Mike Tunney - Pacific Festival Organizer
SUPERGOODMUSIC.com spent part of this past holiday weekend in the slightly warmer Orange County for the 1st ever Pacific Festival. Put together by Mike Tunney and friends and featuring two distinctly different days of music, one electro and one reggae-dub soul, I thought it was well worth my time.
Day 1 definitely caught the attention of more Los Angelenos. This should come as no surprise as it was headlined by Dim Mak's Steve Aoki, hosted by Mark The Cobransake, and featured a host of rising talent from the indie-electro-dance scene. From Classixx to Miami Horror to Dan Sena to EC Twins to all the fellas from Guns in The Sun - there was something new to be turned on to. The performances of Rob Roy and Chiddy Bang also brought in some much needed hip-hop downtime when the performances transitioned from outside to inside at the Sutra Lounge. In addition to Aoki, there were also heavyweights The Sounds and Alan Braxe, as well as a planned SILENT DISCO to ensure fans stayed until the end of the night.
Chilling w/ Kenya from Guns in the Sun
And fans did stay. I exited shortly after Them Jeans came on at 1 am to a packed lounge of people barely capable of standing. The 21+ festival crowd was definitely in effect, especially in the VIP section, where the bar was all you can drink. For a mere $45, you could upgrade from regular admission to the inspiring black-out extravaganza that was VIP. While that unbridled access to alcohol may not have been the best way for the organizers to make money, it certainly gave the fans something to be excited about in addition to the music......and excited they were. The sloppiness went from about a 4 to a 9 or 10 between five and eight pm.
Intoxicated Concert Goers
Having agreed to provide press coverage (like this post), SUPERGOODMUSIC was able to catch some dope performances and snap some choice pics, all starting with Classixx on the main stage. The rising LA duo, who have released material on Dim Mak records, treated the crowd to a host of remixes including their excellent version of Listzomania which, in our opinion, should have been featured on the Wolfgang Amadeus Remix album (it is not).
After Classixx, Miami Horror made what I believe is their first festival appearance for a live band, or at least their first festival appearance anywhere remotely close to LA. The quartet brought a lot more energy to the stage than Classixx, in no small part because they play live instruments as opposed to computers. Benjamin Plant, the major brains behind Miami Horror, was all over the place - from playing wooden blocks to climbing the support beams and hanging off the side of the stage. They played their recognizable songs and then some other tunes that I'm hoping are on their album, Illumination, which was released on August 20th.
The Sounds followed before Aoki took stage, but I didn't catch much of their performance. I was scrambling around trying to figure out where other stages were, chopping it up with the Guns in The Sun crew and figuring out that press access did not include VIP admission. Although organization was not the festival's forte, at least they did realize that allowing press to get knee deep in booze probably wouldn't facilitate coherent or accurate feedback.
Nonetheless, SUPERGOODMUSIC negotiated their way into some free libations and took in Aoki's dance party from afar before moving in close for pictures and a potential champagne shower. With his mom and friends on stage, Aoki sprayed bottles of bubbly, facilitated crowd surfing and tossed around his signature long hair from behind the boards. Sporting a typical Aoki outfit of tanktop and hipster shoes - he paraded back and forth across stage inviting up a few carefully selected guests for their minute of festival fame, including this girl:
After Steve Aoki, the expected Skull Candy sponsored Silent Disco just never manifested. While that was extremely disappointing (silent discos are really f'ing cool), I was pleasantly surprised to find the Guys and Dollas party animals, EC Twins, throwing down in the Sutra Lounge. Their on stage excitement and enthusiasm definitely infected the crowd, and before you knew it, the room was at capacity for their blended dance anthems. The night continued with performances from Rob Roy, Chiddy Bang, Alan Braxe and Them Jeans, whose set we unfortunately missed.
Unlike most Day 1 attendees, we returned for Day 2. The paradigm shift from indie-electro to reggae-dub-soul certainly did not offend SUPERGOODMUSIC's sensibilities because the headlining act for Day 2, Rebelution, is one of the hottest items on the reggae-dub soul scene. Although we didn't come down as early - we certainly were not going to miss Rebelution.
Boasting a tight young nucleus of talent (the band consists of four young to mid 20's charmers who met at UCSB), Rebelution has been putting on amazing performances long before and ever since their second album, Bright Side of Life, dropped in August 2009. Avoiding the sophomore slump, Bright Side of Life reached #1 on Billboard's reggae charts and obtained a #3 spot on i-tunes top albums downloaded, and has provided the fuel necessary to oil this band's touring machine. With spots at almost every festival this summer, from Summer Camp to Wakarusa to All Good to Lollapalooza, Pacific Festival was lucky to score them at the end of the tiresome run.
The band (Rebelution) definitely delivered on their hype - bringing their dub-soul fire for almost 100 minutes on Sunday night when they took the stage after Expendables (who were good - but not quite as good as their Sunset Strip Music Festival performance at The Roxy). Rory (keys) and Wesley (drums) played cleanly from behind their respective instruments, while Eric (vocals, guitar) and Marley (bass) provided the eye candy, energy and lyrics up front. The quartet served up crowd pleasers from both Bright Side of Life and their first release, Courage to Grow, to close down the festival, inviting pseudo-rastas to spark it up on songs like "Green to Black," before smashing it with their bass heavy encore of "Safe and Sound" (Marley brought it on SaS).
Eric & Marley of Rebelution
As most festivals due in their earliest years, Pacific Festival probably lost money. In a tough economy - it would be hard to expect major returns from a first foray into multi-day event production. The absence of massive corporate sponsors (no major brand sponsor although Skull Candy and a few other companies did appear to sponsor the event at some level) and the presence of unlimited drinks for VIP, also probably did not help the Festival's bottom line.
All that said, Pacific Festival has a lot of positives to take from their rookie year, including a good foundation to build on and a client base that seemed pleased with their experience.
We had a great time and hope the festival is back for year 2 :D
You can see more pictures of our experience here - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=498751&id=255784860346&ref=mf