Weekends don’t get much better than this. This past weekend just outside of Vail, in Avon, CO the Snowball Festival brought a few of my favorite things together: Music, Snowboarding, and Colorado. There is nothing better than getting up in the morning to go riding (or skiing), doing a little apres ski boozing, then moving right along to some live music. Some may even dare to call this the perfect day (I know I do). Snowball had a nice variety of music to choose from; from EDM to indie, hip-hop to bluegrass, and folk to the funk, there was a nice lineup that varied from one genre to the next. Over the course of the weekend there was a number of acts that stood out among the rest.
With a beautiful view of the surrounding snow-packed mountains of Vail Valley, the 2nd Annual Snowball Festival took place to many ski and music lovers delight. With a lineup that was more diverse than last year’s inaugural fest, fans were given the opportunity to switch gears up a bit more, and enjoy what the good folks at Snowball put together for us. Understanding that this festival is during the winter in Colorado, and dressing appropriately, is of the utmost importance. Friday was a cold one, and hand-warmers were a necessity, but it seemed that most in attendance were prepared. But if one was too cold, there were heat lamps located in certain areas, and places to warm up if need be. Festival promoters were much more prepared this year for the conditions, and for the needs of attendees, which made things much easier for all. With great conditions on the mountain, and a few inches of fresh powder, it was difficult to get down to the festival at the 12pm start time. So after enjoying a nice day of riding, we were able to make it down for the start of Gramatik’s set, which was definitely the right idea. Gramatik’s blend of hip-hop, dubstep, and electronic music was the perfect way to keep warm when the temperature was dipping to the low teens. Follow that up with what was one of the most fun sets of the weekend in MartyParty, and it was hard to not break a sweat in spite of the cold. We interviewed MartyParty earlier in the afternoon Click here to check it out, and were really looking forward to his set; he did not disappoint.
Catching the end of Major Lazer kept the ball rolling, as it appeared that everyone in attendance had no intention on slowing down over the course of the festival. Big Boi brought his SouthernPlayalisticCadillacFunkyMuzik for everyone’s trunk, performing some of his hits with the ATL’s Outkast, as well as showcasing his solo portfolio. MiMOSA’s set of remixes spanning one genre to the next was great for some audience participation, as so many in the crowd were singing along to these tracks. We also interviewed MiMOSA in the afternoon as he was making his setlist and preparing for the night. Rusko ended the evening with a bang, and had some amazing visuals, and great digital mapping to go along with his always fun set. Rusko knows how to get the crowd going, with his exceptional showmanship skills, and ended the first night of Snowball on a high note. After his set though, people were making their way to the exit (quickly, mind you) to get to their condos, or to one of the many after-parties in order to keep themselves warm. All in all, it was a successful first day that left many smiling faces in its wake.
Day two of Snowball brought some sun, and mild weather along with it. It was considerably warmer, as one could notice by the show of skin by many of the festival’s female attendees. You’re not going to get any complaints here, as we at L4LM love cute snow bunnies; they add a few degrees of heat to any cold day. It was another great day for some riding, as we received a few fresh inches of powder the night before. After a few hours of shredding over at Beaver Creek, grabbing some lunch and a Bloody Mary (or two), we made our way over to the venue to check out Break Science ft. Chali 2 Na of Jurassic 5 fame. These guys just kill it every time they step on stage. If you know anything about L4LM, you know how much respect we have for our fellow New Yorkers. Next up was The Head and the Heart. This was a great set, and perfectly timed as the sun was shining, the weather was on the warmer side, and everybody was enjoying the music. Hailing from Seattle, WA, they have been making waves in the music scene with their folk-pop style, touring extensively around the U.S. in support of their self-titled album. Really looking forward to hearing what they come out with in the future.
Dillon Francis’ set at 5pm woke everyone up from their dream state after The Head and the Heart, and acted as a reminder that it IS saturday night, and it is time to party. Francis has made a huge statement since breaking into the scene, and his stock continues to soar. Dada Life was the straight up B-A-N-A-N-A-S, as all in attendance can attest to. TV on the Radio was my must-see set of the weekend. Having yet to see what many people say is one great live act, I had to make my way over to the Main Stage; I wasn’t disappointed at all. Having seen Phish cover “Golden Age” all summer long, I was stoked to get it during their set. The sound was slightly muffled, I don’t know what the deal was, but overall it was an awesome set, and was glad that TV on the Radio wasn’t missed. Now, I can’t stress enough how incredible Ghostland Observatory was. I haven’t seen them since they opened for STS9 a few years back at Red Rocks, but Holy Sh!t!!!!! That set was out-of-this-world; people were going bonkers….and then there were lasers taboot. Aaron Behrens, with his Freddie Mercury style vocals and stage antics, and Thomas Ross Turner simply know how to give the fans what they need. For being outside at night in Colorado, I don’t think I have every sweat so much. Simply amazing. And to cap the night with a set by Snoop Dogg….magnifique. Snoop brings a backing band, hot dancers, and plenty of the greens. I don’t know how he can even stand up after smoking so much, I wouldn’t even know my name. But this guy smokes L after L, and just does his thing, playing all the songs that you want to hear going all the way back to The Chronic era. Overall, Saturday brought the heat, and the Gramatic after-party at Sandbar w/ an Adam Deitch sit-in was the icing on the cake.
Sometimes following the all out rager night comes the super lazy “I don’t want to move” day. Well, in this case, Sunday was that day. After peeling ourselves off our beds, muscles aching from four days of riding and seeing shows, we made it down to check out the last half of Boombox’s set, while also learning that we missed Leftover Salmon’s special guest set. Damn!!!!! So close to a perfect trip; I couldn’t possibly begin to explain how disappointing it was to miss this set. Boombox did a great job of easing the pain though, with their unique blend of psychedelic/rock/electro. Boulder’s own The Motet played one of the best sets of the weekend. They touch upon so many styles of music and keep everything flowing at all times, it’s a true testament to their musicianship. They also brought out Kim Dawson (who has been singing in their Funk is Dead shows), and she blew the roof off the Ballroom Tent with her incredible pipes. It was a really inspired set that had everyone getting down properly. Bassnectar ended the festival, and those that were into it looked like they were having a great time; it just wasn’t what I was looking for after The Motet. Not bad-mouthing the set, just wasn’t feeling it, what can I say?
All in all, Snowball was a success, and Live For Live Music looks forward to making a return trip next year. Definitely looking forward to see what type of lineup 2013 will bring; we hope that Snowball promoters keep the lineup diverse and interesting. It was great to meet some new friends and cohorts in this life that we love. Also want to give a shout out to our new friends at Unified Funk Option and Dub Nation; keep representing the Rocky Mountain scene. Having lived in Steamboat Springs for almost three years, it was awesome to be back out there, tearing it up in some fresh powder, and partying it up to some good music (which Colorodans definitely know how to enjoy). Thanks for an incredible weekend of music; next year can’t come soon enough.
Written by Chris Meyer
Check out the Snowball Gallery Here