DJ Fizzi Pop
It was a musical artist invasion! From October 19-20, Downtown Santa Cruz was taken over by Santa Cruz Music Festival, with artists from all electronic subgenres coming together to celebrate the festivities that occured that weekend. Whether you traveled from out of the country or live across the street from the Catalyst Club, the festival welcomed people of all types, opening up venues like Rosie McCann’s, San Lorenzo Park, and the Civic Auditorium.
Available passes to the festival included General Admission (Full Experience) with access to exclusive venues like the Civic and the Catalyst, a local’s pass that granted access to all the other venues and bars hosting musical and comedy acts, single day passes, and VIP which included afterparty access each night, as well as free drinks at the San Lorenzo Park takeover.
Over the past few years SCMF has occurred their organization has improved massively – with a large selection of venues and vendors all within walking distance, the opportunity to find new artists was all around us. I spent lots of time in San Lorenzo Park, which featured the Bounce Car (a giant disco ball-clad renovated bus with a DJ platform). I got to catch sets form house favorites like Christian Martin and Lubelski, who greeted the sunset of both days. The park also was decorated with many cannabis, clothing, and food vendors from all over the state handing out tons of goodies, coupons, and handmade products.
Staple venues like the Catalyst and the Civic Center held headliner sets that blew audiences out of the water, including The Funk Hunter’s groovy upbeat set, Shlump’s deep and dark sounds, Zeke Beat’s old-school scratching mixed with neo-electronic tunes, and Santa Cruz local Minnesota’s mix of some classics and some new tracks.
Some staple sets that occurred at smaller venues really is what made the weekend special. The Lost & Found takeover at Rosie McCann’s featured all up-and-coming young artists in the area, along with some festival staples like Pushloop and Prophet, playing mostly bass music and mixing it with other genres. An unlikely venue, it was packed all day both days but provided plenty of room to dance and socialize.
Other venues like Motiv held sets of all different genres but kept the club-vibe alive, Pono Hawaiian Grill with the jazz and comedy sets for a nice breather from the electronic music, as well as Streetlight Records featuring live bands.
Overall, I give Santa Cruz Music Festival a 7/10. Their whole setup has improved massively over the years, with organization, music selection, and vendor variety. However, many of the venues were open to the public who didn’t pay to enter the festival, which definitely let the community immerse in the festival but felt unfair to those who bought wristbands to enter these venues. However, it was a fun and interesting experience having an entire music festival right in my home, and I believe SCMF has a great opportunity to bring people all over the world to Santa Cruz and mix with the locals, students, and everyone in between – unifying under the power of music.
Greeting you as you entered San Lorenzo park on Saturday of the 19th, were rows of small natural businesses, with a meditating area, photo booth, and a seating area leading to the great MainStage. Elevated on a bright and colorful platform, we had our DJ for the remainder of the park’s opening. DJ Technodad, who proudly had his family and others enjoying themselves around him on the platform. Below him was a decently spread out crowd of people, on their own or with friends simply, vibing as they say. While DJ Technodad’s style was mostly based on your typical electronic-rave tunes, he did catch me by surprise when he began mixing in various rap samples. In a moment where I wasn’t sure I could get along with what he was playing, I ended up finding myself grooving alongside the other bodies on the floor. The people around me were swaying leisurely, but switched their energy up with every beat drop DJ Technodad threw in there. The contentment was palpable.
As the park was closing down and the crowd was dispersing into different parts of town to catch other music acts, I found myself heading to one of the VIP lounges that SCMF greatly provided us with. Inside the lounges you had access to food and beverages, perfect for recuperating after hours of dancing. There were areas where you could sit down, converse and rest at your desire. The hospitality that SCMF provided was immensely appreciated, especially in the midst of such a large music festival. The pleasure was feasible, from beginning to end.