Festival Review: SnowGlobe, South Lake Tahoe Dec. 29-31 2011


The SnowGlobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe on December 29th-31st, 2011. The event featured a stacked lineup full of electronica and hip hop acts, including Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob, and many more.

By: Chuck Cartwright

I imagine during the first meeting held to discuss the assembly of a formindable EDM lineup for the innagural SnowGlobe Music Festival, event organizers sat around a big roung table and asked one question: “Which artists can we count on to perpetuate a vicious and glorious three days of relentless bass?”

I’ve come to this conclusion because my head has not yet ceased to vibrate, many hours after the conclusion of the event, while my legs have become sore after a hearty three days of whomping in the eerily snowless Lake Tahoe chill. The theme of the weekend was most certainly bass, with bass-heavy artists crossing a multitude of genres to rattle the minds of an estimated 28,000 cumulative attendees.

Below are recaps of a sampling of the SnowGlobe lineup:

The Glitch Mob - Photo by Justin Vertongen

Porter Robinson: A fantastically diverse set from the 19 year old producer. I couldn’t help but to keep reminding myself that this guy is the age of a USD sophomore, while he’s performing his music before a packed tent of excited fans. This was a great set to set the vibe for the rest of SnowGlobe’s first evening.

Dillon Francis: Mad Decent’s sole representative drew a rowdy crowd to his early evening set. Francis’ performance included a lot more dubstep and drum & bass from an artist known as Mad Decent’s moombahton crusader. Overall the set was okay but not quite good enough to be considered one of SnowGlobe’s best.

Big Gigantic: One of the acts I was most excited to see–this set really got the festival going with awesome live instrumentation paired with some innovative production. It seems that Colorado is earning a reputation for turning out talented, jam friendly electronica artists.

Pretty Lights: Mr. Derrick Vincent Smith laid down a classic Pretty Lights set complete with all of his classic (sans “Finally Moving“). The set’s one surprise was a raucous remix of “Into the Future” which ignited the crowd towards the finale of the festival’s first day. Pretty Lights didn’t have his traditional touring lighting setup that he has been using for all of 2011, though he definitely delivered a strong performance.

Childish Gambino: My expectations were wearily high for Gambino, aka Donald Glover of Bro Rape fame. The set had some positive aspects, featuring high energy and an incredible full band on the main stage. However Gambino’s rapping ability was just not there. He tried to freestyle at one point which didn’t really sound convincing or bearable. At other times during the tracks from Gambino’s debut album, I just couldn’t help but to keep reminding myself that the guy is on NBC’s Community–another actor/comedian trying to crossover into the hip hop world. Not my favorite set of the weekend, but a good attempt and I think the high schoolers in attendance were thoroughly entertained.

Figure: One of the biggest surprise of the event. Figure threw down an absolutely vicious hour of bass heavy sounds that could have potentially caused an avalanche had there been snow on the mountains. He turned the smallest tent at the event into a massive dubstep party.

The Glitch Mob: I can’t think of a better artist to initiate the start of a new year. The Mob threw down the longest set of the festival, mixing in a number of new tracks and old fan favorites. A highlight was when the three producers pounded out a synchronized live drum solo on MPC-like beat pads, further increasing the crowd’s captivations and enthusiasm.

The festival maintained a steady uptempo roll leading into New Years Eve evening. The Glitch Mob’s performance had over 10,000 revelers dancing to bring in the new year over the course of a spirited two hour set. Once midnight struck, multi-colored confetti filled the air as a variety of fireworks exploded, piercing the crisp mountain sky. Meanwhile an aerial acrobat ominously descended in front of the stage as the Mob threw the crowd into the new year. The set ended with the crew’s riotous rendition of “Seven Nation Army“, before South Lake Tahoe’s finest turned the volume off around 12:30 a.m.

When the clock struck midnight, 2012 - Photo by Justin Vertongen

At times, the low frequency rumbles caused some unease amongst sleep deprived locals, which prompted shortening the show on New Years Eve by half an hour–though at the event there was nothing but smiles, albeit at times through the gritted teeth of those who failed layer properly at the 6,200 foot high venue. Regardless the event seemed to be overwhelmingly successful, further proving the viability of smaller scale, niche music festivals. SnowGlobe catered to the bassheads and New Years revelers looking for something out of the ordinary.  The event may have even seemed serendipitous for some local business owners during a holiday season that attracted far fewer out of town visitors that usual due to an unheard of scarcity of snowfall.

Aerial Acrobat at mightnight, 2012 - Photo by Justin Vertongen

Event organizers turned a community college campus into a festive playground for thousands of music fans looking to start 2012 in a memorable way. The bass was in no short supply, and I think the festival organizers intended it to be that way, much to the delight of all those in attendance.

SnowGlobe Music Festival Day3 Highlights from Cheekyfire on Vimeo.