Los Angeleans, myself included, are a spoiled bunch. With our seemingly perpetual, perfect weather, we aren’t ones who are necessarily fond of inclement weather. In fact, dark clouds in the sky will give pause to many in Los Angeles about whether they’ll even leave the house. But I wasn’t going to let the forecast of bad weather stop me from catching Shaun White’s inaugural Air + Style event at the Rose Bowl. After all, when will you ever get the chance to check out killer bands AND extreme snow sports in Pasadena, California?
The Air + Style festival originated in Austria and combines extreme snow sports with music. Shaun White, who purchased the rights to festival, elected to hold the inaugural event under his purview at the Rose Bowl. Building an epic slope in the Rose Bowl’s parking lot (which has been reported to be as tall as the Capitol Records building in Hollywood), Shaun was able to recruit many Olympic and X-Games skiers and snowboarders to compete in the air with style.
The premise of the festival is an attractive one. If it can give residents in certain dry regions a professional exhibition of exhilarating ski or snowboard activity without having to travel hours to the mountains, and also provide a lineup of musical performances from chart topping acts, there’s no doubt that this event has the potential to perform extremely well going forward.
Air + Style is a family oriented festival. There were many artistic and physical distractions for the kids to take part in, and the art exhibitions, though definitely hampered by the downpour on Sunday, provided kids of all ages with pleasant, visual distractions.
The weather on Saturday was reasonably pleasant, so a legitimately sizable crowd was present. There was criticism of the length of the lines for the concession stands, and I won’t lie, I’m glad I didn’t have to wait in any of them. The lines, especially for beer, looked particularly intimidating. The line for the free Shaun White and Target sponsored, screen print t-shirts was even longer. There were some complaints about how the sound levels were particularly low for the music performances, but I’ll be honest with you, that didn’t bother me so much. I can understand the need to regulate decibel levels in a residential area, and plus the “low” decibel levels prevented bleeding of sound from one stage to the other.
The weather on Sunday was unfortunate. The dark clouds and sporadic showers, which were at times heavy, seemed to prevent at least half of Saturday’s crowd from attending. I was glad I had the foresight to stop by Samy’s Camera to purchase rain bags for my camera, because without them, I probably would have damaged my gear.
More power to those fans that attended Sunday’s festivities. Those in attendance, bearing the brunt of the harsh weather, had a chance to experience relatively intimate performances from the featured entertainment. If I were to compare what the experience was like, I would almost say it was festival quality entertainment in someone’s large backyard.
On a personal note, the highlight of the weekend’s festivities happened during my time in the photo pit for Steve Aoki. As the rain was trickling down, and I was fumbling with my camera through my “rain bag”, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Shaun White.
He pointed to the bottle of Gatorade that I had tucked into my backpack’s side pocket, politely mentioned that his voice was hoarse from speaking all day, and asked whether or not I’d be willing to part with it. Before I had a chance to think of anything to say, I noticed Wayne Coyne standing next to him. I shook off my fandom for a moment, and asked for quid pro quo: a selfie for the Gatorade. If I hadn’t been so star struck, I would have noticed Phantogram’s Sara Barthel standing behind me, and roped her into the photo as well. I say it was a pretty good deal.
Though the ski finals had been cancelled due to the inclement weather, the music kept going, and the fans kept (pardon the pun) soaking it in, proving to me that are in fact those music lover in Los Angeles who aren’t afraid of a little rain.
With any new festival in a new location, there will be growing pains. Yes, there were a couple of things that could have been better organized, and yes, sometimes mother nature will put a damper on things, but I only see this year’s Air+Style at the Rose Bowl as a precursor to better, and grander, Air+Style’s in the future.
We had to shoot and cover another concert in Santa Monica on Saturday, so we missed out on Portugal, the Man and Kendirck Lamar, but from what we’ve read, it doesn’t seemed like we missed much.
Below are the links to pages with our brief thoughts, photos and video clips of the artists that we were able to catch at Air+Style. Keep a tab on this page as it will be updated when the links go live.
Saturday, February 21st:
- Bad Things | Photos & Videos
- METZ | Photos & Video
- Phantogram | Photos, Setlist & Video
- The Black Lips | Photos & Video
- Diplo | Photos & Video
Sunday, February 22nd:
- Deap Vally | Photos & Video
- Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros | Photos & Video
- Cults | Photos, Setlist & Video
- The Flaming Lips | Photos, Setlist & Video
- Sleigh Bells | Photos & Videos
- Steve Aoki | Photos