music festival

Panorama NYC by Julia Walck

Panorama-Header.jpg

A few weeks ago Emily and I went to our first East Coast music festival, Panorama NYC!

After a red eye flight from LAX to RDU, we landed at 6:20am and had to sprint through the airport to catch our connecting 6:20am flight to LGA. Yeah, you read those times right. Luckily our second flight was delayed, and we landed in NY a few hours later. 

Panorama-Airbnb-2.jpg

We went straight to our Airbnb, (which was super cute by the way), dropped our bags off, changed with superman-style speed, scarfed down some lunch, then headed to the ferry. Did I mention this festival was on an island? Well, it was. 

DAY 1

Panorama-Day-1-Lineup.jpg

Day one's lineup was insanely awesome... and we were insanely tired. But we were determined to push through!  

We got in with a bit of time to explore the lay of the land (figuring out how to get from Stage A to Stage B, etc.). We passed by the Rough Trade record booth when I noticed a sign. And what a sign it was! "Signing today: Spoon. 4:15PM"

Panorama-Day-1-Spoon-Sign.jpg

How unexpectedly awesome! The catch was you had to buy merch from Rough Trade to be signed. I bought Hot Thoughts on CD, (yes my car still has a CD player), and kept it safe in my backpack until later. 

We headed over to the main stage for Honne and watched from a shady spot on the side. It was ironic hearing him sing, "I'll keep you warm on a cold night" with the current weather being in the low 90's.

Panorama-Day-1-Honne.jpg

Foxygen was up next. You know, like from that Google Home commercial where the dad tries to relate to his daughter's boyfriend by finding out what their latest album was?... It's "Hang" if you were wondering. 

Panorama-Day-1-Foxygen.jpg
Panorama-Day-1-Beer.jpg

Emily and I grabbed some beer and enjoyed Foxygen before bouncing back to the Panorama stage for Vance Joy. By coincidence, my outfit was color coordinated to match the Panorama wristband and, apparently, beer. 

Panorama-Day-1-Vance-Joy.jpg

I sat in the back on a sprawled out scarf on the grass for a bit before heading over to the Spoon signing. 

When it was time I grabbed my CD, Instax camera, and nervously walked over. I’ve been listening to these guys since 2005, and have seen them 5 times in total! And in 3 different states! This band seriously means so much to me and I definitely fangirled/froze in front of them at the signing.

There were no "posed" photos allowed, but I was able to snap a shot sans me in it. I only took one photo on my Instax camera and prayed to the indie music gods that it would develop. 

Luckily it did! And I came out with a signed CD and tangible photo from it all. 

Panorama-Day-1-Spoon-3.jpg
Panorama-Day-1-Spoon-4.jpg

I walked back over to Vance Joy, sat down and basked in the happiness of all that had just happened. Riptide was playing and everyone was going crazy. 

During the 30 minute breakdown time in between sets, we made a beer run and then posted up in a good spot for Future Islands

Panorama-Day-1-Future-Islands.jpg
Panorama-Instax-Future-Islands.jpg

I've seen Future Islands a few times now and the energy in this band never ceases to amaze me. Samuel Herring, the lead singer, has a unique performance style about him that I've never seen before and it's entertaining to a whole other level. He runs back and forth on the stage pounding on his chest to really get that deep, raspy, howling voice out. He'll even break into that Russian jumpstyle Cossack dance once in a while and it never gets old.

Emily stayed for the full set, but I ducked out a bit early to see my guys Spoon play at The Pavilion stage. As I was walking over, I passed Alex (keys/guitar in Spoon); he recognized me from the signing and kind of stopped, motioning if I wanted to say hi. I sort of waved and just kept walking because sometimes I'm really stupid and walk right past musicians that mean a lot to me out of nervousness. (This has also happened with Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip and Michel Gondry, the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I kick myself whenever I think about those times. 

Panorama-Day-1-Spoon-2.jpg

So this was actually the worst Spoon show I've ever been to. Not because of the performance, but because of the crowd. 

Tyler the Creator was the next act at this stage, and that's all people cared about. It was packed. Unfortunately it was packed for Tyler the entirety of Spoon's set and everyone was talking through the show. I looked around and I was the only one in my sight actually singing and dancing, let alone enjoying the music. I was a sardine in the midst of people who gave zero fucks about the show that was happening right in front of them.

I was so angry by the rudeness of everyone. Spoon was what drew me to this festival. They were basically the reason I came and to have it ruined by a sea full of bucket hats really sucked. 

But hey, at least I met them. And this wasn't my first time seeing them and it won't be my last. So that's okay. 

Panorama-Instax-Calling-All-Friends.jpg

Breakbot was going to be next, but they got rescheduled to the next day due to some technical difficulties in The Parlor. Apparently Cherry Glazerr also got caught up in the little tech mishap, but had to be on the road for another show so they just didn't get to play at all. Bummer.

In the meantime, we went to the craft cocktail garden and grabbed food. 

