I think I’m finally thawed out from my first SnowGlobe experience, which took place in South Lake Tahoe from December 29-31 2015 (officially wrapping up in the wee hours of last night). In case you missed our preview of SnowGlobe 2015, the festival just concluded its fifth year in the winter wonderlands of Northern California. South Lake Tahoe is known for its ski/snowboard destinations and 24-hour casinos and now more than ever it’s known as a place to ring in the new year with some of dance, electronic, and hip hop’s biggest acts. As we speak I’m arriving back to San Francisco after days in the snowy mountains. Because I’m set to leave for the tropics of Holy Ship tomorrow, now is the time to reflect on #SG15.
It’s no secret the planet is experiencing abnormal weather conditions thanks to El Niño – resulting in a chilly Winter so far in San Francisco, tons of snow in Tahoe, and weirdness everywhere else. I had heard that SnowGlobe, while a very fun time, can be excruciatingly cold no matter what weather patterns are occurring. I figured that out first hand over the last few days. Thankfully plenty of layers, hand warmers, large crowds, and plenty of liquor helped us stay warm, but even that couldn’t save us from the 1-degree temperatures that existed as 2015 became 2016.
Musically, the festival was on point. Possibly the smallest festival I’ve been to in terms of number of stages and how far we walked inside the festival grounds, SnowGlobe has just three areas to catch your favorite artists: the Main Stage – which hosted acts like Jack Ü, Kaskade, Eric Prydz, G-Eazy, What So Not, Dillon Francis, and Chet Faker; the Sierra Tent which hosted mostly bass music and hip hop in Alison Wonderland, E-40, Slumberjack, NGHTMRE, Cashmere Cat, Jai Wolf; and the Igloo which hung out in the realm of House music and hosted the Dirtybird crew, Cut Copy, Lane 8, Autograf, Hotel Garuda, and Rob Garza.
I had a lot of fun hearing so many different types of music and getting to see some really big names that you might not otherwise find in a ski resort town like South Lake Tahoe (looking at you Eric Prydz and Jack Ü – who easily brought home two of the best sets from the weekend). It was also a pleasure meeting some great people within the festival crowds, at the VIP bars, or even at the after parties. Speaking of the after parties – bravo to the SnowGlobe team for putting on so many after parties – multiple to choose from all three nights. South Lake Tahoe’s 24-hour casino culture definitely helped with that.
While the music was great, unfortunately SnowGlobe is far from perfect. Logistically, there were many things left to be desired. First and foremost, transportation was either difficult or expensive, or both. Yes there was a shuttle service, but the pick up/drop-off point was limited to one location meaning people had to find their own way there. South Lake Tahoe also doesn’t have Uber or Lyft, putting a huge demand on cab services that either couldn’t pick you up, had long wait times, or who were charging a premium (we were quoted $20/person for 2 of us driving five minutes away). Driving to the festival certainly wasn’t an option either as there was for all intents and purposes no parking available. And trust me, with below-freezing temperatures the last thing you wanted to be doing was waiting outside for a ride or walking long distances to get to your accommodations.
Second to the transportation issues, the festival is just not built for so many people to attend it. I visited all three stages and at no point was I not dealing with pushing, shoving, or general chaos. In the pit of the main stage watching Eric Prydz and Kaskade, people had no respect as they moshed their way through to get to their friends or to stand directly in front of you. I’ve experienced this at other festivals, but this really became bothersome this time around. I’m looking at you barely-legal snowboarder bros.
The tents were even worse. I’m talking about overcrowded areas combined with quiet music volume. If you’re expecting so many people to attend your festival, add more stages, make the tents bigger, and turn up the volume.
The absolute biggest mess was the Igloo tent. This tent had only one entry point through double doors, as it’s a completely enclosed tent. Whether you wanted to enter the tent or leave the tent, you’d have to endure pushing, shoving, or people with no where to go – a complete bottleneck. God forbid there was ever an emergency inside the Igloo tent, I’d worry what would happen as my safety definitely felt endangered at times (also, if you saw the look on most people’s faces during the last night, you’d see most people were obliterated and likely had no idea what was going on). As with the Sierra tent, the sound could have been louder as well. See video below.
The Igloo tent was great in theory but unfortunately it was not a place we spent a lot of time besides a fantastic Cut Copy DJ set (sorry Claude VonStroke – we just couldn’t get inside for your set).
In conclusion, I’m glad I finally got to experience SnowGlobe. It certainly has all the elements you’d want from a winter music festival, especially one that brings such great acts to a destination location. I think if some of the logistical issues could get worked out (transportation and overcrowding), this would be a must-attend event every year. I think, however, anyone who’s interested in tis type of event should plan on attending it, and make sure to bring your best homies to enjoy the experience.
Thanks again to the kind folks at SnowGlobe for the experience, see you soon!