Written by Sarah Woolley, a.k.a DJ Fizzi Pop
From March 10-11, 2018, Downtown Santa Cruz experienced the whirlwind that is Santa Cruz Music Festival, featuring 200+ artists of musical and visual talent. A unique part about this festival is that most of the artists featured are fellow Santa Cruzians taking over dance floors located at popular hotspots such as Motiv, the Blue Lagoon, and even San Lorenzo Park!
There were three kinds of passes you could receive for the festival: one-day passes for either Saturday or Sunday, a Local’s Pass which is 21+ and grants access to all the bars and restaurant venues where the local artists played, and a Full-Experience pass, which granted you access to the recently-added Civic Auditorium. Considering all the headliners were playing there, I spent a lot of time in that venue.
Overall, the event was fun and had many different choices of venue and music taste. It’s not what you expect of your average music festival in an open field with monstrous stage builds and camping opportunities, but the downtown feel of it all made it very urban and immersed. It was pretty cool seeing my favorite record store (Streetlight) turn into a concert where I could shop for vinyl while jamming to live music. Justin Jay’s Fantastic Voyage even held a free concert in San Lorenzo Park, where everyone in the city was able to attend without needing a pass!
On Saturday, I had the pleasure of getting to watch Ghostface Killah’s 45 minute solo set, which was followed by the inspiring 20-year old electronic musician, K?D. He played some of my favorite tracks from him, such as “Fourth Impact”, his infamous collaboration with Rezz.
The visual artistry and laser lights ranked up the performances by a million, considering the Civic Auditorium has a high school gym feel to it. The lightshow definitely added a more entertainingly aesthetic feel to the whole vibe of the night.
Sunday was a much more enjoyable day to explore the other aspects of the festival, giving the atmosphere bit of sun following Saturday’s all-day rain shower. The headliners that day included CharlestheFirst, another young DJ from Tahoe whose alt-psychedelia electronic tunes put most people in the crowd in a musical trance. On the lineup also included Santa Cruz local Oliver Tree, a 24 year-old rapper whose fashionable Dixie cup jumpsuit stole the show along with his Soundcloud hits such as “Alien Boy”.
Following him was a notable choice of female DJs including French producer CloZee whose heavily-world influenced electronic vibes had a great musical flow; and Mija, a small green-haired girl with a vicious talent for mixing house, rock ‘n’ roll, trance, and other musical elements into a smashing DJ set. To close out the festival was Mr.Carmack, whose famous trap remixes got the crowd to get down as hard as they could for the last set of the night.
This year’s SCMF had blown last year’s out of the water, with better organized venues, a good highlight of local artists, and an equal mix of every genre you could imagine for young and old alike.