Panorama-Day-1-Solange.jpg

When the sun was setting, Emily and I made our way over to Solange. I enjoyed her performance way more than I thought I would. So full of soul and emotion; not to mention great subtle choreography.

Panorama-Day-1-Frank-Ocean.jpg

We stayed in the same spot for Frank Ocean (probably because we were too exhausted to move), and headed back to the ferry after a few songs. 

7 acts on Day 1? Super jetlagged? Not too shabby if I do say so myself. 

We passed out immediately upon arrival at our Airbnb.

DAY 2

Panorama-Day-2-Lineup.jpg

Our alarm was set for late in the morning so we could catch up on sleep. We brunched and filled up on coffee at Mud before heading into the festival. 

Panorama-Day-2-Mud.jpg

Our first stop was Sofi Tukker. I was crazy excited to see them again. They were at Coachella this year and it was one of the most high energy shows I've ever seen! (even in the 102 degree heat!)

Thankfully they were in an enclosed tent this time so it was on the cooler side and we didn't get as sweaty when we danced. Because this is dancing music.  

Panorama-Day-2-Sofi-Tukker.jpg

Continuing with the dancing theme, Emily and I headed over to the Aussie duo, Jagwar Ma. We hung out in the shade, danced a bit and got ice cream in between acts. Mine was fruity pebble flavored.

Panorama-Day-2-Jagwar-Ma.jpg
Panorama-Day-2-Ice-Cream.jpg

After devouring our ice cream, we headed to the rescheduled Breakbot set. They're known for their funky, electro remixes and "French-touch" to music. Good, groovin' tunes.

Panorama-Day-2-Breakbot.jpg

Previously known as Chet FakerNick Murphy was next. I saw him at Red Rocks earlier this year, and this Panorama show was even better than the last. At one point in the show he ran down into the audience and everyone was singing and dancing together. There's just something special about being so close to the live performance, and "up in the vibe" as my friend Jen would say. 

PS if you haven't listened to his new album Missing Link yet you should do so. 

Panorama-Day-2-Nick-Murphy-2.jpg
Panorama-Day-2-Nick-Murphy-1.jpg

The last act of the night was at a semi-hidden stage tucked away around a corner. Twirling lights hung above a giant, checkered dancefloor where a DJ was spinning tunes. 

I didn't exactly expect Motor City Drum Ensemble to be a DJ, but he appeared in the disco-ball-clad booth and started doin' his thing. What a fun show, though. Everyone was dancing together underneath the color changing lights on a warm, summer night. 

Panorama-Day-2-Motor-City-Drum-Ensemble-2.jpg
Panorama-Day-2-Motor-City-Drum-Ensemble-1.jpg

It had been a long couple of days and this was only day 2! I fought the urge to go to sleep when we got back from the festival that night, and I dragged Emily out on the town, telling her, "This is our only night to go out!"

We made it to 4 bars and were out 'til 3am. I'd say we did New York right that night. 

Our first stop was McSoarleys Old Ale House. A friend suggested this and really talked it up. And I'm glad they did. Cash only, two beers at a time, light or dark. That's the drill. No fancy craft brews, Bud Lights or Stella. You throw your cash down on the beer-soaked bar and pick from the simplest two options. In a "tapper" style fashion they serve you your beer. 

Panorama-NYC-McSoarleys-1.jpg

Next was Amor Y Amargo. The littlest bar I've ever been to, with one of the stiffest drinks I've ever had. Something with gin is all I remember. They also have a ton of bitters for purchase, and include bitters in pretty much all of their drinks. This place only has about 5 seats and standing room for maybe 10-15 more. 

We put our name down at Death & Company and while we were waiting, grabbed a drink at a tavern next door. The tavern wasn't really noteworthy, but Death & Company was. Odd to say, but my drink had the most perfect ice cube I've ever seen. Some solid craft cocktails. 

Panorama-NYC-bars-1.jpg

DAY 3

Panorama-Day-3-Lineup.jpg

We brunched at Philip Marie Restaurant after our night of drinking, and I figured why not keep it going with bottomless Bloody Mary's? 

Panorama-Instax-Doing-Great-Square.jpg

There was a bit of time before the first act we wanted to see, so we took our time and checked out a few vintage shops in the area: Star Struck Vintage and Beacon's Closet. I found a pair of earrings that look like match sticks and Emily got a vintage tee. 

Panorama-NYC-Vintage-Star-Struck-1.jpg

The ferry ride over was crazy windy and I think the wind blew all the color out of my hair 💨🌈

Panorama-Day-3-Ferry.jpg

Once on the island we did our now routine drill of filling up our water bottles, finding food/beer and heading to the first show: Preoccupations. Noisy, grumbly rock which I enjoy every now and then.  

Panorama-Day-3-Preoccupations.jpg

The indoor show had been nice and cool, but it was time to venture over to a tented outdoor stage for Angel Olsen. As I type this I'm looking at an Angel Olsen flyer I have pinned up at my desk. God, she's so photogenic AND so talented. There's such a sweet presence to her/her music. I'm sure that everyone in the crowd, at some point during her performance, closed their eyes, swayed and smiled a little. 

