Pacific Festival OC: Review

Posted by on August 15, 2011

Let me start off by saying, if you haven’t attended a music festival yet, now is the time. Trust me, you don’t want to end up being that parent who lies about going to Woodstock because he or she doesn’t want to seem like an un-hip reject from his or her generation. And you know what? That’s exactly what these events are – our generation’s answer to Woodstock with a few production improvements thrown in the mix.

Some of you stragglers might find these shows intimidating. Not everyone is a die hard music buff nor do they fit the typical bill of an attendee but the beauty is, that doesn’t matter. Treat it like a night out to a club or bar with an act you may know well or not know at all. Everyone is there for one reason, to have fun, not to judge you. Sure, that $75+ ticket is a hefty price to pay for a day of fun, but in the grand scheme of things that money will be inconsequential. The memories, however, will last you a lifetime.

Pacific Festival is the perfect starter event for a weary concert go-er and with a lineup of over 50 artists, encouraging seasoned festival lovers to attend goes without saying. All the little details added up made this a top notch event for me. When I don’t have to wait in a long will call line and when it doesn’t take me an hour to leave the parking lot despite staying till the last breath of Cut Copy, I know the folks behind the scenes are doing something right. The gourmet food trucks, varying sizes and styles of stages, and the beautiful scenery were all things I took note of as well. Added up, these factors made it seem as though I had arrived at a “destination” not just some arbitrary cost-effective venue.

Before diving into the performances, I’d like to give Rebecca, Holly, and the rest of the Pacific Festival crew a special thanks for fueling our generation’s love for music by making this all possible. Click MORE to hear the nitty gritty details of the event (including the only controversy which got Steve Aoki kicked out and placed at the mercy of the general admissions crowd)

Enough with the minor details, I know you’re craving the real meat. Unfortunately I only caught the tail end of the day’s lineup. The acts I saw (or experienced rather) included: Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Fred Falke, Bag Raiders, Ghostland Observatory, Snoop Dogg, and Cut Copy.

When I showed up Calvin Harris was already in the booth behind what looked to be around 2000 people. As I approached the stage, I couldn’t help but notice the sense of togetherness amongst the crowd. It acted as one massively alluring beast under the whip of Calvin’s finger. Time and time again, as the beat built, so did the energy, until it culminated into a climactic drop that sent the crowd into synchronized jumping. Who would have thought so many white people could maintain such perfect rhythm? Clearly, the music hypnotized its listeners, placing them into a unified trance. As I touched upon above, the beauty of these proverbial trances is that they don’t discriminate. With a little faith, anyone can experience this state regardless of his or her appreciation for the artist or music. Which brings me back full circle, if you haven’t taken that leap of faith by hitting an all day music experience, now is the time.

Steve Aoki’s set ran similarly – the major difference being that his evening time slot allowed the lights to work more of their magic. As the major funder behind our Tiesto shows, I can tell you that production bears almost equal importance as the artists set. Renting the equipment (lights) for these major DJ’s can be more expensive than booking some of the B-list performers out there. Yes, I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars. As such, I paid close attention to the lights and noted how they were successful in maintaining everyone’s energy levels, which, mind you, is a feat considering some people stand in the same spot all day.

To be honest, my favorite performer was Fred Falke. Yes, I said it, don’t chastise me, I’m aware that his reputation is nowhere near the level of the other artists but perhaps that’s what intrigued me. I’ve been a Fred Falke fan since the beginning of this website. If you haven’t done so, give some of his remixes an ear – they’ll make you dance. His venue and low profile allowed for a much more intimate experience. Whereas the other spots were armed by at least ten security officials, Falke “bravely” spun behind about two guards (one of which was a small female who I caught dancing with the fans). As expected, people couldn’t deny his dance remixes and with the aid of a few props and lights, Falke had his crowd going buck-wild. However, this wasn’t the sticking point for me. Unlike the other DJ’s who turn knobs while bobbing their heads and occasionally jumping around, Falke demonstrated his musical talents by playing his electric guitar on top of the remix he threw on deck. It was a stellar performance that’ll be forever ingrained in my memories of Pacific Festival.

Another highlight was Snoop Dogg’s performance, for better or for worse. Unfortunately the high profile artist demanded that everyone (including STEVE AOKI) be escorted out of the backstage of the venue. That’s right, Aoki – whose label was responsible for the event – found himself wearing his artist pass amongst excited fans. Fortunately, despite his lack of security, he was able to safely mingle among the outskirts of the crowd.

When all was said and done, this delayed the event by a full hour. Incredibly, the OG immediately regained the agitated crowds favor as he started rattling off the lyrics to his classic songs (displayed on his hidden teleprompter at the front of the stage HAH). To be quite frank, Snoop and co were the only Hip Hop moguls around, yet, this crowd of EDM enthusiasts enjoyed the music like true fans. This further solidifies my point that it doesn’t matter who or what genre is playing, as long as it’s dance music, people will enjoy the experience.

Cut Copy concluded the event with a bang. Unlike the previous main stage acts, they were true performers with an array of instruments to go along with their vocals. Having spent my freshman year with “In Ghost Colours” on repeat (thanks to Mikey at, this was quite a treat. To be honest, I never thought I’d get the opportunity to see these Aussies live and if I had to guess, several of the fans probably had similar sentiments. It wasn’t Calvin Harris, it wasn’t Steve Aoki, it wasn’t Bag Raiders (who incidentally were filthy too), and it wasn’t Snoop that compelled me to make the 3 hours commute, it was Cut Copy. Pacific did an excellent job with their lineup – Cut Copy was the perfect concluding act with their mixture of danceable songs, rarity, and performance value.

To conclude this review, if you couldn’t tell, I highly recommend that you consider any of Pacific Festivals upcoming events. If I felt otherwise, I wouldn’t be scared to speak my mind; after all, we’ve built this blog off of “real” reviews of music. As the loyal captain of the FNT fleet, I’d only steer you in the right direction. While the two or three day gigs are insanely fun, oftentimes, these one shot deals are your best bet.

And here’s a few more pics for good measure…

Bag Raiders

Cut Copy

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