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FESTIVAL NAPA VALLEY ANNOUNCES 2019 SUMMER SEASON 

Photo credits:
Valeska Muromoto,
Christian Meuwley

Featuring Seal, Patti LuPone, Star Wars: A New Hope Live with Orchestra, and Exclusive Appearance by Havana Chamber Orchestra with Royal Wedding Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Season Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing

Napa, CA (February 12, 2019) – Festival Napa Valley, recognized for transforming California Wine Country into a cultural destination, announces its 2019 summer season, July 12 – 21. The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing will be celebrated with more than 60 concerts and events in a season of innovation, exploration and discovery. 

Now in its 14th year, Festival Napa Valley offers a rich program ranging from symphonic concerts, opera, film, and dance to chamber music and jazz.

In addition to presenting the finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley is committed to supporting underserved members of the community by providing over 6,000 free tickets to students, veterans and seniors.  The Festival is expanding its educational program with Arts for All camps for 1600 Boys & Girls Club youth ages 6-18, and a tuition-free music academy for 90 pre-professional musicians from around the world.

“We are honoured to dedicate this season to celebrating one of humanity’s transcendent achievements and our passion for continued exploration and discovery,” said Richard Walker, President & CEO of Festival Napa Valley.  “From Holst’s The Planets to Diavolo’s Voyage to the Moon, we will take our guests on an unforgettable journey.”

Festival Napa Valley 2019 Highlights:

  • Italian tenor Francesco Demuro and Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze kick off the 14th season on the fairway at Meadowood Napa Valley with Opera Under the Stars.
  • Four-time Grammy Award-winner Seal headlines Wine Country’s biggest arts charity event, the Arts for All Gala at HALL Napa Valley.
  • British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, makes his Bay Area debut with the Havana Chamber Orchestra at Far Niente.
  • Broadway legend Patti LuPone performs in a private evening at Calistoga Ranch.
  • Festival Orchestra Napa performs John William’s Academy Award-winning score to Star Wars: A New Hope while the iconic 1977 film is projected on a giant screen.
  • Rising stars – cellist Sophia Bacelar, violinist Charlie Siem, and percussionist Mitya Nilov – shine in Grand Cru Concertos with the Festival’s Blackburn Music Academy Orchestra at Castello di Amorosa.
  • Opera at the Castello features Bastianello, John Musto’s hilarious one-act opera about marriage and wine.
  • The renowned Los Angeles-based dance company Diavolo | Architecture in Motion performs two inspiring works: Voyage, about a trip to the moon, and Trajectoire, a voyage of destiny and destination in the Festival’s Dede Wilsey Dance Series.
  • Festival Live! Chamber Series returns with 12 free concerts at locations throughout Napa Valley.
  • The popular Bouchaine Young Artist Series showcases the next generation of classical music artists.
  • Festival Orchestra Napa performs Song to the Moon, a concert on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing featuring works by Holst, Dvorak, Getty and Strauss.  Rising star soprano Andriana Chuchman joins Maestro Joel Revzen for this performance.
  • The legendary jazz fusion band The Yellowjackets perform a free Community Concert at Napa Valley College.
  • Rock and roll party band Wonder Bread 5 headlines Taste of Napa, Festival Napa Valley’s signature celebration of food, wine and music.
  • Karen LeFrak’s multimedia orchestral work, based on her eponymous children’s book Sleepover at the Museum, marks its California premiere at the Concert for Kids.
  • The Festival’s Blackburn Music Academy Orchestra performs a lively admission-free Sunday at the Symphony concert.
  • Postmodern Jukebox star Robyn Adele Anderson brings her sassy interpretations of modern hits in the Season Finale at Alpha Omega.

Single concert tickets starting at $39 are now on sale. For an elevated Festival Napa Valley experience, Patron Passes including access to exclusive lunches, dinners and lounges are also available. To view the full schedule and to purchase passes, visit FestivalNapaValley.org

About Festival Napa Valley: Blending the beauty and bounty of Napa Valley with the very finest performing arts, Festival Napa Valley offers programs that enrich the economic and cultural vitality of the region and make the arts accessible to all. The Festival presents world-class performances staged in iconic Napa Valley venues and inspiring educational programs offered at Napa County public schools year-round. It is presented by Napa Valley Festival Association, a nonprofit organization governed by a board of prominent vintners and local leaders. More than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants, chefs and vintners participate each year. Festival Napa Valley 2019 takes place July 12 – 21. To learn more, visit festivalnapavalley.org.

KAABOO CAYMAN ISLANDS 2019



“What a magical weekend its been… I don’t think there’s anywhere in the Caribbean that’s ever had anything quite like this” – Richard Branson
It’s official; this past weekend KAABOO Cayman debuted on the shores of the world famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman and made island history. The sold-out event brought together live entertainment fans from around the world while hosting one of the largest festivals of its kind to ever hit the Caribbean. Not only did KAABOO Cayman deliver a top-tier lineup of chart toppers and hit makers such as The ChainsmokersDuran DuranZEDD, and Jason Derulo, but the two-day event also offered guests an elevated weekend for all “five senses under the sun” with live contemporary art installations, culinary demonstrations, top-tier comedy, and health + spa treatments.
 
With KAABOO now firmly established as the Cayman Islands’ fifth-largest employer, and hotels over the weekend at capacity with helping to welcome KAABOO’s 10,000 guests per day, KAABOO Cayman has proven that a luxury destination festival in the Caribbean is achievable with thoughtful strategy and execution.
 
“As you look over our purpose built site, you can see we did not cut one corner in designing KAABOO here in the Cayman Islands. And I challenge anyone to find a cheese sandwich,” Jason Felts, KAABOO Partner and Chief Brand Officer conveyed to journalists over the weekend when questioned continuously about the comparisons between KAABOO Cayman and another now infamous Caribbean event. “Our transportation hub is extensive. Cayman has an international airport a few miles down the road, three hospitals, and enough accommodations to host every attendee. We have world-class partners in DART Enterprises, the Department of Tourism and the Cayman Islands Government.”
 
And now that KAABOO Cayman 2019 is wrapped, all sights for KAABOO are on their next debut venture, KAABOO Texas to be held at the state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Tickets to the May 10-12, 2019 festival in partnership with the Jerry Jones Family are on sale now at kaabootexas.com.
 
Also on the horizon is the lineup announcement for the fifth annual KAABOO Del Mar 2019 this March. Stay tuned at kaaboodelmar.com.
 
For more info on Kaaboo Cayman Islands go to:  www.kaaboocayman.com

FSHN RE IEW EDWARDIAN BALL 2019

THE EDWARDIAN BALL TRANSPORTS BACK IN TIME FOR ANOTHER EPIC EDITION…

Written By Behnam Vadi & Jordana Dworkin
Photos by: Marco Sanchez

As long time residents of San Francisco, I think we’ve earned our stripes for divulging bold, honest commentary when calling out “the shift” in SF culture. These days, we often speak to the demise of our once great, diverse city, which, for many colorful types, drew us to SF in the first place. More than a feeling, it’s a sad truth that the old school culture of SF has been displaced. The injection of god-like capital into SF’s tech-engorged veins has created a new definition of the typical “San Franciscan”. Like a dog on a tight leash, the once open-minded, true LIBERAL (not the neo-liberal definition that many claim to embody), has been yanked away from home, along with the artist, musician, and the free-spirited being who can no longer afford to live here. This leaves many of us who have continued to hold our virtuous ground, chomping at the bit for events, shows, gatherings and parties that call forth the days of old SF. When we hear the Edwardian Ball is making its annual appearance, we flash back to great memories imprinted gleefully on our minds, and we cry tears of joy for the return of a rare counter-culture nostalgic gem!