Panorama-Day-3-Angel-Olsen.jpg

It felt like we were ping-ponging a bit from the inside tented stage to the outside tented stage. Strangely similar from hopping back and forth from pool to jacuzzi. 

We got to the next set a bit early and laid down on our scarves underneath the disco ball. 

The atmosphere was awoken by the lo-fi pop that is Cloud Nothings. The disco ball lights were thumping/pulsating to the beats. (Good thing that we magically didn't have hangovers from the night before).

Panorama-Day-3-Cloud-Nothings.jpg
Panorama-Day-3-Disco-Ball.jpg

Glass Animals played the main stage next. They sing about pineapples a lot. And they threw a pineapple into the audience, which seems like a bad idea but the dude who caught it was super stoked. Fun fact: some festivals in the UK banned pineapples due to the amount of fans bringing them in to the grounds. 

Another really fun show where he jumped into the crowd and sang/danced with everyone. The roadie who had to carry his microphone cord (which was now very tangled) seemed way over it, though. As I could only imagine.

Panorama-Day-3-Glass-Animals.jpg

We made a mad dash to grab some food, then held down our spot for A Tribe Called Quest

It was a lot more emotional of a show than I thought it would be. They had a microphone on stage for Phife Dawg, who passed away in March of 2016; when his part came up in song they showed the mic on screen with a photo of Phife in the background. 

I can't imagine how emotional that must be for them as a group, hearing his voice recorded like that. They paid respect to him and his family, and announced it would be their last NY show. Ever. 

It's understandable that it's just not the same without Phife Dawg. 

Panorama-Day-3-Tribe-Called-Quest.jpg

We didn't stay for NIN. I ended up going to FYF the week prior and had caught a few songs there. Plus we were exhausted. 

The breeze on the ferry ride back felt nice, and I think gave us the energy to go out for one last drink. This was our last night in NY so we went to a rooftop bar to take in the view, and some tequila. 

Panorama-NYC-Salvation-Taco.jpg

We walked back to our total artsy/90s-dream-world of an Airbnb for the final time. The space was perfect for any music or art lover who is also (bonus) fond of cats. Let me tell you, Blackie is the sweetest cat I've ever met! Don't let his half-cut ear, piercing yellow eyes and snaggle tooth fool you. He was a total cuddler and great buddy to chill with. It was going to be hard to leave.

On Monday morning we slept in and took our time leaving. We grabbed coffee and a bagel from a local shop, walked around and looked at street art, then hung out at the Ace Hotel until it was time to catch a cab. 

Panorama-NYC-5.jpg
Panorama-NYC-6.jpg
Panorama-Instax-Ace-Hotel-art.jpg
Every-Exit.jpg

'Til next time, New York. 

Festival No. 6 by Julia Walck

Let me just start by saying that Festival No. 6 was the best festival I've ever been to. 

And I've been to Coachella (4 times), HARD Summer, FYF (twice), Moon Block Party, Free Press Summer Fest, and Sasquatch!.

The festival setting in Portmeirion, Wales is amazing and unlike any other; it felt like we were walking in a dream.

The lookout

Seats in the village

The Estuary

The Estuary

Here's some things from the festival that really stood out to me as being different from ones in the states:

  1. GLITTER. Glitter everywhere. You're probably going, "yeah yeah I've seen festival glitter before." No. Not like this. Faces, beards, bodies... Actually On the shuttle ride over, everyone had glitter smothered on their faces. "That all looks very similar," I thought. They told us there was a Festival No. 6 party train car that did free glitter for everyone. (They mucked up our tickets so we weren't on it). Damn. 
  2. Someone from every age seemed to be there, and it was extremely family friendly. And even older people had glitter, too. 
  3. There was almost no limit to what you could bring into the festival. I saw a guy wearing a massive disco ball around him. It had a boombox inside of it and it was my favorite thing ever. 
  4. The weather, obviously. But we'll get into that later.

Getting there was a bit of a trek. And by "a bit of a trek" I mean we were traveling for at least 24 hours straight. 

Our itinerary looked a little something like this:

Itinerary

Itinerary

Yes, we are crazy.

Since Emily and I went through all of that travel and knew we'd be exhausted traveling across the world, we had splurged and got a yurt.

Our yurt, shot by Emily on her GoPro

Our yurt, shot by Emily on her GoPro

And let me tell you, it was so worth it. 

Not having to deal with lugging a sleeping bag and other camping necessities on our travels was a smart move on our part. Plus crashing in a bed every night in a warm yurt is so much better than shivering out in a little tent on a hill in the mud. 

The festival didn't officially start until the day after we arrived so we wandered the grounds a bit.

Wellies on the rocks

And then fell in love with this wall

Fell in love with these colors

Arm candy

All of the vibrant colors around us made me so happy. And better yet, it felt like fall: the leaves actually changed colors.

One of the first things we did day 1 of the festival was get a physical lineup. Or as they call them in the UK: programs. 

Their programs are very different over there than they are in the states. It was almost bigger than I was once folded out. Think, "old Thomas Guide" style. 

