If you saw our preview of Wintersalt SF, you hopefully tried to find a way there because it was an absolute blast. The crowd was relatively young, ranging from 18 year olds to those in their 30s, perhaps 40s. But everyone seemed undeniably excited and happy to be there. This was not a festival that was full of people who attended to in order "to be seen" (think Coachella), but rather one where everyone was there for the music and to have a good time.
Throughout the duration of the night, patrons continuously flocked between the smaller, front stage and the main stage like clockwork. The short walk was lined by a beer garden, live art, and various sponsored booths with anything from giant, inflatable dice to a free photobooth. And if you dared to exit the side doors into the brisk San Francisco weather, you were rewarded by tasty food trucks and a beautiful, moon-lit view of the bay.
Friday warmed up with Ototoxik, Aaron Axelsen, Andy P, K Theory, and Robot DeNiro, who provided entertainment as the festival goers trickled in. By the time K Theory performed, everyone was ready to party. But it was Paper Diamond who really kicked things off, as he spun as a successful transition from the early evening into a reckless night. His stage presence was extremely strong with heavy bass, glitch, and trap - a mix of his own original tracks as well as remixes - including Diplo's remix of "Sweet Nothing".
Charity Strike, Panic City, and Revolvr played out the front stage while the main stage continued on with Dillon Francis. Francis paid homage to the hyphy movement of Northern California by playing an abundance of bay music including Too $hort's "Blow the Whistle," which was a big crowd pleaser. Then, "Masta Blasta" sealed off his undoubtedly entertaining, yet not exceptionally progressive set.
Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike were up next, and by then - the main stage was packed. Their set was energetic and deafingly loud; So loud that you could feel the thundering power of the legendary Barker throughout your entire body as he slammed into his drumset. Truly unreal.
The duo created their own reinditions of rap, like Juicy J's "Bands A Make Her Dance" and 2 Chainz "Birthday Song," and drew from Barker's album Give The Drummer Some. The music of the Beastie Boys also played a heavy influence in the set, seeing as Mix Master Mike worked closely with them in the past as well as present.
Zedd was the last to grace the stage of Day 1 of Wintersalt, and he did not disappoint. Check out his amazing opening in the following video that gives me chills everytime.
Saturday's crowd was a mix of those who were familiar with the venue from the previous night, and plenty of new faces who had bought a single night ticket. EshOne, The Schmidt, Richie Panic + Sleazemore, Team No Sleep, Viceroy, and Goldenchyld dominated the front stage from the start to finish of the night.
Meanwhile, the main stage opened with No Shirt/No Shoes DJs who played the latest and greatest trap. Following up was K.Flay and then St. Lucia who each garnered passionate, decently sized crowds. Theophilus London was next and ran the stage just like Paper Diamond did the night before; A personal highlight of his set was hearing his track "Big Spender" live.
DJ Shadow came out strong with his "future shit", and this time it was receieved well. Notable moments were when he dropped his track "Organ Donor" and when he brought out rappers Lateef the Truthspeaker and Lyrics Born.
Lastly, to close Wintersalt as a whole, was Diplo. If you've ever seen him live, you know you can expect tons of girls on stage, crowdsurfing, and overall madness. No matter how many times you've heard it, Flosstradamus' remix of "Original Don" never fails to disappoint - check out how nuts it got in this video:
Other things I noticed?
More live drums in sets. Robot DeNiro, K.Flay, St. Lucia, Theophilus London, and obviously Travis Barker all had an emphasis on drummers. What was once tucked in the background is now becoming increasingly prominent in live performances, and it's about time.
Nonsensical tour riders actually being filled. Zedd had a lifesize Justin Bieber cutout, and Diplo's artist area was complete with a framed photo of the man himself, as well as a vintage NES. Who knew that these things actually got accomplished?
DJ fandom becoming even bigger. People were toting around huge cutouts of DJ faces and there was a twerk wall soley designated for expressing ourselves.
Fashion being on point. Theophilus London had the look, as well as some outfit changes, and Dillon Francis sported a Ham On Everything INTERNET snapback.
As you can see, Wintersalt was a massive success, filled with shenanigans and endless fun. Huge thanks to Eye Heart SF for putting on an outstanding event from start to finish! Until next year, San Francisco.