A couple of our editors made the trek into the Rocky Mountains to enjoy, cover, and take away as many thoughts from the 2012 Snowball Music festival as possible. The weekend was without a doubt a success. Some thirty different acts were taken in. Only two sets on our weekend’s agenda were missed. We danced. We grooved. We made new friends. And most importantly, we made it out alive. This was not our first festival rodeo, but we learned quite a bit over the three days in Avon, Colorado.
Snowball is a unique festival. Set in a ski town, almost everything is within walking distance if you stay in the town of Avon. Big mountain views abound. Groomed slopes loom off in the background. Despite the peaceful environment, there is nothing tranquil about this festival. The avalanche remediation causing bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-70 was no joke on Sunday. Whether the bass was the root of the issue, will remain unknown. Alas, we present to you our takeaways from the 2012 Snowball Music Festival:
- Memphis has blues, a handful of cities around the Midwest have staked claim to jazz, and Nashville has both kinds, Country and Western. But after my experience in Avon this weekend, I feel comfortable calling the Centennial State (who knew this was the nickname?) the home of bass music. I never could have imagined that TV on the Radio’s set would be one of the least sought after shows, considering they were on the main stage after 7pm. We asked some locals about it, they said they caught a weird vibe from the Brooklyn based indie rockers. Could have been the playing of actual instruments, or the undercover cops; it remains a mystery.
- This was the first festival we’ve ever experienced that had a happy hour. $3 Sierra Nevadas…in a can?! Sign us up.
- There is such a thing as too much bass, but when Thundercat slaps the bass there is no such thing as too much bass.
- I’ve also become a lot more comfortable with the fact that organic bass will always sound better than synthetic; sorry bassheads.
- Was it just me, or did it seem like every electronic artist slid one (if not more) aggressive bass track into their set. Dirty, bass whomp was abundant. We didn’t come away feeling bass found a home without reason.
- Live Drumming vastly improves any electronic set. After a ninety minute bassnectar set I was forced to reassess some of my musical perspectives. Was my recent intrigue with sampling, bass, and the intricacies of the broad genre of electronic music misplaced? After questioning myself, and weathering a depressed morale, the answer became a resounding no. Sure, I was overwhelmed by the amount of bass shattering the town of Avon, but the true issue was the redundant formula of Bassnectars set, and the lack of differentiation in sound. After being truly impressed by the live drummers of Two Fresh (Colby Buckler) and Break Science (Adam Deitch), the constant 808’s and 909’s of Bassnectar just felt cheap.
- Gramatik is the truth. Live guitar and on the fly effects coupled with a perfect set of bangers, chilled out tunes from Beatz and Pieces Vol.1, and new material separated this live duo from the crowd of artists who graced the Groove Tent stage. His after show at the sandbar only solidified this notion.
- Does Colorado grow ugly women? Or does everyone look good in snowboard gear? This was an awesome quandary to encounter.
- Nothing speaks more to one’s innermost carnal desires at a festival like a turkey leg. We saw Zach Galifianakis’ doppelganger eating one while pelvic thrusting and raising it like a glistening torch in the sunlight; photo evidence was too risky to obtain. Another duder was fist pumping with two in each hand during Dada Life. See our point?
- Cherub brought the heat in the Ballroom, bringing me back to life early Saturday afternoon. Yet, Cherub doesn’t deserve all the credit for my revival: Cherub->Turtles->Break Science->TV On the Radio-> Ghostland (disregarding a few sets in between) was the best run of sets at Snowball
- Ghostland. Ghostland. Ghostland. Observatory. Observatory. Observatory.
- Chali 2na (AKA The Verbal Herman Munster) and Break Science brought it. Some of the dopest rhyming over noise I’ve ever heard. His flow felt more like an added instrument embedded within each track rather than standing apart from the music as all too often happens.
- There are a lot of people in the world that are under the misconception that spirit hoods are actually cool. Don’t know what one is? It looks like this: spirithoods.com. And they can usually be spotted being adorned by girls (and guys) that probably love Twilight. Coonskin caps stopped being cool the day after you left Disney World when we were kids and this is no different, because they sold like hotcakes. Give props where they’re due to the inventor of the next “Pet Rock.” I hope you make a million dollars. Fuck you.
- Lastly, and this refers back to #4, but it wouldn’t be an adventure without some unanswered questions, and it revolves solely around Bassnectar. Perhaps the biggest name in American Dubstep, the dude has been headlining (and perhaps causing sellouts) at festivals across the country for years, but what is causing it? His visuals were insane, I’ll give him that, but 90 minutes of the same formula over and over again gets repetitive, no? If any other DJ were inserted in Bassnectar’s spot, would they be as successful? He definitely has his own sound, but is one style of wobbly bass REALLY that much different than another? Is it because he’s the original dubstep artist in the States? What makes Bassnectar tick?
This young festival made great strides from 2011 to 2012. The tent placement was greatly improved in order to limit conflicting sounds (last year the groove tent blasted bass at the mainstage and the sound from the mainstage aimed right at the groove tent). Larger tents allowed for easier movement and let more people to enjoy the sets they hoped to catch. Great food options, happy hour, and making history as the first festival to offer Sierra in a can combined with clear efforts to diversify the lineup left us feeling optimistic about the future of the young Snowball Music Festival.
We’ll get some photos posted for you all later this week. See everyone in the Polo Fields in April…
~T. Kittle & S.Watson