Us4love is a folk-pop trio from Modesto, California made up of husband-and-wife duo Tyler (guitar/vocals) and Christina Bates (vocals/percussion), and their cousin Andru Vigil (guitar/ bass). They founded the band in late 2017 and, in the short time since, have received nominations for local awards. Us4love have also won a county competition for best original composition. Each member brings a variety of musical backgrounds and influences, which widen the band’s sound range. Although they described themselves as a folk-pop band, songs like “Where’d You Go?,” which has more of a modern pop sound and “Living Alright Now,”which has a mellow indie R&B groove, showcased their impressive diversity and range.
After spending their first two years together mostly playing live shows, they’re now focusing on writing more original music. “Being a husband and wife in a band can be challenging, but it’s also amazing. We have a connection that extends beyond our relationship and into our music. What you hear is very much an insight into our lives and relationship and I think that makes it very special. We level each other out and Andru adds a great dynamic,” Tyler said. Us4love is just getting started and ready to be heard.
Clean Energy Milestone to Affect 50 Million U.S. Music Festival Citizens by Breann Lange
Music emanates from our alarm clocks in the morning, motivates us at the gym, fills our cars, gives us chills and makes us cry. It has the beautiful ability to connect people and communicate a common language across borders worldwide,
regardless of race, religion, income, gender or age. With such a powerful avenue that reaches millions, what message should we be spreading? According to the United Nations Environment Programme, music is one of the most powerful forms of media and could send pro-environmental messages to billions of people.
MUSIC FESTIVALS CAN BECOME A BEACON to initiatives to reduce their environmental impact. FOR SUSTAINABILITY Uniquely, Insomniac Cares With music festivals becoming touches on environmental awareness by partnering more popular every year, it is with over 50 local and nathe modern way to guide the masses toward environmental tional organizations dediawareness and sustainability. cated to the reforestation of Luckily, music festival produc- local parks. Envision Festival largely centers its ethos ers like Live Nationâ€™s Green Nation and AEG 1EARTH are around respecting the envileading the way by committing ronment and maintaining
sustainability practices. One of their greatest contributions is their commitment to renewing once-depleted cattle pastures by planting trees in the Costa Rican jungle—they’ve already helped plant over 15,000 trees. While we applaud their focus around waste management and recycling, unfortunately, there is one common, ongoing practice that will have serious, lasting effects on the 50 million U.S. citizens who attend music festivals, and the earth they dance on unless it’s addressed very soon. DIESEL GENERATOR EMISSIONS: AN IMMINENT PUBLIC SAFETY & HEALTH RISK Ever wonder how music festivals power days of lights, lasers, fire installations and vendors all while making sure you can hear every lyric from the lips of your favorite artist? The answer is diesel generators. Max Zhang, an engineering professor at Cornell University, has studied air pollution from diesel generators and said they have an outsized impact on pollution compared to other power sources. “Basically, they tend to be dirtier per unit of energy provided,” Zhang said.” According to Zhang, it can also pose a problem depending on where and when festivals are running their diesel generators. In the presence of sunlight, the nitrogen oxides generators emit combine with other compounds to form ozone, a potent trigger for asthma attacks and other health problems. Diesel emissions produce ozone-killing toxins (nitrogen dioxide, or NO2) and also exude high levels of petrochemicals. In 1998, California identified diesel exhaust (aka “soot”) as a contaminant, based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems. Typical diesel generator exhaust contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants, including a variety of carcinogenic compounds. The California Air Resources Board estimates an uncontrolled one-megawatt diesel engine, operating for only 250 hours per year, would increase the cancer risk.
LAWSUIT AGAINST SNOWGLOBE MUSIC FESTIVAL AND COACHELLA SnowGlobe Music Festival (Owned by MTV & ViacomCBS) and Coachella (produced by Goldenvoice & owned by AEG Presents), were each sued under California’s Proposition 65 in the last two years. Our editorial team reached out to ViacomCBS, GoldenVoice and AEG Presents numerous times to learn more about their efforts toward sustainability and Prop 65, but they had no comment. This new development has turned what started as an environmental issue into a serious public health and safety concern. Even seven-time Grammy-winning rock band, Coldplay, took a stand not to be exposed to diesel emission toxins and paused all touring at music festivals, as reported by Forbes in November 2019. 50 MILLION U.S. MUSIC FESTIVAL CITIZEN CENSUS According to Nielsen’s Audience Insights Report, approximately 32 million people attend at least one music festival in the U.S. each year. Live Nation and AEG Presents both had annual reports showing their average annual revenue increased 14% over the last six years, which has created a U.S. music festival population of over 50 million (similar to the population size of Spain or California). Music festival citizens are not only the millions of fans that crowd the stages but also the artists, event staff, first responders, non-profits, volunteers, vendors, host cities and brand sponsors. As more people attend music festivals every year, protecting them becomes the responsibility of the festivals themselves.
THE MUSIC FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE MUST BE PRESERVED Festivals are a powerful way to connect with people and are rising in popularity year after year, even in a climate otherwise pervaded by somewhat superficial online interaction. In an age where younger generations are the most digitally connected but also the loneliest, festivals bring people together and help fill the void brought on by this increasingly digital world. Many people will sleep in tents for days just to snag a glimpse of Beyoncé making history at Coachella or fight the crowds to catch the twinkling from a rhinestone-covered Dolly Parton at U.K.’s Glastonbury.
They are initially attracted by the performers but are ultimately hooked for life by the utopic experience filled with fire breathers, dancers, fireworks and genuine human connections. In other words, while the initial attraction to festivals may be the stellar lineup, it’s that accepting and exhilarating feeling every festival-goer experiences that keeps them coming back. MUSIC FESTIVALS HELP THE US ECONOMY It’s no secret that attending live events makes people feel more connected to others. In fact, for the millennial generation, experiences and relationships far outweigh possessions when it comes to importance.” The average person will spend $1,000 on a single experience and not even bat an eye. A report conducted by Beacon Economics stated that, from 2010-2014, Insomniac alone generated $3.17 billion for the U.S. economy. That translates to over 25,000 jobs, $1 billion in labor income for workers, and $18.1 million in local and state taxes. $866.3 million directly impacted local hotels, other accommodations, services, transportation, food & beverages and entertainment. Unfortunately, since the industry has not rallied together to collaborate against harmful energy consumption, there hasn’t been an effort towards putting together an annual national economic impact study. After all, we know music festivals have a positive impact on more than just the individual festival-goer.
CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS ARE IN REACH The good news is that cleantech is stepping up to the plate and revolutionizing clean energy solutions. Battery technology has been somewhat stagnant for decades, but Seattle-based clean energy pioneer, Joule Case, has stepped through the ropes with a one-two punch aimed straight at toxic, antiquated diesel power generators. Battery power gives festivals more options than simply solar and wind, which poses challenges when the sun sets, or the winds dies down. HISTORIC CLEAN ENERGY MILESTONE Last year, Insomniac (a global music powerhouse producer), partnered with Joule Case to EDC Las Vegas’ Camp EDC—equivalent to providing power to a midsize city as the attendance averages around 465,000 people. After this impressive success, festival legend and Senior Vice President of Production and Operations for Insomniac, Rutger Jansen, challenged Joule Case to power a festival main stage. In February 2020, Joule Case demonstrated their alternative power source at a clean energy demo, attended by industry leaders and music festival producers from Insomniac, Live Nation, Burning Man, iHeartRadio Music Festival and BottleRock. After Joule Case’s demo, attendees were convinced that they needed to make the move toward clean energy. Joule Case tackled the unthinkable and powered the equivalent of a 300kva Genset. He only used 5% of the clean energy for over 48 hours of testing, setup, and the full demo. James Wagoner, CEO & cofounder of Joule Case shared, “We have been working with music festivals for several years now. We have learned a ton and are excited to change how music festivals are powered. Our technology allows the battery system to be ideally sized for their application and power demand.” Insomniac’s Rutger Jansen was so impressed by the demo, he said they would be
incorporating Joule Case into their next event. “It’s not just about saving money, it’s about sustainability. FESTIVAL PRODUCER POST-DEMO COMMENTS With so many eyes on the demo, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive: Insomniac Alyxzander Bear, Executive Director of Production: “I’m hoping we have a good power vendor that will join the 21st Century.” Bottlerock Napa Valley Justin Dragoo, partner: “We’re looking at it much more holistically. It’s not really about the short term economics. It’s about: Are festivals really going to be around in the future if we don’t get smarter? We’ve been trying to press the limit on sustainability and be good partners to the planet for the last several years. We’re ready to move as fast as the technology allows us to.”
iHeartRadio Music Festival Seth Goldstein, an independent production contractor: “I like it a lot. As far as stages go, I’m cautious. As far as vendors and other parts of a festival, it has a lot of promise. Place things where you want it instead of where the cables go.” Burning Man Jeremy Crandell, co-leader of the Art Department: “This is the future. Exciting. Burning Man could invest in this and have power for years.” U.S. MUSIC FESTIVAL CLEAN ENERGY ALLIANCE Along with this successful clean energy milestone, FestWorld founder, Scotty Moore, formed a non-profit called the U.S. Music Festival Clean Energy Alliance (USMFCEA), a coalition of clean energy solution providers, researchers, scientists and sustainability chiefs at the city and brand level, dedicated to discovering clean energy solutions
to power our U.S. festival eco-system. Their mission is to eliminate all diesel generators at festivals and have 100% clean energy by 2026. With the help of sustainability chiefs around the world, the message is loud and clear: “We must collaborate and solve the way music festivals are powered in order to create a real paradigm shift and preserve the music festi-
val experience for generations to come. Music festivals are so special to me, my team and millions in the U.S. because they bring people together from all walks of life. When you combine diversity and inclusivity with the power of music, that’s an example of humanity at its best.” –Scotty Moore, Executive Director at USMFCEA The future of festivals will have two headliners—sustainability and clean energy. A lineup we’ve never seen before.
Choura Fights COVID-19 Chaos
The first postponements & cancellations
Ryan Choura, founder and CEO of Choura Events, is a jack of all trades, to say the least. Choura enjoys slalom skiing in Utah, speaking to students at local schools, creating memories with his family, and even competitive water-skiing. But Choura is best known for his time spent building tents and staging facilities for notable events. Some of those events include but not limited to Stagecoach, Coachella and the ESPYs.
Choura Events is an events service company based in Torrance, Calif. Choura Events’ 140+ employees eagerly waited for South by Southwest, BNP Paribas Open, and Coachella. Unfortunately, all upcoming social gatherings were canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. BNP Paribas Open, an annual tennis tournament located at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, was the first major cancellation.
Choura explained that the team had just finished building the tent, following 90 days of hard work, and a COVID-19 case was reported in Riverside County. This COVID-19 related cancellation was just the beginning. “We went from running 100 miles per hour to a dead stop,” Choura said. “It was emotional, it was overwhelming, it was so many things. We just knew we had to do something good here.”
Expected COVID-19 situation for Ryan Choura The United States anticipates 1.9 million diagnoses in addition to the 600,000 patients already identified with COVID-19. There are enough medical facilities for now, but with only 720,000 hospital beds readily available. Furthermore, hospitals can’t accommodate the number of predicted COVID-19 patients. The limited amount of COVID-19 care stuck a chord with Choura, especially when medical shortcomings are happening nearby. “Within 72 hours of learning about the news of the postponement of Coachella and the cancellation of BNP tennis and other large events, [Choura Events] said how do we deploy our assets and our people for good,” Choura said. “So, we started working with local hospitals and government agencies to help build out facilities, testing centers, and triage centers.”
