If there was one thing I wish more people talked about more when rendering their favorite festival experiences – is how peaceful the Hip-Hop environment was.
I realize a small (or perhaps, non-existent) number of people actually go to Electronic-based festivals to hear Hip-Hop so let’s take a moment to acknowledge Northern Nights Music Festival for always including some degree of Hip-Hop. This year: Sage The Gemini. In previous years: Living Legends, Adam Vida, Black Star, GoldLink, Amp Live, Zion I, and many others.
It’s hard to explain the scenery of a strictly Hip-Hop show or festival but imagine this – last year at Rolling Loud Bay Area, I saw a girl actively participate in a mosh pit and then immediately get upset when she got knocked down multiple times – while getting pushed around (as expected in a mosh pit) she threatened to pepper-spray everyone within reach. Wild right? At the same festival – Lil B got jumped backstage – of all people – Lil B?The Based God – who literally loves every single soul on this Earth including insects and trees.
Also, consider – numerous SOBxRBE shows in the Bay where chains get snatched and in turn, fights break out. At their most recent back-to-back, sold-out show in Santa Cruz, the second show didn’t even happen because someone brought their gun out. I’ve seen fights turn into brawls, rude girls throw drinks on one another, and aggressive attitudes from virtually everybody.
Not to mention – extensive searches, metal detectors, and pat downs upon entry. And don’t you dare try smoking a joint while you’re in there. Some will say it’s ego, others say pride, but what it really is – is the very content of the genre itself. Which is something that’s probably not going to change much in time. When you rap about drugs, violence, and bad bitches, that’s what you can expect when the energy is reciprocated in a live setting. But switch environments for just a second and watch how the scene changes.
HIP-HOP NEEDS FESTIVALS LIKE NORTHERN NIGHTS because the atmosphere is so welcoming and abundant in vibes. If you’ve ever tried, you know you can’t talk a Hip-Hop head out of Hip-Hop, so don’t try. It’s not about the music – but try enticing real Hip-Hop fans with friendly people, pretty girls, not-so-douchey men, caring neighbors, activities like cannabis and yoga – c’mon, have you ever seen anyone smoke weed or leave yoga mad or wanting to fight? No, you have not. This year, Northern Nights has also incorporated an Experimental Cannabis Activation where organizers simply wish to implement a re-imagination of how festivals incorporate cannabis. Plus, of course, yoga, live art, a silent disco, a river, workshops, and plenty more.
So much of Hip-Hop is resistance. Especially resistance to change. But a festival like Northern Nights will change your life, and maybe even your perspective on music in general. Genuinely coming from someone who sgoes hyphy to Mac Dre in between EDM songs at the most unexpected DJ sets at any given festival, I highly recommend this one over your typical festival.
Tickets are selling fast, and the set times have been released. Visit https://www.northernnights.org/ now for everything you need to know. #MakeTheJourney and see you all there!
Photos courtesy of Northern Nights Music Festival