Women in Music Festival 2018

To be honest, it was intimidating as hell walking into an amphitheater full of powerful women… Until I realized I was a powerful woman too. As I looked around the room, I thought about a book by Toni Morrison called Home, where a young black girl named Cee works as an assistant to a doctor. Lack of knowledge has her convinced he is a hero because he helps the sick regardless of them being black or poor. But really, he is a doctor practicing eugenics, which involves the manipulation of human breeding, often by sterilizing people without their consent. Long story short–her physical and emotional recovery is aided by several strong women. Women who “took responsibility for their lives, and for whatever, whoever else needed them.” These women are described as having “no excess in their gardens because they shared everything [and] there was no trash or garbage in their homes because they had a use for everything.”

Sisterhood.

The New Parkway Theater in Oakland was home to the Women In Music Festival’s Panel Day where several phenomenal women in the industry came together to share insight on: Women in Live Music, Women in Artist Marketing, and Women in Media. The panel also included a Live Artist Interview with female powerhouse: Rayana Jay.

It was refreshing to hear some of the conversation around topics and ideas I struggle with. And I felt less alone knowing that other women around me dealt with the same things.

Here’s some notes I jotted down from the Live Music panel:

  • Practice process over perfection
  • Stay confident
  • No person is too high up to reach out and say hello
  • Go after it–regardless
  • In your come up, bring other women up with you

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Things I took away from the Live Interview with Rayana Jay:

  • You don’t need to move away to a “big city”–just travel
  • Be your own marketing team
  • Do business with your girls
  • Find your lane and stay in your lane
  • Be your own biggest critic

 

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Artist Marketing panel take away:

  • “You’re only as good as your single is”
  • As important as sisterhood is in this industry, recognize your big brothers because there’s just some shit women shouldn’t deal with 
  • Stay curious and always seek knowledge
  • If you’re the only woman in the room–boss the fuck up
  • Don’t be that bitch on the studio couch

 

 

And lastly, from the Media panel:

  • Be creative in your own style
  • Don’t let middle-aged white men tell you that you can’t 
  • Organize your ideas and thoughts so they are easily accessible to you
  • Men need us–remind them if you need to
  • Organic traffic over everything

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Listening to all of this, I realized something…

In my role as Urban Music Director at 90.5 FM KSJS, I am constantly surrounded by men. At the panel they referred to radio a “boy’s club”. And I laughed because it’s very true. Thankfully, I’ve managed with hardly any problems getting what I want or need… and although I’m shy around other women, “LET ME TALK TO A DAMN RAPPER,” is usually my attitude when doing business.

Epiphany: maybe other women feel this way. And maybe that’s where things get weird… The women-to-women interaction needs to be less frightening and more welcoming.

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The Women In Music Festival sparked a lot of conversation about other themes: race, gender, homosexuality, oppression, equality. But it was comforting knowing that my feelings of empathy were being reciprocated. We were all feeling. And that was special.

The festival  didn’t just focus on the panel discussion, in fact, it lasted a total of four days and had a variety of events ranging from an intimate DJ workshop in collaboration with Serato on Thursday, to a discussion showcasing four women from distinctly different parts of the industry, at the Pandora Headquarters on Friday.

The Oakland Museum of California was host to the first ever Women in Hip-Hop panel in conjunction with RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom Exhibit–the under-recognized story of one of the most influential cultural and social movements of the last 50 years–which is ongoing on every Saturday and Sunday from now until August 12. To top it off, this event was garnished with the typical First Friday arrangements: food trucks, cocktails, and live music.

Saturday morning was about self-care, which was a huge reoccurring theme throughout the event. Shakira Scott lead yoga classes that incorporated meditation and mindful vinyasa flow to 90’s R&B, alternative music, reggae, jazz with a splash of meditative sounds.

Saturday night, I attended the Women in Music Concert at Starline Social Club. In a judgement-free zone, we danced to music by Tiffany Gouche, Raveena, B-Side BrujasAh-Mer-Ah-Su, LadyRyan, Sweetest Threat, and Rayana Jay. While DJ Red Corvette was on the turntables, Fela Kutchii hosted the party. What can I say about this? Nearly every women in attendance came from an earlier festival event so we had nothing but good vibes among one another. It was an amazing bond to share with other women in the industry.