Medical facilities, supplies, & staff When thinking of medical tents, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s damp-grass flooring, one too many poles supporting the tent, or even an underprepared medical staff. However, Choura Events’ tents are not the usual, average tents. These beautifully designed structures feature hardwood floors, a wide assortment of medical supplies, and fully-trained staff. Choura Events’ team continues to build medical facilities while using proper protective equipment. The crews outfitted themselves with the appropriate masks and gloves. They’re also careful to only drive in company trucks and trucks when pulling inventory from the 56,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
Ryan Choura CEO of Choura Events
More facilities in Southern California Locals can primarily find triage tents in Southern California, but Choura Events builds facilities in different areas every day, including LA County, Orange County, and Riverside County. Although, more and more private companies are launching into COVID-19 testing for the public. “I think people are going to have to come up with different types of ideas to be unique,” Choura said. “You look at The Masters moving to November. Here is this iconic event and they’re even thinking about how to do this differently. I think you’re going to see many events and people evolve and change. I like that they’re thinking outside of what they’ve normally done.” While the Choura Events’ team had to change directions quickly, they’re thankful to be a part of the solution. The event industry felt a stop once the coronavirus appeared, but Choura continues to push boundaries and break records. Many individuals and groups have appreciated Choura Events’ support of medical staff and health care providers, especially brands that contributed to treating those affected by COVID-19.
Considerations for Ryan Choura & Choura Events Whatever choice Choura Events will make regarding the tents, it must make sure to build enough tents for the increasing number of COVID-19 patients. Additionally, Choura Events should continue to ensure that they have enough supplies for medical staff who are helping the patients inside the tents. Furthermore, it is necessary that these supplies should remain exclusive for the crews who are working in the tents. Ryan Choura should also consider reaching out to local hospitals by requesting for more medical employees who can volunteer at the tents. Any future decision that he and Choura Events will make is crucial to the recovery of COVID-19 patients.
The first time I went to Bonnaroo, I was unprepared. Distracted by my excitement to spend a weekend in the Tennessee sun with my best friends and finally see Jack White live fresh off his second solo album, Lazaretto, I only glanced at Bonnaroo’s ‘What to Pack’ checklist and decided to ‘rough it’ for the four days. You probably know to stick sunscreen and bug spray (no DEET!) in your backpack before you head to Tennessee, but here at FestWORLD, we don’t want you to ever show up to a great weekend of music without having absolutely everything you need, so we’ve compiled a list of things you need to know before going to Bonnaroo to make the most of the experience. It’s easy to get swept up in making sure you see as many acts of possible, but in order to get the most out of your weekend, make sure you check out the other activities, services, and resources that Bonnaroo provides. Not only do these things make the festival even more special, but they can help you feel your best and stay safe.
The drive to Bonnaroo is pretty straight forward no matter where you’re coming from because The Farm is right off the highway. Additionally, they can accommodate anything from a Prius to an RV, but make sure you have the right parking pass. If you don’t have the option of driving, Bonnaroo has plenty of hotel and shuttle options. You can get a shuttle straight from the Nashville airport, which is about a 75 minute drive, and the festival has their own buses that run all over the Midwest and Southeast as an alternative to flying. Shuttle service can also be taken from a number of Nashville hotels.
‘The Well’ is the center of Roo’s efforts toward making sure you are feeling healthy in between your most anticipated shows. You’ll be standing and walking a lot for four days straight, so going to The Well for Yoga-Roo is an awesome way to relieve, stretch, and strengthen tight and tired muscles. A lot of the classes are earlier in the morning, but worth it if you’re prone to back and joint pain. They also provide mediation classes and exercise meetups. The heat will take a lot of your energy away, and it gets really, really hot in Tennessee. A refreshing way to cool off is by paying a visit to the giant, raining mushroom fountains in Centeroo. Just don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen afterwards. It’s also really easy to eat junk food all weekend. There are so many amazing food trucks at the festival, and you have to have a donut from the Amish Baking Company. That doesn’t mean you have to skimp out on nutrition altogether. The Well also provides access to healthy foods for attendees looking for sustainable energy, and there are plenty of food trucks that sell vegan, vegetarian, and more health-conscious options. Still, you’re in the South, skipping out on a little barbecue would be a bit sinful, so make sure to enjoy some culturally southern food venders.
It’s always nice to support local businesses, but we get that you’ve already spent good money on tickets and probably took a few days off work to be there, so you can always bring some of your own food if you’re trying to save a little cash. My first year at Bonnaroo, we didn’t bring our own grill, but we made friends with some people who barbecued every night on a mini stove, and we saw what a valuable asset it was. Just make sure you obey their Gasoline/Propane/Charcoal Policy. This should go without saying, but water, water, water. One of my favorite parts of the festival is the beer tent, which lets you sample a bunch of different local craft beer, and there are trucks all over Centeroo where you can drink up, but don’t forget to drink water in between sips. If you’re traveling from a state or country with a milder climate, it is important to understand that the Tennessee sun in June is no joke and can be dangerous to stop drinking water in the intense heat. A lot of people wear backpacks that have built in water pouches, so they can stay hydrated while keeping both hands free to dance. Eating fruits like watermelon and cucumber can also help keep you hydrated while also giving you an energy boost.
By now, you’ve gotten the point that Bonnaroo is a hot place, so having comfy, breezy clothes is a must. It’s not like there’s a dress code on The Farm, so wear whatever makes you most comfortable under the sun. But the South in the summer is also prone to pop-up showers, so it can go from clear, sunny skies to torrential downpour in a matter of minutes. Make sure to bring plastic bags to protect your electronics and other things you don’t want to get wet and having a rain jacket is always good if you’re not the dancing-in-therain type. There’s also a possibility that Bonnaroo ends up falling on a consistently rainy weekend, so make sure to have a pair of shoes you’re totally fine with getting a little muddy. Early summer can have some chilly nights, especially if it’s a rainy weekend, so bringing a few warmer options is not a bad idea. If you’re in the middle of the pit for the late night Super Jam or pulling an all-nighter at Kalliope, body heat will probably keep you plenty warm, but if you’re going to lounge in the grass on the outskirts of the Which Stage during a set or hang out with your Croo at your campsite, having a sweater and a warm pair of socks can go a long way.
If you’re a frequent camper, you may be used to roughing it for a few days at a time with just a tent and the absolute essentials. My first time at Roo, that’s basically all we brought. But people go all out for their tent areas, so don’t be afraid to get a little luxurious with the set-up. Shows usually start at 11 AM, so having a nice campsite to lounge in before you head to Centeroo makes the experience that much better. I’ve seen campsites with trampolines, full-on barbecue setups, and ping-pong tables, so even if you want to ‘rough it’ a little bit, don’t forget to give your space a little personality. Chairs and coolers are definitely the bare minimum of what to bring for a successful campsite. If you fill a cooler with ice, that can last you a few days depending on how well insulated it is, and that can go a long way. I recommend stopping at a gas station really quick before you enter the campgrounds, and when that runs out, ice is available for purchase at the festival. And though laying in the grass and reading On the Road may be a romantic way to spend your morning, it’s nice to not have to sit crisscross-applesauce while eating your breakfast, so bring a few foldable chairs. Having a comfy tent is important too. Sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows are essential, but I like to bring my mattress topper along too for a little extra cushion. You’re not going to
get a lot of sleep while you’re there—why would you sleep when there’s so much to do? — so you want to make sure the sleep you do get is restful. It’s also a good idea to bring a canopy tent and, depending on how much you like to lay in the grass, a tarp to pin down underneath. This area will stay cooler than most tents by providing shade without trapping heat, so you can set up a beer pong table, grill-space, or hoola-hooping tournament while staying (relatively) cool.
The biggest lifesaver when I go to Bonnaroo is a pocket misting fan. It’s pretty easy to forget about the heat when you see Anderson Paak come out on stage, but waiting in the sun between sets can be brutal. Keep a little fan in your backpack and maybe some extra batteries just in case. I’ve also seen people using umbrellas to get a little extra shade, just make sure you’re considerate and not intruding other people’s space, and you’re putting it away when the show starts so that people can see. If you want to snap a few photos at each show and stay in touch with your Group while they go to other shows, bring a portable charger for your phone. They have charging stations throughout Centeroo, but you don’t want to lose your front row spot for Sylvan Esso because you ran out of battery. Just don’t be that guy that’s making everyone watch the show through your phone or spending the whole set live-tweeting. Keeping snacks in your backpack is always a good idea. It’s easy for your fuse to get a
little short when you’ve been standing in the heat all day, so having emergency granola bars in your bag can be a lifesaver, too. And, of course water! Lathering up with sunscreen once before you go into Centeroo is probably not going to be enough for a full day of taking in UV rays, so bring some extra SPF in a bag to reapply. The same goes for bug spray, because mosquitos are going to want to see The Killers live, too. Try to bring bug spray that is DEET free. It’s much better for the environment, and Bonnaroo is all about being sustainable and green. Flashlights and lanterns are also helpful, especially when hanging around the campsite. Centeroo is pretty bright, but there’s not a ton of light pollution when you start moving towards your tent, so instead of fumbling around in the dark looking for you PJs, bring a portable source of light. And speaking of light, make sure you bring a pair of sunglasses for the day hours so that you can enjoy the Paramore sunset without having to squint.
If you ever talk to a Bonnaroo veteran, they will probably tell you that this particular festival is the most positive place in the world with the kindest and friendliest people, but you should still be paying attention to your surroundings, just in case. Make sure all your valuables like your phone and car keys are safely packed away while you dance the night away at the Silent Disco, and you’re only consuming food and beverages that you brought yourself or bought from a licensed vendor.
The rules that apply in the real world still apply on The Farm, so just be smart. If something does happen, you have resources like Medical Tents, Plaza Ambassadors, and Support Staff are readily available. Bonnaroo medical services operate on a ‘no questions asked’ policy, so if you think you may be in an emergency situation, take action and seek help. Bonnaroo is dedicated to keeping you safe and healthy, so make sure you read up on the tips and resources that they provide regarding personal items, sexual assault, and substances.
Riptide is the latest fest to come ashore at Fort Lauderdale Beach with two days of sunshine and major artists. 30,000 fans gathered on the sand to witness more than 20 national acts. Riptide Music Festival is inviting South Florida natives and snow birds to a multi-sensory, festival experience. The 2-day Alternative invasion occurred on November 2324, 2019, right on the sand of Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Killers, The 1975, The Revivalists, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Judah & The Lion, Silversun Pickups, and many top artists entertained the fans. Additionally, Riptide provided interactive art installations, fashion showcases hosted by legendary style guru Tan France, and over 30 food and craft vendors.
Rolling Loud is everywhere! After stops in Miami and New York City, the hottest hip-hop festival in years arrived in Los Angeles. Some of the best artists on the hip-hop scene touched down at the Banc of California Stadium on the weekend of December 14-15, 2019.
Rock the Oceanâ€™s Tortuga Music Festival, annually held on the white sands of Ft. Lauderdale Beach, raises awareness and support of marine conservation. This beachside music festival features everything from rap to country with a mix of Americana roots added to the mix.
As one of the longest-running music festivals, the KISS Country 99.9 Chili Cook-Off celebrated 35 years in South Florida with over 20,000 country music fans who packed the grounds of C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines. The lineup was a robust collection of country music superstars including Kane Brown and Old Dominion and included plenty of up-and-coming acts such as Eli Young Band, Ryan Hurd, Travis Denning, Caylee Hammack, Noah Schnacky and Ryan Griffin.
From a very early age, Americans are taught that the United States is a melting pot of the world’s cultures. We immediately think of places in the U.S. that captivate our hearts with diverse music, united acceptance, and a shared love for the people who make up our nation. Among these destinations lie incredible places like Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle and New York. Over the last 20 years, Miami, Florida has rapidly built its reputation as a diverse music location—it doesn’t hurt that they host one of the largest global festivals…it is ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL!
