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Recap on Pacific Fest
Last Saturday, August 13th 2011: Pacific Festival. One of the newer, lesser known So Cal music festivals, hiding in the impressive shadows of EDC, Coachella, Hard, TAO, etc, but maybe that fact in itself is one of its counterintuitive crowning achievements. With the memories and experiences of countless music events in tow, I entered the festival (on a golf cart, no less), and something was different: SPACE. There was breathing room, space to move around, to wander from this stage to that one without some sweaty stranger’s crotch all up in my business and then asking me where I’m from. The lack of the typical hordes you find at most big events lately gave Pacific Fest a more authentic, underground Woodstock feeling. Instead of a sea of ravers, you could also spot the Indie kids, the artsy alternatives, and the comprehensive opportunist partiers.
The OC’s Oak Canyon Ranch was an awesome venue- in some places I felt like I was in a clearing in the forest, in others I could’ve been rocking out in the desert. I started out at the Main Stage for Calvin Harris and squeezed my way to the very front for his whole set, and I was close- did anyone know Calvin Harris was that good-looking?? Shit, I was jamming out to his stubble-smeared jaw line as much as his crowd-pumping opener, “Awooga.” He played his other classics for the fans, “Flashback” and “I’m Not Alone,” then hit us with a remix of “Coming Home” by Diddy and Dirty Money. When his 2011 single “Bounce” began playing, the beach balls went flying. Oh, how the foreign crotches were invading now, but screw it- it was a party, after all.
Steve Aoki stepped onto the stage as Calvin Harris was still finishing his set, and the crowd went berserk seeing these two electro rockstars side by side. It was definitely different from the last time I saw him at the Musication event at the Avalon this past year. Good ol’ Steve seemed more personal with the audience somehow- perhaps owing to the fact that his label was responsible for the event. But spraying a bottle of champagne onto his audience- his live performance staple- had not changed, and still induced massive crowd turbulence as “Turbulence” blasted. “I’m In The House” and his remix of “Pursuit of Happiness” brought the energy level absurd proportions, and I heard pieces of the oldie but goodie “Warp” weaving in and out of his set.
Since the festival boasted of five sound stages, at this point I set off to explore other sensory options. The Shagadelica stage was definitely one of my favs, but underrated in attendance. Imagine a double decker bus covered with white fur against a desert sunset backdrop, DJs spinning on top, civilians dancing around the bottom. I caught some of the Gang Bang Deejays, who played funky dance beats including their remix of “Drugs in My Body” by Thieves Like Us, in keeping with the psychedelic ambiance of the vehicled venue.
Swung by the Red Bull MXT stage where there was a mini-village of beer stations and food trucks for those with munchies, drunchies, or any other substance-induced cravings. We finally posted up at the Main Stage again for Snoop Dogg, a real OG MF-er to make us wait a whole half an hour and then immediately forgive him upon arrival. Holy hell, it was like being transported into the 90’s, the sweet decade of my childhood. The old school tracks like “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” “What’s My Name” and “The Next Episode” were nothing less than an auditory time machine, temporarily sweeping us back to when handheld stereos bumped hip-hop on the streets. Paying tribute to his homeboy Nate Dogg (not to mention his homegirl Mary Jane), he made a request: “Can we please have a moment of silence for this small chronic break?” Oh Snoop, you don’t even have to ask this crowd…
As a surprise cameo, old school kings Warren G and Kurrupt joined their fellow West Coaster onstage and proceeded to “Regulate.” Thug swag overload- and you just don’t get enough thug swag overload these days! However, despite the ass-wigglin’ girls grinding up on Snoop, his was a noticeably chiller set than most of the big headliners of the day. Nevertheless, it was the pinnacle of my night- it may have been a primarily electro/Indie crowd, but they gave love for “Drop It Like It’s Hot” like true hip-hop fanatics. What can I say, the man’s an icon, and forever on my laminated copy of Top 5 People I Want to Share a Blunt With. Cut Copy rounded up the night with their major hits like “Hearts On Fire” and “Need You Now,” and I hauled ass out of there to beat the parking lot traffic.
Pacific Fest may relatively new on the scene, but if it keeps on dishing out bangin’ lineups at transportive venues, it’s well on its way to the sacred big league of music festivals. Power to the music and its diehard fans.
Photo cred to George LeMontague- check out more photos of Pacific Fest at We Are Party Animals!
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