On the back of the Festival No. 6 program was an illustrated map of Portmeirion. The far right is where Emily and I stayed, in the middle is the main arena, to the left of that the general campground area, then the village, the estuary and the woods. 

If it looks big, that's because it was. One day at the festival we walked 30,912 steps! 

FRIDAY

  • Dance a la Plage
  • Bad Sounds
  • Beach Baby
  • Horse Beach
  • Eldoko
  • Clean Cut Kid
  • Aurora
  • M. Ward
  • Kaiser Chiefs
  • Bastille
  • The Two Bears

Emily and I grooved on a dance floor floating on a pond underneath a massive disco ball, got lost in the woods for forty minutes trying to find a stage, drank our weight in beer, saw Joe Goddard perform in front of a castle, and jumped around to Kaiser Chiefs. Plus so, so much more. And that's only day 1! 

Dreamcatchers in the woods

Dreamcatchers in the woods

Disco. Balls. Everywhere.

Zoom in. Bottom left. You're welcome.

Ironic that we did get lost in the woods...

Ironic that we did get lost in the woods...

The weather was perfect on Friday - almost a little hot considering it was so much colder than LA. I think that's one of the main reasons we were able to catch 11 bands since it made walking from stage to stage easy.

Clean Cut Kid

Clean Cut Kid

Horse Beach

Kaiser Chiefs

AURORA

Joe Goddard

AURORA was super cute. Talking about her surroundings at the festival she shyly said, "I feel very much like I'm in the middle of Lord of the Rings. But without Mordor obviously."

Bad Sounds

Bad Sounds

M. Ward

Beach Baby

Dance a la Plage

El Doko

Not only were the sights stunning... the food and drink was great too. Waffles, banana and cream with a flat white for breakfast, vegan sushi burrito for lunch and jalapeno cheese hot dog for dinner (churros for dessert). Oh and espresso martinis. Can't forget those!

At Sushi Maki, the burrito truck, the guy working turned to his co-worker and said, "There's two dollars under the till. Why are there two American dollars there? We've had no American customers". Emily and I go, "We'll take 'em". He shrugged and went, "Yeah alright". So we got sushi burritos and some money back! Wish they could've been twenties though. 

The vintage selection they had on site was great. I found a 70s dress with an obnoxiously long, amazing collar for 10£, and two pairs of earrings handmade in Asia. 

Later on Friday night, we stayed for a few Bastille songs and headed back to the yurt. The 2 Bears weren't on until 1 in the morning. We rested for an hour and a half until I convinced Emily to go back out with me. 

Bastille

Bastille

Disco ceiling at Two Bears

Disco ceiling at Two Bears

My "drink of the weekend" A gin paloma.

In between shows we explored. We stumbled upon this tinseled out motorhome and I took quite a few photos before realizing the owner was in the window waving out at me. She hid for the photos.

Like a mobile party

Like a mobile party

SATURDAY

  • Groove Theory
  • The Amazons
  • Oh Wonder
  • Blossoms
  • Temples
  • Roisin Murphy
  • Hot Chip

Saturday we woke up to the sound of rain hitting the top of the yurt. "That's nice," we thought. Little did we know that was only the mild beginning of rain for the day. 

The path to our yurt

The path to our yurt

We went in to the festival around 11am, grabbed a brekkie boy bagel and watched Hot Chip's sound check. The rain started coming down harder so we went into the House of Rum and saw Groove Theory. Not many people were out as it was now pouring. The burlap floors of the House of Rum turned into an unintentional "Great Lake" art installation.

Hot Chip sound check

The view from Groove Theory

The view from Groove Theory

Sipsmith Gin Shop was the next spot with coverage. I've been drinking salted gin palomas all weekend. They're delicious. When the gin shop literally began to acquire a river we went on our way to see Amazons. I never realized they were so young! 

Amazons

Amazons

Trekking through the mud, we went to the village for Blueprint Blue. Bummer that Tim Peak's Diner was so tiny we couldn't even get standing room.

Carnival No. 6, a parade where festival goers can get done up in glitter and costumes, got postponed due to the rain. I think that shows how bad the weather really was. We watched dancers on the Village Stage instead. They were swing dancing and did a lesson for the crowd to learn too. We left before the lesson; somehow wide leg movements and mud didn't seem a good combo.  

When we arrived back at the main stage it was completely roped off. A tractor was piling wood chips slowly into the pit. The security guard let us know Lawrence Taylor canceled due to the weather. Shit. And the workers didn't know when it would open back up. Slight panic went over me as Hot Chip was that night. 

Stage trouble

Stage trouble

Luckily, Oh Wonder played at the Grand Pavilion next and that's covered. A giant "OW" light lit the back of the stage while they played their slow, dancey tunes. 

Oh Wonder

Oh Wonder

The main stage opened back up in time for Blossoms. After a few songs from afar, we went back to the Grand Pavilion for Temples. So. Much. Mud. 

