Sunset Music Festival came and went in what seemed like a flash, but to this writer, this past weekend will be remembered as the highlight of his 2016 music-festival-attending year, or so far at least. Theres just something special about smaller music festivals, rather than the multi-staged behemoths of production and this festival was no exception. The three stages made it easy to pick where to be at and which artist to see, the lines to get in took no time at all, the walks between stages were short, and finding friends was relatively pain free. Not to take away from big name festivals like EDC Las Vegas, the smaller size of this production somehow made the festival experience seem more intimate and memorable.
We decided that to go off the beaten path to explore the best sounds SMF had to offer away from the main stage. Here’s what our team picked as their top set off the beaten path.
1Scott – Zomboy
As a huge fan of Skrillex it’s only natural that I would be a fan of Zomboy, as they are like 2 sides of the same coin. They both play each other’s tracks all the time and both offer rip roaring energy. While I’ve seen Skrillex around 8 times, I’ve never been able to see Zomboy before so the expectations were sky high and Zomboy delivered 110%. Firstly he opened with 2016’s sleeper anthem “Like a Bitch“, which is his track. Seriously, that track has been dropped in every set by a trap/dubstep/bass house DJ since March. I probably heard it about 6 times that day, but hearing it from the creator in its full anthemic version was something else. And the energy was relentless from beginning to end, putting everybody into that kind of headbanging zombie mode you might see at a Bassnectar show. Fans new and old were mesmerized by the show and if you went to Jack U wishing you had just seen Skrillex by himself instead, you should have been at Zomboy because he was even better than that.
2Zoltan – Sam Feldt
The most memorable of performances for this writers, however, has to be the closing set performed by non other than Deep House legend, Sam Feldt. Those of us who were there that night, and chose to see this man perform over the mainstage headliner Jack U, can attest to the beauty of his performance. Walking over to the stage, the sounds of EDX’s Ibiza Sunrise Remix of Robin Schulz’s Sugar instantly caught this writer’s ear and hooked his attention. Just as the vaporous scent extending from the freshly baked pie sitting atop a kitchen windowsill pictured in those old cartoons, the melodic deep rhythm of Sam Feldt’s music hooked me by the ear and lured me in for the rest of the night. And best of all, even those of us with ZERO shuffling skills had a blast dancing the night away.
3Joey – Blunts & Blondes
Day 2 blindsided everyone; with a killer lineup that started right when the doors opened. The Eclipse stage by far took the day with a plethora of banger sets by Party Favor, Bro Safari, Snails, Zomboy, and Borgore. That eclipse stage started rocking at 2pm with Tampa native Blunts & Blondes for his debut festival set. I had never seen him before, but now I’m confident we’ll all be hearing this name again soon in the future. The vibes were out of control as SMF went rain free for the first time in 2 years! As we recover from this hell of a weekend, just know that SMF is going to come back even larger. Hope to see you there next year!