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Raveena (photo by @aeprod510)
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Tiffany Gouché (photo by @aeprod510)

Sunday entailed a “Boss Brunch”–breakfast, mimosas, and women speaking about their wins, losses, and what it really takes to be a girl boss in this industry. Afterwards, an “Eat, Shop, Talk” marketplace went down which showcased local female entrepreneurs, business owners, and queen-ran services like nail design, tarot card readings, and henna artists. Art, fashion, jewelry, and beauty vendors were present alongside food and dessert vendors with sounds by Chulita Vinyl Club and Climaxxx. A seemingly wonderful way to end a weekend full of influential femininity.

Whether you attended one event or all of the events, the Women in Music Festival successfully empowered hundreds of women and intentionally brought awareness to the idea of sisterhood.

We needed this. Thank you ❤ ’til next year.

Less Rap, Let’s Rave – The Santa Cruz Music Festival 2018

Every post-festival Monday always has me in my feelings about the worthiness of #FestivalLife, but here it is, Wednesday, convinced I was delusional because, YES, I am still very much all about it. That being said, the 2018 Santa Cruz Music Festival was a huge success, and having been to the festival last year, I can confidently say, each year is getting better and better.

Despite the light rain, the #SCMF brought together a versatile group of people. Everything from seasoned yogis to hipster millennials, to families, street faire enthusiasts, students, rave babies, foodies, hip-hoppers, and indie rockers. Downtown Santa Cruz was quite literally host to every type of festival-goer. It’s easy to bring together all the same kind of people, so by way of festival code, a huge virtual round of applause goes out to the organizers behind the #SantaCruzMusicFestival for entertaining such a diverse crowd.

If you only went for the Hip-Hop, you’re probably disappointed. Big name headliners like Ghostface Killah, Scarab (of Living Legends), and Smoke DZA took up less than two hours of the two-day show. And while practically every Electronic artist incorporated some Hip-Hop into their sets, most of the “real” Hip-Hop fans wanted less rave stuff and more rap stuff.

Author’s Note: the sarcastic use of “real” when referring to Hip-Hop simply refers the older Gen Y crowd who doesn’t support the evolution of Hip-Hop; and who seem to think the music created during their prime is ultimately the best thing to have ever happened. Also, they hate rappers with the prefixes “Lil” or “Yung” and preach about “hype”.

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Scarub of Living Legends

For many, the true gems are hidden in the earliest sets at the smaller venues. The lesser-known acts and up-and-coming artists are the ones really driving the crowd.  Speaking of, I had the pleasure of meeting with The Rellies, a Hip-Hop duo from Santa Cruz and Maui who performed inside Streetlight Records on Sunday. They brought out Dave Steezy (of HBK) and went level-10 hyphy on us.

I’ve picked out some of my favorite tracks from The Rellies for you to get on:

If you like them, give ’em a follow!

If you listened to A Vibe Called West last week, you’d know that Pure Powers’ killed his set on Saturday (yes—we predicted it). Last year’s headlining acts were all squeezed into the big, but small Catalyst so the festival’s transition to the Civic Auditorium was much needed. It allowed us all to enjoy the show without being too close to the people dancing beside us, while also leaving plenty of space for people with a larger personal bubble in the back.

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Pure Powers

There’s a video out now for my current favorite Pure Powers song,  which is phenomenal live BTW, check it out:

Other Santa Cruz Music Festival Highlights include:

  • Bigger festivals charge $12-16 bucks a beer, but the venues participating in this year’s #SCMF sold regularly priced (and often, locally brewed) beer which made my pockets (and taste buds) smile.
  • I lost my phone in the VIP area (because I saw pizza and was immediately distracted) and thanks to the wonderful ladies at the CloutKing table, I got it back along with a dope CloutKing t-shirt. You should get yourself one too!
  • Icing on the cake for me: adding more really cool people to my network of  #FestivalFamily ❤ Thank you!
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The Grand Finale – Mr. Carmack

 

SnowGlobe 2017

Happy 2018!! Now that most of us have returned to reality, let’s just reminisce for a second about New Years. Some are still trying to figure out a new diet and fitness routine while others are contemplate giving up that bad habit. However, for the thousands of us who spent New Years in breathtaking South Lake Tahoe for SnowGlobe–words won’t do so, here are some super awesome photos to help.

