Tall Jeffrey Pine trees scaled the mountains covered with snow. A clear blue lake showed its face at moments as you curved around the 50 towards South Lake Tahoe. Lone ravers arriving across state lines thumbed rides with small signs and big smiles. Squads in colorful onesies marched through the streets. SnowGlobe 2015 had arrived.
It was unfamiliar walking into a festival so bundled in ski and snowboarding clothes. Typically most of us are in our summer styles, practically half naked, in preparation for a long, hot summer night. But when temperatures drop as low as 7 degrees, adjustments are made. Creativity flows through the veins of ravers, and it was apparent that the climate didn’t affect this creativity. Colorful hats, fluffy ears and coats, sparkling body glitter and intricately designed make up was seen on all around.
The festival sold out just before opening day, and the venue was definitely packed. Unique combinations of wristbands were even handed out as will call ran out of necessary bracelets. The three stages were some of the smallest I’ve seen at a festival, but were relative to the crowd size. The venue was filled with snow which was inches deep in some areas, but started to melt in front of stages because of dancing feet. By the end of the first night the main stage, which was fully exposed to the elements, had turned into an ice skating rink. All around the festival people were constantly slipping and falling to the ground in fits of laughter.
Day one the highlight of the Sierra tent was Vanic, who had the small tent bursting at the seams and people overflowing almost 40 deep beyond the edges of the tent. For such an early set time his show was packed and not one person wasn’t dancing or trying to move forward into the crowd.
Jack Ü lit up the main stage that night bringing almost everyone out into the cold from the other tents. Moving back into the Igloo tent for Claude Vonstroke after or the Sierra for Duke Dumont, everyone was able to defrost before the cold trek back to warm cabins.
The festival grounds had some art pieces that lit up with fire and an area for lounging in hammocks. A child’s playground was also nearby which was visited constantly by attendees. A small ramp by the main stage had some trick skiers and snowboarders from time to time as well as other performers between sets.
The indoor Snow Globe Theatre offered a Do Lab vibe environment with some funky music and interesting character performers. At one point there was a woman riding a stationary bike on the stage.
Day two the dance energy was making everyone warm with Jai Wolf taking the Sierra tent by storm. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I got full body chills, not from the cold, but from the reaction of the crowd when he dropped Indian Summer. Not long after, Kaskade lit up the main stage as fireworks shot off in the background. DJs were bundled in winter coats and warm hats on the stages. Many were shocked by the cold, promising to throw down fire sets to warm everyone up.
The festival grounds danced in the neon colors coming from the stages, art pieces and attendees. The tree line behind the main stage was often a canvas for the lasers and it was typical that I found people dancing facing all sorts of directions to experience everything that was going on around the grounds.
New Years Eve culminated in the coldest of the three days but that didn’t affect the energy of the crowd. Numbers didn’t dwindle from day to day but each day was just as packed. Although most days the crowds didn’t build until the sun started to set, even though the festival doors opened around 2pm each day.
I could think of no better way to close 2015 than with Gemini by What So Not playing as a massive fireworks display lit up the Tahoe sky while grooving with thousands of new friends. I commend What So Not for making the choice to play so much of the song too instead of a quick 30 second mix of Gemini. Everyone was able to fully enjoy the moment with more than one drop from the song.
SnowGlobe was absolutely like no festival I’ve attended before. While there wasn’t anything new about the crowd or the vibes, the festival environment was something surreal and very unfamiliar. The cold, I heard someone say, made you feel alive. The crisp air and the chill as you moved from one tent to the next made you hyper aware of your body and those around you. Holding hands to not slip, climbing snow hills and playing in the snow, everyone was moving around in different ways.
So SnowGlobe Festival? I highly recommend for the adventurous raver who wants something more than the standard festival we’re starting to come to expect. More and more often I’ve seen the same DJs headlining festivals all over. What is going to be lasting for a festival in this saturated environment is what makes the festival experience stand out, and SnowGlobe definitely stands out.