Every generation, youths have flocked together during the summer to participate in massive celebrations of art, self-expression and music. Though the warming West Coast climate left the Golden State parched and dry, the heat didn’t stop Anteaters from taking advantage of California’s thriving music scene.
LA and SF — known for hosting some of the world’s hottest festivals in and around their borders — stayed in step with tradition and delivered an outstanding variety of events attended by UCI students. Some of these young and free-spirited event-going Anteaters have generously shared their experiences from these festivals, and what drives them to seek out these mass gatherings — dancing and singing beneath the pounding summer sun.
HARD Summer: “I was standing in the middle of a crowd after dancing in the sun for 5 hours; there were literally tens of thousands of people; the lights and music from the stage were overwhelming — but in the greatest way,” excitedly recounts second year student Evan Cardini. “Porter Robinson was on, and he just killed it. Oh my God, the crowd was literally crying. It was probably from more than just Porter though,” added Evan with a laugh and a smirk. “Oh, and plus the Biebs made a surprise appearance later that night!”
FYF Fest: “10:45 PM. We were all tired and sweaty and very annoyed because people were shoving to try to get closer to the stage. Once Kanye came out to the stage the entire festival started going insane!” recounts second year San Fran native Tameena Weiss when asked about her favorite moment from FYF. “FYF was mostly indie and alternative; [the] vibe was pretty urban hipster. People were laid back and everyone was there for a great time with their friends,” she recalls fondly. “The Drums stood out for me because they were so great live! Plus, I’ve never been to a festival in LA, so I wanted it to be my first.”
Outside Lands: “Fuck, it was crazy!” delineates fourth year flower child Vivian Flores. “There were so many times I didn’t know where I was, where my friends were or who I was watching. But I didn’t care because everything was so perfect and in the moment,” Vivian laughs as she reflects on her time at Outside Lands. “There wasn’t really, like, one kind of music; it was everything. Elton John was there, and so was Odesza; there was literally something for everybody. That was my first time in the Bay Area too, and pretty much the highlight of my summer.”
Nocturnal Wonderland: “I went to experience a rave because I’ve never been to one, and all my homies love them. So I said why not!” explains third year festival-goer Jessica Lewis when asked what drew her to Nocturnal. “It was the best feeling. Being able to feel the music on another level. I didn’t really vibe with people because I decided to just enjoy the visuals and feel the drugs!” she adds with a sentimental grin. “The crowd was amazing though!” articulates second year Andres Sandusky. “Everyone looks out for each other; if you see someone in trouble or not feeling well; you’re sort of obligated to help them. It’s like an unspoken rule. It’s PLUR: peace, love, unity, respect!”.
Each and every music festival is a unique experience, yet a commonality exists between all the festival attendees – their memories and experiences will be valued treasures that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. Memories and experiences that they made with friends and fellow Anteaters.
At the end of the day, these music festivals unite us in a time marred by divisiveness. Their ability to captivate and unify ensure that the summer festival scene will remain a staple of California youth culture for years to come.
*Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.