If there is one thing I can stress about these kinds of music festivals… it’s the people. I go to a lot of shows, concerts, and events–approximately three a week for the last two years–and SnowGlobe somehow attracted the most loving and caring crowd.

Examples: I was walking up a small, muddy incline when I slipped and a stranger helped me up and said, “I got you fam.” While I was in the photo pit shooting artists, front-row females were calling me beautiful. People in the crowds who obviously never met were sharing hand warmers, healing crystals, glow sticks, and just overall good vibes. It was truly incredible.

Also incredible though–every DJ set I caught was amazing. And I am sure the ones I missed were equally impressive. You would think after hearing every track on Kendrick’s DAMN. 900 times, you’d get tired of DNA, ELEMENT and HUMBLE, but nope. Inevitably, Gucci Gang was another one of those go-to tracks in rotation. I even heard Plain Jane mixed in. Going into SnowGlobe, I was doubtful I’d hear any Hip-Hop, but surprisingly, I was wrong.

Musically, here are some highlights from each day:

Day 1: Khalid, Basstracks, and well duh, Travis Scott

View this post on Instagram

@travisscott at @snowglobe #festivalwithdrawals #SG2017

A post shared by DEBO (@c4lif0rni4gr0wn) on

Day 2: Porter Robinson and Alexander Lewis (who, by the way, I got the pleasure to meet. He was such a sweetheart. His manager, Matt, was also super humble and the while experience low-key made my entire weekend.)

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Porter Robinson by Deanna Boutte @c4lif0rni4gr0wn
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Alexander Lewis by Deanna Boutte @c4lif0rni4gr0wn

Day 3: E-40 and the Alison Wonderland NYE countdown.

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E-40 by Deanna Boutte @c4lif0rni4gr0wn
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Alison Wonderland by Jennifer Gross @gudvibesphoto

Adjacent to the Main Stage was a ramp where riders and skiers from Sierra-at-Tahoe ripped 540’s and 720’s like no ones business. I learned how to ski at Sierra so personally, this was a very special addition to the usual festival features. An abundance of flames and fireworks accented the main stage. And with the amount of glowing totems, flame dancers, light hoopers, and girls with those light-up faux-fur coats, it was a visual display like no other.

The Igloo was my favorite of all the stages. It was the smallest, but it was under a white tent while blue trickling lights so it literally felt like party in an igloo. Igloo Village was home to several white frosted tents with heaters in them to hang out, make friends, or just warm up.

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The Igloo by Jennifer Gross @gudvibesphoto

Beer was mildly expensive. I realize I really like totems a lot. SnowGlobe fashion trends included light-up faux-fur coats, animal onesies, retro ski apparel, and obnoxious hats. It wasn’t even thaaat cold. I got a New Years kiss. This event brought Tahoe’s tourism-based economy a few thousand visitors and overall, I can’t wait until next year.

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by Jennifer Gross @gudvibesphoto

#SnowGlobe Like A Pro – 5 Tips Before Your Trip

#SnowGlobe2017 is right around the corner and chances are you’re excited! If you’re heading out in the next few days, here’s some insight you might like.

Leave Early

Since most of SnowGlobe’s attendees are from somewhere else, there’s one thing you can count on–and that’s traffic! Majority of SnowGlobeTrotters will be making their trek Thursday night or Friday morning. And while the forecast predicts clear skis (and therefore clear roads), still–you will probably be driving a little longer than anticipated. It’s a three-day, holiday weekend and there will be thousands on the road. With only a few highways coming into South Lake Tahoe, practice patience and always carry chains. Here are a few tools and tips to help you get through the drive:

-If you’re coming from the Bay Area, leave before dawn to beat commuter traffic. There’s plenty to do in Tahoe before your check-in time.

-DO NOT pull over on the side of the highway to take pictures. Yeah, Tahoe is beautiful… heck, the whole drive is pretty impressive, but this is this a rookie move, it causes traffic, and is dangerous.

Use Waze to keep up with real-time navigation and traffic updates.

