I Love This City Festival
Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
This Memorial Day Weekend, the new electronic music festival produced by Live Nation Entertainment and LED Presents made its debut. The San Diego edition of I Love This City drew a sea of EDM fans at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheater on Sunday starting at 1:00pm. This day-long festival featured an avalanche of electronic music royalty, including Skrillex, A-Trak, The Crystal Method, Dirtyloud, Adrian Lux, Twelves, TJR, Terravita, The M Machine, AC Slater, Clockwork, Audrey Napoleon and Gina Turner on three different stages.
As soon as you set foot in the parking lot the speakers resonated hard hitting, pulsating bass music. The Parking Lot Stage was evidently the dubstep zone as the likes of 12th Planet, Mimosa, Cookie Monsta and Flinch took over. Though the smaller stage lacked a bit of production value, DJs like Cookie Monsta used their pounding dusbtep sounds and tracks to get the crowd raging, moshing and dancing away like mad men, or in this case mad kids. 12th Planet killed it on this stage dropping some serious bass and showing Skrillex some love, working the track "All I Ask Of You" into his mix.
This 16-and-over event felt more like a concert than a festival, which is what Live Nation is more known for. There were little kids everywhere with their moms and dads waiting in anticipation to see their idols like Skrillex and Madeon throw down on the Main Stage Amphitheater. For some of these kids, it was probably one of their first electronic dance music festivals or event, and thus probably one of the best days of their lives. There were also older couples in the stands and even a white-haired Joel King getting down in the pit, proving that dance music has spread beyond the raver kids stigma.
For us music veterans however, this event was missing a lot of the production value that makes EDM festivals unique from regular rock concerts. Performers, dancers, beach balls being thrown in the crowd and other special effects were definitely missing. In fact, besides checking out the main stages and getting food or drinks there was nothing else to do. The amphitheater seating didn't help either as it made it hard to get your shuffle on and was a totally different experience than the crowd surfing pit.
Besides the weird clapping along to songs and rock out signs in the crowd, the music was right on point thanks to an all-star line up that delivered. Artists like A-Trak and Wolfgang Gartner kept the audience partying well into the night. 17-year-old Madeon murdered it on the dance floor with his perfectly spliced remixes of Blur's "Song 2" and even Knife Party's "Internet Friends." The real show stealer however was (no surprise) Skrillex as he dropped the bass so hard the entire amphitheater was rattled all the way back to the grass seats. He opened with "Breaking a Sweat" and played his hits like "Bangarang" and mixed in classics like Fatman Scoop's "Be Faithful." The fog, fire, lasers and giant LED projections on the screen created an entirely new vibe during the event--one that came with some serious booty clapping in the stands.
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Critical Bias: I'm big on the whole "experience" of any festival and the pure hard hitting bass and electro music at this event didn't provide that for me. It was a good solid effort by Live Nation and LED, but maybe a little more money into production and less on such a stacked line up would have given us more of that experience.
Crowd: Lots of little kids discovering music, sprinkled in with a bunch of couples, parents and your serious EDM fans. It was quite entertaining to watch.
Overheard: "This grass feels amazingggggggggg right now."
Random Notebook Dump: The real party was backstage as everyone from Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama, Tommy Lee and Jonathan Davis from Korn were enjoying the show.