Sunset Music Festival 2017 Brings The Heat

Photo by aLive

For the past six years, on Memorial Day weekend, Tampa has become the home to Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium. Each year they bring a stacked lineup and this year was no different with Above & Beyond, Major Lazer, RL Grime and Zeds Dead headlining the festival. I’ve had a few friends attend the festival in previous years and they only had positive things to say. Needless to say with those rave reviews, I was really excited to see what was in store.

Photo by aLive

Photo by aLive

I was initially worried that it would take us a while to get to the festival, however I got there in under 20 minutes and into the festival in five minutes. The wristband for the festival was also my wallet, which I thought was pretty neat. I didn’t have worry about having cash. They had multiple top up counters where you could put money on your wristband.

I walked over to main stage to watch k?d. I’ve been a huge fan of his music for a while, he only recently started playing festivals so it was admirable seeing him play main stage. The highlight of k?d’s set was that he showcased his music and wasn’t afraid to play his glitchy, dark tunes. The crowd was bumping to his tracks ‘Somewhere Far Away From Here’, ‘Fourth Impact’ and ‘Vindicta’. After his set we explored the festival grounds. They weren’t as expansive as I had envisioned but they made for a quick commute between stages.

Wax Motif graced the Horizon Stage with his bassy, house beats. A mini-dust storm was created by festival-goers as they shuffled and danced. I did start to notice some sound bleed from the Eclipse Stage, which had a trap artist playing.

If you were looking for a snack and some hydration you were able to find stands between the Eclipse and Horizon stages. They also had two free water stands within 100 meters of each stage. Good job with that one SMF! Various food trucks were also parked nearby and they had a decent selection at an affordable price. I was pretty impressed with the variety available, however the food was pretty average.

It was my first time seeing San Holo and boy did he bring the future bass. His set was filled with his feel good tracks such as ‘Light’, ‘We Rise’, ‘Fly’ and his remix of ‘Double Oreo’ to name a few. The stage definitely started to fill up as his set went on and it was quite a scene watching everyone swaying to his music.

Photo by aLIVE

Photo by aLive

As San Holo wrapped up, the production team came out and started setting up for G Jones. In my opinion, G Jones had the best set of the weekend. For starters, it was one of the filthiest sets I’d seen in awhile. He opened with ‘Mind Tricks’ which instantly got the crowd headbanging. He’s a favorite among bassheads and it’s no surprise why. His set consisted of acid bass tracks that were mind boggling. He dropped ‘Underground’ his latest track with Bassnectar, ‘MF’ his track with Bleep Bloop, ‘Lavender Town’, and ‘Helix’.

I took a break under the cooling tents before making my way to the main stage for RL Grime. He opened his set with ‘Reims’ which had the crowd losing their mind. While his set predominately featured current hip-hop tracks like ‘Loyalty’, ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Mask Off’  he also played a few DnB tracks which took me by surprise. The highlight for me was when he mixed ‘Raise Your Weapon’ with ‘Scylla’, only he could pull that off gracefully.

Photo by aLIVE

Photo by aLIVE

I started the day a little later on Sunday as it was hot out. I made it in time for Crywolf’s live set, which was spectacular.

Bleep Bloop took on the Eclipse Stage later that evening. Not only was his live mixing exceptional but also his innovate drops made his set stand out. His set was not really bound to a single genre with him playing grime, glitch and even techno. If there is one act you should catch this summer it would be this guy right here.

I decided to check out Spag Heddy, his set was riddim and dubstep heavy, playing tracks like ‘Super Lager’, ‘Jefe’, ‘Elbows’ to name a few. I started headbanging and to my dismay I dropped my glasses and stepped on them during his set. Note to self and readers, don’t wear glasses while headbanging.

Photo by aLIVE

Photo by aLIVE

The set I was looking forward to on Sunday was Zeds Dead and they did not disappoint. I have seen them a few times now but this was probably one of the best sets I had ever seen. In an hour they managed to play most of their tracks while still playing mainstream hip-hop. The crowd was jumping, headbanging and jamming out. Their visuals complemented their tracks really well. They even had a scene from Dragonball-Z when they dropped ‘Collapse’ which was pretty absurd, but it worked.

Overall, Sunset Music Festival was quite successful. The organizers did a great job at making sure that festival goers had a safe and fun time by handing out water bottles, hand fans and hats. The diverse lineup was the main attraction though. They brought in some up and coming artists that definitely caught the ears of the festival goers. It’s easy to see why this festival is a favorite of Sunshine State.

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Snehal Yarlagadda

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