-Most importantly, for your music needs, here are a few playlist suggestions for your drive:

Pro-tip: you can also download the SnowGlobe App to browse all the Spotify channels of artists performing at #SG17.

Shop Ahead Of Time

There are plenty of after-Christmas sales going on, just in time for you to re-stock on festival gear. Weather you need a new bladder for your hydration pack, ear plugs, a pair of sunglasses, matching sweatshirts for the squad, or some new accessories to keep you warm, it’s probably not a good idea to wait until you get to Tahoe to do your shopping. Bring your necessities. Shop Tahoe for accessories.

This goes for food too. While spending money at shops and restaurants fuels Tahoe’s tourism-based economy, and we recommend you do so (don’t forget to tip)… Here’s a suggested list of things to pick up from the grocery store on your way that could save you a buck on dining before and after your SnowGlobe festivities:

  1. A bunch of bananas (or any fresh produce)
  2. Trail mix
  3. Protein bars
  4. Gatorade (good for hangovers)
  5. Emergen-C (because ew, germs)

PhoneGlobe: Get The App

We all know you have way too many apps on your phone. But the official SnowGlobe App is crucial. So, make room on your device, add a shortcut to your home screen, and browse. Why? Because the SnowGlobe App lets you create a custom schedule with all your must-see sets. It allows you to share your schedule with friends. The App has a wholesome playlist, not to mention, you will stay up-to-date on set times, exclusive contests, giveaways, and festival updates.

Use the SnowGlobe App as your main resource for music and information as you get ready for this weekend. And make sure to follow SnowGlobe on Instagram and Twitter so you can tag and retweet pictures and posts.

Pro-tip: Selfies, squad pictures, and Instagram stories are important (we know). So, if you’re worried about your phone dying, DON’T. There will be charging lockers available for one-day or three-day purchase.

What Do I Wear?

Besides the super obvious warm coat or snow jacket, waterproof boots (emphasis on waterproof), thick socks, and many layers, we suggest you bring:

  1. At least one pair of gloves–two pairs never hurt anyone though
  2. Chapstick with sun protection
  3. A beanie or ear muffs
  4. Snow pants on top of long johns, jeans, leggings, or yoga pants (layers!)
  5. Hand-warmers
  6. A scarf or gaiter
  7. Your wristband (don’t forget to register it so you’re covered in case it’s lost or stolen!)

 

Pro-tip: We expect sunny rays during the day, but once the sun down, you might need to add more clothes to stay warm (layers, layers, layers!)

The Shuttle, Uber, Lyft, and Parking, Oh My!

You’re already spending hours on the road to get to Tahoe, why would you want to drive to the festival anyway?

If you are staying near Stateline, a shuttle is available to take you to and from SnowGlobe. It runs every 30 minutes. And it’s free with your single-day wristband.

If you are staying somewhere else, it’s highly recommended that you take an Uber or Lyft. Not only does this prevent the possibility of a DUI, but you won’t have to deal with parking.

Parking is very limited. There will be no parking at the venue. If you must drive yourself, parking is available at the South Lake Tahoe Middle School (see map).

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If you decide to park here, be prepared for a short walk (+/- 10 minutes) and steep costs ($75 for all three days, not including Eventbrite fees). And FYI, this does permit for overnight parking so if you are planning to hit the casinos or any of the SnowGlobe Late Night After Parties, be ready to move your car beforehand.

For a complete list of info on getting around, click here. The SnowGlobe Music Festival website is packed with useful information and FAQs too, so pay it a visit if you have questions: www.snowglobemusicfestival.com 

Re-post with your pro-tips and advice for this year’s #SnowGlobemusicFestival and you may be featured in the post-festival blog. See you Friday SnowGlobeTrotters. Safe Travels.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>see you v. soon for a different kind of celebrating w/ a different kind of family ☃️</p>&mdash; SnowGlobe Festival (@itsSnowGlobe) <a href=”https://twitter.com/itsSnowGlobe/status/945370456445431808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 25, 2017</a></blockquote>
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Rolling Loud Bay Area

http://ksjs.org/2017/10/25/ksjsrollingloud/

Outside Lands 2017

What happened with ATCQ? & Hip-Hop at #OL10

So, first things first—what happened to A Tribe Called Quest? On opening day, festival organizers announced shocking news: the band wouldn’t make their set due to “unforeseen travel issues.” Luckily, for everyone with a 3-day pass, this meant we’d see them on Saturday. 