Blossoms

Blossoms

Roisin Murphy took the main stage next. Emily and I had split up at this point and it was raining again. I can't even begin to count the amount of outfit changes Roisin had, but it was a lot. She did request an umbrella off the side of the stage at one point because of the rain. 

Temples

Roisin Murphy

Roisin Murphy

Roisin Murphy

When waiting up front for Hot Chip, a procession of red lanterns could be seen from a distance in the side of the crowd. Then a crane came, carrying a geometric-UFO-box-like-thing covered in lights and mirrors. It spun while dramatic music played and then someone was lowered down from the middle to disco music.

Definitely wasn't expecting that. I overheard someone ask, "Does this have anything to do with 'The Prisoner'?" A TV show filmed in Portmeirion in the 60s. Maybe I'll have to watch it. 

The rain had stopped by now, and Hot Chip put on a fantastic show as always. My fries sign made it all the way to Wales with me and somehow didn't get destroyed by the rain. They smiled when I held it up. It was Alexis's son's birthday and he brought his kids out for "Dancing in the Dark". The kids played maracas and danced around. Confetti was everywhere. After the show, I asked security for a set-list. He said, "Only if those guys," (pointing to the roadies), "hand me one I can give it to you, sorry". A few minutes later the set-list blew off the stage and on the ground in front of me. I guess I was just destined to have it. 

Hot Chip brought up dancers for a Prince tribute song

Hot Chip brought up dancers for a Prince tribute song

Hot Chip

Hot Chip

Afterwards I met up with Em again. I got some pasta and her some churros and we slowly walked in the mud back to camp. 

Emily (left) and me (right)

Emily (left) and me (right)

SUNDAY

  • Get Inuit
  • Fickle Friends
  • C Duncan
  • Teleman
  • Milky Chance
  • Lucy Rose
  • Super Furry Animals
  • Noel Gallagher
  • Maribou State
The Coffee Gondola. AKA our daily saving grace

The Coffee Gondola. AKA our daily saving grace

Sunday, the final day of the festival, our first band was Fickle Friends at the woods stage at 2:15pm. We went in a bit early so we could get food. After Aussie style eggs and sweet potato fries there was still extra time. The floating dance floor seemed like a good time killer, so we danced.

Bubbles in the woods

Bubbles in the woods

Since the carnival got canceled the day before, it was on our to-do list for Sunday. They never released a new time for it, but I mean you'd think it'd be the same as they initially intended right? Wrong. 

Luckily, we happened to be walking through the village when it was going on and we caught the very end of it.

We got to the Lost in the Woods Stage while the 1:30 band was still playing. I actually knew of them and didn't realize they were here. The band was called Get Inuit. Glad we caught them.

Get Inuit

Get Inuit

It was only slightly drizzly but made the Fickle Friends set-up a bit dodgy. They finally got all set and put on a great show. The awesome thing about a festival with so many stages is you can get close to pretty much whatever since everyone is so spread out.

C Duncan was thankfully in the Grand Pavillion (the covered space). Though, the floor was basically a mud pit now. Their little Irish accents were so cute! And all of them had such great voices. 

Fickle Friends

C Duncan

Teleman played the main stage and the rain had died down. There was a girl in the crowd to our left that the lead guitarist kept looking at with a big smile. She was getting down. Groovin' in the mud, letting it all go. I was jealous of her mustard yellow corduroy overalls and teal tights. So adorable! 

Teleman

Teleman

Next up was Milky Chance who was kind of "meh". I honestly haven't listened to any of their other songs prior to this show other than "Stolen Dance". They all sound exactly the same. Not impressed.

Milky Chance

Milky Chance

Someone who surprised me though was Lucy Rose. Emily wanted to see her - I'd never heard of her but thought, "Why not?" Her voice is like a choir of angels; I don't know how it comes out of her tiny body. Sidenote: I was reading the Festival No. 6 booklet - apparently she used to be in Bombay Bicycle Club. 

Lucy Rose

Lucy Rose

Super Furry Animals had a big crowd and we hung back. We left after they played "Bing Bong" (weird song) and went for a drink before Noel Gallagher came on. 

Super Furry Animals

Super Furry Animals

Of course the rain started up again, but not too hard. We got some chips (fries) and hung to the side, stage left. The crowd went crazy when he played "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis. 

We headed over to Maribou State at the Grand Pavillion. The crowd was nonexistent. But that's what you get when you play at the same time as Noel, the headliner. It got bigger mid-set though. It was a dance party. 

Noel Gallagher

Maribou State

On stage, they had a pack of Moretti, a bottle of Sipsmith Gin and some mixers. These girls got to the front bar and kept chanting, "Sipsmith! Sipsmith!" The DJ confusingly held the bottle out to them. They shook their heads no and motioned for a photo. He obliged and they rejoiced. I'm pretty sure they worked for Sipsmith. Or at least I hope so. 

A bit later, the same girls shouted, "The gin! The gin! Sipsmith!" This time they wanted the bottle. The DJ actually jumped down from the booth, gin in hand, and gave it to them. The guards kind of just let it happen. I mean, they'd been dancing with the crowd and joking around the whole time anyways. Also, they literally were bringing trays of water cups 'round to people in the front. So nice! 