‘Ultra’ Detailed History Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes founded Ultra Music Festival back in 1999 as an 11-hour rave on Miami’s South Beach. This annual outdoor EDM festival occurs every March and got its name after the 1997 Depeche Mode album, Ultra. The event converged with the Winter Music Conference and featured about 50 artists, with around 7,000 attendees. Since then, Ultra gained incredible traction among young music fans and the attendance increased to an unexpected 50,000 attendees. Due to the rapid growth, the team had to change its location to include additional property along the oceanfront. This, in turn, allowed the festival to increase the quality of their light shows, lasers and visuals. In 2001, the festival’s continued popularity had grown to have over 200 performers with an audience to match. This sparked another location change from the beach to a Bayfront location in downtown Miami. With record-breaking attendance each year, in 2005 Ultra Music Festival, moved again to Bicentennial Park and extended into a two-day event. Six years later, Ultra Music Festival sold out for the very first time and with over 100,000 attendees, the event became a three-day extravaganza. Due to the construction of the Miami Art Museum at Bicentennial Park, the event returned to the Bayfront Park in 2012. Challenges arose in the following years between organizers and the downtown residents of Miami, where many complained of the loud vibrations, high traffic, disturbances and intense lights.
‘Ultra’ Returns to Bayfront Park After many meetings and votes, public officials agreed that the global exposure and positive economic effect to the South Florida area outweighed the temporary local distress. However, to appease the concerns of the locals, festival organizers moved the event to Virginia Key in 2019. Then the festival organizers quickly realized, after a slight transportation hiccup, that the new location was simply not good enough to maintain the high caliber of what Ultra Music Festival represents. So here we are…celebrating 21 years of UMF where hundreds of thousands of dedicated Ultra fans (“Ultranauts”) await next year’s lineup release, in anticipation of the return to the coveted Bayfront Park in Miami’s downtown landscape. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 Ultra was one of the first festivals of 2020 to announce that they were cancelling the festival to keep their Ultranauts safe from the pandemic. We’re still awaiting to here if Ultra will once again return to our beloved Bayfront Park in 2021. Till then… we’re keeping our fingers crossed
Ultra Worldwide Though it began in the U.S., in 2008, Ultra declared its expansion to Ultra Worldwide, which started in Brazil and quickly expanded into Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Spain, Croatia and tons of other international locations. Ultra has undoubtedly remained the most successful independent electronic music festival brand while also being the most international festival brand in the world. Combining the same exceptional ingredients from the Miami-flagship location, with the most diverse electronic talents and most technologically advanced stage production, it has helped propel the Ultra brand into at least twenty-eight countries across six continents worldwide. Ultra was showing no signs of slowing down and were seemingly marching towards global domination. But as we all know, this year and possibly the next has forced us to slow down. Until then, fans everywhere await in anticipation for what Ultra comes up with, post-pandemic. Not only is Ultra a mosaic of multicultural diversity but, as it continues expanding, it is also creating a mosaic display across the map as it plants a flag in each country.
‘Ultra’ Cool People
Anyone can appreciate the cultural hub that is South Florida— the mix of people, languages and cultures are intoxicating and fascinating under Miami’s all-encompassing umbrella. However, Ultra Music Festival brings a different type of worldwide pride where all cultures unite in an international mosaic. While other festivals like EDC Las Vegas and Tomorrowland have touted their global audience, there is no festival in history that has proven such a global presence, year after year like Ultra Music Festival. Whichever direction you turn, a kaleidoscopic view of various national colors painted on hats, t-shirts, fans and headbands or a proudly draped flag over their back like a cape.
Just when you thought Ultra Music Festival couldn’t get any better, the award-winning producers threw a curveball in 2012 with a simple, ingenious concept called the Road to Ultra. These single-stage events presented the same innovative stage production and blue-ribbon visuals as UMF and Ultra Worldwide. However, they were designed for more intimate settings, indoor and outdoor. A number of Ultra’s world-class artists like Tiësto, Martin Garrix, Above & Beyond, Afrojack and Hardwell have been featured in places like Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Philippines, Peru, Hong Kong, India, Paraguay and Korea (to name a few). These talented headliners’ performances at smaller venues all across the globe have made electronic dance music even more accessible, created a stronger fan base for these artists and helped bridge the gap between festival-goers and music lovers.
While wandering the festival, you may hear a variety of languages from every direction—a French couple flirting on the sidelines, another group joking around in Portuguese, while two Japanese friends yell for each other across the way. It truly is one of the few places in the United States that maintains the separation of cultures, yet invites every “Ultranaut” in attendance to dance in unity in the glittering landscape of Miami and alongside the palm tree-stricken bay. When you combine that with the fact that the event is hosted in a destination city, sporting a worldwide recognizable brand and possess an incredible track record for showcasing the fiercest artists and DJs, it was only a matter of time before this magical recipe was duplicated.
‘Ultra’ Amazing Mission Even the most incredible or developed entities realize the need to continuously evolve is a critical part in maintaining success. Although Ultra Music Festival has been wildly successful over the last 20 years, they too found the need to evolve its mission and set an example of what it means to be a citizen of the world. Today, they share with us their mission, commitment and initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and inspire attendees to protect the planet. Ever since heavy musical tremors in Virginia Key Beach were said to have disturbed the marine life in the area, Ultra is on a mission to protect the ecosystem and continue being one of the best festival venues in the country. Their Sustainability Plan includes guidelines for pollution prevention, nature preservation, community engagement, responsible resources strategies, waste reduction and traffic mitigation. They even introduced an environmental volunteer program called “Clean Vibes” in which volunteers can assist with their recycling and composting programs, as well as their “Leave No Trace” initiative. Various kinds of plastic such as confetti, balloons and disposable drinkware were banned. It is incredibly gratifying to see a festival take accountability for the imprint they leave on our planet (whether it be good or bad) while also passing a mirror to each and every one of us to help see our own individual impact on our environment. Ultra does an incredible job of distinguishing what they are doing to make a difference, while also listing exact action items for what we can do too.
‘Ultra’ Important Tips Most people think that PLUR culture is defined only by beautiful social encounters. In reality, Ultra’s dedication to the planet and its people is another affirmation of Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. Here are some tips to remember for your next festival: • Dispose of waste properly • Encourage others to keep their space clean • ALWAYS respect the natural elements of the venue • Take care of your fellow festies • Keep your group’s area clean • Respect all protective barriers and fencing
Ultra 2020 Whether you attend Ultra Music Festival in 2021 (fingers crossed!) or you’re hitting the streets/canyons/desert of another festival soon, Ultra has provided all of us dedicated music fans the roadmap to keeping our festival obsessions sustainable by respecting our earth. Although they’ve cancelled Ultra 2020, we’re all hoping that they will find a new creative way for all of us to still enjoy the Ultra experience in 2021, while keeping us all safe and healthy. Now that you know that Ultra Music Festival is more than its stacked lineup and insane party atmosphere, you can share with your fest fam that UMF is also the pioneer in killer production and stellar music while promoting global harmony. While we are all anxiously awaiting whether or not festival will continue to be on pause, you can still watch livestreams, stay active in the festival community and dream of the days tickets will be back on sale. Once we have an environment that is safe for us to explore the world again, pick a county, grab your nation’s flag, wear it proudly, and start on your very own quest for Ultra domination.
By Georgia Pham
If fantastic music and exploring a gorgeous Caribbean island sound like your kind of fun, then we have a trip for you. I had the privilege of spending a few days on the beautiful Island of Curaçao during Labor Day weekend for the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival. CNSJ is the younger sister of the North Sea Jazz Festival (one of the largest indoor festivals in the world) taking place in Rotterdam annually. Despite being the younger festival, the Caribbean version is just as well run, featuring big name talent and an awesome ocean front venue. But let’s back up a little and start at the beginning – we’ll be walking you through all aspects of this amazing experience.
The Basics Let’s start with some basics. Curaçao (pronounced “Cure – A – Sow”) is a small island in the Southern Caribbean. The island is located about 40 miles north of Venezuela and 12 (insert degree symbol) north of the Equator. The average year-round temperature is a glorious 80 degrees Fahrenheit, boasting a mild, sunny climate with short rainy seasons. Curaçao is also outside the prime area for hurricanes. During our trip, we experience phenomenal weather, no rain, and some periodic and very welcome cooling trade winds.
So . . . at this point you are probably thinking Curaçao sounds amazing – how do I get there? It’s an island so for those who aren’t arriving on a cruise ship, flying into Hato International Airport will likely be the best bet. The airport sits just outside the capital city of Willemstad and has one of the longest runways in the Caribbean. If you are coming from the United States, American Airlines has daily direct flights out of Miami. This is the flight we took and it was super easy. If you want to learn more about the island itself and how to get there, the Curaçao Tourist Board’s website is a great place to start: https://www.curacao.com/en/
The island has many types of lodging options: modern hotels, traditional lodge/ plantation homes, rental properties, and the five star Santa Barbara Beach Resort. Maybe I am biased because we had such an amazing place to stay, but I would definitely recommend going the plantation or lodge route like we did. Our first stop on the island was our home base for the duration – Landhuis Jan Thiel. This plantation lodge outside of town is probably best described as a mix between a bed and breakfast and a boutique hotel. From the moment we passed through the plantation’s gates, I felt like I had been transported to a cozy paradise. Each morning we were treated to an almost indescribably fresh breakfast. The owner makes everything herself: from fresh juices to pumpkin bread to coffee. Each item she served us was not only delicious, but made just for us. The rooms were amazing, featuring authentic, colorful décor and turn down service. We came home each night to immaculate, air conditioned rooms. The room I had was in a little side building and it had a private dipping pool and hammock. The lodge also offers visits from Olivia, the resident sheep who thinks that she is a dog. She might just stop by for a visit while you are eating or clomp by when you are enjoying the sun. Check out the website https:// landhuisjanthiel.com/ for more info about Landhuis Jan Thiel. Over the last few years, CNSJ festival has shifted its schedule to accommodate the unique nature of hosting this kind of event in a vacation mecca. The festival opens its gates in the evening, allowing visitors to spend much of the day exploring or enjoying a wide variety of activities. On our first full day on the island, the first stop was a quick visit to Shete Boka National Park. The park features walking trails along dramatic coral coastline. Waves were crashing all around us and it definitely made me want to plan to come back to the park for a longer visit one day. Next, we visited a beach area called Playa Piskado. This working fishermen’s beach has also become a bustling tourist spot for those wanting to swim with sea turtles. A variety of water related activities are offered in the area, including everything from diving to jet skis. Our group tried out an activity called SeaBob. It is basically an underwater scooter that pulls you through the clear water, providing both high and low speed fun. This was one of my personal favorites as far as the activities were concerned and I had a blast zooming and splashing.
I CAN DEFINITELY SAY THAT I HAVE NEVER SEEN A CROWD THIS INTO THE MUSIC ANYWHERE. After our water adventure ended, we moved on to a fresh seafood lunch on the cliffs overlooking the crystal-clear water. During lunch, we got to watch brave strangers make the leap off nearby cliffs and eventually one of our group members made the jump too. I was content to watch, enjoying fresh shrimp and punch. We spent the afternoon enjoying naps and refreshing dips in the pool at our lodge (more on that in a bit) before heading out to get a sneak peek of the brandnew Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort scheduled to open in October 2019. Even though they were still working on the finishing touches, we were all impressed already with the renovations and the gorgeous views. The Resort is also very conveniently located just steps from the entrance to the Festival. We enjoyed sampling the delicious appetizers and fresh cocktails before making the short walk for the first night of the Jazz Festival. Night one is something of an introduction for the festival as a whole. It featured three performers back to back on the main stage: Juan Luis Guerra, Aimee Nuviola and Havana D’Primera. All three of them were fantastic and it was amazing to experience a singing, dancing crowd. This was just the first night, but I can definitely say that I have never seen a crowd this into the music anywhere.
