Coming out of our weekend up in South Lake Tahoe, I couldn’t be happier. My SnowGlobe experience was even better than last year in so many ways; I was so impressed by the improvements made by the festival’s organizers in the stage designs, layout, and vendors. The vibes were on point and the sets were top of the line! Everything came together to create the most unforgettable snowy experience this New Year’s celebration.
Let’s start with day one!
Luckily, we booked a cabin within less than a mile to the SnowGlobe venue, so the festival was just a short walk through a beautiful part of the forest away. Per usual, the first day our excitement was through the roof, so we headed over just as the festival was opening. When we got in, we noticed a huge line that didn’t seem to be moving. For some reason, they didn’t open the doors until around 2:50pm even though they were supposed to open at 2pm. Maybe there were some technical issues they needed to work out before letting everyone in. We didn’t mind the wait though, just hanging in line until it started moving was lots of fun.
My group and I were some of the first people inside, and boy was that venue a sight to see right at the beginning with the white powdery snow untouched and the beautiful stages and art installments shining brightly. As they announced prior to the festival, the grounds were substantially expanded to a larger area of the venue. The expansion improved the entire experience dramatically, allowing for larger stages with more room to dance, more beer gardens and VIP areas, and overall just more room to run around in the snow! My favorite part of the new setup was the transformation of the Sierra tent into an outdoor stage within a picturesque pocket of trees. When the lasers and lights would hit the trees it was quite a sight to see. The Sierra did get pretty packed at times, but the open area allowed for considerably more people than the tent set up did in previous years. And, there was a VIP area raised on the left of the stage, which gave a great elevated view.
The main stage also got some enhancements, it was this significantly larger with more LED screens and panels, which made for some dope visuals throughout the sets. The third stage, the Igloo, was the home to some great funky house and deep house sets. It was the last stage to close each night, going half an hour longer than the others. Whenever we had a free moment we would always go groove in the Igloo, warming up and catching some cool tunes. While the setup was larger, I do have to say the amount of tickets they sold for the space was a bit too much. At times it was hard to move even between stages, and it was often difficult to see the stage beyond the sea of people squished in front of me. They might want to consider selling fewer tickets in future editions, just so the experience is improved for everyone in regards to space.
Apart from the amount of people in the venue, my entire experience was nothing but fun.
The lineup for the first day was absolutely stacked with huge names like Flume and The Chainsmokers, so we knew we were in for an exciting first day. When we first got in, we wandered over to check out the Sierra stage and Madds was playing a fun trap set. We danced and adventured around, getting our bearings of the festival, then headed to main stage for Vincent, the first big set of day one! He absolutely killed it, playing a dynamic set filled with some softer beautiful songs as well as his heavier bass tracks like “Alpha.” For the next three or four hours we posted at the back of the main stage, and saw sets from RL Grime, The Chainsmokers, and Flume. By far my favorite was Flume, who opened with a ten minute long intro semi-hidden behind a translucent sheet, then, he drops “Helix” and the sheet falls to the ground, finally revealing Flume jamming on stage. His set was definitely more of a festival set than it was his Skin Tour, which I loved, and of course, he played all my old favorites like “Sleepless,” “Drop the Game,” and “Insane.” This set proved to me that he fully deserves to be the one if the biggest players in music today, he delivered a musically brilliant set, his passion and talent permeating the crowd.
After Flume, it was time for Snails at the Sierra! Our entire group had been anticipating the crazy, heavy set all day long, and we were not disappointed. Snails brought on the “vomit” drop after drop, leaving us open-mouthed and wide-eyed at the end of the night. Once Snails was over, we headed over to groove to some funky deep house in the Igloo for the last half an hour of the festival. It was only a short walk back to our cabin to rest up and get ready to do it all again.
The second was my favorite of the three days, filled with funky sets that incorporated live elements and kept us dancing away through the night.
