It is kind of funny to think that I have been sitting on this review for about 36 hours now. Despite the fact that I review countless festivals over the course of any given year, writer's block can still strike.
I was listening to some of the music I heard last weekend at SnowGlobe to try and get inspired when the realization hit me –
It is not that I have a shortage of things to say about this year's festival, it is that I am not sure if there is a way to authentically put the experience of SnowGlobe into words.
But hey, it's kind of my Job, so I will give it a shot.
If you don't attend this festival once iN your life as a music fan, you are doing yourself a great disservice.
The Iconic Setting
The festival is simply overwhelming in almost every way. I am sure anyone who attended this year, or in year's past can attest, the wild, rugged natural beauty of Lake Tahoe is the first thing to grab your attention. The setting of the town is surreal.
Gazing out over the massive lake tucked in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It is like looking back in time. It is a stark but gorgeous juxtaposition to the futuristic display of the festival taking place on the campus of the local community college.
In a way, the setting of SnowGlobe presents a perfect metaphor for New Year's Eve itself. In one direction is the past, open to reflection and celebration. In the other direction, is the future, containing hope, excitement, and promise.
Tens of thousands of excited attendees descended (or, technically, “ascended”) to the brutally cold town of South Lake Tahoe to celebrate the beginning of their year at SnowGlobe last weekend, and what they received was nothing short of magic.
I did a little bit of reflection on the past year for myself and found that there was truly no better culmination possible to 2018 than spending it in South Lake with people I care about and the music that I love. But enough of the ethereal, nontangible stuff – let's get into the details.
The Festival Grounds
SnowGlobe made a handful of changes for this year's event. They opened up the grounds in a way which made a lot more sense than in prior years. The stages remained in the same locations, but traveling between them was simplified by the removal of some unnecessary barriers.
Only really one aspect of the festival set up was found to be negative. This was the access point to The Igloo tent from the Sierra Stage, which was through such a narrow corridor people routinely got crushed up against the doors to the tent. But, of course, the tent has no shortage of entrances and exits, so it was a quick lesson to learn to just avoid that specific route.
The grounds crew at SnowGlobe were nothing short of miracle workers. This year the festival covered the entirety of the field sections of the grounds with plastic tiling so no enormous muddy puddles could form after the long days of foot traffic.
Snow was produced each night/morning and spread across the entirety of the grounds to make sure no serious ice patches could form overnight. While some slick spots were inevitable, this was the best I have ever seen the grounds of SnowGlobe, and it deserves recognition because nothing about this setting lends itself to an easy maintenance plan.
SnowGlobe really went above & beyond this year when it came to curating a standout lineup. Yes, that was a pun, and no I am not sorry, puns are cool.
The festival worked to include all genres of dance music including euphoric progressive and trance artists such as Above & Beyond and Eric Prydz, house standouts such as Walker & Royce and Chris Lake, trap and bass all-stars such as RL Grime and Slander/NGHTMRE, and even rappers such as G-Eazy and Rae Sremmurd.
While my favorite set of the weekend has to go to the perfectly assembled voyage by Eric Prydz, the undercard artists really shined this year at SnowGlobe.
Cray hypnotized the Sierra Stage with her rowdy beats and ridiculous dance moves behind the decks, Phantoms lit the Igloo Tent on fire with their live house cuts, and if the Grammy nomination wasn't enough – Sofi Tukker demonstrated that they are now 1000% headliner material after displaying one of the best main stages sets all weekend long.
Special Shoutout To Whoever Built The Daily Schedule
One thing that really set SnowGlobe apart was how well the days were scheduled. Very rarely were their serious conflicts or overcrowded stages. It was one of the best laid out schedules I had ever seen.
Clearly, someone behind the scenes needs a raise because, with artists of such high caliber, stages can turn into pits of nonsense. This simply wasn't the case even once. Even when artists such as RL Grime and Diplo took the main stage, the smaller stages balanced out the crowd to a manageable degree.
I normally wouldn't highlight side aspects of festivals, but SnowGlobe had some features that would be criminal not to bring up.
For starters, the food at SnowGlobe was nothing short of iconic. Specifically, the loaded fries that came complete with brisket, mac n cheese, and homemade BBQ sauce. When things got too cold, one plate of those things would get your body ready to brave the elements once again. While naturally, the food was expensive, the portions were some of the largest I have seen at any festival in the states.
The bartenders were on their game and moved the line along quickly. While I don't drink myself, I saw that the bartenders across the board were generous on their pours to make sure that attendees got their money's worth with each drink.
Finally, I have to bring up the Merch stands. While most artists and festivals charge upwards of $35 for simply a t-shirt, SnowGlobe had tons of affordable options for fans to buy to remember the weekend. They were even selling hoodies for only $40, and after going to upwards of 50 festivals – I have never seen that before.
The Big Picture
Above & Beyond took the stage at 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve to a packed crowd. It began snowing a decent amount as a bone-chilling wind kicked up.
This is really the magic hour for SnowGlobe. The towering, snow-covered California pines get an otherworldly glow from the stage lighting, only further separating attendees from reality.
Despite the freezing temperature, the crowd was wonderfully warm. Anyone I made eye contact with immediately became a friend at that moment. As A&B played out a wonderful set highlighting their favorites from the past year, the clock grew closer to midnight.
As the guys started to play ‘Blue Sky Action', the crowd instinctively knew it was almost time. The music seized, as Above & Beyond picked out the lucky fans to push the button into the new year. The countdown began and at that moment, nothing else in the world mattered, even if it was only for 10 short seconds.
The clock hit zero, the music began once again and fireworks exploded in the sky. And just like that, another SnowGlobe, and another year had passed.
To wrap up this review – I will be blunt: If you don't attend this festival once in your life as a music fan, you are doing yourself a great disservice. There is just simply nothing comparable to SnowGlobe. Until next December Tahoe.
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A moment we’ll never forget 💙 The incredible team at @cinesthetics are hard at work putting together their annual (legendary) SG x NYE countdown video and they were kind enough to send thru a little sneak peak this AM 🙏🏼 As with every Cinesthetics piece, it certainly does the memory justice. Thanks again @aboveandbeyond for an amazing start to the New Year. Stay tuned — full video coming soon! 💦