Friday was cool though. Jarobi White did his Eats, Rhymes, and Life set which made some of us question the validity of this “travel issues” statement. Not to mention an Instagram post from Ali Shaheed Muhammad on Saturday clearly on site for the festival.

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Courtesy of Instagram

Then, low and behold, an announcement on Twitter Saturday, just minutes before their once-already rescheduled performance, read “We are deeply disappointed that we’ve just been informed A Tribe Called Quest will not make their scheduled performance at Outside Lands.” Riding on the notion that this is Tribe’s last tour ever, the crowd was in dismay. Thousands of questions were pouring in online and rumbles among fans leaving the stage chattered shamelessly about refunds, Outside Lands being a “scam,” and how alcohol was needed to sooth sorrows. 

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Courtesy of Twitter

Industry talk surfaced; members of ATCQ were, if fact, at Outside Lands. Everyone except for Q-Tip. Q-Tip’s flight landed eventually, but when Outside Lands officials announced ATCQ’s performance would be cancelled, Tribe had no idea. 

Had officials been a little more patient, and had Q-Tip been rushed through The City to get to Golden Gate Park, maybe it would have happened… we thought.

However, on Tuesday night following the festival, an open letter was published from A Tribe Called Quest offering an explanation, an apology, and a promise to “correct this”. They said: 

“Our performance at the festival has been months in the making and in those months, we have been fraught with an emotional and eager excitement to touch the stage in the place where Phife Dawg made his home.”

Their humbling performance at Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado just a day before seemed to have triggered an emotional landslide:

“You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle. Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although [Red Rock] was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife’s absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief.”

So “travel complications,” sudden overwhelming grief, or both? I guess we can’t be too sure, but one thing that I can be sure of… nobody is going to start disliking a lifetime of music because of one festival. Besides, haven’t you ever called in sick to work before?

You can read the complete letter from ATCQ released by LA Times here.

The Good.

Despite the funk, Gorillaz killed it. Seriously, they deserve an award for Most Features During A Live Set. Peven Everett showed up and performed my favorite track off Humanz, “Strobelite.” De La Soul was there for “Momentz,” Pusha T came through for “Let Me Out“… I’m not even done… Kali Uchis did “She’s My Collar,” and Little Simz was on “I Got The Power.” It was lit, to say the least.

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Photo Courtesy of Andrew Elsayid Productions

Almost every feature on Humanz came through, not to mention, Del The Funky Homosapien touched the stage to perform the classic, and inevitable, “Clint Eastwood”. All in all, the only thing that could have made this performance any better would have been Danny Brown and Vince Staples.

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Photo by Deanna Boutté

Kamaiyah kicked off her set with a new song, which is currently featured on KSJS Urban Top 40 called, “Build You Up.” If I had to describe Kamaiyah’s sound, I would say she has a Brandy vibe, with a Missy Elliot style, and a Too Short attitude. People felt her energy and it only took two songs for people who once looked lost to be on their feet dancing.

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Photo by Deanna Boutté

Kamaiyah played my all-time favorite, “Out The Bottle” right before she proudly rapped YG’s part to “Why You Always Hatin?” This effortlessly turned into, “Fuck It Up.” And after a few tracks in between, she concluded with her hit single off her 2016 album, A Good Night In The Ghetto, “How Does It Feel”.

As the fog rolled in, so did ScHoolboy Q. While I would have liked to see him perform a few more tracks off his most recent album, fans were ecstatic to hear him do stuff off Oxymoron like “Man Of The Year,” “Studio,” and “Hell of a Night.” He even went as far back as “Hands On The Wheel.” I was hoping for a surprise guest appearance from E40 for “Dope Dealer,” but the only track off Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy Q performed was “THat Part.” He finished his set by panting into the mic at the gushing audience, “I’ve never even heard of this festival, to be honest…” As the crowed screamed louder, so did he, “I thought it was gonna be weak, but it’s not. Thank you, San Francisco!”

