The Festival (located at Oak Canyon Park in outer Orange County, just beyond the IE) kicked off at 11 in the morning and ran until midnight. As anticipated, the crowds did not swell until close to sundown, though a sizeable and lively army of indie music fans from throughout SoCal populated the two largest stage areas through the afternoon. Officially, there were 5 stages but most of the action was on the Main Stage and the similarly-sized Pacific Stage. For festival goers looking to catch the top acts, the walk between the two was quick — leaving only the determined and act-specific fans to reach the stages deeper in the festival grounds. Fans who ventured toward the lakeside area were rewarded with a gorgeous backdrop for the Lakeside stage. (There was also a VIP-only stage, which I could not reach.)
Security stayed a moderate distance from the stage areas, but was noticeably present in the walkways between stage areas. We were thrown off by a visible security outpost on a small hill overlooking the second stage area (with binoculars), but did not first-hand witness any security-concert goer friction. A strict bag check at the door meant that visitors were forced to buy all sustenance from $2 waters and $8 beers to a food truck fare (diverse, delicious). We enjoyed hand rolls from Fishlips ($2.50-3.50/roll) and ice cream sandwiches at Cool Haus ($5 each). Unfortunately, we only spotted 3 or so beer vendor locations and lines swelled most off the day from 40 to maybe more than 100 people looking to get their beer on.
The crowds were treated to a diverse and rich music offering. Much anticipate acts included !!! (CHK CHK CHK), Calvin Harris (who also did a set with Steve Aoki), Ghostland Observatory, Toro y Moi, and Black Lips. Phantogram played a great set in the mid afternoon, after which we joined Steve Aoki and his energetic fan base. His excellent performace certainly won him over some new admirers. Before heading over to see Snoop, we also caught and loved the eclectic vibes of the Bag Raiders.
Snoop’s set began late, as he is known to be and as should have been anticipated by the organizers. This pushed Cut Copy’s act back to 1:00 am — an hour after they had been scheduled to start. Still, they thrilled fans with favorites like “Take Me Over”, “Blink and You’ll Miss A Revolution”, and “Don’t Let it Tear Us Apart”.
Fans quickly forgave Snoop Dogg upon his arrival. Cued in with the opening sequence of “Still D.R.E.” (a collaboration with Dr. Dre), Snoop kept the crowd alive running through hits including “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, “Gin and Juice”, “P.I.M.P.”, and even “Jump Around”. Uncle Junebug’s on-stage dancing piqued the curiosity of some in the crowd, but most were too distracted by the erotic dancing from Snoop’s backup dancers. All in all, the Doggfather puts on a live-performance not to be missed.
We look forward to next year and are likely to return if organizers can draw top acts like these to the OC again.
(See our preview of this event here.)