The 3rd annual Snowta kicked off (if you don’t count the pre-party at First Avenue on Saturday) Sunday night at a nearly sold out Armory in Minneapolis. Now, if you know me, you know EDM music isn’t really my cup of tea but this event had me sold last year and I just couldn’t ring in the new year without it. I may not completely understand the music or be able to tell the difference from act to act and maybe some of the people and the obvious drug culture annoys me but the way you feel when lost in the crowd at an event like this is something that I do understand and something that I love.
In previous years, this festival has been held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The maze of rooms in that venue made it the perfect place to set up multiple stages. For some unknown reason, the festival was moved to The Armory just weeks before it was set to begin. Although I was a bit surprised to see the stage and couldn’t quite figure out how they would fit multiple stages into the hangar like structure, I knew that if any venue could pull it off it would be The Armory and that’s exactly what they did. With the main stage taking over the mainroom, a stage outside on the smoking patio, and two stages in the parking lot that sits underneath the venue, it actually worked out more perfectly than I could have ever imagined.
Although I spent most of my time at the main stage just due to being completely captivated by the lights and sounds and having a killer spot along the rail with an amazing view, the stages in the parking lot may have been my favorite. It was dark and humid down there and definitely smelled the way a musty parking lot should but that just added to the ambiance of the music. I remember when I first moved to college I was seeing this guy that would take me to warehouse raves. Although I never quite got the allure of dancing and partying in an abandoned building, it definitely had a certain vibe about it that I missed. That vibe instantly hit me as I waded through the thousands of people and wandered around the basement. Along with two stages came a small arcade, a mini-market, and an impressive mural being painted right in front of our faces. I’m sure there was more going on down there but honestly it was so packed and humid down there that I didn’t wander all that much. I’ll save it for tonight.
Now that I’ve set the scene for you (or at least have tried to but, let’s be honest, Snowta is nothing short of sensory overload and unless you go, you would never understand the wonder that exists at this festival), maybe I should actually tell you about some of the music. As mentioned, I spent most of my time at the mainstage due to snagging that awesome spot along the rail and, again, as mentioned, the music isn’t really my typical cup of tea so some of my verbage may be wrong but, with that being said, here are some of my absolute favorite sets from day one at Snowta.
Ghastly took over the mainstage around 10:15 and instantly had me lost for words. Born David Lee Crow, Ghastly’s music forced you to move even if you wanted nothing to do with the music. His set was the first at the mainstage to feature giant plumes of smoke that shot up to the ceiling. It seemed like each time those smoke would fire up, the crowd would do the same. The feeling in the air was nothing short of electric as he pumped through his fast and intense beats that vibrated the floor and my nose rings. This guy may have grown up on a goat farm (not kidding) but he is a true superstar now.
At some point I had wandered outside to get some fresh air and was greeted by SLiPPERS behind the turntables. I was instantly struck by a sense of fun that her mixes conveyed. Her fun-loving music seemed to match her bubbly personality that shined brighter than the lights strung around the patio area. There was something about her smile that could warm even the coldest soul so it was pretty lucky that she was outside because it was pretty damn cold out there. Although shivering, I couldn’t help but just stand there and watch as she bounced around to the beat. There seemed to be a lack of female performers (which I’m used to at this point what with being so into the metal scene) but SLiPPERS definitely proved that there is a spot for females in this world.
Nghtmre was the second to last act on Sunday night’s edition of Snowta. Much like Ghastly’s takeover of the mainstage, Nghtmre instantly commanded the attention of the nearly sold out crowd with ease. Although all of the music throughout the night kind of sound the same (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all) the energy seemed to be constantly changing although it stayed electric throughout the night. There seemed to be this unspoken admiration for Nghtmre from the fans around me. Much like the other performers that graced the stage, Nghtmre shared new and unreleased music to a roar of applause from the audience.
Sets on the mainstage had been extended by about fifteen minutes and I instantly started wondering who had dropped off. Unfortunately, that person was Rich the Kid- a rapper who I was super intrigued by and really wanted to see live. At only 26 years old, Rich the Kid has been making waves in the music world and has been turning heads. Unfortunately, he was involved in an accident and severely injured his hand so he had to cancel. I sure hope he comes back to make it up to the crowd that was clearly bummed to see his name dropped from the line-up.
Closing out night one was the one and only Marshmello. It was kind of surreal watching the larger than life character appear at the top of a scaffold looking platform that had been placed in center stage. With his signature “Marshmello” head lit up, he instantly had me in the palm of his hands with his dance-inducing beats, whizzing lights, and impressive firework show. You may think you don’t know who this guy is but I’m sure you’ve seen images of him before or at least heard some of his work. His “head” is just the white almost Lego- head looking thing with “X”‘s for eyes and an almost creepy smile. The list of his songs is endless with many that have hit charts and the radio waves. His sound is distinctive what with his emphasis on bass and an almost groove- orientated vibe. Regardless of how you want to describe his music, there’s no denying that it’s catchy as crap and although I had work in just over five hours (Marshmello didn’t take the stage until nearly 1AM and I start my day job at 7AM… you do the math and then bring me a Red Bull), Marshmello had me dancing the night away without a care in the world.
Thousands of balloons loomed over the audience throughout last night like a constant reminder that the end of this year is near. The snow (made of foam) fell from the ceiling and, when caught just right by the lights, looked like glitter. Every single person had a giant smile on their face (even the guy that puked in front of me when waiting for a drink that he clearly did not need). To say I’m excited to see what tonight will bring would be an understatement.