The First Annual ID10T Musical Festival + Comic Conival made its Bay Area debut at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on June 24th and 25th bringing together a fresh blend of comic acts and music artists for two days of nonstop entertainment. The brainchild behind the First Annual ID10T Festival is none other than pop culture figure and stand-up comedian Chris Hardwick. You may know him as the host of the long running AMC show Talking Dead which discusses, along with a live panel, The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

“ID10T Festival was an out of this world, incredible experience and I want to personally thank each and everyone of you that came out and joined us this past weekend,” said Chris Hardwick. “Whether you were there for music, comedy, panels, artists or just to get the dust off your cosplay, you helped make ID10T more than just festival—you made it a community. I was blown away by how much joy resonated from every section of the Shoreline grounds and can’t wait to do it again next year!”

The festival hosted two talent packed days of diverse artists in the high-tech center of the world Silicon Valley. Showcasing live bands, comedians, EDM acts, DJs, entertainment guests, comic book artists as well as interactive activities spread out and in different areas of the festival. A variety of outdoor exhibitions were set up as a mini village artisan marketplace for all curious eyes to witness and take part. The heat wave seemed to let up just in time for this gathering staying at a perfect 70 degrees for both days. Upon arrival, the vibe was chill balanced with a vibrancy of enthusiasm where you just knew you were about to witness something new, a fresh idea for the minds of the 21st Century. The festival was divided into multiple areas including the main stage, which featured all the live bands, an intimate Comedy Tent and the Mad Decent Dance Tent that transformed each night into a full-on rave. Saturday’s main stage featured stellar music performances from crowd favorite, Car Seat Headrest, as well as OK GO and rock headliners Weezer. Sunday’s main stage line up was Girl Talk, TV On The Radio, Animal Collective, Crystal Castles, Robert Delong, and Mothers. Highlights for me included EDM act Crystal Castles performing with stockings on their heads gracing the stage with a continuous pulsating dark electronica sound. Animal Collective took a more tribal sonic approach and Girl Talk brought their A game with an adrenaline packed set displaying their signature rock meets hip hop blend. But the night belonged to the Mad Decent Dance EDM Tent. Although the maestro, DJ Diplo was not onboard himself, Saturday and Sunday was still lined with great EDM talent including DJ heavy weights Madeon and Zeds Dead. Sonic warriors Gryffin, Troyboi, Party Favor, Ape Drums, 4B and Wax Motif kept the packed tent roaring and dancing all night. The youthful crowd moved in unison to the half time beats of trap like a mini musical army. All smiles were shining and all vibes golden. Bay Area DJ favorite John Beaver, who is a zookeeper by day and DJ by night, was tapped to open the dance tent on the first day. He was the perfect fit to kick things off – a true renaissance man with a smile that could light up the sky.

Beyond the music, a definite highlight was the Comedy Tent. Each day it was at capacity with a wait to enter. Once inside, all seats were filled with people ready for laughter and to cut loose. Hosting the tent was Comedy Central’s April Richardson whose alternative punk spirit had everyone in the room at attention and excited. Saturday and Sunday comedians included Demetri Martin, Michael Che, Garfunkel & Oates, Greg Proops, Dan Mintz and Mike Phirman amongst others. My favorite comic was Marcella Arguello who didn’t stop with the comedy punches from the moment she stepped onto the stage. Also on hand was IFC’s Emmy nominated comedy show Portlandia with creators and stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Browstein. They were among many who hosted panels throughout the festival.

ID10T co-creator Rob Tweedie says, “What an amazing weekend! This festival was something that had never been done before, but absolutely needed to exist. The sense of celebration and unity was undeniable, and I think everyone from fan to exhibitor to artist to panelist to comedian to musician felt it. It really was a dream come true.”

The crowds seemed to gravitate more so to the Comedy Tent and Dance Stage over the two days, although everyone was on their own adventure exploring all to see and hear. Cosplay was encouraged yet there were a few rules in place restricting costume props, unfortunately, no bullwhips, crossbows or swords.  ID10T caters to fans and artists alike in a time when cookie cutter music festivals seem to be popping up everywhere. It’s nice to see an effort being made to be different and clearly ID10T is on to something unique. They successfully built an interactive mecca of fun for all. With the success of its first year, I am excited to see what Chris Hardwick and his team have planned for 2018. See you next year!

For more info on ID10T Music Festival & Comic Conival go to: www.ID10TFest.com

Photos by Rob Fenn, Azalea Jeanette, and Johnny Edge