by DJ Fizzi Pop
On June 20th-24th of 2019, Stilldream Festival took over the Blue Mountain Event Center for the annual musical and artistic gathering that kicks off the summer.
As a tucked away, mountainous location, about 2 hours away from Santa Cruz, Blue Mountain Event Center is ideal for events like Stilldream Festival. There is shade for camping everywhere (if you’re lucky you can snag a spot right next to the river that runs through the venue), plenty of hidden waterfalls and trails on the property, and the campsites are all in close proximity to the stages. This came in handy for late nights because, after dancing so hard, it’s a chore to walk back to your campsite. Unlike some other festivals, with its smaller setup, Stilldream had a tight-knit communal feeling to it that made it easy to make friends and comfortably experience all the festival had to offer.
Stilldream is unique in that it includes many other artistic outlets than just music. There were live painters scattered across the entire grounds, some painting on larger-than-life canvases throughout the whole weekend. There were also workshops of many kinds that all attendees could experience, including Poi Flow 1, How To Beatbox, Sound Healing, and more. One specific workshop I attended was Harm Reduction 101, held by Paige Rosenberg, the creator of the organization Wormhole Cares. Her goal is to spread awareness and education of substance abuse, as well as focus on consent and turning all festivals and shows into safe spaces. These workshops added a whole new aspect of education for attendees to take into the outside world after the festival.
The first night of music featured artists such as Secret Recipe, Kowta, Partywave, Pushloop, and Downlink on the main stage. They brought a whole night of immersive electronic tunes that had a fluctuating pattern of groovy, experimental, hard dubstep, and some hip-hop elements scattered throughout the performances. This kept the “first-night energy” pumping, as people got comfortable with the setting and felt immersed in the groove to dance and socialize.
The second stage, throughout the first night, brought more alternative genres that the main stage did not carry, such as psytrance and house music. This stage also held a lot of up-and-coming and alternative artists, which gave me the pleasure of discovering new tunes. The second stage included sets by Gamma (the creator of Stilldream), Ediket (who I missed at Emissions), the Duchess (a drum and bass female DJ that killed her set), and Santa Cruz local Mike Jones, who represented our town well.
The female producer, A Hundred Drums, shook up the second night of music with her elements of deep dubstep and experimental bass. Her composure was completely immersed in her set and brought the house down. I was impressed with her flow of mixing and her upkeep of rhythm.
Following A Hundred Drums, was the ultimate takeover from the Lost Dogz. Lost Dogz is a compilation of Untitld, Ableation, Sumthin Sumthin, Eazybaked, Vide, Sketchy Ppl, and Cambot. These are all young, aspiring producers that are constantly creating new content and are taking over the bass music world by storm. They promote family through music and the experimentation of sound in all their beats. It is inspiring to see young artists like this create an impact in the ever-changing genre of electronic music.
Night three brought out the creative artists that do the most with their music. My personal favorites included the headliners of the night. Ahee danced with the crowd to his tracks, Mt Analogue rapped poetry over his funky beats, and Toadface brought the high energy bass. To close the night was Yheti, whose sets I claim are not to miss. His famed 3 hour sunrise set was interrupted by a speaker system blowout, but the impressive efficiency and dedication of the sound engineers at the festival repaired it within an hour. After the blowout was fixed, Yheti played 2 more hours than planned, for an early morning blissful sunrise set. A real treat was, for the last festival goers standing at around 6 am, a Yheti and Lost Dogz collaboration. This combination of experimental bass was fun and almost overwhelming for a sleepy electronic music nerd like me.
Overall, I give Stilldream festival a whopping 9/10. The setup, kindness, and organization of the community was appreciated, as well as the choice of music brought to the table. See you next year, Stilldream Festival!
DJ Fizzi Pop’s show Soundwave Sanctuary airs only on KZSC Santa Cruz 88.1 FM.
You can check out other interviews and festival coverage by DJ Fizzi Pop here: https://www.kzsc.org/?s=dj+fizzi+pop
Stilldream Website: https://stilldreamfestival.com/