It was last weekend in the arid hills of Mountain View that the I Love This City Music Festival – perhaps better dubbed I Love This Suburb after the venue change from the AT&T Lot to the local Shoreline Amphitheater – took place. Surprisingly enough, despite the countless organizational blunders, the festival managed to deliver a fantastic experience to the thousands who attended.
The outlook was not so good. Only three weeks before the event was scheduled, the organizers announced the change of location, the lowering of the age limit to 16-plus and, most surprisingly, that the two-day passes were now $50 cheaper than when people originally bought them. As compensation, early ticket-buyers got access to priority seating. Fair enough.
Of course, these announcements lead to many claiming reimbursements or threatening LiveNation and Skills – the producers of the festival – with lawsuits. The tension on the Facebook page was palpable. However, on the first day of the event, 25,000 people still showed up.
Over 40 artists performed on the three different stages, but for fans of something other than hardcore dubstep, the main stage was the place to be.
After queuing up for over 45 minutes to get into the reserved seating area in front of the main stage, paying 10 dollars for a hotdog and being informed that we would not be able to leave the reserved area – even for bathroom breaks – unless we were willing to give up our spot on the fifth row right in front of the stage, we were ready for the night to start.
NERVO, the bubbling Australian twin sisters, was the first act we were able to catch, closely followed by a somewhat tired-looking Claude VonStroke, whose bass made everyone’s ears ring and chests vibrate disturbingly.
The problem was that his set went on and on, way past Chuckie’s scheduled appearance time. As the crowd began to get impatient and VonStroke slowly ran out of songs to play, word started spreading that Chuckie had missed his flight from Las Vegas.
It was thus a disappointed audience that welcomed Steve Aoki onstage right before sunset. Luckily enough, Aoki’s showmanship, cake-throwing and crowd-surfing rubber boat managed to revive the atmosphere right in time for Duck Sauce’s appearance. Everyone in the audience was happily jumping to the sound of “Barbra Streisand,” wearing plastic duck noses tossed out by stagehands just before the show.
Sebastian Ingrosso was next. Ingrosso, a third of Swedish House Mafia, started his set with the brand-new song “Greyhound” and finished with what has now become an EDM anthem, “Save The World,” which was sung in harmony by all 15,000 people present at the main stage. In the meantime, he managed to set fire to the audience with his pumping beats and laser show. Ingrosso’s mix was unequivocally the best performance of the festival and left the amphitheater in a state of buzzing happiness all through Afrojack’s set and until the doors opened on Saturday.
Unfortunately, due to the fire marshals having to intervene to shut off the already overfilled seating area early on Saturday, I was a little irritated that we entered the amphitheater with just enough time to see Madeon perform his two most famous songs. The young Frenchman was overflowing with energy – an energy that he managed to transmit to the audience before giving over the decks to Laidback Luke, who was followed by Tiësto.
David Guetta then opened his performance with a remixed version of “Titanium,” to which everyone sang along. As Guetta lowered the volume of the music to hear the audience sing, one could not help but to get goosebumps from the sense of unity that all the performers had managed to create. This was even more accentuated as Guetta finished with “Without You,” during which the entire crowd held on to each other, swaying back and forth, before jumping as Guetta dropped the bass for the last time of the weekend.
In the car back to campus, despite the irritation that the production company created, we could not help but smile at those two days we spent in Mountain View, feeling like a part of something greater.