Later, the same girls called the DJ again. They somehow had a new, full bottle of gin. Maybe vodka? Maybe flavored water? I don't know. Regardless he came down and took it from them. Later in the set, he smelled it and shook his head to his band-mate. Something was off and they didn't drink it. I wonder what it actually was... 

We successfully made it back to the yurt without falling and got a good night's sleep for our early shuttle ride back to the trains.

Initially, we were going to head straight back to LA this day. But enough people talked us into staying longer that we extended our trip and spent a few days, including my birthday, in Manchester. (Post on that coming soon!)

Throughout our trip, Emily and I traveled 12,140.5 miles by plane, 240.6 miles by train, 81.2 miles by automobile, and walked 64.21 miles with our own two legs! 

Festival Number 6 was an experience I'll never forget. If I could give any advice to someone looking to go to a UK festival, it'd be: BRING YOUR WELLIES! (And a waterproof backpack can be really helpful, too!)

Be seeing you...

FYF '16 by Julia Walck

Fuck Yeah Fest (FYF) was really good this year! I remember it being an unorganized clusterfuck when I went back in 2014; they've totally cleaned up their act since then! (A bit of bottlenecking aside). 

I went both days and didn't get sunburnt! Patting myself on the back, and it doesn't even hurt. 

Here's what the weekend consisted of:

SATURDAY

  • Classixx
  • Todd Terje & the Olsens
  • Gerd Janson
  • Junior Boys
  • Tame Impala
  • Hot Chip (Live)
  • Explosions in the Sky
  • Moby (DJ)

Bonnie, me, and Em

Bonnie, me, Jaz and Em

We watched Classixx from the beer garden; it was good, dancy, (drinky?) music for the background. While we were there, I creeped on this guy's "Dedicated to the Craft" shirt and I whipped out the sign I made for Hot Chip. 

I was 100% dedicated to the craft of this sign

Todd Terje and the Olsens

Junior Boys

Junior Boys

The stage for Junior Boys was sort of tucked away in the back, and at first we ended up grooving a bit in "The Woods" before heading to "The Club" (stage names). In doing so, we stumbled on this guy named Gerd Janson who I ended up really liking.

We made our way to "The Club" and caught my favorite Junior Boys song, In the Morning, just in time! Dancing our way under the disco balls, we headed to Tame Impala. I've seen them twice before so I didn't mind ducking out early for my main obsession, Hot Chip.

Hot Chip was labeled one of the best performances of FYF by LA Weekly. You can see me posted up front and center with my lil' Hot Chip sign in the article. I also found another photo of me on laist here

Because I was front and center, guess who got the set list!?!?! Hoping I can get another one from next week's show in Wales! 

Sidenote: On day 2 of the fest, I actually saw Alexis Taylor walking through the park with his wife and daughter. I choked and didn't say anything to him and I'm still slapping myself for it! 

Explosions in the sky filled the stage with vivid colors while exploding peoples' minds with their sound. Instrumental music always feels like a dreamscape to me and is really, really wonderful. It's refreshing to strip away all lyrics and dig deep into the sound.

Moby

Moby

We danced to Moby and then stumbled home around 1:30. Getting a Lyft out of there was an absolute nightmare! 

Disco ball

Me with my Hot Chip sign

SUNDAY

  • Preoccupations
  • Wild Nothing
  • Blood Orange
  • Father John Misty
  • Anohni: Presents Hopelessness
  • Mac Demarco
  • Beach House
  • LCD Soundsystem 
Preoccupations

Preoccupations

Saturday, I went solo to the festival and Emily met up with me later in the day. I caught the middle to end of Preoccupations' set. They're previously known as Viet Cong, but changed their name for obvious reasons. Starting my day off with a bit of grungy punk felt good. 

Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing

Emily found me mid-Wild Nothing set. Having purple hair really does come in handy. 

Blood Orange was next. They brought out Carly Rae Jepsen and Nelly Furtado for a song each... which is quite possibly the most random combo of guests ever for Blood Orange. I mean, good, but odd. 

Father John Misty always puts on a hell of a show. Talk about drama. He kept flailing himself all over the stage, falling to his knees and completely on his back. 

We couldn't figure out if his graphics were malfunctioning or purposefully ironic. First, the screen quickly flashed to a desktop background of a baby with a mess of folders. Next was the software update failed message. Then a Windows start-up screen, and the set ended with a "Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2014" banner. It was then that we knew (or are pretty sure?) it was all on purpose. 

After grabbing some Fruity Pebble churro ice cream from Ridges, we met up with my coworker Zack and his girlfriend at Anohni. Her graphics were really powerful. I turned to Zack and said, "This feels like something that would be in a back room at MOCA or LACMA for an art installation". He's a copy-writer at work and does lots of artist bios, so knows lots of fun facts about the music scene. 