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Photo by Deanna Boutté

The Bad.

With A Tribe Called Quest’s reschedule and cancellation, other performances were rearranged to compensate. It is already impossible to see every performance across four main stages and several sub-stages, but constant changes to set times and locations made it incredibly worse.

Many fans of the house and techno producer Claude VonStroke missed his performance entirely. His set was moved up, and to a different stage. People said they didn’t get a timely notification and that it was hardly publicized (with adequate notice) on the jumbo-tron at corresponding locations. Even people with the Outside Lands app said they were unaware.

Speaking of, the Outside Lands app was helpful. Yay for technology! The Tech Writer in me has a few suggestions for improvement, but overall, if it wasn’t for the app, communication between officials and attendees would have been an even bigger problem. Plus, the app kept us informed about free food, happy hours, and whatever other fun things were going on around the grounds. With beer costing $11 and a small plate of food running between $12 and $20, samples, free snacks, and drink specials went a long way.

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Photo by Deanna Boutté

The Not-So-Ugly.

In an intimate press conference with Outside Lands co-founders, Allen Scott of Another Planet Entertainment, and Rick Farman of Superfly, I realized something: The Bay Area is thriving. Whether it be in art, food, culture, beer, wine, or music–especially music–we are recognized worldwide in multiple industries and on multiple platforms. And there I was, sitting in a media tent, face to face with some of The Bay Area’s industry pioneers. Pretty remarkable, huh?

When Rick and Allen were asked how they came up with the idea for Outside Lands, they said, “[We thought] San Francisco should have a great big festival. [We have] an amazing culture and amazing music history…” Sure enough, ten years later, Outside Lands is on its tenth attempt to top festival charts. And with some of the world’s best wineries, craft brews, artists, and musicians coming together in a place as beautiful as Golden Gate Park, they might be headed that number one spot.

When asked about whether Outside Lands was worried about competition from other festivals emerging in the area, Allen and Rick casually replied, “Nah.” With such an original vibe, and an appeal to so many different people–rock and rollers, EDM lovers, rave kids, indie supporters, Hip-Hop heads, foodies, craft beer enthusiasts, winos, families, and party animals–there is literally something for everyone.

New York might be the city that never sleeps, but the San Francisco Bay Area is certainly always woke.

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Photo by Deanna Boutté

BottleRock 2017

By Deanna Boutté

Memorial Day Weekend was host to several festivals. Within three days, I saw tweets, snaps, and posts from Lightning in a Bottle, California Roots, and the Ship Show—I consider it a “festival” because it was longer than one day—but perhaps the most underrated festival that took place last weekend was BottleRock. In the always beautiful Napa Valley, over 120,000 people, over the course of three days came together for the biggest music, food, art, wine, and beer festival I have ever experienced.

Day 1: Off To A Late Start

The epic event began on Friday at noon. Many visitors probably still had work that day because the volumes of attendees multiplied as day turned night. There were four music stages, a culinary stage, a day spa (yeah—literally, a day spa), countless food trucks and restaurants, a family area with games for kids, beer and wine everywhere, vendors galore, and thousands of out-of-towners ready to party. Maroon 5 headlined Friday night on the JaM Cellars stage.

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Maroon 5

For me, this was one of those instances where you don’t really realize how many songs you know from one artist until your singing majority of the lyrics with the rest of the people, and you’re just like, “I must have heard this on the radio about 100 times,” then the next song comes on and you’re like, “this one too!” It was quite incredible, surprisingly, to sing and dance with so many people while the warm sun was setting behind us. I am a Hip-Hop head, but I didn’t feel out-of-place for one second. Maybe it was because I had a few brews, or maybe because it was a very well-orchestrated performance, or both.

It was expected, however, that I immediately rush from one stage to the next at the first sound of something other than mainstream pop/rock though. Warren G was playing close by on the Lagunitas stage. And like I said, I am a Hip-Hop head, so it was only natural I ended up here. In between songs, the DJ played mixed cuts from Mac Dre and Too Short, but it was for a seemingly small crowd compared to the those packed around the second-to-biggest, Samsung stage, for Modest Mouse.

First Day Wins

Drink: Lagunitas Day Time Ale, Petaluma, CA.

