Uphoria Wrap-up: Uniquely Beautiful
There were several special touches that made Uphoria a uniquely beautiful event to be a part of. To start with the obvious, there were two gigantic silos smack dab in the center of the grounds setting the backdrop for the outdoor stage where projections were mapped all weekend. There were also little things like ground-lit pathways around the bathrooms and signs on the doors reminding you to look out for each other that really brought across the positivity the organizers strived to instill.
Not only did Uphoria have small details that brought across a sense of community but it was cozy and relaxing as well. They seemed to have thought of everything. Couches and overstuffed chairs that felt like they were plucked out of your living room were strewn about the barn so you could sit and enjoy the performances comfortably whenever tired. The art lounge adjacent to the barn hosted a hammock that provided some fun late night antics (remember twisting your friends up in a swing and letting them go as a kid? A new friend we met while relaxing in the lounge late one night asked us to do that to him and everyone involved instantly was transported back to age 11, laughing hysterically as he spun around in circles cackling away). I was also impressed by the quality and fit of all of the vendors. There was beautiful handmade clothing that went well beyond the tie dye bandana dresses and fitted hats you see at every festival. The visual artists were incredibly talented and provided a wonderful open gallery feeling allowing you to flow in and out of their tents admiring their pieces at free will all weekend. The vendors themselves were so welcoming (as they usually are) but there was a special atmosphere of hospitality amongst them rather than pushing merchandise – one glass vendor made my morning after the Psylab sunrise set on Saturday, gifting me a cup of steamy, aromatic lemony tea, who wouldn’t want a soothing cup of tea after dancing to the downtempo masterpiece of a Psylab sunrise set?
Highlights & New Sounds (for me)
- Blacklight Ruckus This young crew played during the day in the barn and brought energy that reminded me of the NERD ‘Rockstar’ music video from back in the day that took place in a high school gym. One member ran around with a megaphone during a cover of Of Montreal’s ‘Wraith Pinned to the Mist & Other Games’ while spectators kicked and volleyed beach balls and jumped and sung along with the songs, a fun and hyper set – perfect for the late afternoon to get you excited for the evening.
- Outlet This being my first time seeing Outlet, I had heard a lot of buzz and was interested to experience his performance. I was fortunate to view it from “Camp Uphoria,” a hill overlooking the festival where the band MUN was camping, giving me a sweeping overview of the whole grounds. The sunset in combination with Outlet’s funky disco-laced beats incorporating hip hop was a true party starter. For the first time that day the lawn looked alive with hoopers and people moving synchronously to sounds emitting from the outdoor stage. My favorite from the set was an awesome Justice – ‘Electric Feel’ and Notorious BIG combination, I recall a feeling of impending summer and overall elation as I grooved along from above.
- Higher Organix I’m fairly sure I ‘saw’ them at their own second annual Big Up, but unfortunately it was from a blanket while resting up for the night so I don’t recall much. This time was a whole different story. They played along off the energy of the crowd but they had us eating out of their hands, bringing us up and down with their own energy. Jensen’s drum playing varied from dnb style that was Dr. Fameus-esque but lightened up and supported more melodic flowy jams, topped off with an amazingly powerful drum solo and kickass version of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ that had the whole crowd wailing along.
- Binary BitsI ended up napping very late Friday night so I could wake up for the Psylab sunrise set Saturday morning but things were running a little behind so when I got down to the barn around 6AM Binary Bits was just starting to play. It turned out to be a sonically predestined mistake and I was blessed to hear the smoothest, funkiest beats with a layer of glitchiness and 8bit sprinkled in. It was like syrup pouring out of the speakers while Bits was bathed with light coming from the windows as the sun came up; easily my favorite set of the weekend. Check it out here (pardon the quality).
*Of course the homies Blue Boy Productions, Digital Dharma, Dopapod, Jeff Bujak, Laser Sex, Manhattan Project, Techncicolor Lenses and Zebbler Encanti Experience nailed their sets as well.
Keep your eyes peeled for interviews with Normal Instruments and Technicolor Lenses in the upcoming weeks. Thanks again to Crutopia and all of the artists for putting on such a wonderful event.
Check out this awesome recap video of the festival that Scofield Pro Video put together: