With a slew of top-quality remixes and original releases, Francis has caught the attention of large club names such as Steve Aoki, Diplo, and Major Lazer. 2011 proved to be the breakout year for Dillon Francis, who released EPs I.D.G.A.F.O.S. and Westside! inside of its twelve months. His performance in the Sierra Tent was a full-blown raging party, with fans coming close to forming a mosh pit in the audience.
After his set, Dillon Francis welcomed Porter Robinson onstage by chanting his first name along with the audience. Francis said that Porter is “a shy guy”, which makes sense, providing his young age. Robinson, a 19-year-old hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, has made a name for himself in the realms of electro house and moombahton since 2010. His debut EP, Spitfire, was released in the summer of 2011 on Skrillex’s new label, OWSLA. Entertaining the crowd with many tracks from his EP and other singles and remixes, Porter Robinson gained the love and respect of each member of the audience with his high level of energy and musical enthusiasm.
Two big-name artists closed out the first night of SnowGlobe on the main stage. Big Gigantic, made up of Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken, moved the crowd with their well-known fusion of jam band and electronic sounds. With a single saxophone and drum set laid next to heavy beats and crafty remixes, the duo never failed to represent their Colorado panache that they brought to Lake Tahoe. Their most recent album, A Place Behind the Moon, was released in September of 2010. With that being said, Big Gigantic is in a place where a new album would be fitting. The talent of Lalli and Salken continuously charms fans worldwide, and with their unique sound, it is hard to imagine the pair going anywhere but up. After Big Gigantic’s set was finished, the famed Derek Vincent Smith stormed the stage. Better known as Pretty Lights, Smith has gained an immense amount of notoriety in his five years active as a DJ and producer. After graduating from high school, Smith attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, but dropped out during his first year in order to fully concentrate on producing music. That choice has seemed to serve him right, as Smith has quickly become a household name in the EDM community. In January of 2011, Smith launched his own label, Pretty Lights Music. PLM is now home to six artists, a list that is rapidly and continuously growing. In his performance, Pretty Lights lacked his usual skyscraper stage setup due to the smaller size of SnowGlobe’s main stage. However, the same could not be said about his set. Promoting his more hip-hop based beats, Pretty Lights returned to some of his older material to dazzle the already entranced crowd. Hits “Hot Like Sauce”, “Finally Moving” and “I Know the Truth” made it into Smith’s lengthy set, which concluded the festival’s first night at 11:00 p.m. With ears and eyes overwhelmed by the spectacle, fans left Bijou Park electrified with excitement for what was still to come.
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