The second day of our trip was just as action packed. We headed out in the morning for an ATV adventure. After a quick lesson and snagging a colorful bandana, we each hopped on our own ATV ready to explore. The first part of the ride took us through the streets. Don’t worry, these tours seem to be ingrained in the local drivers and our guides stopped traffic as we zoomed through the streets. Eventually, we found ourselves off road and made a quick stop at an Aloe plantation, before heading out for even more remote riding spots. It was an absolute blast to drive the ATV. The tour was lengthy, allowing us the opportunity to visit some gorgeous coastlines and a brief hike through bat filled caves. I was sad when it all came to an end, but excited to get rid of my dust filled clothes and head for another delicious fresh seafood lunch. The area where we had lunch was near another big tourist attraction, the Seaquarium. We didn’t get to visit on this trip, but it comes highly recommended and is apparently a great spot to get up close with tons of marine life. The Jazz Festival was in full swing for night two and we got the opportunity to see all that the venue had to offer. There are three stages. The main stage, Sam Cooke, sits at the top of the festival grounds and provides room for both
standing (dancing) crowds and bleachers for those who prefer to sit. There are also big screens for viewing on the lower level, where fans can grab dinner and drinks. The other outdoor stage, Sir Duke, sits oceanfront on the other side of the venue. It was the smaller of the two stages, but offered excellent sound and viewing. The final stage, Celia, is located centrally and offered an indoor location to view jazz legends – including tons of seating and air conditioning. That AC is key after a long day in the sun. The second day of the festival featured a jam-packed night of music with performances including: Pitbull, Earth Wind & Fire, Kenny G, Black Eyed Peas, and Inner Circle. My personal highlights were Inner Circle and Pitbull. For those not familiar, Inner Circle is a Jamaican reggae group that has been on the scene for decades! They are responsible for the hit song “Sweat” and one of my all time favorites, “Bad Boys” – A.K.A.
the theme song from the show Cops. Their set was energetic and funky and a great part of the evening. Pitbull put on an epic show to start the night and had the whole crowd singing along throughout. I was lucky to snag a spot at the rail, allowing me to catch some great close up shots and to fully enjoy the crowd experience. I also managed to pop over for the last portion of Kenny G’s set, just in time to catch a beautiful instrumental version of “My Heart Will Go On.” CNSJ offered some excellent food and drink options. One of the fan favorites was the wine and champagne bar with multiple spots throughout the festival grounds. Fans could choose from multiple options and could pay extra for a reusable heavy plastic wine glass. This made me feel incredibly classy, but more important was one of the many ways the festival aimed to “go green.” The food stands also provided some tasty options, including another personal favorite – tempura shrimp. They were perfectly fried in delicious batter and topped with a slightly spicy sauce. Other options included wok fried noodles, hot dogs, beef sandwiches, and vegetarian selections. The final full day of the trip began with yet another fresh breakfast. Our group headed over to the Den Paradera Botanical Garden for a tour and cultural event. The gardens, owned by Dinah Veeris, can be found on the east side of the island and are full of artistic touches. Our brief tour through the gardens introduced us to some of the island’s history and the use of some of the common plants. The tour flew by and we quickly found ourselves crafting love potions from fresh ingredients. Still waiting to hear if any of our group found love. Stay tuned. Finally, we were treated to a series of cultural dance demonstrations along with a lunch featuring traditional foods. The garden’s store was another adventure in itself, holding herbal teas and mixtures that smell great and offer an opportunity for learning about herbal remedies. Although a botanical garden may not sound that exciting, this was definitely one of the trip highlights for me. I feel like I could have stayed for hours learning from Dinah and her son. With that said, our group was definitely eager to enjoy some down time at the plantation. After a short drive, we found ourselves swimming, napping and enjoying the lush landscape. Soon enough, it was time to head out for the last night of the festival. But not before we were treated to another delicious dinner near the festival venue, this time at Namora Restaurant. Dinner was not only delicious, it also offered a gorgeous view of the Piscadera area and was just a short walk from the festival. Day three of the CNSJ Festival packed a huge musical punch. The day’s lineup featured: Mariah Carey, Maroon 5, Aloe Blacc, Third World, and Gladys Knight. Third World was the first show
for me that night. They are a reggae fusion group from Jamaica with a funky, soul sound. You definitely know them for their hit “Now That We Found Love.” Next up, Mariah Carey, who really kicked the night up a notch with a classic performance on the main stage. It was a hot evening, and I think we all wished for the glam squad that accompanied Mariah on the trip. She touched on all the hits and was very engaged with the audience. The next time slot was the only time I really felt torn between stages during the weekend. I made the decision to go with Aloe Blacc and was not disappointed. Aloe grew up in Southern California, but also has Panamanian parents – which means he brings a really unique sound to his R&B music. His performance was great throughout, and it was awesome to see the crowd grow with time. I looked up at one point to see festival goers dancing on the beach’s playground equipment as he played “I Need a Dollar.” The set flew by and it was soon time for one of the things I had been waiting for since I found out I was going to the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival: Maroon 5. After stopping for one last glass of wine and a hot dog, I headed back to the main stage. The performance was everything I could have asked for and more! Many in our group stayed for Nicky Jam, who was closing out the festival. I bid the festival grounds farewell one last time, and thought about those tempura shrimp I should have gotten one last time. The final day of our trip got off to a leisurely and artistic start. After one last delicious breakfast and great conversation with some Dutch travelers – we were treated to an art class with local artist, Omar Sling. Omar and his daughter talked to us about their lives and about the thought process that led to the development of the special KoKo YoKo bird statues we got to hand pant and bring home. While we painted, the plantation’s owner brought us fresh water and snacks. Before we knew it, it was time for one last meal in Curaçao – brunch at Hofi Cas Cora – the island’s first farm-to-table restaurant with a seasonal menu. The meal was delicious. I savored it and the last few moments on the island with great new friends. The hospitality, warmth and diversity of culture on the Island of Curaçao are unmatched. The island serves as a perfect venue for the unique Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival and offers the opportunity to experience adventure and music in a single trip. We had an amazing time exploring the island by day and rocking to a mix of jazz, reggae and pop at night. Before I left Curaçao, I was already plotting a return.
Check out www.curacaonorthseajazz.com for more information.
If you consider yourself a festival fan, especially a techno festival fan, you’ve likely heard of elrow—arguably one of the most popular and unique parties worldwide. The elrow festival is a fully immersive series of colorful, uplifting dance parties that allow attendees to enjoy more than just the music. They immerse themselves in the experience. There’s dancers on stilts, inflatable toys and incredibly detailed décor like flying dragons or a kraken attacking a pirate ship. We haven’t even gotten to the tons (literally) of glitter and confetti.
Six Generations of Entertainers Build a Worldwide Phenomena Juan Arnau Jr., CEO and founder, founded elrow in 2010 with his sister, Cruz Arnau, the sixth generation of their family to work in the entertainment industry. The Arnaus have worked in the industry since 1870. It all started with a club, which eventually moved into casinos and movie theatres. Here they are now, with a globally-renowned party. elrow started as a Sunday morning show in Barcelona, from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. It offered a more audience-focused event than the DJ-concentrated shows happening at the time. Arnau said it originally began as a friendly gathering of their
social circles. However, they slowly introduced games and inflatable toys into the event. They then added entertainers and festive décor. After gaining success in Barcelona, the show moved to Ibiza, grew even bigger and went international in 2014. In 2019, elrow had four residencies in Barcelona, Ibiza, Madrid and New York City and was in 26 countries, 67 cities, four town festivals and 150 shows. It is primed to get even bigger in upcoming years.
Bringing Joy to Friends Around the Globe The Arnaus know that today’s younger generations don’t have the money their parents did at the same age. While festivals are bigger and better than ever, attendees are more thoughtful about the specific events they buy tickets for. They also know that music lovers can see a live performance really anywhere. However, to spend the money for a festival, attendees want to know they’ll be entertained throughout their stay and that there will be more than music. They want to feel involved and actually be a part of the festival by interacting with it. That’s where elrow comes in. Michael Julian, head of Elrow’s North America team, explained, “It’s all about creating an immersive experience for the fans and making them happy and dance and just smile, you know? The family takes what they stand for into the show and that’s why it’s so colorful and bright and that’s why people love it.” Sounds like our kind of people. The founders learned from their older family members that listening to the younger generations and connecting with them is key. That is why the brand is constantly evolving. The team behind these jubilant parties is constantly tracking what the younger generations are into and following their lead. This also ensures the fun never stops because even the most avid fan sees something new at every elrow show. “elrow is very special because it comes from the heart,” Julian said. “A lot of people say that about different brands in the event space, but, in this case, it’s the truth.” As Julian explained it, what makes this festival unique is those multiple generations of entertainers who aim to create joy and make this experience happen for others, not themselves. “We welcome everyone. We actually do this to unite people. What’s happening
in this country now is very difficult— there’s a division of people—we want to bring people back together. It’s for everyone,” Julian said. And when they say everyone, they really do mean everyone. People of all ages, from 18 to 50, around the world flock to dance to the beat of elrow’s drum. The team’s goal is to simply allow the attendees to completely immerse themselves and feel like one community in the insanity that is an elrow show. After all, it’s not just about the dancing. elrow promotes positivity and is all about harnessing that uplifting power that comes from feeling part of a community. The festival later turns that power back on their fans. To become a part of the experience is to feel that love and joy that elrow is all about. To elrow, fans are more than just the people who bought their tickets. In fact, as elrow’s site explains, “We don’t call them fans, we call them friends.”
elrow’s Global Takeover After starting in Barcelona, elrow moved to a major club in Ibiza and then Madrid. On November 25th, 2017, the party finally came stateside to Brooklyn’s infamous techno-house Avant Gardner. Originally, 800 attendees attended but the show has since grown ten times over and with the crowd now at around 8,000 to 9,000, elrow is looking to move outside, literally. That’s right, North America is getting an elrow Town. As elrow has flourished, eventually it outgrows their indoor venues and that’s where elrow Town is born. “It’s a completely different experience, like nothing you’ve ever seen,” Julian said. Currently, elrow Town is in London, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Belgium and a few other lucky cities. It sold out in London before the lineup is even announced. It is also quickly growing in Amsterdam and Antwerp but there’s more to come. “I’m dreaming of the day we can bring elrow Town to the United States so the North American fans can visit,” Julian said. In fact, elrow planned its first North American tour for this year with stops in NYC, Miami, Washington D.C., Chicago and Montreal. The tour had a ‘50s sci-fi theme, otherwise known as ‘RowsAttacks!’— one of elrow’s most popular show themes, according to Julian. The tour was also acting as a scouting trip to help the team decide where to bring the North American elrow Town—aside from New York, Arizona, California and Florida are all possibilities. However, the tour initially planned to begin in
March, right when the pandemic hit and, thus, had to be canceled. The team is still hoping to bring it to the U.S. in 2021. In the meantime, elrow is continuing to ramp up their appearances. They’re now in 43 countries and plans to take over Trent Park next August with their biggest party yet.
environment between plastic cups, water bottles, glow sticks and the general waste. 52 million pounds of trash are generated every year at festivals, most of which go directly into landfills, and most of which are single-use plastics like those cups and straws. Not to mention, microplastic pollution, like glitter, which affects the earth and even the oceans.
Pushing for a greener Elrow
Luckily, event producers have been evaluating and attempting to minimize their ecological footprint since at least 2009. At elrow, that aforementioned confetti is already completely biodegradable. They are planning to have no straws, canned water and reusable cups only at their shows in the near future. Plus, they’re thinking about the energy used to power their parties and trying to work in re-
Remember that tons of glitter and confetti we mentioned? We weren’t kidding. Up to a ton of confetti can be released at one of elrow’s festivals. It is obviously not environmentally-ideal, especially when festivals have already been called out for their detrimental impact to the
newable energy. They’ve even thought out their locations, focusing on places near public transportation so less people will need to drive. This may not seem like a big deal, but, with so many festivals taking place in remote areas, individual vehicles for festival-goers account for over half of all festival transport and the biggest source of these events’ carbon emissions comes from the exhaust fumes of said vehicles. Perhaps most specific to elrow are inflatables. The brand gives out an estimated 500 inflatables at each show that partiers can take with them or leave at the venue. Unfortunately, these are not recyclable. They’re looking to create ones that are not single-use but this is much easier said than done. In the meantime,
elrow is going to start collecting the ones people don’t take to collaborate with big-name artists to create one-of- a-kind art pieces. Knowing elrow, they’ll incorporate these pieces into future enviable stage designs. Not only is elrow focusing inward, but they are also pushing the clubs where they have residencies, like Amnesia in Ibiza, to be more environmentallyfriendly as well. Considering the changes that have been made in the last ten years and the increasing pressure for festivals to reduce their environmental impact, we have hope for the future of festivals’ footprints.