Hosted by the creatively gifted – PARADOX Media & Vau de Vire Society, the wild and crafty Edwardian Ball returned to its sacred temple, the Regency Ballroom, for its 19th annual Winter weekend affair on January 25 & 26th. With production and staging rivaling a classic Hollywood movie set, the Regency transformed into a romantic, Neo-Victorian / Edwardian era majestic marvel, where gypsies, creative misanthropes, and curious revelers commingled. This year’s theme, “The Rose Pedal Garden,” featured a playful, bicycle-powered wonderland set amidst an enchanted English garden. With the spirit of Edward Gorey looming over the festivities like a larger-than-life emcee, the production team did an outstanding job of re-imagining the essence of his classic tale, The Epiplectic Bicycle.

Upon entering the once Masonic Temple, hosts and hostesses in decked out costumes greeted guests with cordial affection and charm, decrying any stiff upper lip negativity, which was to be left at the door. Entourages of laced-up, bustle + corset ladies and gents in long tail jackets, double breasted waistcoats and top hats, completed the look and feel of stepping back in time. Combine that with a hint of steam-punk meets goth and… voila! You’ve got yourself a rockin’ party!

Sipping on absinthe and strolling the halls, one could not help but succumb to the seduction of getting pulled deeper into the mystery and the magic, not as a spectator, but as a willful participant in a festive, interactive performance spectacle. With ultra-fashionable eye candy galore, our eyes locked with tantalizing temptresses beckoning us toward the crimson velvet Museum of Wonders. Findinag ourselves in the middle of the gorgeous, gothically inspired space, we soon became transfixed by the staged narrative of the Bay Area’s favorite dark,

edgy wordsmith, Jamie de Wolf, and his Martha Graham-like dance accomplices unraveling a potent tale – The Trouble With Women. So captivated were we that we ended up following THE LIGHT, as directed, from onstage to other mysterious corners of the building. With cunning, fervor and zeal, Mr. De Wolf, alongside a powerful cast of femme fatale bedazzlers, continued the noir satirical reveal of societally oppressed women of the period casting an all-too strangely familiar foreshadowing of sexism, misogyny and male-dominance to come. We were left wondering… what next?

After a refreshing meandering through the socially sparkling vendor maze, we landed in the Grand Ballroom where music and fanfare were at their fullest. It was as if we had landed on the most incredible absurdist set with a gracious artistic stamp of approval by the master himself, Salvador Dali. Performances by the likes of Vourteque, Rosin Coven, and the infamous Vau de Vire Society brought the night to an apex of wide-eyed awe, leaving us craving more.

As old San Francisco continues to wane from its creatively-inclined pedestal of greatness, the magic of the annual Edwardian Ball continues to keep the vibrant spirit alive and thriving. At least, we hope to count on that. Here’s to wishing that everyday was more the like the Edwardian Ball in SF, full of theatrical whimsy and wonder.

Bravo to the organizers for keeping the spirit and fun alive and continuing their creative journey to take this epic Ball to new heights. We can only imagine what’s in store for their next edition…

For more info on the Edwardian Ball go to: www.edwardianball.com

SNOWGLOBE FESTIVAL 2018

SNOWGLOBE RINGS IN 2019 ON A HIGH NOTE DESPITE COLD TEMPERATURES…

Written by Sason Bishope Parry

If you want to ring in the New Year on an epic note, why not bring it in at
Northern Californias biggest EDM NYE bash! Despite freezing cold weather, more then 20,000 fans flocked to the High Sierra’s on December 29, 30 and 31 as Snow Globe Music Festival presented by MTV (who recently acquired the festival) retuned to the beautiful snowy mountains for its 8th consecutive year. Fans got thrilled with over 3 days of music and fun in the snow. Stellar sets came from Above & Beyond, G-Easy, Eric Prydz, Kaskade, Diplo, NIGHTMRE and so many more. Over 40 groundbreaking EDM acts, DJ’s and Hip Hop artists performed on multiple stages that ran simultaneously. Fans also got to witness pro skiers and snowboarders as they glided down big air ramps showing off their impressive skills, while the music and lights flashed all around, it was definitely an audio and visual overlord that seemed to get better each day. There were lots of highlights for the 2018 edition that included expanded and newly designed gathering areas, epic firework displays and much more taking the festival to new heights for overall fan experience.

Its important to point out that Snow Globe is located outside, so dressing beyond warm is a must as the weather can get to single digit temperatures. Many snowglobers, including us were wrapped from head to toe and although it’s sometimes tough to be fashionable where your rapped up like a mummy, many still got very creative. From rainbow colored outfits, to hats, headpieces, printed face scarves and furry boots fans sported outfits that looked like a cross between burning man and Alice In Wonderland.

The first day started out great, as early birders anxiously waited for the gates to open and once inside didn’t waste anytime getting their groove started and exploring all that Snow Globe had to offer. The weather was cold but still tolerable as long as you bundled up. Musical highlights included Bay-area hip-hop sensation G-Eazy who always impresses put on a great show, SnowGlobe-vet and fan favorite Kaskade who was also scheduled to play a sold out show in San Francisco that same weekend rocked the decks hard with this signature house sounds, EDM-star REZZ brought the energy, Swedish house heavy-hitter Eric Prydz took us on a journey through his lifelong releases of great tracks, and livetronica sensations Big Gigantic were amongst one of the best. Other highlights included the debut of the Rail Jam (the additional Big-Air feature showcasing local and professional skiers and snowboarders) and the brand-new MTV Lodge. At the very cool Igloo tent, fans were entertained by energetic sets from 070 Shake, Anna Lunoe, Duckwrth and others. The Sierra Stage saw sets from Party Favor, GoldLink, and Said the Sky. Day one rapped up with fans smiling and excited as 2 more days were still ahead.

Day two of SnowGlobe welcomed fans with warmer temperatures and beautiful California skies. Ah the fresh air was definitely refreshing after being plagued by unfortunate fires that led to extremely bad air quality conditions for many in the

Bay Area. Eager fans packed the Main Stage for highly-anticipated sets from superstar EDM hero Diplo who killed it, as well as Tyga, RL Grime, and one of my favorite EDM duos Sofi Tukker who made a huge splash this year with their eclectic dance grooves. The Sierra stage welcomed Ekali, Sam Gellaitry, Brownies and Lemonade All Star, while the Igloo tent bumped with Chris Lake b2b Waker & Royce, Justin Jay, and Sacha Robotti. What a way to end day 2, as fans filed out of the festival grounds. Many still ready to continue their musical high headed to nearby casinos and after-parties, as the final big day approached.

New Years Eve seemed to come quickly as fans gearing up to embrace 2019. The final day of Snow Globe temperatures really dropped. Those that braved the cold weather to look cool in their hipster outfits for days 1 and 2, changed up to a more skier friendly warm fit that still showcased some of their best winter outfits. Highlights for the day came from Rae Stremmurd who played an early afternoon main stage set and really got the crowed fired up and chanting along. Funny thing is you could see fog coming out of fans mouths, which added to the overall ambience. Other notable sets came from Gorgon City definitely another crowd favorite as they ripped through a dance frenzy set with a sea of fans moving in tangent. Slander, Chet Porter, NIGHTMRE and CRAY also had fiery sets, but the night belonged to Above & Beyond. The English EDM superstar’s are no strangers to big crowds and navigating through epic sets, as they were tapped to play the countdown set leading into 2019 and it was explosive and I mean that literally. From a larger then life production that included spectacular lighting and lasers to massive video and more, they just killed it and for a while we forgot how cold it was. Playing many of their hits as fans squeezed in tight, doing their best to get closer to the stage and possibly stay warmer, but whatever the reason it made for a good vibe community spirit. As the New Year approached, everyone started counting down and going bonkers. Above & Beyond got the crowd fired up inviting fans on stage to push the button to kick off the countdown and before we knew it, fireworks went off, balloons dropped, confetti canons shot into the air and we were full on into the beginning moments of 2019 – Happy New Year!

