This was the first year a new event at the Minneapolis Convention Center would seeks to raise the bar for New Year’s Eve celebrations: SNOWTA NYE. 28 hip-hop, EDM and dubstep artists on 3 stages and a lounge spread out under the domes headlined by Big Gigantic, Tipper and Waka Flocka Flame and featuring plenty of Twin Cities talent. Revelers got an early start with doors at 6PM and partied until 2AM.
Most guests seemed to arrive around 8PM causing some lines at checking and the coat checks but they seemed to flow steadily. The halls were divided into GA, 21+ and VIP and it took some a try or two to figure out the difference and that drinks could not be brought out of the restricted areas, which probably resulted in a few disappointed minors expecting smuggled booze. But attractions were not limited to music, 3rd Lair had set up a skate park, there was a giant slide in one hall and a Ferris Wheel in the other. Several artists had their work on display and for sale and food was available without the endless lines of hungry folk usually found at festivals. Water fountains and containers with iced water were readily available.
There was an interesting vibe in the sense that everyone was about to have fun and party, very festival-esque. There were big furry boots, light up necklaces, and a number of people spinning lights in the faces of the partygoers, which added to the festival-like vibe. Walking into the convention center there were three different rooms with three separate stages. The main stage “Snowta”, was the most popular and contained the headliners and a ferris wheel, which got shut down shortly after music started because of a mishap in which a few people fell off mid-ride. The “Grey duck” stage had a giant slide along with a 3rd Lair skate park and “Pyramid” was where most of the hardcore dubstep took place.
Rhymesayers’ artist and Minneapolis’ very own, Prof, attracted many people to the main stage at 10 pm performing crowd favorites including “Gampo” and “Animal”. One could argue Prof was one of the better rapping performances of the night. After Prof, people flooded to the main stage to see Big Gigantic. Lights flashed and the crowd cheered at full force as the duo jammed out on the saxophone for the countdown to midnight. Combining saxophone melodies and electronic beats Big Gigantic never lets you down, their ability to incorporate live instruments into their set is something quite unimaginable. Playing old favorites such as “All of me” and new favorites including “Miss Primetime”, Big Gigantic had the place shaking. As the clock struck midnight balloons and confetti came falling from the sky, landing on the crowd (and in my nachos). Big Gigantic never fails to let the crowd down. After jamming out to Big Gigantic I went to the “Grey duck” stage where Waka Flaka was set to perform. Waka Flaka took the stage around 1 am and wasted no time creating a wild atmosphere with his trap-rap music. Screaming one of his most famous songs “Wild boy”, Waka Flaka had the entire crowd jumping and screaming along with him while letting those dreads of his fly. At one point during his set Waka Flaka parted the crowd, getting off stage and walking amongst the rowdy crowd. Waka Flaka’s energy along with his well-known tunes are sure to create an aggressive atmosphere, one you want to be a part of. On the other end of the spectrum and ending the night was Tipper, an insane sound engineer. Performing on the main stage and playing straight electronic, the only lyrics you hear are the ones he makes with sounds. The way he morphs tones and alters the pitches, Tipper has the ability to change the sounds he creates into actual words, which I find insane. Tipper solely performs with top of the line Funktion-one speakers as well, which are the only speakers that provides the exact sound needed to give his music justice. As Tipper came to a close, the crowd dispersed, rushing to find a ride home.
3rd Lair’s skate demonstrations reached their peak shortly after midnight with a “Ring of Fire” challenging the riders
All in all SNOWTA added a fresh new meaning to how New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis will be celebrated from here on out, something this cold city needed. With an estimated 6000 people in attendance SNOWTA went quite smooth, especially considering that it was a first time event. I expect that the promoters will find a few things to tweak and that it will return in 2017.
AJ Evers and Markus Akre contributed to this article