photo: Doug Heine
outside lands or pacific festival?
that was my dilemma….for about 3 minutes. being a music worshipper, i hate missing out on
the big ear tickling parties of the year. and let’s be clear, outside lands is a great party. a 3
day frolic through golden gate park is delicious. why oh why, music gods? and then, as i was
pacing around my room, it dawned on me what i had just read as the line up for pacific fest. cut /
/ copy, the twelves, bag raiders, ghostland observatory, phantogram, the classixx, calvin harris,
steve aoki AND fred falke??? all in one night? having just been to coachella where cut // copy
liquefied my body, it made the choice pretty easy. i was going to oak canyon ranch for pacific
festival’s sophomore attempt, which meant i didn’t have a lot of information from years past or
expectations going in. i was just going in.
oak canyon ranch is a beautiful piece of california property and only about an hour from los
angeles, which made for an easy roadtrip and easy pull on the wallet. a 3 day festival can get
expensive with hotels, cabs, drinks, food, etc…but the beauty of this festival was that it was only
one day. i bought my ticket (early bird) for $50 and they only went up to $75. not bad for 50+
artists spread out over 5 stages. speaking of which, layout. surrounding the stages were the
rolling hills and sparkling waters of orange county’s frontier. huge oak trees provided welcome
shade while lake irvine blew a fresh breeze over us. the stages were spread out enough so that
the sounds didn’t overlap but also close enough that you could easily get to who you wanted to
see in no time at all.
much like other festivals in the states, they had cool art installations, swag on sale, gourmet
food trucks, beautifully adorned people walking around, and a feel good cause ($1 for every
ticket sold was donated to Surfrider Foundation to help preserve the ocean). much unlike other
festivals in the states, it felt very international. this was mainly because they brought in some
of the best djs and bands in the world: calvin harris (scotland), cut // copy (australia), fred
falke (france), zoot woman (uk), bag raiders (australia), and the twelves (brazil). it was also
because it had a vibe that felt free, easy and bursting with color. having been to several festivals
overseas, i can say that energy was right on par with some of the biggest, sickest and most well
known shows. the crowds weren’t as big (in fact i was shocked at how much room we all had to
get loose), but the collective high was.
now onto the music. i missed most of the day performers, but walked in as calvin harris was
playing ‘i’m not alone’. the crowd was going nuts (think beach balls and fist pumping) but after
a few songs, i was more interested in getting over to see fred falke at the lakeside stage. as the
sun was setting and the full moon was rising, falke came out with his bass and starting ripping
his remix of hot chip’s ‘colours’ into shreds. it was impressive and awesome seeing him funk
up all of his remixes with that bass. such a great way to start the night. everyone was feeling it.
highlights were robyn’s ‘dancing on my own’ and whitest boy alive’s ‘golden cage’.
now that the moon was above our heads, we were ready for bag raiders. they amassed a huge
dancing crowd and put on one helluva show. i didn’t know anything about these guys when i
walked up to join the crowd, but found myself immediately entranced. why had i not heard of
these guys? what rock have i been living under? they were incredible. i liked them for the same
reasons i like cut // copy. very dramatic, energizing, pulsing, building music. bravo guys. 1st
record i bought when i got home. i suggest listening to ‘shooting stars’ or ‘way back home’ as a
coming off of the high of bag raiders would’ve been tough if i hadn’t walked into a ghostland
observatory laser light show right afterwards. but i did. and it was insane. even if you hate this
music, you are moved by the lights. you are mesmerized by lead singer, aaron behrens, and
his gyrating body. you feel the pulse in your body and you feel your arm raising up. you have no
choice. they have you under their spell.
photo: Doug Heine
i was so in trance i missed most of the classixx but arrived back at the lakeside stage in time to
hear the twelves set the night on fire. these guys were sick. from remixes of phoenix (we heard
lisztomania and fences) to radiohead (reckoner) to virgins (rich girl), they kept us moving. i will see these guys every time they come to the states from now on. where bag raiders were my
new record, they are my new live show. unreal.
i caught the end of snoop (he was playing his hits off doggystyle) and then settled in for cut /
/ copy. like coachella, they didn’t disappoint. in fact, they kicked ass. for having to play at 1am,
they still rocked out as dramatically and energetically as if it were 1pm. the crowd went nuts for
dance hall anthems ‘lights and music’, ‘hearts on fire’ and ‘out there on the ice’. if you haven’t
seen these guys live, i demand you treat yourself to a show. every single person in the crowd
is smiling, jumping, dancing, laughing. it’s one big party. thank you cut // copy for whipping up a
good time, every time.
from up north, as arcade fire was electrifying it’s audience and muse was dripping drama
from it’s fingertips, i received some texts inquiring about my decision to head to pacific
festival instead of outside lands. was it the right call? for the price, location, crowd, ease of
transportation, and wickedly talented djs and musicians that were there….100% yes. it was one
of the best nights of music i’ve ever experienced. this festival will no doubt blow up in the next
few years so until then, keep on dancing.
by lindsay colip.
//Lindsay has written for various music sites, including SPINearth and Jambase, traveled the world covering music festivals, was a SPINearth video correspondent for ‘i am with the fans’ music tour and alongside photographer steven ‘walt’ walter, produced, directed and edited ‘live and local’ acoustic performances for SPINearth