Snow Globe continued on after the New Year for many, as they just couldn’t seem to get enough of the experience. Organizers along with MTV really put together a mammoth year, that seemed to go well in all areas. Other attractions included, art installs, lighted Snow Globe marquees giving fans photo ops to share. The food was also great and one smart thing was they had an indoor food court with a variety of options that also included vegan friendly options. Their were cool vendors on hand that even sold warm gear for those that needed a little more liner, hammocks to chill on and gaze at the beautiful High Sierra skies and as you left, fans were treated to free water and hot chocolate courtesy of Snow Globe and MTV – thanks guys!

What a great way to celebrate the New Year and even though it was a bit cold, it was all and all a memorable weekend and hopefully the start of a prosperous New Year. Looking forward to see what Snow Globe and MTV have cooking for 2019, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s going to be one to put on the calendar…

For more info on Snow Globe go to: www.snowglobemusicfestival.com

ART BASEL MIAMI 2018

ART BASEL 2018 SHOWCASES AMAZING ART AND STEPS UP THE MUSIC…

Written By Duncan Walgreen

Photos by: Jamie Adam Rosenberg and Rocco Roefaro

This year marked the 17th edition edition of Art Basel in Miami, a world-renowned convention of artists and art lovers alike, that proved once again why the City of Miami is at the forefront of artistic expression. The five day event, introduced by Art Basel’s Director Americas Noah Horowitz, an art historian and connoisseur, tied together an incredible display of all things contemporary and modern, from the local corners of Miami to the more international corners of the world.

There are no limits however to one’s experience of “Basel” in Miami, seeing as it is a city that has deeply seeded roots in the curation of all arts, from the famously muraled neighborhood of Wynwood, to the Design District and South Beach alike. People travel from all over the world for one week in Miami for a plethora of reasons, from merely an appreciation of art or design, to snap a pic with the latest Banksy reveal, to get lost in a painting or for the massive list of parties that take place, no single traveler’s Art Basel experience is the same.

My time was spent focusing on the incredible array of music related events that compliment both the phenomena of Art Basel and the city of Miami itself. Miami is a city that I feel a strange attraction to; I have devoted a lot of my energy and time to getting to know and understand it. This week was a very special experience, that left me wanting learn even more about what led one of the historically young cities of its size to become the hub for artistic and musical expression in America that it is.

I will do my absolute best to describe the indescribable through my own journey of what has led to me to this desire of knowing more, based off of a handful of events that I attended that offered truly teachable moments with one common underlying factor: house music.

MY TOP 5 MUSIC EVENTS AT ART BASEL

#5 Paradigm Presents: Citric Acid @ Lemon City Studios:

“House” as it is labeled, is a musical genre known for it’s addicting and consistent rhythm, that was born in the City of Chicago, and “Techno” by its’ sister city of Detroit. The same legends that pioneered this genre, Chicago’s Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson, to the English Paul Oakenfold and Carl Cox that followed in their footsteps, (along with countless others) converged in Miami in the early 1990’s to light the fire of what is now one of the most quintessential cities for dance music in the world.

Paradigm, a leader in the underground dance scene of Chicago, has been hustling house music for years and took the leap to bring their vibe to the amazing Lemon City Studios, boasting a lineup of classic Chicago House heroes: DJ Sneak, Derrick Carter and Guti, as well as one of the founding fathers of techno, Carl Craig. This was an event that was well attended by those familiar with the roots of this genre, hosted in a gorgeous outdoor event space full of engaging

visual art displays. It was refreshing to see such a talented lineup pay homage to their craft in a city that has truly capitalized on this underground sound. This was a “you had to find it, and if you did you were lucky” kind of events.

#4 The Mayan Warrior x Catalyst Project @ The Wynwood Factory:

Word was travelling fast about this event, though I had only just showed up to Wynwood, I must have heard the words “Mayan Warrior Party” a dozen times before arriving at a line of hundreds of eager attendees. The free event, hosted by the Mayan Warrior and Catalyst Project, and presented by “The Collective,” was prepared to strip away all expectations of what one might think Art Basel (or at least the music that surrounds it) could be. If you were lucky enough to make it through the line, you were warmly greeted by a loungey foyer with soft music, dim lighting and incredible decor. I thought that was the end of this road, and I thought wrong. A walk down two disorienting hallways would leave you turning the corner, only to think “Wow, I sure didn’t expect THIS to be going on here.”

Imagine deep red lighting, a crowd one or two thousand deep, an entire wall of champagne bottles, dancers dressed in leather straps and mayan headdresses, and the most absolutely groovy music to accompany a very ‘Basel’ atmosphere. DJ’s Lee Burridge, Bedouin, Eduardo Castillo, Guy Laliberte, Van Jeeny led the Catalyst room with tribalistic tech house, while The Mayan Warrior + Zero Room was carried on to the early morning by Daniel Cowel, Dramian B2B Mandrake, Oonah Dahl and Tansen.

#3 Kaskade at The 1 Hotel Rooftop:

The 1 Hotel championed the chain of South Beach hotels with a series of Art Basel related events. The 1 Hotel housed a rooftop full of music all weekend, but it also was host to Daniel Mazzone’s Art Basel debut with 25 incredibly eye-catching pieces of art and several other art installations. The 1 Hotel was an undeniable force of music and art for the week, with sets from Claptone and Blondish throughout the weekend and an impromptu performance on Sunday night by Kaskade.

I arrived at the rooftop to listen to the talented Alyx Ander warm up the space, he is one of my favorite up and coming producers. The 1 Hotel Rooftop allotted a capacity of only 300 people, creating a perfectly intimate space for the magical moment that ensued. I was expecting a Kaskade concert, or at least your expected poolside Kaskade mix… this was not the case. If you were fortunate enough to catch wind of the surprise Kaskade set and were able to get to the roof, fans gathered around for what was once a rooftop, and soon became Ryan’s (Kaskade’s) living room.

The music started and we all heard the familiar voice we would otherwise hear shouting over a microphone at festivals for thousands, but it was Ryan in an endearing tone that would soon take us all on a journey, explaining how all these records that we have known for years came to be. He talked us through his life, through memories of trials and tribulations, how certain interactions and pathways bounced him around until his record, “Angel On My Shoulders” caught traction in Miami at nightclubs (long since closed) like Mansion, that he attributes to

‘breaking’ the record, as well as his now incredibly amazing music career. Anyone that appreciates music, the powers of Miami that be, or Kaskade himself were most likely teary-eyed, full of joy and feeling the rush of chills that comes with understanding who he is as an artist, and more importantly a person. Thanks for sharing that, Kaskade, I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life.