Elrow in 2020 As a brand that prides itself on its unparalleled in-person experience, the pandemic was a tough pill to swallow. However, elrow took it in stride and partnered with Heineken- owned lager, Desperados, to host live streamed DJ sessions, an hour-and-a-half long each, from famous spots in Spain with a mix of electronic music from techno to deep house. Recent shows have taken over a cave in Cova Santa, Ibiza, Spain and, in true elrow fashion, they didn’t let the production value suffer either, featuring pirates, treasure and a giant parrot. Of course, everyone (except the DJs) were wearing masks. Also, in true elrow form, the goal of these sessions is to help people connect and party together, while still socially-distancing.
Spanish techno DJ, Andrés Campo, debuted the series in mid-March. Since then, a number of international elrow DJs like Viviana Casanova, Technasia, Marco Faraone, Yousef and Dennis Cruz have also headlined the series. You can check out the live sessions on elrow’s Facebook and relive all sessions on elrow and Desperados’ social channels. “We’re very lucky to have made a lot of fans around the world so we’re confident that when everything goes back to normal, we’ll be able to reconnect and bring back the party,” Julian said. “We’re looking forward to 2021—planning, working, reinventing—and, honestly, we can’t wait.”
Iheart Radio Music Festival:
A decade of diverse musical performances by katie Kortebein
If you’ve ever listened to the radio or a podcast or really music at all, you’ve likely heard of iHeartRadio. It’s a free broadcast, podcast and streaming radio platform owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. that has been around for 12 years and has spawned personalities like Elvis Duran, the popular radio DJ. Ringing any bells now? Every year, iHeartRadio throws numerous events, but none is as big as their iHeartRadio Music Festival, which throws down every September in Las Vegas.
In past years, the festival has garnered big names like Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, The Weekend, Luke Bryan and Coldplay, and tens of thousands of attendees have flocked to see the performances. This year was meant to be their biggest and best festival yet, in honor of its tenth anniversary. However, due to the pandemic, they had to cancel their original plans and have pivoted to a fully virtual festival with a focus on the fans. And this will not be just any virtual festival…
decade in the making In September, millions of iHeartRadio listeners can tune in for a one-of-a-kind experience with tons of ways for fans to get involved and surprise performances, as many bands reunite to perform together again, for the first time in months. In fact, this is the first festival since the pandemic where bands are actually performing on a stage.
It all began with the idea that iHeartMedia could “throw the ultimate musical celebration once a year that would do something that no other festival did, which was to really deliver a truly diverse lineup of the best artists in the world,” said John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia and chairman of the Rock and Roll What’s really special about iHeartRadio Mu- Hall of Fame (yeah, he’s a big deal!). In sic Festival is, because of their reach, they’re its birth year, the festival had around able to pull the top artists across ALL genres 25,000 fans in attendance and 10 milas their headliners, which is not something lion listeners and viewers accessed the many fests can say. In fact, iHeartMedia festival virtually. In 2019, those numconsiders the festival a live representation of bers grew to more than 50,000 in-pertheir diverse music catalog, which fans can son fans and more than 20 million who watched and listened digitally. With an enjoy through the iHeartRadio app.
exclusively virtual fest happening in 2020, that number of listeners and viewers watching digitally is likely to soar. This year’s lineup includes global-phenoms K-pop group BTS, Khalid, Miley Cyrus and Migos; the generational pleasers Bon Jovi, Coldplay, Keith Urban and Usher and, of course, the pop-country superstars Thomas Rhett and Kane Brown. Naturally, the whole festival will be hosted by the one-and-only Ryan Seacrest. When you’re throwing a party for the 10th year in a row, you know you have to go big or go home—iHeartRadio definitely went big. When looking at the lineup, you see that vast pull producers were aiming for—from BTS, one of the biggest groups in the world (and the first K-pop headliner in the festival’s history) to Bon Jovi, a crowd-pleaser for all ages, to Miley Cyrus, a downright superstar, to Kane Brown, one of country music’s biggest names. There’s something for everyone and, when you have the catalog and the clout that iHeartRadio has, it comes as no surprise. What was unforeseen was the cancellation of many of iHeartRadio’s other events (more on those later). For instance, the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival was postponed in early March due to the health crisis. However, some of the headliners will be performing at the iHeartRadio Festival. This year’s festival also has at least one more big country artist on the lineup that it has in past years. Another interesting note is that, while past years have featured at least one newcomer or upand-comers, like the Shawn Mendes, Rae Sremmurds or Camila Cabellos, this year’s lineup is made up of mostly established artists, which feels appropriate considering it’s the 10-year anniversary and iHeartRadio Music Festival has thus officially made its name in the entertainment space.
One thing we’re interested to see is the future of K-pop in multi-genre festivals like this. BTS is obviously a globally-known band, but they’re not played on the radio nearly as much as the other headliners. It seems K-pop has officially become a genre that will be included at big fests alongside the age-old country, pop, rock, hip hop, alternative genres. If that’s the case, we’re here for it. Speaking of global, there’s one advantage virtual festivals definitely have over in-person events. Because artists theoretically don’t need to physically be in one location to perform, it offers the producers a little more flexibility in what they can offer, For instance, since some could perform remotely, their schedules wouldn’t play as big a role in their ability to perform as they would have for an in-person festival. iHeartRadio has hinted at some surprise performances so we’re hoping to see a few intimate shows from artists’ homes, which would be a treat in itself.
iHeartRadio in the Time of COVID-19 iHeartRadio knows the importance of reading the room when thinking about hosting any event and, in this case, the “room” was our country. In April, when the world was in the throes of the pandemic, they decided to plan something that could bring a little bit of joy to the world and the Elton John-hosted “Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Special for America” was born. “We thought early on that it wasn’t about making money. It was really about supporting those who have been impacted by this virus,” Sykes said. So they decided not to sell any advertising in their first show and instead make it a telethon to raise money for Feeding America, which uses funds to get food and funds to local food banks across the U.S., and First Responders Children’s Foundation, which helps support first responder families who are enduring financial hardship due to the outbreak. Elton John, Alicia Keys, Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey, Camila Cabello, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters, H.E.R., Backstreet Boys, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Tim McGraw all performed during the special. “I don’t think anyone thought we would raise $15 million in one hour, but we did it,” Sykes said. After the success of the concert, a month later, iHeartMedia hosted another benefit, Rise Up New York! with Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, to raise awareness and funds to help the New Yorkers whose lives have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. The virtual fundraiser was hosted by Tina Fey and featured the city’s biggest musicians, actors, comedians and more, including Jimmy Fallon, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Idina Menzel, Barbra Streisand, Ben Platt, Bette Midler, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, Julianne Moore, Spike Lee, Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert De Niro, Trevor Noah and Eli Manning, plus musical performances by B on Jovi, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey and Sting. This telethon raised an astonishing $126 million. Now, iHeartMedia is thinking about the artists. “They’re not making any money on the road so we’re trying to do things now that will help them make some money and get their music out there so they can still thrive
in this challenging environment,” Sykes said. However, when it comes to future events, Sykes said they’re taking it day by day and listening very carefully to health officials. He said the last thing they want to do is jeopardize anyone’s health, “So we’re going to be very cautious and follow the lead of the professionals.” When it came to pivoting the iHeartRadio Music Festival to a fully virtual and safe event, they thought, “What if we brought the artists to a safe place—bring them into our theater in Los Angeles—and give each one that theater scrubbed clean for a day with their crews. And the next day we bring another artist. And the next day…” And that’s how the idea was born. The shows will be recorded live from venues in both Los Angeles and Nashville with personal, behind-the-scenes moments from the performers about how the pandemic has impacted them and the music industry as a whole. Hosts Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran and others will be virtual. As we mentioned, many of these artists are reuniting for the first time in months to play this festival, which is pretty special. That also means they and their crews have to take quarantining pretty seriously. They’ll all have isolated prior to taping their performances to ensure everyone’s safety. We can only imagine the excitement they’ll all feel upon these reunions, which will surely translate into their energy on stage.
A Festival Fully for the Fans We’ll be the first ones to admit that a virtual festival lacks the all-encompassing feeling of togetherness you get when bouncing in a crowd screaming the lyrics to your favorite band. It’s just hard to get a similar sense of community when you’re not physically in a crowd. However, that doesn’t mean the iHeartRadio Music Festival will be deficient. In fact, they’re offering some perks an in-person fest is unlikely to ever allow. For one, they’re allowing fans to introduce the artists before they perform. Now that’s a perk they can really only offer because the festival is virtual. Same with virtual meet and greets. That’s right, certain fans will get the chance to actually meet their favorite artists—well, virtually meet. The winners were chosen through on air, online and social contests and promotions. iHeartRadio is also working with Microsoft to build a fan wall, the Capital One Fan Wall, which will allow fans to actually tune in live while performers record for the festival. The lucky winners of this opportunity will get to interact with the artists and watch their performance before anyone else. You better believe this will be the event of a
lifetime for the chosen fans. When else will you get such an intimate view of a live performance? Certainly not at any other festival. As for the actual days-of, viewers entered for a chance to get closer to the front row by tweeting #iHeartFrontRow + #iHeartContest. That’s right, a free opportunity to be in the front row for your favorite artist’s performance. These truly are circumstances that are only available due to the digital nature of this fest.
The iHeartRadio Event Family The iHeartRadio Music Festival is not the only event iHeartMedia puts on every year, though it’s certainly the biggest. In fact, the brand has seven other nationally-recognized events that draw thousands of fans each. And, naturally, each show is streamed for those who can’t attend personally.
iHeartRadio ALTer EGO iHeartMedia introduced this alternative rock fest to Los Angeles in 2018, and it’s returned every year since, including 2020. It always happens in January so this was one of the last major events before the pandemic shut live music down. The lineup has featured major headliners like Billie Eilish, Muse, Cage the Elephant, The Black Keys, twenty one pilots, The Killers, Dashboard Confessional and more. If you’re even slightly into altrock, this one-day event at the historic Forum is right up your alley.
iHeartRadio Podcast Awards With 37% (104 million) of the U.S. population regularly listening to podcasts, iHeartRadio realized it was time for a podcast-centered awards show. Originating in 2019, the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards recognizes the top podcasts in America across 30 categories, including Comedy, Crime, Music, Sports and Curiosity, based on the podcasts the fans vote for. Will Ferrell opened the second-annual live award ceremony, hosted in Los Angeles in January 2020, and podcasts like “The Dropout” by ABC News, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” “The Breakfast Club” and the New York Times’ “1619” went home winners.
iHeartCountry Festival This one is obviously for those twangy country buffs. The event first kicked off in 2014 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas and has returned every May until this year. While this year’s festival may have been canceled, you can bet they’ll be back as soon as possible. With past performers including country superstars like Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Lady A and more, you know this is one fest that never has to worry about tickets selling.
iHeartRadio Wango Tango Known simply as, “Wango Tango,” this annual one-day concert is a draw for all those Top 40 fans. It’s been produced by Los Angeles’s hit radio station 102.7 KIIS FM since 1998 and has become iHeartRadio’s kick-off to summer music celebration. Unlike the previous events, this one has jumped around in terms of locations. Past spots feature various well-known venues in southern California like Dodger Stadium and Staples Center, Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, Angel Stadium in Anaheim and Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine. One thing that has stayed the same? The iconic host—Ryan Seacrest. Some of Wango Tango’s past lineups have included Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Shawn Mendes, Miley Cyrus, Calvin Harris, Zedd, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas and more. One twist on your typical Top 40 fest? Since the performances are in L.A., it’s often other celebrities who introduce each act.
