IMages By Andrew Jorgensen Insta: @jorgphoto / Curtis Castro

Fireworks, Snowball Fights & Trippy Beats in Winter Wonderland

By Curtis Castro

Each year in the days that follow Christmas, homely communities lining Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking sapphire shores start to brace themselves for a massive influx of humanity that will temporarily quadruple the area’s population during the week surrounding New Year’s Eve. Tahoe has recently cemented it’s position as the place to be for this special occasion with its cozy bars, sprawling casinos, world class ski resorts and newly remodeled dance clubs at one’s disposal. There are no shortages of activities to keep oneself busy, day or night.

For those of us with an affinity for the weirdness, individuality and sense of freedom that’s become synonymous with festival culture we’re left with an obvious choice-- the hip-hop and dance music heavy gathering aptly named SnowGlobe. This festival runs annually from Dec. 29-31 and having now completed its fifth year, it’s quickly earned an honorable reputation as one of the most unique and action packed NYE events in the West.

Past years have hosted the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Deadmau5, Bassnectar and Chromeo however this year’s bill blew its predecessors out of the water. With an eclectically curated lineup split among three stages and three days of bass induced temporary hearing loss a la the truly absurd sound systems it was hard not to have a great time-- as long as you remembered to layer up. It can get a lot colder than one might expect and no one wants to call it a night early because they forgot to pack an extra sweater. We’re talking about an outdoor festival in the snow, afterall.

The first day kicked off on a strong note with one of the best installations an electronic music festival can offer: a Dirtybird takeover. Graffiti Seed favorites Claude Vonstroke, Shiba San, J. Phlip and more threw down groovy deep and tech house all night in the Igloo tent for thousands of house heads in attendance. Meanwhile at the Main Stage, a hyped up totem wielding crowd bobbed and swayed to hard hitting trap tunes from NGHTMRE, preceding the spectacular pyrotechnical experience that is a Jack U show. Oakland’s beloved E-40, honorary CEO of the Bay-Area rap scene, closed out the night at the Sierra Stage.

Day 2 took favored the futuristic beats of Aussie Chet Faker (who threw down an astounding live show with his band) and 120 minutes of absolute madness via Alison Wonderland and Cashmere Cat’s unbeatable back to back DJ sets. Mainstage headliners Kaskade and Eric Prydz bought magic into the massive crowd of progressive house fans’ lives.

In the final hours of 2015 SnowGlobe organizers treated the dedicated masses, who had by then persevered through 2 days of freezing Sierra temperatures, with what was perhaps their best mainstage lineup to date. Performances in near succession from rising future bass star Louis Futon, underground hip-hop supergroup Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), globe-trotting snapchat superstar (who also makes dope tracks now and again) Dillon Francis and freshman Oakland rapper G-Eazy left just about everyone’s musical tastes satiated and gave little incentive to wander elsewhere. The honor of counting in the New Year was bestowed upon Australia’s own What So Not, formerly Emoh Instead, whose eagerly awaited Gemini EP release proved his mettle as one of dance music’s most talented and innovative producers.

When the clock struck 12 a sea of people erupted as groups of friends hugged one another, couples shared a meaningful new year’s kiss and a monolithic bouquet of fireworks careened into the clear mountain air above. SnowGlobe radiated with a sense of hope for the endless possibilities that 2016 may bring. So much change can occur in 366 days-- one’s finances,  jobs, relationships, etc-- but for those of us fortunate enough to be in South Lake Tahoe that night, we hope one thing that remains the same is where we choose to spend New Year’s Eve and who we choose to spend it with.