#2 Rakastella:

Rakastella is not just an event, but actually it’s own unique and boutique festival that is running it’s fourth year in conjunction with Art Basel in Miami. Nestled in the natural corners of the Historic Virginia Key Beach, I arrived in darkness and left with light, figuratively and literally. It was so dark out, even making sense of where I was, with a sober mind proved sort of difficult, but I could hear and feel that I was in the right place. This was a place for fashion, it was a place for art, it was a place for dancing, it was a place for music, but I think most of all this was a place for your spirit. Rakastella had three stages with minimal lighting production, a tent structure, a dome structure and a canvas tent with a stage adorned with plants, all shaking the sand with ferocious sound systems.

Considering most of the lighting was limited to the stages and some trees with colored lights cast upon them, the only thing guiding you here was the music and your own vibe. It brought me to the beach a few times to look up at the stars, it brought me to the front of the speakers so I could feel the sub shake me, it brought me to meet several new friends I will never forget, Rakastella brought me somewhere else.

Taking into account that we were all dancing the night away on an island just east of Miami, it wasn’t long before the sun began to rise over the horizon and that’s when the true glory began. When the wind is flowing through a crowd of crazily dressed, smiling festival revelers with shades on, the goal of Rakastella was made very apparent, the whole night was a passage to this moment in the sun at six in the morning with Dixon B2B Amé. Honorable mentions for DJ Sets were DJ Tennis, Gerd Johnson, Seth Troxler, DJ Harvey and Red Axes.

#1 The Terrace of Space Miami:

Space Miami is a nightclub staple of the city, it has been around for about fifteen years and has grown to become the Mecca of all things Techno and Tech House in Miami. One might ask, that if it is open every weekend, why include it in this article? Isn’t it just another weekend for this nightclub? Well, put plainly, it is not.

Throughout the Art Basel weekend, Space Miami’s Terrace was only closed for a handful of hours to restock the bars and sweep the floors, in between absolute marathon sets by the likes of Solomun, The Martinez Brothers, Lee Foss, Claptone, Marco Carola and Nastia. I decided to make my way to Space on Sunday morning immediately following Rakastella, Solomun was already on the decks for about five hours (that already is a rather long DJ set compared to most) and he proceeded to play well into Sunday evening, I had to leave by 8pm to head to Kaskade at the 1 Hotel, but I am sure Solomun continued his flawless mixing of melodic beats well

beyond my stay. I made sure to return on Monday morning for Martinez Brothers who had held a crowd until late Tuesday night, setting a new record for the Puerto Rican duo.

The crowd at this place is probably half of its’ beauty, other than the fact that you could watch a sunrise, sunset, and rise again from the same dancefloor. The VIP had familiar faces such as Marco Carola who played the previous night, or one of America’s favorite party-girls, Paris Hilton. The dance floor however, was an absolute zoo full of Miami’s roughest and toughest, hottest and most dedicated group of partiers on the planet. Regardless of ‘who you are’ or at even who you might think you are, everyone is on the same plane, or rocket ship. Keep in mind we are talking about a place where you could show up at 8am freshly showered and rested and it still being almost impossible for one to be late to the the party, it just keeps going… and going… and going… and going…. and going.

FINAL WORDS:

Overall Art Basel Miami had one of its best years yet, clearly evolved and grown to be such a World class stage for art and now music. Everywhere I looked and went I was bestoked by art and lifted by amazing music. People of all ages attending from every corner of the Globe brought together by the magic and the passion of art in all its glorious formats. Definitely one of Miami’s crown jewels and will continue to grow in the years to come with more and more artists looking to showcase their colorful creations or musicians and DJ’s wanting to rock the stage, its one big party that I will definitely be at next year!

For more info on Art Basel go to: www.artbasel.com

TREASURE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL MOVES TO OAKLAND AND HAS A GREAT 1ST YEAR

By Jonathan Saunders and Meikee Magnetic

The Treasure Island Music Festival is an annual two-day music festival produced by Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment who have been reliable purveyors of Electronic/Hip Hop/Rap/Rock/Indie Rock music since 2007. This year, the festival took place for the 1st time at a new location on October 13-14th in Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, located in Oakland, California and returning after a short one year hiatus.

The new location was in the boon docks (literally) but offered an awesome view and skyline of the bay and San Francisco, an epic backdrop for an open-air event. Prior to 2018, the festival was located on Treasure Island right smack in the middle of the San Francisco bay but had a disastrous last year, plagued by weather problems and artist cancellations. This year organizers knew they had to step it up to regain the trust of fans and to deliver a flawless festival experience, which they did nicely. Thousands of fans made the leap of faith over the two days and were delighted to see that organizers really put the time in to ensure this year would be a smooth and memorable ride.

There were two ways organizers enticed fans to get to the festival; A free festival shuttle from the West Oakland Bart station or a ride-share drop-off. As there was no on-site vehicle or bicycle parking available, I decided to take an Uber from Mission street in San Francisco to the festival on day 1. I left around 3 pm and quickly realized it was a terrible mistake as there was gridlock traffic on all approaches to the bay bridge and it took over an hour to get to the Uber drop-off on treasure island.

On day 2, I took Bart plus the free shuttle makes it way faster and easier to get to the festival. The shuttle service reduced traffic congestion and they used zero emission buses, which is something we should all applaud. To be honest, it was the best, organized transportation I’ve seen at a Bay Area festival hands down. Once I got there, I was delighted because the new location was pretty damn awesome, better then I expected and with the amazing views, it had a similar vibe to being on Treasure Island.

Being October, of course, we had crisp fall days with hazy skies and a foggy SF city view, so dressing warm was a must. My first impression of the festival was a chill and mellow vibe but, of course, this changed throughout the day as the energy kicked to full tilt. Walking around I found cozy beach dunes to rest on while enjoying the beautiful sunset over the water and the opening tunes around.

The food choices were plentiful, with all kinds of options for every palate, but my favorite was the ramen, which seemed to be a big hit amongst many fans considering their long lines – The food definitely hit the spot. There were also lots of drink options to choose from, including local beers, wine and nice craft cocktails from Don Julio among other liquor brands. I liked how it was spread nicely throughout the festival grounds. An unexpected treat was finding out that the organizers provided FREE Wi-Fi at the food and beverage area near the city stage which came in handy.

There were also ATMs available and lockers on hand that you could reserve in advance to store your valuables. All this made for an easy, very relaxed festival experience. One thing was missing and at first, I couldn’t put my hand and on it, but then realized there was no Ferris Wheel which has been a staple of past years on the former naval base. Hopefully, organizers will bring it back for 2019 as it was always such a thrill to catch your favorite act while floating 100’s of feet above!

OMCA (Oakland Museum of California) was one of the vendors at the festival, promoting art projects and trying to create participatory arts projects in community spaces and surrounding neighborhoods. Also, there were some rad DIY workshops where attendees could make their own custom tees and festival accouterments. All of these extras made for a friendly and unbeatable atmosphere as fans geared up for the pulsating performances ahead from headline acts such as A$AP Rocky, Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Santigold and Pusha T. 

The music lineup was stacked for both days!

My Saturday highlights included; Opening act Moses Sumney got the party started. I’ve never caught him before and didn’t know what to expect but he was just pure fire! Dude can sing his behind off with the best of the best and had me glued from his first note. Sumney had some great musicians accompanying his set from violin players to air instruments, making his set even cooler. Singer/Songwriter Santigold was one of my favorites. Her set was silky smooth with fun vibes that complimented her funky costume and beautiful musical aura. The great sound system at the Town Stage tickled all the senses and was especially good for Santigold’s booty bouncing baselines.