iHeartRadio Music Awards The iHeartRadio Music Awards is a celeb-filled event celebrating the top-played artists and songs on iHeartRadio stations and the iHeartRadio app over the past year, while also offering a preview of the upcoming year’s hits. The show began in 2013 and has had live performances and appearances by artists such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and more. This year, the show was a weekend-long special over Labor Day Weekend and awarded artists like Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift and Elton John with Song of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Best Duo/Group of the Year, Album of the Year and Tour of the Year respectively.
iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina Originally kicking off in Los Angeles in 2014, Fiesta Latina was thought of as a Latin music spin-off of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. In 2015, it moved to Miami and it’s attracted Latin music fans to the area every November since. Touted as “the country’s only bilingual, bi-cultural music event” by iHeartMedia, the show has featured artists like Jennifer Lopez, Daddy Yankee, Pitbull, Ozuna, Becky G, Pedro Capó, Nicky Jam, Gente de Zona and more. The show was canceled due to COVID-19 this November, but you can bet it’ll be back.
iHeartRadio Jingle BalL Over 20 years ago, the most-listened-to pop radio station in the nation, New York’s Z100, introduced Jingle Ball—a holiday concert with the year’s top artists performing their #1 hits. The show quickly became a hotly anticipated holiday tradition— tickets sell out in minutes and it’s a big deal in the New York City area where local DJ Elvis Duran hosts with his show’s co-hosts. The concert has now evolved into a sold-out multi-city national tour, not to mention a show artists aim to perform on. Past performers are Halsey, Lizzo, 5 Seconds of Summer, Sam Smith, Normani, Dan + Shay, NF, Bazzi, Marshmello, Camila Cabello, Logic and more. While we may be waiting a while before we can all go enjoy a performance from our favorite artists in-person, virtual festivals are gaining more traction every day. And we certainly are here for enjoying some top hits from our couch. Tune in to the #iHeartFestival2020 stream on CWTV.com or the CW app on Friday, September 18th and Saturday, September 19th at 9:00 pm EST, and on the CW Network for a two-night televised #iHeartonCW broadcast special on Sunday, September 27th and Monday, September 28th to watch the 10th annual iHeartRadio Music Festival for yourself.
A Festival For
The People By Ruby Johnson
I would say instead to be grammatically correct move: Just beyond the Wind Creek Steel Stage, where thousands of fans are boogying down to Earth, Wind and Fire, the massive skeletons of Bethlehem Steel’s blast furnaces rise. They tower over the stage, a testament to the town’s industrial history and subsequent revitalization as an arts and music mecca. It’s preview night at the 36th annual Musikfest, and while most of the stages won’t open until tomorrow, tonight is a chance for fans to get that first taste of the festival voted USA Today’s ‘Best Music Festival in North America’. It might surprise you that the world’s largest free music festival takes place in a small city more than an hour outside Philadelphia. Nestled along the scenic Lehigh River, Bethlehem looks like your typical college town, with plenty of coffee shops, trendy restaurants, and bars to spare, and a glimpse at the skyline of enormous furnaces and factories reveals the town’s past as Pennsylvania’s main producer of steel. After providing jobs for thousands of Bethlehem residents for many decades, the city’s steel industry began declining in the 1970s, and by the 1980s Bethlehem had morphed from a thriving working-class town into one plagued by falling employment levels and economic difficulty. With the local industry collapsing, the city was forced to change tactics, setting their sights on bolstering tourism instead. Enter ArtsQuest, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to providing innovative programming and transforming the town into a destination for music and the visual arts. Musikfest is ArtsQuest’s flagship event, but the organization hosts concerts, films, classes, and more throughout the year, including the free Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks concert series, plus smaller-scale festivals like ¡Sabor! Latin Festival and Oktoberfest. As a nonprofit, Musikfest relies on thousands of volunteers, members, and contributions to keep costs down so Musikfest can remain a free event, and the income from the festival goes towards promoting arts, music, and culture in the surrounding community.
The Lehigh Valley area encompasses the neighboring cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, plus hundreds of small towns and villages, that altogether house under one million residents. Which makes it that much more impressive when you consider this year’s festival saw record attendance: over 1.2 million visitors during the eleven-day run. In fact, Musikfest 2019 patrons came not just from Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas but from 46 states, 26 countries, and every continent except Antarctica. It’s not just the patrons who are a diverse group, either: the festival’s 400-plus artists travel from 27 different states and five nations to perform on some of Musikfest’s 16 stages. The festival lineup reflects the diversity of the region itself: Bethlehem was founded by German immigrants centuries ago, but has since become a melting pot of cultures, religions, and ethnicities, including a rapidly growing Hispanic population that has inspired an increased Latin music presence at the festival. Walk Musikfest’s streets, and you’ll meet an eclectic mix of college students from local universities, families from surrounding suburbs, and retirees who enjoy the daytime entertainment. Where other festivals carve out a niche to cater to selective genres, Musikfest is unique in that it provides space for every musical style, from classical to folk to hard rock; here, there is music for everyone. In fact, this event might be the only major music festival in the US to prominently feature polka bands, a nod to the region’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. You can even purchase a refillable insulated mug (modeled after traditional German beer steins) to keep your libations icy cold while you learn some polka moves from the experts. There’s more to the free stages, though, than just afternoon polka bands. This year’s standouts included returning favorites like Igor and the Red Elvises, a surf rock group fronted by charismatic leader Igor Yuzov, who saw enthusiastic turnouts for their loud and irreverent performances on the Americaplatz and Volksplatz stages. The Craig Thatcher Band also filled seats on the fest’s second Saturday, mixing their own originals with classic rock tunes, and adding ample guitar solos and riffing to make each song their own. Other cover bands, like ABBA tribute Dancing Dreams and interactive eighties rockers Rubix Cube, had the audience singing along and dancing in the aisles.
Viral social media stars Choir! Choir! Choir! took audience participation to the next level at several Musikfest Cafe shows. Armed with one guitar, lyric sheets, and their own voices, duo Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman led the packed room in choral renditions of pop hits from the Backstreet Boys and Mamma Mia!, transforming a room of total strangers into perfect harmonizers. The result is nothing short of electrifying. Choir!’s magic lies in the audience becoming the performer: to watch five hundred strangers of all ages and skill levels create beautiful music together is a uniquely moving experience. Other free stage standouts were Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, sixteen-year-old guitar prodigy and master of ear-melting solos, and Crimson Apple, a four-piece all-female band whose energetic punk-tinged pop appealed to young and old alike. For a change of pace, attendees can try out the Chamber Series, which highlights classically trained musicians in an intimate church setting and makes a welcome refuge from the North Side’s hustle and bustle. Inside the ArtsQuest Center, guests will find the Jazz Cabaret and even a dedicated comedy stage for stand-up.
As for the main attractions, the eleven ticketed shows at the Wind Creek Steel Stage saw nearly 50,000 total attendees this year. Catering to baby boomers who came of age in rock and roll’s heyday, Musikfest’s main stage tends to favor classic rock mainstays like the Steve Miller Band and Earth, Wind & Fire, while younger rockers flocked to the South Side for Weezer and Train with the Goo Goo Dolls, and heavier showstoppers Godsmack and Incubus. Thanks to a largely rural population, country acts also thrive here, with thousands turning out for Lady Antebellum on August 4th and Brad Paisley closing out the festival on the 11th.
Yet when it comes to bringing in younger artists, Musikfest’s promoters don’t shy away from the likes of Phillip Phillips, the Revivalists, and the Chainsmokers, who earlier in the summer graced the stages of Ultra, Tomorrowland, and Lollapalooza.. August 2nd, when Chainsmokers duo Alex Pall and Drew Taggart took the stage, marked Musikfest’s first ever EDM main stage performance. While they might be an unusual choice for the Wind Creek Steel Stage, the risk certainly paid off, with a packed arena of families, teenagers, and college kids singing every word to Top 40 radio hits “Rozes,” “Closer,” and “Paris.” Though Phillips and the Revivalists may not have packed the stands like the Chainsmokers, each band brought their own sound to a more intimate group of passionate fans.
While the music is undoubtedly what draws people from around the globe to Musikfest, the event offers plenty of other activities and amenities, such as Handwerkplatz, an outdoor market of handmade crafts, clothing, and art; the Hot Glass Experience, where patrons can try their hand at the art of glassblowing; ziplining, games, and sponsored Crayola activities at Kinderplatz; open mic at the Yuengling Lagerplatz; a pinball and video game arcade; street buskers and fire dancers; and the Martin Guitar Factory, which offers tours to the public. Located in Nazareth, PA, the free tours throughout the week showcase the development and manufacture of some of the world’s finest instruments and covers the local history of the brand from its earliest roots. It’s a short drive from the festival grounds, and is a must-see for guitar players, music history buffs, or any Musikfest visitors with an hour or two to spare. Like all festivals, there’s plenty of incredible food. Musikfest fan favorites include Karl Ehmer’s Sausages, ice cream from the Bethlehem Dairy Store, fresh roasted corn from Aw Shucks, and the ever-popular “Brown and White,” a savory roast beef sandwich from Lehigh University’s own Fud Truk. For a break from deep-fried street fare, take a seat in one of Wind Creek Bethlehem’s many restaurants, just down the road from the ArtsQuest campus. Burgers and More by Emeril puts a fresh twist on American staples, with options to build your own burger or choose from Emeril’s own creations, all set in a comfortable retro atmosphere. If you’re seeking a slightly more upscale dining experience, Buddy V’s Ristorante offers hearty Italian meals and traditional desserts like cannoli and crafted by “Cake Boss” star Buddy Valastro. Not a Lehigh Valley local, but looking to spend a night or two exploring all Musikfest has to offer? You can’t get much closer to the action than a room at Wind Creek. The casino and hotel is walking distance from the Wind Creek Steel Stage, so no need to fret about parking, and the comfortable rooms are a much-needed respite after a long day of hot sun, cold beer, tasty treats, and great music. From a seat on Main Street, an attendee will see packs of giggling teenagers, young parents pushing strollers, retired couples dancing in each other’s arms, and folks of every race, background, and age, all gathered to share in the joys of music. Inside the historic Hotel Bethlehem, the beer taps are flowing and the kitchen is bustling, and a four-piece band plays a familiar song. That’s why Musikfest is so special, and what draws over a million visitors to the Lehigh Valley each August: college students, families with children, and senior citizens mingle together on the streets, joining in a celebration of the culture, art, and community that have made Musikfest America’s best free music festival.
Walking into Remedy’s Tavern & Distill Bar in Las Vegas feels like walking into any local sports bar, but with an elevated twist. There are the various draft beers, low lights and dark wood, the slightly familiar feel and, of course, the numerous televisions. But you’ll find more than your typical buffalo wings and nachos pub fare at this sports tavern. Executive Chef, Jeffrey McCarthy, and Marketing Manager, Amy Vandermark, have created a top-notch, massive menu that is on par with any gourmet restaurant, and even includes breakfast. From the Ahi Poke Stack to the Nashville Hot Sliders or even Confetti Deep Fried Oreos, there’s something to satisfy every-
one’s craving. Naturally, even the best menu can get boring. McCarthy updates the items every spring and fall to keep things fresh. Jeff McCarthy started in the kitchen very early and credits his mom’s cookbooks for igniting his passion. His first job was a line cook at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House and he has since worked in several well-known spots on the Strip. McCarthy joined the Distill group in 2015 as a kitchen manager, working events and streamlining the kitchen’s process. In no time, his location’s food sales had blown the competition out of the water and set a high standard for the other locations.
