Air+Style Festival mixes music and sports


Miles Mitchell/The USD Vista

Miles Mitchell/The USD Vista

Professional snowboarders hit the slopes and music performers hit the stages in Los Angeles last weekend for Shaun White’s Air+Style Festival.  It is the only festival of its kind featuring a combination of live music performances, art and technology exhibits, and a snowboard competition.

The festival took place on Saturday and Sunday in EXPO Park at the LA Coliseum, where the 16-story-high snowboard jump towered over the neighborhood and music could be heard in the streets blocks away.

A variety of musical performances spanned over the weekend on two different stages. Hip-hop sets included A$AP Ferg, Action Bronson, Danny Brown, Migos, Flatbush Zombies, Bas, Cozz, and Omen. Electronic and DJ sets came from Kaskade, A-Trak, Rudimental, Netsky, Kill Them With Colour, Paz, Gramatik, Kaneholler, Big Grams, and Travis Barker. Few in number, but not any less popular were the rock bands including Incubus, HAIM, The Struts, and All Time Low.  Allie X, an up-and-coming artist, was the only pop act.

Sophomore Alexis Tetreault attended many of the live performances including the group HAIM and was amazed by the talented sisters’ performance.

“They were three sisters who have such amazing talent, playing cool and mellow music,” Tetreault said. “They were born in San Fernando, so it was cool seeing them play in their hometown.”

Some of the Air+Style’s featured music acts were Travis Barker and the new collaboration of artists Phantogram and Big Boi, formed together as Big Grams. Travis Barker, who is most known him for his success in the band, Blink-182, surprised the audience by taking the stage, solo, to play drums in a DJ mixset. Songs included in his mix were wide-ranging moving from heavy bass hip-hop songs from the likes of Drake and Fetty Wap, to the classic punk song “Blitzkrieg Bop,” by the Ramones, and even the thrash metal hit from Metallica, “Master of Puppets.”

On Sunday, Big Grams played a set that included songs from their self-titled album such as, “Drum Machine” and “Lights On.” However, they also added mashed-up hits from their separate musical ventures such as, “Ms. Jackson,” a song from Big Boi’s days with Outkast, and “Black Out Days,” a popular Phantogram song.

The music performances coincided with a Best Trick snowboard competition featuring 24 of the world’s most talented snowboarders, exclusively invited to the tour. The professional athletes competed in head-to-head matchups, knockout style, attempting their best combination of their most impressive tricks.

Unfortunately, the combination of sport and music created a clash of interests between concert goers and action sports enthusiasts. Audience members had to choose between getting a good view for the snowboarding competition or the music performances, but the crowd seemed to gravitate to the music.

Tetreault noticed this trend at the event and was disappointed in the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm for the snowboarding.

“More people came to see J. Cole than the snowboarding,” Tetreault said. “I wish I got to see more, because they were really cool, but way more people focused on the music. It took away from the snowboarding event, but it was still really cool and I randomly saw Shaun White walking around.”

The event was on a global tour that made stops in Beijing, China, and Innsbruck, Austria. Los Angeles was the last stop for the 2015/16 tour.

Senior Kyle Fernando, who attended the event Saturday, offered his thoughts on the unique event.

“Air+Style is one of the best events I’ve attended,” Fernando said. “It combines the eclectic fun of a music festival with the adrenaline-rich feel of an X-Games event. The marriage of the two works beautifully and provides for an excellent way to spend your weekend.”

Palm trees and sunshine was an unusual setting for a giant snowboard ramp and athletes who were used to mountainous pine tree horizons instead of high-rise buildings, but the Air+Style Festival was a pleasant and unexpected combination of entertainment.