As the sun went down the lights turned up with Silk City’s bouncy beats. The highly anticipated supergroup duo consisting of Diplo and Mark Ronson, blew it out of the water, with amazing club beats and an overwhelming energy that elevated the crowd mix after mix. Their remix of Kelis’ Milkshake song dropped so hard, that it started a massive dance pit, where legions of dedicated fans just went bonkers! But the night was all about the headlining performance of superstar rapper A$AP Rocky. Flames and smoke shot from the stage as Rocky took the mic, kicking off an adrenalin-infused set while the crowd knew and shouted every lyric with hit songs that included, “Buck Shots” and “A$AP Forever”. Throughout his set, he would pause to hype up the crowd more and bring some heat to the chilly night.
Day 2 – Sunday: The crowds strolled back and forth to each stage between the acts while tasteful local merchants selling art, handmade clothes, posters and other cool gear and merchandise could be found throughout the Shoreline Park festival grounds. It made for a nice recreational time in between music sets. Fans were kept fed and hydrated with designer snacks and beverages along the way with a similar set-up to Saturday. The music style was more indie rock on day two, which was a nice change from day one.

Aussie singer/songwriter Alex Cameron hit the stage with style, a retro look and his self-proclaimed, “Failed Entertainer” attitude. I really liked his vibe as it really set the mood for the day. He was joined by Sax player ‘Roy Malloy’ who was a nice touch, playing Oakland for his first time. SHAME, the boys from Brixton offered some London attitude to the scene and the beach by the bay, playing an exhilarating set that included their hit single “Tasteless”. They are currently the UK’s most in-demand rock band. Their bass player rocked the stage in shorts doing a good ode to AC/DC while lead singer Charlie Steen stage dived into California stoned out crowd – UK garage baby!

Sharon Van Etton brought intimacy to the big crowd with her soulful song ’Our Love”, and the love was no doubt in the air as fans gathered for her early set. Another Aussie highlight was singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett. What a treat to catch her live as she sounded better than her records as she belted out great songs that included, “Need A Little Time, “Depression” and “Small Poppies”.

Everything prior, however, was a warm up to the biggest name on Sunday’s bill, singer/songwriter/producer Kevin Parker, known to fans by his stage name Tame Impala. Another superstar Aussie making his way stateside and ready to tear the roof off the Town Stage with clearly the biggest crowd of the day waiting. For an hour and a half, Parker and his band tore through an amazing set of psychedelic fused grooves and throbbing synths. The light and video show was also the best of the weekend, just pure eye candy that lined up well with each song including the epic, “Jeremy’s Storm”, “Apocalypse Dream” and “Alter Ego”, which is one of my favorites – just a juggernaut tune! Tame Impala was a great closer to the weekend. Staying until the end has its drawbacks as it takes longer to file through the big crowds and get home, but definitely worth it in the end.

Overall it was a great year for Treasure Island and a coo for Organizers Noise Pop and Another Planet to bring back the original excitement of the festival. Looking forward to seeing what they have cooking for 2019…

For more info on Treasure Island Music Festival visit: www.treasureislandfestival.com

 

TREASURE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL REVEALS NEW LAYOUT WITH MAP, SPECIAL MERCH & MOBILE APP.

WEEKEND AND SINGLE-DAY GA & VIP TICKETS AVAILABLE

FEATURING PERFORMANCES FROM TAME IMPALA & A$AP ROCKY, SILK CITY, LORD HURON,

SANTIGOLD, COURTNEY BARNETT, JUNGLE, PUSHA T, SHARON VAN ETTEN, AMINÉ & MORE

Treasure Island Music Festival (TIMF) taking place this weekend at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland, CA, is excited to announce additional important details helpful for navigating the festival this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oc. 14, including the sitemap and layout, the new festival mobile app and a special collaboration on TIMF merch. Single-day GA and VIP tickets are on sale at www.TreasureIslandFestival.com starting at just $105, along with two-day GA and VIP tickets. 

LAYOUT & MAP:

TIMF will return after a year-long hiatus for its 11th edition with a weekend full of music and entertainment on October 13-14 in a new location and home for the future — Middle Harbor Shoreline Park (MHSP) — located just minutes west of downtown Oakland, California.

The new location will continue to provide festival-goers access to one of the most unique festival backdrops in the world, offering panoramic views of the Bay, downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. Attendees will also enjoy an ever-changing, diverse mix of interactive art installations, roaming performers and outstanding Bay Area cuisine.

The festival box office opens daily at 11:00 a.m. (PT), with festival gates opening at 11:00 a.m. and music kicking off shortly after at Noon each day. The box office closes daily at 9:00 p.m.

Various sizes of private lockers are available for rental on site just past the main entrance at prices ranging from $45 to $65 for two days. Interested festival-goers are encouraged to reserve in advance at www.treasureislandlockers.com as locker space is extremely limited.

MOBILE APP:
Festival-goers are highly encouraged to download the new Treasure Island Music Festival mobile app for both iOS and Android-compatible devices, which is available now on mobile app stores and through the web page at treasureislandfestival.com/app. This new app includes a variety of useful information for navigating the festival, such as an interactive map, performance schedule and curated playlists to listen to festival favorites or to discover someone entirely new who will be performing at Treasure Island this year.

Daily reminders, breaking updates and special announcements will also be shared specifically through this new mobile app throughout the festival dates, so patrons should make sure to download the app before arriving on site to stay up-to-date on all festival info.

FESTIVAL MERCH:

This year’s festival merch is presented in partnership with Oaklandish, a popular fashion line and retail store based in Oakland, California. Oaklandish is printing all of this year’s official festival merch locally in their Oakland-based warehouse, and the team has been tapped to design one new collaborative merch item specific to this year’s festival. The company will also have a pop-up booth on the festival grounds for those looking to explore additional apparel and accessories.

Oaklandish offers premium local apparel and accessories that celebrate “local love and original Oakland charm,” with proceeds supporting an array of local Bay Area community partnerships. Oaklandish is a woman and POC-owned and is a certified B Corp, which ensures the company meets the highest standards in socially responsible business practices.

The Oaklandish company began in 2000, and after years of selling their merch items from a modified camper van at various public street festivals and farmers markets, the company opened its flagship store in downtown Oakland in 2011. Fast forward to today, the brand has expanded to two stores in Oakland receiving various accolades, including being named by Fortune as one of the top 100 fastest growing inner city businesses in the United States for the last five years in a row. For more information, please visit www.oaklandish.com.

ADDITIONAL HELPFUL REMINDERS & TIPS:

The festival will again feature more hip-hop, electronic, dance and high-energy acts to kick off day 1 on Saturday with artists A$AP Rocky, Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Santigold, Pusha T and more. Day 2 on Sunday will close out the festival with a more laid-back vibe with a focus on rock and indie performers like Tame Impala, Lord Huron, and Courtney Barnett. Both days will feature non-overlapping sets on the festival’s two stages — aptly named The Town and The City — ensuring fans can enjoy every moment of every performance. To view the complete schedule, please visit www.TreasureIslandFestival.com.

TIMF will also play host to a variety of late-night shows to celebrate the return of the festival to the Bay Area. Shows include Kevin Morby at Cal Academy of Sciences (Oct. 11), The Dodos at The Independent (Oct. 12), and Mothers at Cafe Du Nord (Oct. 13). Tickets are on sale now and can be found at www.treasureislandfestival.com.

There is no festival parking for vehicles or bicycles on or near the festival grounds at MHSP. The only way to get to and from the festival is via the official complimentary festival shuttle service at West Oakland BART or taking an official rideshare (Uber, Lyft) to the festival’s designated festival drop-off/pick-up area on 7th Street.