Now, as the Executive Chef over Remedy’s Tavern andDistill Bar, he continues to raise the bar when it comes to bar food—to the point where it’s almost not even recognizable as your typical “bar food” anymore. Amy Vandermark has been in the food and beverage industry since 2004 and got her degree in Hospitality Administration in 2010. She said she was simply “at the right place at the right time” when an administrative position opened up at her local bar, but we know it’s a little more than that. Vandermark has worked with the Distill group since 2013 and she is the Marketing Manager since early 2016. Together, the duo has made Remedy’s Tavern & Distill Bar more than just your average sports bar. They have made it a local destination where the regulars never get sick of and that new people keep coming to check out. Now back to that menu. As we mentioned, it’s pretty big so, when visiting Remedy’s Tavern & Distill Bar, you’ll have plenty of options.
To start, there are the Thanksgiving Bites— crispy nuggets of cornmeal, ground turkey, roasted corn and fresh herbs, served with house-made cranberry coulis and maple sour cream—or the Mashed Potato Bites, balls of creamy house-made mashed potato balls filled with three types of cheese and a blend of spice. For entrées, take your pick between options like The Cure burger with handcrafted ground beef and pork blend, Fontina cheese, soy-glazed onions and jalapeño jelly or go with a slightly
more filling option like the Grilled Cajun Chicken Alfredo or Beef Tenderloin Tips. We mentioned those deep-fried Oreos earlier, those consist of six confetti-battered Oreos, deep-fried and served with creamy vanilla ice cream. Anyone else’s mouth watering yet? They also offer a few Family Meal options that you can take and bake at home, like lasagna or cinnamon rolls. Honestly, there are so many great choices, you might as well plan on visiting every week until you’ve worked your way through the entire menu. Of course, there’s still the matter of the pandemic to deal with. The Remedy’s and Distill management has made sure to prioritize their guests’ and team’s safety (while still serving their standard quality meals, of course). They have socially-distanced their lounge and dining areas, in accordance with local government mandates. Vandemark also mentioned that the restaurant implemented a strict cleaning protocol at all 11 of their locations. For those looking for more than just food, have no fear. The Distill team even created new gaming areas with coin-less video gaming machines. All guests must wear a mask to be served at all locations. “We are excited to still have our doors open and provide that great local experience, as well as to be providing jobs to our community,” Vandermark said.
You can check out a Remedy’s or Distill for yourself at any of the current locations—they are all open 24 hours for dining and gaming: Remedy’s St. Rose 3265 St. Rose Parkway, Henderson, NV 89052 702 982 3026 Remedy’s Conestoga 530 W Conestoga Way, Henderson NV 89002 702 478 8300 Distill Summerlin 10820 W Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89135 702 534 1400 Distill Southern Highlands 4830 W Pyle Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89141 702 834 5700 Distill Centennial 6430 N Durango Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89149 702 722 2999 Distill American Pacific 1231 American Pacific Dr. Henderson, NV 89074 (702) 307-0155 Distill Warm Springs 7150 S Durango Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89113 (702) 309-4868 Distill Cheyenne 7790 W Cheyenne Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89129 (702) 655-4700 Stay tuned for three upcoming locations: Distill Decatur 5750 S Decatur Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89118 (702) 222-9375 Distill Flamingo 4140 S Durango Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89147 (702) 248-3700 Distill Rainbow 6945 S Rainbow Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89118 (702) 307-8362
By Katie Kortebein
This Festival Fan Dances to More Than “Swan Lake” Unlike most professional ballerinas, Soares didn’t start ballet as a child. In fact, she actually did karate until she switched to ballet at 14. She didn’t actually take any real classes until she turned 17, but then she trained extremely seriously. Eight years later, she is now with a company traveling the globe. Now that’s role model material The beauty of music festivals is truly right there. something that everyone can love to experience. Is it really any surprise that While she regrets not starting earlier, someone who surrounds themselves it’s a testament to her skill and deterwith music in their work also loves to mination that she was able to get to enjoy different forms of it in their free where she is despite her late start. “I think when we want something, we time? always find a way,” Soares said of her Enter Patrícia Soares, a professional journey. She recommended to anyone ballerina for the State Opera Ballet of else fighting for a dream, “Don’t worry Bulgaria who has danced in ballets about age. If you really want this, be like “Swan Lake,” “Romeo and Juliet” open to sacrificing everything else. If and “La Bayadére”. She has also per- you’re clear about what you want to formed in prestigious theatres around do, don’t limit yourself and really go for the world like Auditorio Paco de Lucía it.” in Madrid and Cine-Teatro Avenida in Portugal. When you picture your average music festival, there’s probably a pretty specific image or two in your head. There’s the flower child, earth-lover or the raver covered in kandi. What about “Swan Lake”...does that come to mind? How about “The Nutcracker?” That’s right, we’re talking about ballet here.
Rihanna, Rage Against the Machine and Rolling Stones with Bruce Springsteen are just some of the names to have taken the stage. Their global takeover isn’t even close to done so fans can look forward to more international locations once live music is back. Soares says Rock in Rio is a must-see fest and it’s only a matter of time before she can finally attend it.
Soares grew up in Lisbon, Portugal and currently lives in Bulgaria due to her company. Add the number of international classes she has taken, with Orlando Ballet in Orlando, Florida, for example, and you’ve got a global traveler. What that means to those of us in this world is she has had access to festivals all around the world. Yes, we’re more than a little jealous. Returning to the music festivals, Soares has two she dreams of attending: Boom Festival and Rock in Rio. Boom Festival is a biennial psychedelic trance festival that originated in 1997. The festival’s location is on a lakeshore near Idanha-a-Nova in Portugal. Attendees (known as Boomers) head to Boomland to experience a week of transformational musical performances, workshops, film screenings, yoga, group meditation, fire performances, an art gallery to peruse along with a variety of visual exhibits. Past lineups have featured artists like Ace Ventura, Desert Dwellers, James Monro, Eat Static and Carbon Based Lifeforms. The festival has already released its 2021 lineup and you can be sure Boomers will grooving to some EDM pioneers, as well as fresh up-and-comers. Soares said of the fest, “The music and the environment are amazing!” and she knows what she’s talking about considering the venue is her home country and Boom is wellknown amongst the citizens of Portugal. As for the legendary Rock in Rio festival, it began in Rio de Janeiro in 1985, but has since broken numerous records and branched out to other locations like Madrid, Las Vegas and Lisbon, Portugal to become a worldwide phenomenon. Huge globally-known artists like Shakira,
So, next time you start chatting with those people you ended up camping next to, aka your new festie-besties, really get to know them. Ask about their work, their backgrounds, their passions. Festival-goers generally live for the connection this environment brings. Take advantage of it and make some lifelong friends or, at the very least, some acquaintances for the weekend. You never know, you might be chatting with a professional ballerina. You can check Soares and her travels out on Instagram at @patscsoares.
Left: Lindi Delight | Founder of ‘Masks For Music’
GIVING BACK TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ONE MASK AT A TIME BY JOOR’DIN VALENTINE
Delight, this was a complete pivot in her career as a professional in the music business, which lead her and her team to launch Masks For Music. In just a short three weeks, the affiliate program Masks For Music was born, offering a way to help support music industry workers earn some income. Lindi Delight tells us more about the initiative, her thoughts on the future of the music scene, partnership opportunities and her professional evolution working in the music business. For more information on Masks For Music, you can visit www. masksformusic.com. Lindi, thank you for speaking with us today about your new initiative Masks For Music. We understand this is an affiliate program for anyone in the music business to join and earn income. Tell us more about the project, and how it came to fruition? Masks for Music is an innovative initiative born three-weeks into the lockdown. My team and I knew right away that our industry was going to be hard hit, as it was happening before our eyes. All of the bookings of the Artists we manage started to get moved or cancelled, our events were at risk (which all ended up postponed), so for us, we needed to think quickly and pivot. Because we are all passionate music industry professionals, we wanted to find a way to help our scene. We thought of ways we can funnel revenue that’s be-
ing spent elsewhere into the industry, and masks were the perfect fit. We coupled Shopify and Affiliate Marketing, blew it up, and created Masks for Music, a way for anyone working in the music industry to generate revenue during this difficult time. The revenue share is significant, giving the MFM partner 50% of every sale. With new regulations, and cancellations of music festivals, night clubs and live music concerts, where do you see the future of dance music events going? How do you think we can best navigate through this, and adapt to the new reality? I see the future of music events scaling back drastically and starting to build up again over the next few years. Smaller capacity events or massively socially distanced larger scale events, along with safe open-air events will be the way to go and test out the waters. This is, of course, is in addition to online events. Those will be here to stay, regardless of also being coupled with live events or on their own. Wearing a mask has become the new norm. What mask packs are you offering at the moment and can you tell us more about the brand partnership opportunities? We are now transitioning from offering KN95 along with our reusable fabric masks, to only offering fabric masks. This reason for the simple fact that disposable masks are already creating so much
waste, and we don’t want to add to this issue. Experts say that 75% of pandemic waste will end up in our oceans. So we have fabric mask packs available in various quantities. We will soon be offering a sustainable filter option to use with our fabric masks, so keep an eye out for that! Masks For Music has been endorsed by some reputable organizations in the dance music industry, such as The Association For Electronic Music and The Alberta Electronic Music Conference. Tell us, who else in the music business has come on board to join as an affiliate partner? We are grateful to have so many corners of the music industry represented on our platform. From booking agencies such as Neptune Music Agency and Dskonnekt, to venues such as Caos in Brazil and The Arches in Brighton, to Resident Advisor, Faze Magazine, EDMID and Vicious Magazine for media, and Artists like Bec, Oona Dahl, Alinka and Amine K, to Novel in Australia, and Bridge_48 in Barcelona - plus many more. It’s exciting and always looking forward to celebrating the next additions to the Masks for Music family.
Pre-pandemic you had your agency De Light Management, representing artists and events worldwide. Tell us about some of the projects and artists you worked on over the years? …Yes! I have been working in the music industry going on 15 years and have had the honour of working with some amazing talent, and also on numerous events and projects globally. In Toronto I had started my own promo company called TenaciouSoul Productions and did underground deep-house events. Footwork was the first venue to give me the chance to promote and opened the door to the journey. In 2007 I teamed up with Black Market records and brought in Larry Heard, Danny Krivit, Franck Roger and Nick Holder. I think this is one of the biggest lineups the Toronto scene had seen in one night. Was definitely a proud moment of my early years.
course all of my previous experience is transferable, and proved to be the perfect move for me. My first year of managing the brand, it went from a 6 event brand in North America, jumping in 2015 to a 16 event brand launching in cites like Moscow, Beirut, Berlin, Paris, and London. The following year we did about 25 shows…and the rest is history. At the end of 2016 I started my own agency, De Light Management, which is a 360 degree management agency for Artists, Brand and Showcase events. We represent artists such as Öona Dahl, Hybrasil, Raven events for Life and Death, Rekids and Grounded festival. With the world up-side-down at the moment, and a lot of unknowns, the music industry will be the last industry to fully make a come back. Do you have any encouraging words to share with fellow colleagues and industry friends?
When I moved to Dubai in 2009 and had the pleasure of working with artists such as Norman Jay, Jazzy B from Soul II Soul, Peter Kruder, Mathew Jonson, Jamie Jones, Radio Slave, Karizma, and many more over the various events the Agency I was working for was producing. I also created concepts and pitch proposals for various corporate brands, so was amazing to bring my ideas to life when landing the projects for Nokia, Puma, Corolina Herrera and National Geographic Abu Dhabi.
I think it’s the time to think outside the box and try new things while we have the chance. Come up with some innovative ideas and businesses to help our community, take all of the knowledge we have acquired over the x-amount of years we have been in the business and use it new ways. I truly feel that collaboration is key and is the only way we are going to get through this. I feel that we need to take responsibility for creating change and finding ways to support our scene, because if we don’t, then who will?
In 2011 I moved to Berlin to work with Chris Liebing and his CLR label concentrating on the showcase events. The opportunity allowed me to travel around different parts of Germany with CLR and really experience the true German Techno scene. I’ve even been to Wuppertal! To see how each city partied, their dance moves, how serious they took their Techno, was especially cool…and educational!
