In its third year since Air + Style first opened its event gates to Angelinos in 2015, the festival fusing both music and snowboarding culture has returned with a diverse set of musicians and with even more snowboarders catching air. Shaun White’s scheme of bringing the Austrian-originating concert and air competition to Los Angeles is still a fairly new concept to many fans here, but after witnessing this year’s setup and performances (with headliners like Major Lazer, Chromeo and Atmosphere), Air + Style’s admission into the mainstream radar for must-see acts is a sure and certain thing.
Two stages and a 16-story snow coated ramp occupied the characteristically open grounds of L.A.’s Exposition Park. Located next to University of Southern California, the festival attracted a demographic of music fans, college kids and snowboarding fans. Both Day 1 and Day 2 consisted of a mix of genres, including psychedelic pop five-piece band Maybird, who opened the festival, and independent acts like electronic infused R&B duo RKCB. Split up between the Summer and Winter Stages, each act was able to present a flavor of their own, with the Shelters, for instance, bringing along their heartland and bluesy rock-and-roll vibes to the Winter stage, and the Summer stage seeing Jean-Philip Grobler of the Shelter’s buoyantly dancing against the setting sun.
As with most festivals, there’s always something for festivalgoers to do in between acts and in Air + Style, boarding was, of course, one of them. Day 1 held practice runs for the athletes before hosting two qualification runs, by the end of which had Yuki Kadono from Japan leading the ranks. Those wanting to try out some snowboarding on their own could head down to the booth held by Big Bear Mountain Resort and Mammoth Mountain, where a significantly smaller ramp was available for practicing (though after a certain time, they opened it exclusively for children). With places to jam out in the School of Rock booth, or create your own artistic designs by La Cucaracha press, the entertainment at Air + Style was there to cater to all tastes.
While the crowds appeared somewhat scattered during the first hours of Day 1, their numbers were noticeably growing until these scattered groups of eccentrically dressed hipsters, rockers, EDM fanatics became a mass of one standing before the stages to wait for the headliners hip-hop legend Atmosphere, electronic funk group Chromeo and the climax of the night Flume, whose entire DJ set, featuring fan favorite remixes “Tennis” and “You & Me,” played out like a neon dream of abstract rectangular forms and fog.
Day 2 of Air + Style kicked off with a stacked mix genre lineup of electronic, hip-hop and rock music that included XYLO, TV on the Radio, Louis the Child, Powers, Marian Hill, ZHU, YG and Major Lazer with set times staggered throughout the day to allow fans a chance to catch all their favorite acts with minimal scheduling conflicts.
Within the festival grounds were various food vendors including festival favorites Spicy Pie and Shake Shack as well as 21+ areas for alcoholic beverages, which mainly consisted of Coors who was the festival beer sponsor. Stand out performances included TV on the Radio who performed their hits "Happy Idiot" and "Wolf Like Me" as the sun set down on Expo park. Chicago duo, Louis the Child, attracted a massive crowd of EDM fans to their set, which was filled with their original remixes such as “Oh Wonder - Body Gold,” and hit singles, "Weekend" and "Fire."
Major Lazer closed out the final night of the festival with a high-energy performance that fired up the crowd as it started to rain during the final hours of the festival. A little rain didn't deter this crowd as most fans toughed it out, and stayed through the end of the festival to hear the hits songs "Cold Water" and "Lean on."
Text by Jackie Bettelli and Rosario Diaz | Photos by Rosario Diaz
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.