TIMF is a BARTable event. A fleet of shuttles will run on a continuous loop throughout festival hours beginning at 11:00 a.m. PT offering free rides to festival attendees. The shuttle drop-off/pick-up point is located at West Oakland BART (1451 7th St, Oakland, CA 94607). The free shuttle pick-up is included with all GA and VIP ticket purchases. It’s important to note that in order to board the shuttle, patrons are not required to have tickets in-hand. For those without tickets who are hoping to purchase their tickets on-site the day of the festival, tickets can be purchased at the official festival Box Office at MHSP. For more details regarding parking and shuttles, please visit www.treasureislandfestival.com/info.

TIMF 2018 will once again offer ticket-buyers a variety of food vendors bringing cuisine from around the Bay Area, and many of this year’s food trucks and eateries hail from or have ties to Oakland and the East Bay. This year’s art offerings also continue the festival’s tradition of offering attendees access to some of the most unique and creative art installations in the country – several of which were created by local Bay Area residents and have since gone on to receive international acclaim and accolades. For the full slate of artists, activities, and vendors participating in this year’s event, please visit www.treasureislandfestival.com/info.

The 2018 Treasure Island Music Festival artwork was designed by local Oakland resident and critically acclaimed graphic artist Jason Munn. Visit jasonmunn.com to learn more about his work.

TIMF would also like to thank their 2018 partners and sponsors who are helping to make the event possible, including Bud Light, Stella Artois, Zenni Optical, Odwalla, Pax, Revive Kombucha, Rebbl, Riboli Family Wines, The Bay Bridged, BARTable, Amoeba Music, Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, Clif Bar & Company, Deep Eddy Vodka, Don Julio, DoTheBay, Golden Road Brewing, Monster Energy, Hotel Zeppelin and Hotel Zetta, among others.

For tickets, more information and to stay up to date on all TIMF news and announcements, please visit the following channels:

WEBSITE: www.TreasureIslandFestival.com

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/treasureislandfestival

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE: www.facebook.com/events/287841488421790

TWITTER: @timfsf

INSTAGRAM: @timfsf

OFFICIAL HASHTAG: #TIMF2018

 

THE SOILED DOVE SOARS IN OAKLAND WITH A GRAND SPECTACLE…

 

Written by:  Behnam Vadi & Jordanna Dworkin

Another year…another place…another time-warped journey to the Barbary Coast era. The Soiled Dove 2018 edition returned to the Bay Area for an epic night of circus acrobats mixed with sultry burlesque and wily shenanigans to ignite the passion of the heart and rapture of the soul. Throw in a solid dose of dark humor, and you’re now in the swirl of fantasy-turned-reality for the eve. Mike Gains, an Executive Producer, sets the stage this year within a vintage Italian circus tent adjacent to Downtown Oakland, California’s Fox Theatre – where artistic bohemians co-mingle with tech-savvy entrepreneurs to bring an evening of surreal seduction to the scene.

From the grand opening act, a memorably alluring all-hands-in choreographed bonanza, to one of the first solo acts featuring a gorgeous contortionist suspended on a ring, the audience gets pulled into the dramatic unfolding of something truly spectacular. Flash forward to a scene of boudoir mystery as a beautiful dame in a revealing red slip dances her way into a clawfoot tub filled with blood-colored water. Splish splash, the sounds that echoed and without revealing everything that happens next, let’s just say that all new levels of excitement and thrills are now officially reached. More, please!

You may ask how can a spectacle like this shine without a colorful ringleader? OMG – the M.C. of the night – with his electrifying charm and exotic British accent, this lad tickled our fancy and raised the raucousness from scene to scene, keeping each spectator fixing for more.  And the music, just WOW! The Jazz Mafia entourage never ceases to disappoint, they are clearly in their own lane when and noone is better suited for this production musically! From melodic interludes interspersed with super sexy femme solo violin magic to some damn good rapper’s delight, never was there ever a more fantastic complementary blend of sound and showmanship.  Perfect harmony is the word that comes to mine, as I closed my eyes on occasion and just blissed out to the magical sounds.

From rings to poles, silks to swagger, each act of the night kept the momentum growing and growing. The suspense surged to a peak as the epic full ensemble grand finale, with all the razzle dazzle and bling bling, dropped jaws, ignited a roar of appreciation and left us salivating for more. Ah the magic of a production that delivers on every note, and high ones at that, making our job of being part of this amazing theatrical spectacle easier to share with others and in hopes that many more will enter through the gates of the Soiled Dove and experience it one day for themselves.

BIG BIG love to all of the performers, talented crew and of course to Vau De Vire for staging another great event. We’ll be sure to attend the next tantalizing show.

SOILED DOVE RUNS THROUGH EVERY WEEKEND THROUGH NOVEMBER 17. 

 

For tickets, including dinner packages visit:  www.thesoileddove.com

 

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA’S DOUBLE HEADER CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA & PAGLIACCI STARTS THE 98TH SEASON OFF ON A HIGH NOTE

Written by Sason Bishope Parry

Ah, the Opera, a place where hearts are broken, tragedy strikes at any given moment, emotions go up and down like a rollercoaster and where powerhouse singers navigate you through these emotions with their gifted voices. This was the feeling and scene on Saturday, September 22 as we caught the 98th season of the San Francisco opera’s doubleheader of Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana & Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. The performances were amazingly captivating to keep everyone’s attention throughout both shows with a total running time of almost 3 hours. Walking into the War Memorial Opera house always brings on a majestic feeling, as many were dressed to the hilt and the beautiful architecture in the room takes you back to a time when art and design were primary to the builders and cookie cutter buildings were far and few. As we took our seats, we noticed that every seat was taken and we immediately knew we were in for something special, memorable and visually and audibly stimulating. Both productions were set in the same neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires Argentina with a continuous storyline united by set designer Jose Cura’s production who also has credits as a conductor and director. What is an opera without love and of course jealousy, which was central to both plots where adultery, heartbreak, and revenge run rampant in this small Argentinian neighborhood? Cavalleria opens with women peering from top windows, cleaning blankets and down below waiters reset tables and chairs after what seemed to be a long night of wine indulging. Then we hear the beautiful voice of Turiddu played by tenor Roberto Aronica, who just returned home from serving time in the military. Because of his long absence his former lover Lola, played by sultry soprano Laura Krumm had moved on and married Alfio, played by the burly and confident baritone Dimitri Platanias. To make matters more complicated, Turrido who wanted to make Lola jealous, seduced Santuzza, played by the charismatic powerhouse soprano Ekaterina Semanchuk. Clearly, none of this would fair well and once Alfio’s rage and Santuzza’s jealousy spun out of control, revenge left Turrido dead and his mother Mamma Lucia played by the moody soprano Jill Grove filled with grief. Cavalleria showcased how love makes us do crazy things, and conductor Daniele Callegari, who was making his company debut, led the cast through this volatile number, bringing out great performances in each character and left the audience leaving us thrilled but also and deeply heartbroken. Intermission was just long enough to allow us to gather our senses and emotions and gear up for the second bill – Pagliacci. Set again in the same neighborhood, starts out with the composer Leoncavallo, played once again by Dimitri Platanias, delivering delivered a strong prologue and which set setting the mood for another tragic plot line. In this story, Tonio, played by Platanias, tries desperately to gain the attention of Nedda, played by the very talented soprano Lianna Haroutounian. Haroutonian, was, in my opinion, was the breakout singer of the entire double bill. She’s been featured in both Madame Butterfly and Tosca and seems to be vocally at ease, but yet is able to deliver strong emotions with every note she belted out.  Back to the story, Nedda who is married to Cannio played by tenor Marco Berti, has no interest in Tonio at all. She does however become infatuated with Silvio, played by baritone David Pershall, who gives a wonderful performance as her love interest. Here we are left with a similar ill-fated Quadruple love paradox as in Cavalleria.  Soon enough Cannio finds out about the affair and becomes engulfed in rage and ultimately takes his revenge out on the adulterous pair, which ends in bloodshed and loss. Conductor Daniele Callegari once again did a brilliant job of drawing us into the characters and the ill-fated story. Both stories of love gone bad, revenge that ended in heartbreak and death, left us with mixed emotions, which signified the power of the performances of the cast. As the final curtain came, we were all on our feet, looking around, cheering and sharing in the love for the SF opera and this spectacular double bill performance. Bravo, bravo, bravo, was loud and clear…