Having a positive mindset is essential. Taking care of our mental health and well being are crucial, and investing the time to manage all of this is priceless.
After 4 years of working in Techno, I did a 360 and took on Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream brand. I was a bit nervous at first, as it was so drastically different from anything I’d done before, but of
Go to any music festival and you’re likely to see a number of tattoos, in all sizes, locations and designs. Music and tattoos are intertwined under the “arts” umbrella so it’s not surprising fans of the two are often one and the same. But at Inkcarceration, a music and tattoo camping festival in Mansfield, Ohio, music and tattoos are THE sole focus for the fans.
The festival’s performances are at the two outdoor stages, but they have also taken over the Mansfield Ohio State Reformatory. Beside the gourmet food, all-encompassing vibes—it’s a camping festival so you can really immerse yourself in the festival atmosphere—and, of course, the music, you can also take Reformatory tours. Why would you want to take a tour?
Inkcarceration has some of the top names in rock, alternative and metal music and prestigious tattoo artists from all over the US. Some of the past headlining acts are Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Rise Against and Black Label Society. Other featured bands have been Alien Ant Farm, Sevendust, P.O.D. and Taking Back Sunday. With the lineup growing every year—there were 35 acts in 2019, up from 32 in 2018—there’s a wide variety, meaning music for everyone even semi-interested in these genres.
Well, there’s a lot more to the Reformatory for the average rock fan than you might think. For instance, twenty years ago, legendary rock band, Godsmack, filmed their music video for “Awake” within the building. They carved “Pain is caused by pleasure” on a wall for the video and it’s now a permanent detail in the foundation. The band actually chose the location because it’s where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed—makes sense considering it’s a former prison. So trust us when we say, if you go to InkFest, take a Reformatory tour.
But enough about the top-tier lineup and infamous venue, let’s get into the real art at this festival—the tattoos. That’s right, you can get tattooed at this festival by a legitimate talent. Prior to the festival, the InkFest website will have a page with info on each participating artist and their work. The festival highly recommends you schedule ahead of time—you can contact the artists directly through the InkFest site—so you’ll be more likely to get your first choice when it comes to who is permanently inking you. However, if you’re not much of a planner, you can simply show up with an open mind. Honestly, you’re not risking much, especially if the artists are anything like Kristina Pafford and Amy Jiao.
Kristina Pafford is a tattoo artist, based in upstate New York, who specializes in color realism (though she prides herself on her wide skill range). Color realism tattoos consist of a fine art style that captures the realistically vibrant color of a subject, often people and animals, and how it transforms due to its surrounding sources of light. Because of the importance of color and detail, Pafford’s pieces are generally larger and take up an entire bicep or thigh. But the size allows the viewer to really see the level of detail she includes in each of her tattoos from the shadows in a cheetah’s eyes to the folds in a duo’s shirts. Pafford grew up in Detroit and always wanted to be a graphic artist. She taught herself how to pierce in her teens, which is far more impressive than anything we could say about our own high school years. In 2001, she landed an apprenticeship at a local shop and honed her skill. Seven years later, Pafford made the move to New York and worked in a few local shops until decided she was ready to go out on her own. In 2015, she opened her own shop, Bare Knuckle Tattoo, in Watertown, New York, which focuses on custom designs and has raving reviews online. Outside of creating inked art, Pafford loves traveling and experiencing new things so is it any surprise she has traveled across the country for tattoo conventions, including Inkcarceration 2019? She’s gathered a number of awards, including Best Virgin Tattoo of the Day, Judges’ Choice and Best Female Upper Body—two years in a row. After seeing her portfolio and reading all her glowing reviews, we’re not shocked she’s come out on top in numerous competitions. Check out Pafford’s work and contact her at bareknuckletattoowatertown.com and @kristinapafford.
Tattoo artist, Amy Jiao, is based in Central New York. She specializes in black linework and dotwork tattoos— these techniques are when the artist uses strong lines or dots to create the image or, at least, the shading. These tattoos can be any size and any level of intricacy but, ultimately, the power of Jiao’s lines is what really sets her work apart. She especially enjoys inking botanical, nature, animal and ornamental-themed pieces. On her days off from tattooing, she can’t help but still create art, though with pen and watercolor. You know this has helped her come up with some truly amazing custom designs. Jiao originally went to school to pursue a career in illustration and graduated with a BFA in illustration from Rochester Institute of Technology. Soon after, she fell in love with tattooing and took an apprenticeship in 2012, after moving to Tucson, Arizona. Since completing her apprenticeship, she has lived and tattooed in three different states and travels for guest spots and conventions across the nation, including Inkcarceration, of course. Jiao has collected numerous awards at various national conventions, including Best of Day, Best of Day Black and Gray and Best Geometric. Her work has also been featured on pages like Tattoodo, Inked Magazine, Tattoo Snob and various black work pages, which is a pretty impressive feat in itself. These pages don’t feature just any tattoos. One of her favorite parts of tattooing is hearing her clients’ life stories during their tattoo sessions so you know this is one artist you would never dread sitting through a multiple hour session with. Check out Jiao’s work and contact her at amyjiaotattoo.com and @amyjiaotattoo. Not just anyone can tattoo at a festival like Inkcarceration—artists have to submit themselves and the festival’s producers choose the best of the best to create on the Reformatory grounds. So it’s not nothing that both Pafford and Jiao have been artists at InkFest. Whatever your style, you can’t go wrong choosing one of these badass talents for your next permanent work of art.
Iration’s lead-vocalist Micah Pueschel was an Incubus superfan during his highschool years. Little did he know, the American rock legends themselves would later admire Pueschel’s music. With another album under their belt, Iration is coastin’ to the top of reggae-alternative music charts. I had the opportunity to chat with lead vocalist, Micah Pueschel, about Iration’s latest album “Coastin’,” pre-show rituals, Coronavirus, music industry news, and much more!
“We were playing at a festival in San Diego, a rock fest,” Pueschel recalls. “[Incubus] came over, since we played right before them, and their bass player, Ben Kenney, said ‘You’re awesome,’ and, ‘You guys are really tight!’ I kept thinking, ‘Oh, my God. Holy crap. This is surreal.’ Like, I was listening to Incubus’ music in high school and trying
to learn their songs when I first started playing guitar. And now, they’re telling us that they like our sound? You know, it’s just moments like that that are really surreal.”
members didn’t always have music as their final career path. In highschool, Iration was just a friend group that played reggae covers in a garage for fun.
If anyone were to tell a younger Pueschel that he’d meet Incubus in the future, AND they love his music… he wouldn’t believe them. But who could? Pueschel [lead vocals, guitar], Cayson Peterson [keyboard], Joe Dickens [drums], Adam Taylor [bass], and Micah Brown [guitar / vocals] likely sounded crazy for music becoming their dream full-time job. But the original Iration
“We were almost 18, 19 years old; into reggae and coming from Hawaii,” Pueschel explained. “We’re in that mode. When we started playing music, we just started learning songs and playing them. ” As one can imagine, Iration’s taste in music changed as the members aged. The writing sessions evolved to include different sounds and tell dif-
ferent stories. And the band members coincidently changed as well — Kai Rediske left in 2013 and Micah Brown joined in 2014. Each member brought a special talent and a unique taste to the table. “[Brown] is more of a blues type of guitar player and artist,” Pueschel said. “And that allowed him to play Dobro Slide Guitar Music, which opened up a new sound and twisted up our last album.” The wide range of musicianship represented in Iration started to shift their songwriting process and style. Each artist has a different taste in music. Some of the guys are still passionate about reggae while Pueschel enjoys an older sound. Iration’s newly-released album, Coastin’, is the band’s 7th fulllength album, available via their own Three Prong Records. Since the album’s release on July 10, listeners find the 13 tracks to be a wonderful mood booster, especially amid the pandemic. The first lines of track eight, “Fancy,” go: “Life can get complicated, 9 to 5’s make you crazy, We need some time away from it.” The lyrics are all about living in the moment, perhaps closer than we have before.
“We wrote [Coastin’] before the pandemic and before any of this was even a thought... which is interesting because the music ties to the quarantine,” Pueschel said. “All the messaging and the vibe of it is almost tailor-made for the time that we’re in right now.” Pueschel says he thinks many of us are oftentimes consumed with our fast-paced lives and forget to appreciate life’s simple pleasures. This year’s quarantine, as difficult as it may be, has forced the world to confront our everyday life.
“The simplest things like going to the grocery store are now a little bit more of a challenge,” Pueschel said. “It’s obviously tough, but it’s also, I think, somewhat healthy for people to kind of slow down and take a breather.” If COVID-19 weren’t in the picture, Iration would be on tour right now along the East Coast. Iration has been touring together since 2008, but the Coastin’ tour would’ve been huge, according to Pueschel — East Coast amphitheaters and all. It’s now postponed
till 2021, but we all know Iration isn’t the only band taking a year off from live performances. “The music industry is definitely getting hit very, very hard,” Pueschel said. “You know, every major festival is canceled. Every major tour is pretty much canceled, besides like a couple of country acts. And even the ones that had concerts had such bad blowback. Chase Rice, and others, had such a bad reaction from people that I highly doubt they do more of them.”
When will events start again? Well, Of course, Iration also attracts that’s the million-dollar question. several new fans through playing at music festivals. In addition to “I think everybody is wondering nationwide tours, Iration has also the same thing,” Pueschel said. performed at festivals such as Lol“Personally, I think it’ll be next lapalooza, Hangout Music Fest, summer, which will create a giant BottleRock, and Outside Lands. competition for artists. I think fans will be happy and wanting to “[Festivals are] much better to be see as many concerts as they can an artist because you are not in the and probably everybody will be crowds and you have a lot more touring. I do think that it’s pret- access to move around,” Pueschel ty imperative that there’s a severe said. “Once you kind of get that, flattening of the curve and some- you’re a little bit spoiled. Obviousthing available that really limits ly, I still like watching shows from the spread of the virus. Otherwise, the front. But once that’s done, I’d it’s just hard for the acts to go out prefer to be somewhere a little bit there and feel comfortable.” more comfortable and not waiting in a 50 person port-a-potty line. Concerts present several oppor- If I were to ever [go to a festival], tunities for COVID-19 to spread. then it’d be a festival that we’re I can see it now: thousands of playing and I just stay and check people inside a venue, without out the other days— As opposed a mask on, inches apart, singing to going and buying a ticket and along to their favorite songs, and going to Coachella... that’s never COVID-19 spreading everywhere. really interested me.” “If someone gets sick on tour, that is tough,” Pueschel said. “You’re on a tour bus together, so everybody is probably going to get it. Or, at least have a holy crap moment. You don’t want to get on stage and spread it to other bands or the fans. So, it’s just a really touchy thing. We really just want to feel comfortable.” And perhaps, there is a rainbow at the end of this storm! Iration released an album without touring behind it, which is extremely rare in the music industry. Generally, an artist drops an album and follows the release with a massive, summer tour to support it. And Iration didn’t do that. But Pueschel said they did find that even though Iration didn’t follow the industry ‘norm’, Coastin’ had a great response because people are at home needing new entertainment. “That was kind of the tradeoff there,” Pueschel said. “We decided to go forward with it, even though we didn’t have the tour, because we just felt like people needed it. And, the response kind of led us to that. And I think we’re happy with it, even though we aren’t touring on it right now. Maybe next year when we do tour on it, people will be that much more attached to the music.”
STAY WILD. STAY PROUD. STAY REBELLIOUS. This is your place in the city. Come stay yourself. Now open in San Francisco and Chicago. BOOK NOW.
V I R G I N H O T E L S .C O M
At FestWorld we believe music festivals can be transformational. The music, the experience of meeting new people, immersing yourself in anot...
Published on Sep 14, 2020
At FestWorld we believe music festivals can be transformational. The music, the experience of meeting new people, immersing yourself in anot...