Article By: Gracie Roberts ; Photos By: Mason Trinca (masontrinca.com
Sunday of What The Festival
began as the sweltering sun forced campers out of their tents in the early hours of the morning. White River Canyon was looking gorgeous as ever, but with the heat, campers had no choice but to go cool off. WTF’s splash pool, which was accompanied by a poolside DJ, did a great job of keeping festival attendees refreshed and happy. As the day progressed, fans prepared themselves for the night of music ahead.
Gold Panda hit the WTF Stage at 6:30 p.m. Born Derwin Lau, Gold Panda is a UK native who has quite the unique musical background. Lau studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Japan, and when experiencing his exotic sound, one can see that Lau has incorporated many elements from his experiences in Asia into his music. Gold Panda has a broad selection of EPs, singles, and albums released, and he gave the WTF crowd a nice sampler of his collection. While live looping onstage, Lau showed off his ability to produce on the spot. His set included frequent tempo changes as he went from the moderately-paced tracks “You” and “Marriage” to his upbeat 2009 hit “Quitter’s Raga”. Gold Panda’s distinctive performance was a real treat for both longtime fans and those listening for the first time.
The highly anticipated Emancipator
was finally up to bat after Gold Panda humbly relinquished the stage with a small bow to the audience. Doug Appling is the mastermind behind the downtempo, glitch-hop sound for which Emancipator has become known and loved. This talented young mind self-released his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, at the age of 19 in 2006. By combining nostalgic tones and solid beats, Appling has crafted an engaging listening experience for every audience member for whom he performs. Working together with accompanying violinist Ilya Goldberg, Emancipator orchestrated a beautiful and intricate set that showcased his ability to navigate between genres. The sentimental “When I Go” and Sigur Rós/Mobb Deep mashup “Shook” represented the sounds from Emancipator’s first album, while “Elephant Survival” brought forth a taste of his newer sound. He also sampled Fugees’ “Ready or Not,” which added to the jazzy, soulful feel of Appling’s one-of-a-kind shows.
As the sun set behind the canyon’s walls, Bonobo
came onstage as a man with a larger-than-life presence. Simon Green is a British musician, producer, and DJ who has been creating colorful and exotic music since 1999. Although Bonobo is classified as a downtempo and chillout artist, he explores many genres of music with his broad range of personal style. At What The Festival, Bonobo’s set opened with “Kiara” from his most recent album, Black Sands. Although his performance was a DJ set, Green explored much of his own material from throughout the years and supplemented them with sounds that were equally brimming with zest, soul, and the foreign flavor that Bonobo aligns himself with. As Bonobo gifted his sound to the audience, White River Canyon transformed into a jungle of sorts, with distant sounds that were accessorized by dazzling lasers and a vibrant light show.
The last artist performing on the WTF stage was none other than Paper Diamond
, the dubstep darling that fans had been waiting for all weekend long. Paper Diamond is Alex Botwin, a Colorado-based producer that always likes to be ahead of the game when it comes to producing big beats and heavy bass. Full of energy onstage, Paper Diamond laid out huge remixes, including SBTRKT’s “Wildfire” and Nero’s “Must Be the Feeling.” Botwin’s performance lasted until midnight, and there wasn’t a minute during his time onstage that the audience wasn’t on their feet dancing.
It goes without saying that What The Festival completely outdid itself in its inaugural year. Attendees enjoyed their favorite electronic artists while quickly making new friends and becoming part of a community during the three days that they resided in White River Canyon. The WTF team has announced that tickets are already being given out for next year’s festival, and after such an awe-inspiring weekend, it’s hard to imagine what could be improved for 2013’s event.
Check out reviews from the other days of the festival:
What The Festival Review - Day 1 (7.27.12)
What The Festival Review - Day 2 (7.28.12)