 

For more info on the SF Opera and to buy tickets visit:  www.sfopera.com

 

KAABOO DEL MAR SELLS OUT, HITS ITS STRIDE AND ANNOUNCES TWO MORE FESTIVALS FOR 2019

Building a big music festival is not an easy feat and a risky one at that.  It takes years of development, patience, money, dedication, the right location as well as the right team to bring the entire vision to life.  Well, CEO and creator Bryan E. Gordon and his talented team have finally gotten closer to realizing his dream as Kaaboo Del Mar, California sold out for the 1st time in its short four year history on September 14, 15 & 16, which took place at the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds.  More then 40,000 attendees came together for three days of music which included top-tier performances by Robert Plant & The Sensational Shape Shifters, The Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, Incubus, Post Malone and many others as well as well culinary showcases and comedy making it a groundbreaking success and the biggest festival now in San Diego. Every aspect of the festival seemed very well thought out as though its been around for decades and from the moment we walked through the gates it was a non-stop array of entertainment, visual and audio sensory overload and just an experience that consistently left us feeling good about being there.  There was just so much to do, that the only challenge was figuring out how to manage a schedule and fit everything in each day.

Friday highlights started out with old school hip hop hero Nelly performing some of his biggest hits including his classic, “Hot In Herre.” Other highlights for Friday included Blondie, with lead singer Debra Harry sounding as current as ever and at her age it’s unbelievable that she can still sing and dance like that. She even told a young fan who tried to bum rush the stage that she would kick his ass if he tried, oozing with her bad girl attitude that made her an 80’s superstar.  On the Grandview stage hard rockers Incubus who have always been a crowd favorite didn’t fail to impress. Led by charismatic frontman Brandon Boyd they took the crowd through hit after hit which included, “Pardon Me”, “Nice To Know You”, “Wish You Were Here” and “Drive”, the latter igniting one of the biggest sings a long of the festival. Oakland R & B legends Tower Of Power who celebrated their 50th year in music and had us smiling and dancing all the way through and singing along to one of my favorite songs, “Your Still A Young Man” – that was just epic!  One of the most anticipated acts, Hip Hop new-comber Post Malone, arguably drew the biggest crowd of the day as a sea of young hip-hoppers, hipsters and those wanting to catch a glimpse of this new star, packed in tight.  Dressed in what looked like a cool pair of colored PJ’s and his gold grill lighting up the stage, he closed out the MGM stage with stride and delivered.  On the opposite stage, the festival’s biggest rockers The Foo Fighters just killed it!  Dave Grohl has to be one of the best frontmen in music today and just seems an all-around super cool dude.  You don’t realize how many hits they actually have until you see them play live and what was even more impressive was drummer Taylor Hawkins who is just an awesome player and considering Dave Grohl is also one the greatest drummers ever, since Nirvana, those are not easy shoes to fill, but Taylor brought the heat, beat for beat.  As we headed towards the Uber lot to catch an early ride before the rush, we could hear The Foo’s closing out there final songs and it was just a grand way to end a very memorable first day.

Day two started a bit earlier kicking off before Noon and the weather was just perfect, as we entered the massive Del Mar Fairgrounds. The day was stacked with an over the top line-up with just too many great artists and attractions to fit into the schedule. We decided to grab lunch first with so many great food options on hand and also check out some of the amazing art exhibits.  Once we got our fill of food and art, we headed over to the Humor Me stage to catch Comedy Legend Louie Anderson. The line to enter the building was huge with an older generation of fans, but the Humor Me building was clearly big enough to accommodate the excited crowd. Once Louie hit the stage, the laughter erupted and for an hour he had us laughing so hard our bellies hurt blasting everyone from the audience to his late mom to how much he loves to eat fast food and cake. He ended his set with having the crowd join him for several selfies and as we filed out of the building it was hard to believe we still had an entire day and night of music ahead. Musical highlights began for us with EDM star Robert Delong, who is such a gifted artist. He was like a one-man show playing everything from the drums, to singing, to grabbing an ax and ripping solos. His eye candy visuals synchronized with the music and he even had a video game joystick that he used to trigger beats and loops.  It was like watching a futuristic musical genius and one that clearly knows how to put on an amazing show and keep the crowd of dance lovers moving. Other Saturday highlights included alternative rockers N.E.R.D. led by super producer, performer Pharrell Williams.  Pharrell seemed supercharged and laser-focused asking a sea of fans to make room as he tried to ignite a mosh pit. He even jumped in at one time while his band ripped through an adrenaline hyped set leaving it all on the stage. Reggae legends The Wailers brought the good vibes to the festival channeling Bob Marleys spirit and playing many of their classics. There is just something about Reggae music that has the ability to bring people together and just get you lost in the music and they did just that. San Diego hometown rockers The Stone Temple Pilots brought a heavier sound to the Sunset Cliffs stage. With three of the original members and a new lead singer, they ripped through a killer 90’s grunge set that seemed to go over well with fans. No doubt fans would have loved to see Scott Weiland wailing with his signature vocal style and swag, but I’m sure he was looking down with a smile. On the other end of the fairgrounds, one of my favorite rockers Billy Idol lit up the Grandview stage with an awesome band that included guitar sensation Steve Stevens. Its hard to believe Idol is 62, as his performance was ferocious and arguably with the most stage presence out of any artist on the bill. His vocal growl hasn’t changed since the 80’s as he played though some of his biggest hits including, “White Wedding”, “Eyes Without A Face”, “Rebel Yell” and “Flesh Or Fantasy.” Then it was time for the headliners, each playing at opposite ends of the massive fairgrounds closing out the night. Just walking back and forth between both main stages is enough of a workout to keep you in the best of shape! R & B legends Earth Wind & Fire were sensational. The crowd was clearly on the older side with an occasional young fan squeezed in between the jam-packed grounds. With three of the original member’s singer/drummer Phillip Bailey, Bassist/Singer Verdine White and Drummer/singer Ralph Johnson, alongside an entourage of great musicians they performed all of their hits from the 70’s and 80’s including, “September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “Shining Star”. As we looked around, you could see mostly older couples dancing, singing, drinking and even showing tears of joy as they soaked up the last sounds of the evening. On the Sunset Cliffs stage mainstream rockers and one of the biggest acts of the festival, Imagine Dragons also played to a huge crowd of mostly hipsters and the younger Kaaboo fans. Dan Reynolds and his Mormon band-mates have no shortage of top 10 hits playing early winners like, “Radioactive”, to current chart holders “Believer’” and “Whatever It Takes”. The shirtless front-man played to the crowd, getting them pumped up during each song and showcasing his acting charisma as recently seen in the hit documentary, “Believer”. They even played one of my all-time favorite Police songs, “Every Breathe You Take”, which surprisingly had one of the biggest sing-alongs of the night.  Kaaboo ended day two on a grand scale as fans headed out, with anxious anticipation for the final day.

