SnowBall Music Festival 2012: Day 1 travelogue

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Britt Chester

SNOWBALL MUSIC FESTIVAL @ VAIL VALLEY | 3/2/12 (DAY 1)
It took about four bone-chilling minutes, starting at the opening of gates, to remind me of the frigid misery I signed up for again this year. Did I learn my lesson from last year in regard to snow boots, multiple layers, cash, and festival planning? No. I showed up again in skate shoes, but with really expensive socks, and traipsed around the festival from tent to tent, steadily soaking up the first days diverse music. And Snowball started off great.

Standing in line at the opening of the gates offered a great opportunity to mingle with some openers. I chatted it up with Boulder's Skywalkerr, a.k.a. James Burnell, for a bit, while FoCo's own Vinnie Maniscalco waited for his credentials (He'll be playing an after-party later this weekend). Arriving early to these events is a gamble, but I keep getting blown away by the opening acts that deserve much larger crowds -- Skywalkerr being one of those. His set in the Heat Hut brought the bodies and offered everyone a reason to start sweating early.

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Britt Chester
First fan through the doors.
I managed to be the first person through the gate, but I can't take credit as the first fan to enter the festival. I was on a mission to cover as much ground as possible starting at the with main stage with Bonfire Dub and the School of Rock. Young Avon soon-to-be musicians were on the stage, welcoming the crowd and blessing the grounds with a choral rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." One little lady impressed us all with hula-hoop skills whilst strumming her delicate violin.

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Britt Chester
I then made my way over to the Groove Tent where THiCK CHiCK was getting things going. As more people made their way in at the main entrance, the Groove Tent slowly filled with more bodies. One of the high points of this set was the accidental homage to the later headliner, Big Boi, with a heavy hitting, drummed out version of "The Whole World."

Helicopter Showdown, a mayhem-filled quartet of DJs in the Groove Tent, really brought the party with bass-bombed tracks like "Jump Around" and "Zombie Nation." Its funny when acts like these play during the day because its such a different vibe from shows they play at night.

I digress. Helicopter Showdown threw down hard, and the steam began to pour out of the tent.

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Britt Chester
Eminence Ensemble really brought the temp up at the Ballroom Stage, but to a crowd that didn't warrant the energy. The Ballroom stage was in a strange spot that almost was distracting given the location and sound coming from the main stage. Either way, EE carried the crowd and brought the tempos up and down with the enthusiasm. Don't sleep on these guys. They may be young, but they are making the right waves in the right lakes.

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Britt Chester
Gramatik, a.k.a. Denis Jarevesic, was one of my most anticipated acts of the day. For days he has been saying he will be debuting the new album, and with chilled excitement, I waited in the tent to hear where he is taking his music. He opened with some hits of Beatz and Pieces Volume 1, and after about three old tracks, he jumped right into the new stuff. Showing off his hip-hop background, the new sounds are equally as intriguing and give glimpse to the diverse catalog that he chooses to sample from.

I then made my way back over to MartyParty, who was just opening with a M.I.A. "Bad Girls" remix, forcing every female to gyrate as sexually as possible. Marty Folb is no stranger to heavy bass, and with side projects like PantyRaid, he uses it wisely and with precise timing. I've been able to see Folb on several occasions under several monikers, and though this wasn't my favorite set of his, it was very enjoyable to watch him grind his way through with bass-infused fervor.

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Britt Chester
I couldn't help but stand in awe as Diplo and the Major Lazer crew took the stage. Flanked by a couple hype guys and spandex-clad dancers (not go-go dancers) the dance-hall music came blaring out and the people came running from all over. This could've been because the emcee was screaming into the microphone ,"EVERYONE RUN TO THE STAGE" or it was the music. With upbeat versions of "Papi Chulo" and "Pon de Floor," Major Lazer pumped booty shaking hits into all of our ears, and it was quite warming.

I stood around as Big Boi came out and waited patiently for Rusko to bring real dubstep to the night. This was a cold decision, but ultimately a good one.

-- Britt Chester

Patrick Rodgers's take on Day 1 is on Page 2.



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