Zach and I kicked off the day chatting with Big Wild, then went over to meet the rest of our friends at Chet Porter. After discovering Chet on SoundCloud about a year ago, he’s become one of my favorite artists. It has been incredible seeing how much he’s grown as an artist in the past year. His song “Stay,” released on ODESZA’s label Foreign Family Collective, is absolutely beautiful. Hearing him play it live in that atmosphere was unforgettable. After Chet, we made our way even closer to the front of the stage for Brasstracks, one of the sets I was most excited for. I had seen Brasstracks play with GRiZ just a few weeks prior, and couldn’t wait to see what their own set would be like. They brought energy, jamming on the drums and horns and putting out some great vibes! Their stage presence was infectious and the entire crowd was loving it, dancing along to their funky set.
Up next we beelined to the main stage for Big Gigantic, another highly anticipated set. They kept the funky vibes going with another completely live set with drums and a saxophone. Their jazzy set with some heavy bass drops had everyone smiling and dancing along, and they even brought out Brasstracks to play an epic b2b for their last song. After a bit of a break, Major Lazer came on and completely blew me away. I didn’t expect to love their set, but they put on an incredible show and I had so much fun. They had it all–the dancers going off and Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Jillionaire all sported matching fur coats and threw out towels and shirts to the crowd. These guys know how to get the crowd into it, and the music was incredible as well, mixing up the vibes with their dancehall and trap sounds. They even brought up some guy from the crowd who seemed to be getting kicked out of the festival, and they danced with him up on stage. It looked like he was a part of the show, that had to have been the best night of that guy’s life.
To close out an unforgettable Day 2. we ran over to the Sierra to catch the second half of Big Wild. The stage was absolutely packed, but we luckily had access to the raised VIP area. Zach and I went up there and got an incredible view of Big Wild jamming on stage and the crowd going wild. We had broken off from the rest of the group, and every time we tried to turn away from the set and head back to our friends he’d drop another funky beat and pull us back in. We ended up staying until the end, and I’m so thankful that we did. One of my favorite moments from the entire festival was dancing along from the back of the Sierra to his closing track, “Aftergold,” accompanied by an incredible laser show bouncing off the trees. We agreed that might’ve been one of the best spots of all of SnowGlobe, allowing you to see and hear the full effect of the Sierra.
The final day was bittersweet…we had all been looking forward to ODESZA’s midnight set for ages, but couldn’t believe SnowGlobe was already almost over.
We bounced around for the first couple hours, catching bits of Point Point, Mr. Carmack, Manila Killa, and Baauer. Baauer’s heavy trap set was exactly what we needed to get some energy out and go hard before the precious moments of ODESZA and Rufus Du Sol’s more mellow sets. Before I knew it, the sun had gone down and Rufus was setting up on stage. I had never seen them before but had heard nothing but great things from others who had. Their set perfectly set the tone for the night, as the alternative dance style with live singing, piano, and drum components had the good vibes visibly flowing.
As Rufus closed, the time had finally come for ODESZA to ring in the New Year. With less than an hour left of 2016, our group huddled together in the cold and took a minute to appreciate how happy we all were to be there with each other. 2016 had brought us together, and there wasn’t a more perfect way that we could’ve journeyed into 2017. After a half hour or so between the sets, the lights dimmed and ODESZA took the stage. The set that ensued was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced. Words can’t describe the musical talent and passion present in ODESZA’s performance. Even while playing live, each note synced perfectly with the visuals that took us everywhere from the sea to the forest and even to the night sky. We even had the pleasure of hearing three amazing new tracks, soon to be released (I can’t wait!).
As they counted down the seconds until 2016, I looked around me and everyone seemed so at peace, smiling and embracing their friends and loved ones. Then, ODESZA dropped their remix of “Something About You” as the countdown ended and 2017 began, beautiful fireworks going off behind the stage and everyone cheering for the new year.
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better three days or better people to spend them with. With highlights from Brasstracks, Major Lazer, Flume, Big Gigantic, and, of course, ODESZA, I was lucky enough to experience some absolutely incredible music. The improvements in the layout and more advanced production and stage design made for an even better festival than the previous year. SnowGlobe will always hold a special place in my heart; my extraordinary memories made in the absolutely beautiful scenic venue will never be forgotten. I can’t wait for next year!