He explained to me that it probably was art-installation-esque because in the past, Anohni has worked with the likes of Lou Reed and Bjork on installations and projects. Plus, the show was called Anohni: Presents Hopelessness which in itself seems like an art piece with an underlying message. 

We went from Anohni to Mac Demarco and met up with a few more friends. Fighting our way through the crowd, we ended up to the side of the sound booth which was a pretty good spot.

Afterwards, we caught a few Beach House tunes and moseyed our way over to LCD Soundsystem. 

Hey, remember that time I waited for 8 hours to be very front row for LCD at Coachella? Me too. 

Anyways, LCD was AMAZING. I danced so hard, as soon as I got out of bed and stood up the next morning I felt my legs scream, "What have you done to us?!" Worth it though. Totally worth it. 

I metro-ed home, showered at like 1:30 or 2am, and tried to get some sleep for work the next morning. 

Speaking of mornings, I leave tomorrow morning (6am flight) for Festival Number 6 in Wales! I'm beyond excited but man is it going to be a long trek. 

Cross your fingers for us! 

HARD Summer '16 by Julia Walck

You guys, I survived my first electronic music festival. 

HARD Summer was last weekend at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California in Fontana. Where's that, you ask? Basically the middle of nowhere. 

I won tickets through work and thought, "yeah this is close enough to home, let's just drive each day"... that was my first mistake.

SATURDAY

A drive that should have only be an hour and a half somehow took us 3 hours. The line to get in had four layers of line: Flashing your tickets/IDs to workers, having your ID physically scanned, security check, and scanning the barcode on your ticket.

For starters, um wristbands would've been helpful here. Also, how about investing in more shade structure for the 98 degree weathered lines instead of having a massive TV with a stupid video of Diplo playing on a loop?

Anyways, we finally got in, and made it for Anderson .Paak's final song. Then we waited until Ice Cube and Pretty Lights as there wasn't anyone we wanted to see in between.

Let's just say Saturday involved A LOT of drinking. 

There was this really sad moment when we were walking around, probably an hour-ish into the day where I took a step and my foot stuck on the hot asphalt. I felt a pull. Stopping, I looked down to see the tiny heel of my glittery disco shoes melted on the ground. 

Not like "Wizard of Oz"-witch-melty, but I mean it was so hot that it melted the adhesive apart; the thing that held my shoes together. I picked it up, put it in my bag and kept on trekking. Dancing off balance throws you off a bit. 

Pretty Lights put on an awesome show, with you guessed it, a massive amount of pretty lights. We were probably 3 rows back from the front for most of the show, then the pit got to be a bit too much to handle so Denise and I back-tracked. Pretty cool to see his set from close up and afar. Look at that gif though... 

Since Pretty Lights closed out the festival on Saturday night, that meant we left when everyone else did.

HARD really made it hard on us getting out of there. For the entire speedway there was only one exit which was very poorly manned with staff. The entire process of walking to our car / sitting in our car in a line waiting to get out took an hour and a forty-five minutes. Luckily, we made it to In-N-Out before it closed.

SUNDAY

On Sunday we left around 11:30am to avoid a repeat of Saturday. There was even enough time to grab a cold brew and some grub at The Combine Kitchen before heading to the festival. 

We parked in a nearby neighborhood and walked over this time, thinking we were being super smart. 

The line to get into the festival was even longer than Saturday's and so much more unorganized. After an hour of waiting in line to get into HARD, we filled up our waters at a water station and headed over to Bixel Boys.

I remember seeing them on my 21st birthday play with Digitalism and thought hey, why not check 'em out here? After listening to a loop of "eat sleep rave repeat" we knew it was time to move on to something else. 

Bob Moses was up next. He had one of the smallest crowds of anyone we saw (maybe because he had actual instruments there), but was one of the best performances of the weekend. I highly suggest you go listen to "Tearing Me Up" right now. 

Denise wanted to check out Fat Joe so we made our way over to the HARD stage. He would play a bit of a song and people would start to get into it... and suddenly cut to something else after thirty seconds or a minute. I guess only having a thirty minute set you try to pack as much into it as possible, but come on. 

I did our makeup on Saturday with some heart gems and rainbow glitter, but Sunday got WAY more intense. Lucky for us, confetti and glitter are easy to come by in my apartment. Surprisingly, this stayed all day in the hot, hot heat. My friend turned me on to this special FX adhesive which is perfect for festival glitz, called Ben Nye Spirit Gum. Just make sure to get the remover, too! 

We hung back at AlunaGeorge and afterwards got some veggie noodles and pizza. 

Then came the best part of the festival: Kaytranada. 

DJ Mustard was playing at the Purple Stage right before him, so we inched our way up while people were filing out to go see Major Lazer. Our tactic, go to the side and get as far front as you can, then work your way to the middle, worked and we were front and center. There was so much bass and we were so close to the speaker that the water bottles on the ground were being thrown around by the pulse. 

I've been obsessed with Kaytranada's most recent album, 99.9% ever since it came out in early May; dancing to it live was amazing! 

I was watching some videos of his performance back on YouTube and found Denise and myself dancing in this video at 0:28, 1:49 and 2:45. 

