Local Bay Area-based event companies Olympus and LoFreq shined bright with their stage takeovers at Toxic Summer this year.
While Toxic Summer is known for dubstep, riddim, and all things heavy, Vital Events has made it a habit to bring something different to the table in recent years through their side stage takeovers. Typically hosted by Bay Area-based event companies, this year was no different as Olympus Events‘ Audissey and LoFreq showcased some of their favorite local talents on their corresponding days. So while the headliners and main stage were filled to the brim with heavy hitters, the side stage was where we went to experience something unique last weekend.
This year’s edition of stage takeovers was only better than the last, as Audissey and LoFreq came with their best in hand. On Friday, we saw the Audissey team take the stage with a variety of trap, breaks, and dubstep through artists such as Stripess, Wufu, Strobez, Xerxes, and their very own headliner, Jawns. Consisting of some of our favorite up-and-comers, the Audissey takeover was the place to be for us on Friday.
Olympus’ Audissey brought some unique talent to the stage for their takeover on Friday.
Xerxes made quite the impression, bringing raw, unadulterated energy with a beautifully curated set to keep the energy pumping with trap remixes and originals. Strobez then took the stage with his unique artistry, telling a story with his music and piquing attendees’ curiosity, as many were experiencing a Strobez’ set for the first time. A young artist with a clear vision, Strobez is an artist that we can’t wait for more listeners to find and see flourish.
REAPER stole our hearts with drum and bass, bringing life to the Gods & Monsters stage.
Meanwhile, the Gods & Monsters stage was POPPING. REAPER took to the stage and showed us that drum and bass lacking love in America is purely a myth. He is an artist on a mission to share his love for drum and bass with the world, and on Friday, he did just that. While the room was overflowing with overheated bodies, the crowd was still going crazy, jumping in time with REAPER’s set. Our only complaint would be our firm belief that he deserved a spot on the main stage and the room to accommodate all the attendees trying to enter the room for his set.
Taking a breather outside on the patio later in the evening led me to find the End Overdose booth. Thinking that it was a perfect time to learn more, I got Narcan certified and learned all about their harm reduction mission. End Overdose will be at all future festivals Insomniac hosts, so hopefully, more attendees will take advantage of these free resources and education!
LoFreq brought some heavenly bass to the stage to wrap up their takeover with a family b2b on Saturday.
Saturday came around with some more favorite artists on the rise, including dubstep DJ/producer Glasspvck, on the LoFreq takeover of the CarreSel stage. On our radar for some time now, Glasspvck unsurprisingly brought a killer, thunderous energy to the stage with his cinematic set. There were, however, some limitations on the CarreSel sound system that night, and unfortunately, the bass was lacking. While this may have had more to do with the common act of limiting earlier sets, we know some proper bass would have done him justice.
Later that same night, Kyral x Banko made quite an impression.
For my first time seeing Kyral x Banko and only recently learning about them, I was stunned by how much I loved them. They might even be a new favorite for me. The duo had the room bumping, with everyone in the room vibing and getting down to their deep dub set. Their set also served as the perfect precedent to the LoFreq family b2b, which was truly something to behold. The LoFreq team brought up LoFreq founder Jalaya, Aeon, Dalfin, bd hbt, and more for one of the most heavenly experimental bass experiences while bringing out the best vibes in the crowd simultaneously.
As the festival started to wind down, attendees started walking by the CarreSel stage, peeking in at everyone having a great time, and walking in to join us.
Moments like that are the purest form of openness that we love to see at festivals, and I only wish more people had had the pleasure of experiencing it. While not walking into Toxic Summer with that plan, spending the weekend at the side stage takeovers brought me one of my favorite experiences at Toxic Summer yet.
Local event promoters bringing forth their favorite rising artists and throwing their flavor into the mix made for a special and memorable festival weekend. I look forward to next year’s edition with high hopes for another unique experience and more opportunities to broaden my tastes.