Anyone who’s either close to me or who I’ve had a chance to talk music with over the past year has undoubtedly heard me talk about Northern Nights Music Festival. I’ve gone to a lot of music festivals, shows, and events over my lifetime and especially in the last five years. Nothing came close to the experience I had last Summer during Northern Nights. What was originally going to be a couple days in the woods, featuring a couple artists I was intrigued by and having relatively low expectations for, has been something I’ve now been anxiously awaiting for close to 365 days. With this weekend quickly approaching, a solid crew in place, and my excitement to get back into the Redwood groves and Eel River waters, I wanted to highlight the amazing lineup Northern Nights has curated for 2015.
I wrote a preview of the festival when the phase one lineup came out – and you can read last year’s wrap-up of 2014 HERE. One of my biggest gripes with last year, though I really can’t complain about the festival, is the music was a bit of an afterthought. Well that certainly isn’t the case this year. Allow me to highlight my top-5 acts of 2015:
1.) Black Star (Main Stage Saturday 10:50pm) – Many people like myself are going to Northern Nights for its extensive collection of Electronic acts. But when I saw Black Star added to the Phase 2 lineup I lost my shit. Talib Kweli and Mos Def are two of Hip Hop’s most legendary acts and their album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star helps define my Freshman year of college. Sing it with me now, “One two three, Mos Def and Talib Kweli/We came to rock it on to the tip-top/Best alliance in hip-hop, wayohh”. Saturday at 10:50pm on the Main Stage. Find me rockin’ out to some excellent lyrical precision
2.) Justin Jay (River Stage Sunday 5pm) – Dirtybird’s youngest star is also one of their most consistent. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Justin throw down an intimate set in Boston and a bangin club show at NYC’s Output. His productions are always top-notch and I was really stoked to see Justin on the lineup for Northern Nights. It’s great that we’re going to see some top talent on the river while we’re floating and soaking up the rays. Justin will play the funk, he’ll play the Tech and he’ll be smiles the whole time doing it. If you like fun, funky House music like the set below, make sure to see this dude slay it Sunday on the River.
3.) Bones (Silent Disco 2:30am Saturday Night) – one of House music’s best-kept secrets is Trevor Bones. He helped get the music blog Gotta Dance Dirty off the ground and into the forefront of dance music fans’ lives. Bones is known best for rocking stages on the West Coast with his unique song selections that always have crowds moving. He’s also a hilarious guy who knows how to party and recently teamed up with AC Slater and crew for the Night Bass series. Silent Discos on their own are a ton of fun but knowing Bones will be throwing down there gets me even more excited.
4.) Polish Ambassador & Guests (Main Stage 10:30pm Friday) – there are very few other artists, especially in electronic music, who have a community-first philosophy. In fact, the Polish Ambassador and the Permaculture Action team are taking Thursday to volunteer and educate about composting, clean-ups, forestry, and lots more up in Humboldt County. While I’m 100% into that, I’m more curious to see who his special guests are. Quite frankly I haven’t seen Polish Ambassador perform live yet and I’m very excited to do so, with his unique blend of electronic music and off-the-beaten-path way of doing things. For a genre-defying set and a smiling crowd, head to the Main Stage Friday during prime time.
5.) Rufus Du Sol (Main Stage 8:30pm Saturday) – These guys took the definition of “vibes”, bottled it up, drank it down, and squirted it out through their bodies in the form of music. Knowing Rufus’ music but little else about them, I’m very excited to see them in a live setting in the Redwoods of California, where their music will absolutely resonate with so many people there. I know Rufus is a rare name here in the states and the opportunity to see them again may be very few and far between. This is sure to be a feel-good set that appropriately sets the tone for the rest of Saturday night, into the early morning.
There are many many more artists I’m excited to see this weekend and I know you are too so don’t hesitate to grab a ticket if you’re on the fence. This WILL be a weekend to remember!