Sunday was once again talent stacked and the weather, although a bit cooler then Saturday still brought the sunny vibes to the fairgrounds. We got to the festival a bit later on the last day, trying to squeeze in a little more rest. After two days of going buck wild and depleting a good amount of our energy bank we need to recharge for a big climax. However by this time, we pretty much had an idea of the landscape of the Del Mar Fairgrounds and all the areas. It’s much bigger then you would think, with enough room to accommodate more than 40,000+ fans, as each area still seemed very spacious. Also what was evident was that it was much easier to access the main stages and get pretty close, as most of the fans were thoughtful and polite making room for those that wanted to get up close and personal with their musical heroes. Ironically it was the smaller stages that were a bit harder to get very close, but with the impressive production, video screens and sound that Kaaboo provided on each stage it wasn’t hard to enjoy any of the artists from afar, without being bucked up against the stage. Our highlights for Sunday included R &B superstars TLC, minus the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. They were on fire from start to finish, dressed in matching jumpsuits, choreographed dance numbers (with some of the baddest break dancers we’ve seen) and a terrific live band.  With eye-popping jumbo tron color video screens in the background, they sounded pitch perfect performing for more than an hour straight. Their biggest moment came when they played their massive hit, “Waterfalls”, stopping occasionally to hear the fans sing along.  Immediately following them was one of the best rock bands of the festival, Guns & Roses guitar impresario Slash’s new band with Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy, who is hands down one of the greatest rock singers today. They just blew the roof off the Sunset Cliffs stage! I don’t think the energy ever stopped as they roared through new songs to a sea of headbanging fans eager to be part of this super group’s new legacy. The entire band brought their A game but Slash stole the show and it was amazing catching him up close shredding through solos that sometimes lasted minutes. Immediately when they were done we had to make our way to the Grandview stage to catch a reunion of 90’s grunge band, Alice In Chains.  Layne Staley the original singer for AIC was such a great singer and we weren’t sure how the new singer would hold up with such big shoes to fill, but we were beyond impressed. William Duvall who replaced Staley in 2006, was possessed, he literally sounded like Staley at times but with his own style fused in blending beautiful and haunting harmonies with lead guitar player Jerry Cantrell. Duvall equally impressed with his guitar skills filling in for the lead when Cantrell took over the vocals. It was like going back in time to the 90’s and given that I never got a chance to see the original AIC, their set definitely filled my void and I’m sure many others who were screaming out their name, especially during, “Man In The Box.” Back on the Sunset Cliffs stage was the beautiful and talented Halsey. Her career seems to have skyrocketed as it wasn’t but a year or so ago when she was playing smaller stages and now she’s on one of the main stages playing a perfect sunset time. She looked and sounded amazing, hair cropped short, with an army of Halsey fan look-alike everywhere you looked which must have caught her fancy, cause she was smiling and pointing at fans through her whole set. Closing sets for the final night belonged to the king of rock himself Robert Plant and his band the Sensational Shapeshifters and considering Robert was the king its safe to say that co-headliner Katy Perry was the Queen of pop of the final night playing the opposite main stage to Plant. Both drew the biggest crowds of the day, Plant having a more musically diverse and sophisticated crowd from Zepellin fans to those just wanting to catch a glimpse of the rock icon. He was, as his band reads, sensational, with so much character and stage presence clearly from all his years of performing. His set was very eclectic from bluegrass to beautiful and full Middle Eastern sounds that showcased multiple exotic instruments, but it wasn’t until he shifted into full gear playing Zeppelin classics that the crowd went into a full-on frenzy. Plant spoke eloquently to the crowd with stories of his early days and thanking fans for being with him for so many years. He closed out his set with a spectacular encore rendition of “Whole Lotta Love”. Fans holding out for a led Zeppelin reunion, might be disappointed as it may never come, so I’m thrilled that we got to see Plant do his thing and Kaaboo organizers were right to have him play the final night as it was such an epic and classic way to close out the Grandview stage. At the Sunset Cliffs stage, the queen of pop Katy Perry was just as epic. She’s an immaculate and gifted songwriter, more so to me than a singer, but given the legion of young fans watching her closing set, its crystal clear why she’s gotten as big as she has. Sporting a cute green hair due that looked like Jared Leto’s Joker character in Suicide Squad, she exuded pure star quality and fashion sense. Her stage props and video looked like sets straight out of the futuristic animated cartoon classic the Jetsons. What was clear is Perry knows how to captivate an audience and keep her show intriguing, changing wardrobes between songs and consistently talking to the audience keeping then engaged. It was cool to see so many young kids, mainly girls enjoying Perry’s performance with their parents and her beautiful good vibe presence was perfect for a family concert. What a climatic way to close out the festival with two musical superstars, one a 60’s rock legend and the other a beautiful pop queen who clawed her way hit after hit to the top and is now one of the biggest stars on the Planet.

Kaaboo was more than just a music festival it was an overall experience an epic journey that included culinary shows and tasty eats, comedy that brought out new and old comic heroes, outstanding art displays and artists showcasing their live graffiti mural paintings to walking through a massive building filled with some of the best assembled paintings and arts and crafts that I’ve seen at a festival and of course the good vibes that could be felt all throughout Kaaboo. Of course when you have organizers that go out of their way to ensure that fan comfort and experience is without expense, it sets the mood for a great time, from the ease of Kaaboo’s entry gates to all the freebies and giveaways as well as trailer air conditioned porta-potties for GA fans that are usually only available for premium ticket holders, nothing was cut short for fans. Big shout out to Bai – antioxidant infused drinks, who gave away thousands of free drinks to fans all three days and they tasted amazing, sweetened with only stevia, zero calories and the perfect thirst quencher for a healthy vegan like myself.  Kaaboo also made sure that fans stayed hydrated with multiple free purified water stations – bravo Kaaboo!  MGM who was one of the sponsors also had a really hip and decked out lounge area fully equipped with alcohol bars, cool couches and non-stop cirque style beautiful aerial performers to keep fans entertained. You would be hard pressed to feel bored at Kaaboo, there’s just too much to do and so much to see.

Kaaboo Del Mar has already announced dates for their 2019 edition with early bird tickets on sale now at www.kaaboodelmar.com. The good news for fans is you don’t need to wait a full year to go to Kaaboo anymore as organizers also announced two new Kaaboo festivals launching in 2019. On February 15 + 16, 2019 Kaaboo will expand internationally into the Cayman Islands with a festival site overlooking the world famous Seven Mile Beach in Grand Caymand and Kaaboo will also be taking place in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, on May 10 -12, 2019 for Kaaboo Texas.  That’s three Kaaboo festivals happening in 2019 and that’s something to be excited about. It’s amazing that in four short years Kaaboo has grown into such a huge international brand and destination festival and given what we experienced this year at Kaaboo Del Mar, we are very excited to see what Bryan E. Gordon and his team have in plan for next years events.

For complete info and to buy early bird tickets to Kaaboo Del Mar visit:

www.kaaboodelmar.com

For complete info on Kaaboo Cayman visit:  www.kaaboocayman.com

For complete info on Kaaboo Texas visit:  www.kaabootexas.com