Leaving the festival meant once again joining in on the herd of people filing out. We walked for literally an entire hour before we got to our car. A total of 13 miles for the day. Wow.

Parking in a nearby neighborhood helped with the fact we didn't have to wait bumper to bumper leaving the lot. However, we were unaware of the massive amounts of road closures in our path. We had to backtrack about 3 miles so we could go onto another freeway entrance. 

Around 2am we got home; I showered because I felt disgusting, and then knocked out in bed. Work the day after a festival is always fun!

Overall, I'm glad I got to experience HARD. It was worth it for the bands I got to see, but I would never willingly pay for an EDM festival ticket. 

I think I'll stick to my indie tunes. 

Free Press Summer Festival by Julia Walck

This past weekend, I won tickets through work to attend Free Press Summer Festival in Houston, TX! 

The night before our flight out, I saw Digitalism at the El Rey. They were AWESOME, but whoa. Note to self you'll be exhausted when you have to wake up at 4:30am the next day. 

Our flight was delayed by 2 hours, but luckily we didn't miss anyone we wanted to see. Denise and I rolled up to the Air BnB, dropped off our things and headed to FPSF. 

During the weekend I think I tallied 26, "Oh my god I love your rain boots!" or "Where did you get those?!" on my Jeffery Campbell glitter ankle rain boots. Form AND function? Plus, who can say no to glitter? Cheers to that.

I'm really glad I brought them because Oh. My. God. The. Weather... Insanity. But we'll get into that later. 

Day 1

White Denim

White Denim

HOLY SHIT. If you ever have the chance to see White Denim live, do it!!! These guys seriously rock. One big massive jam sesh; they didn't even have a set list! (I know because I tried to snag one at the end). 

During the set, I was next to this drunk girl who was in love with the drummer. She kept yelling, "Drum solo, drum solo!" The lead guitarist, James Petralli, heard her and announced to the crowd, "Sounds like we have a request for a drum solo." Screams and applause followed in anticipation. The drummer, Joshua Block, laughed nervously and shied away. James smiled and said, "Drum solo. Joshua, play a solo drum, once."

Josh hit a drum and the crowd went wild. The band continued on to each do a "solo", which was basically doing one twang of a guitar or a single push on a keyboard. 

I love when a band has fun rocking out, and comes equipped with a sense of humor and interaction with the crowd. 

Jamie XX

Modest Mouse

We hung back at Jamie XX and people watched as the show went on. My favorite person was a guy intensely voguing yelling, "Twirl! And twirl! And twirl!"

Modest Mouse always delivers. And when I say always, I mean the two times that I've seen them were rad. I also realized they sort of have a similar sound to Interpol, but with way different vocals. 

During the day it rained every now and then, and there was even a rainbow!

Rainy days ain't so bad

Day 2

Sunday morning before the festival we brunched and walked around in the Montrose area, which was surprisingly artsy. We spotted like 4 thrift stores, 3 antique shops and (not even joking) 15 tattoo parlours. 

Summery vibes

A door that opens quietly

This was a bedding store...

OK now back to the good stuff: the music.

Wild Child

Allen Stone

Wild Child was a good, folksy start to our Sunday. Nice mellow jams to listen to while basking in the sun.

Denise and I took a break for a while and hit up the Skyy Vodka tent (they were giving out free shots! [don't ask how many we had]), Malibu Beach House, got some beer and grabbed some grub. 

Allen Stone was next. Um, great voice and even better hat! Man this guy has got some soul. I had never heard of him before, and I'm crazy happy I checked him out. They put on a REALLY good show. 

Leon Bridges

Continuing that soulful music was Leon Bridges. I don't need to say much here. He's fucking amazing.

Denise and I then went our separate ways so I could catch Young the Giant and she could see Big Grams. Ten minutes until showtime, a guy came out on stage with a mic, but wasn't from the band. He announced that everyone had to evacuate the park due to severe weather conditions and possible thunderstorms in our area as reported by the National Weather Service. Mostly everyone at the fest was a local, and it seemed 100% normal to them. 

Good thing it only lasted about an hour or so. 

Young the Giant

The National

Young the Giant came out and said something like, "We've never had a gig where we're backstage literally two minutes before the show not knowing if we're actually playing or not."

I NEED Sameer's sequin jacket in my life BTW.

Watching The National play while it rained was great, because people couldn't tell the difference between raindrops and tears. Kidding. I didn't cry. However, I did have a moment when they sang "I Need my Girl". I imagined the lyrics with "man" instead; Jackson's in Spain right now and I haven't seen him for a week. Sappy stuff, ya know?

Always looking up

For our flight back on Monday, wake up time was 3:30. Tired is an understatement. I'm writing this on the plane at the moment actually. We're landing really soon, and when we do I'm heading home, dropping off my bags and driving to work. Because yes, I am insane. #workhardplayhard

What a fun weekend though. Despite the travel, tiredness and weather, I'd do it again in a heartbeat (but first I'd invest in a sturdier poncho). 

Until next time, Texas. <3