Food: Coca-Cola Braised Pork Baked Bao from The Chairman Truck, South San Francisco, CA.

Random Fact: On the William Sonoma Culinary stage, chef-musician mashups were taking place throughout the day. Martha Stewart teamed up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, while Ayesha Curry and E-40 were cooking up a storm.

Day 2: Making Up For Day 1’s Lost Time

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Pell

Saturday was the best day because we got there early and I got some great photos of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. I saw an upcoming Hip-Hop artist named Pell who I’ve been eager to see. And I was a part of the country’s largest silent disco. Pell put on an energetic 2 PM performance at the Miner Family Winery stage. The New Orleans artist, who has songs with the Bay’s own G-Eazy and Caleborate, said it was his first time visiting Napa, but the crowd cheered after every song like they had been fans for years.

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Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

After seeing Jump Around performed by House of Pain at the Samsung Stage, and catching Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform the harmonic tune, You Don’t Know How It Feels, I had to check out the silent disco. Big Boi from Outkast mixed alongside Chicago’s, The White Panda, for dance party battle. If you’ve never been to a silent disco—it’s cool—everyone gets a pair of headphones and essentially jams out to whatever is playing on their channel. This setup had two channels.

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Big Boi at the Silent Disco

As The White Panda and Big Boi went in, they both were concurrently maintaining the energy with consistent bass lines and beat drops. While it was not entirely silent—a few people couldn’t help but sing along, or shout out “whooo” in between dance moves—it was certainly a disco. Everyone’s headphones lit up, in assorted colors, making it both an enticing visual and audial experience.

Saturday Wins

Drink: Blue Moon Blood Orange Pale Ale, Golden, CO.

Food: Cherry Apple Chia Kind Snack Bar, free, and a Frozen Chocolate Dipped Banana from Mariposa Ice Creamery, Napa, CA.

Random Tip: The VIP Village was home to exclusive bathrooms, bars, food vendors, phone charging stations, and viewing areas; but the wristband hierarchy is costly as you move up in the ranks, so unless you know someone or are trying to impress someone, my advice is to go with GA and get yourself a t-shirt (it lasts longer anyway!)

Day 3: Foo Fighters Finale Fucked

Sunday was off to a relaxing start—I went to the Sutter Health Wellness Spa to check things out. Having never seen a spa at a festival before, I was curious. Not sure what to expect and much to my surprise, you could get anything from massages, to skin creams, shots of B12, to IV treatments with essential vitamins and minerals to promote hydration. I didn’t do any of it, although, it sounded incredibly refreshing. It was surely something different and a lovely addition to the traditional festival setting.

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Con Brio

As far as music, Sunday had me pleasantly surprised. I discovered a band from San Francisco: Con Brio. Not sure if they are considered funk, soul, or both, but I was immediately drawn in by their new-age, Bay Area style and the eclectic energy. Knowing they are local, I am even more of a fan. Later, at the JaM Cellars stage, the Foo Fighters’ 2002 hit, All My Life, got people on their feet and kicked off some damn good vibes. My Hip-Hop subconscious didn’t want me to miss The Roots though, so I left after the first couple songs to ensure a good spot on the lawn at the Samsung stage. Which—I am glad I did—because I heard production got shut down during the final few minutes of the Foo Fighters’ set.

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Foo Fighters

Unfortunately, these things happen, and thankfully, The Roots put on a mighty grand finale. They performed the legendary track, The Next Movement, along with the Grammy Award Winning song, You Got Me. The live band performed long original solos and jazzy instrumental covers to singles like that of The Weekend and Childish Gambino. It was indeed, one of the best performances I’ve seen all year—and trust me, I’ve seen quite a few.

Overall, BottleRock was one of the most elegantly organized festivals I have been to. The amount of cross-culture, cross-genre, and musical diversity encouraged by the people behind BottleRock Napa Valley will be what brings music lovers like me back again next year!

Last Day Wins

Drink: water from the CamelBak hydration stations, free.

Food: Superfood Breakfast Bowl from Southside, Napa, CA.

If you think you missed out on one of the best festivals of the year—you did—but BottleRock 2018 has already been confirmed for May 25-27 of next year. Check out BottleRockNapaValley.com for event updates!