Headstash's WHAT THE FESTIVAL?! 2012 Review Guide
- By Josh McHale
- Published on August 08, 2012
The weather at What The Festival?! was scorching. Temperatures remained in the high 80s to low 90s all weekend. Evenings cooled down after sunset, but it was never terribly cold. Clear skies and the hot desert sun left everyone leaving the festival a lot darker than when they arrived. Luckily, there was water to play in and cool off.
The vibes at WTF?! were simply divine within the stunning landscape of the White River Canyon. One of the best things of the event was its size. With just more than 3,000 people, it was an intimate setting with plenty of space to camp and play.
There was a swimming hole, slip-and-slide, hookah lounge and incredible art installations everywhere. There were even Teepees on site that special guests were invited to rent out for the weekend – fully furnished with queen-sized beds, dressers and electricity.
Organizers spared no expense making sure WTF?! was a truly unique and luxurious experience. This inaugural West Coast event has set a high standard for the future. It was as if Burning Man morphed into a smaller event in the grass-laden desert canyon.
Water works. The wading pool surpassed everyone's expectations. From this point forward, the quality of any festival should be judged on whether or not there will be a pool party. In the hot sun, the pool was the perfect place to spend the afternoon.
Folks had to drag themselves away from the water to catch the afternoon sets. The area was filled with half-naked bodies floating around on loungers, sipping beverages and soaking each other with squirt guns.
It was like Spring Break in Cabo (but an insanely better time with immensely better music). Anyone not spending a little time poolside was missing the finer moments of the weekend.
|Photo Credit: David Durkin|
Funktion-One sound. The sound quality at WTF?! was incredible. The Funktion-One sound system definitely lived up to its reputation and the grounds
were littered with them.
The Effin’ Stage didn't just have an amazing arcing canopy jutting out into the desert sky – the sound system jiggled your insides until your heart skipped a beat. Those systems have the highest highs, the lowest lows and everything in between.
Friday highlights. Friday's lineup was filled with bass-heavy performances that set
the tone for the rest of the weekend. DJ Shawna and Zoe Jakes (Beats Antique), who make up Pussy Monster, played an eclectic set including their popular remix of “My Dick,” by Mickey Avalon that includes a raunchy dance performance with men in banana hammocks.
The rest of the night kept getting heavier with notable sets from ill-Esha, Gladkill and Minnesota. Beats Antique closed down the Main Stage with one of their most high-energy performances of the summer.
Saturday highlights. Saturday night was by far the most memorable of the weekend. GRiZ played a womp-tastic set on the Effin’ Stage as the sun finally surrendered to a cooler evening.
|Photo Credit: David Durkin|
However, it was back at the Effin’ Stage where the real party continued for the rest of the night. EPROM, Ana Sia, Sepacure and SCUBA all played back-to-back amazing performances that left everyone's legs and organs a wobbly mess.
Sunday highlights. Sunday shifted gears into a downtempo evening. Gold Panda,
Emancipator and Bonobo all played sets that centered the audience after a run-and-gun weekend of heavier electronica. Doug Appling (Emancipator) has an incredible gift of producing silky, meditative, beats. The organizers did a great job breaking things up and easing festivalgoers out of the weekend.
BYOB. The festival allowed patrons to each bring "a reasonable amount of alcohol" into the event. There weren’t even any alcohol vendors at the venue, aside from booze being served backstage and at the VIP OMG lounge, where the liquor flowed freely. It was a welcoming change for a festival to allow attendees the freedom to bring what they chose.
Simplistic success. For being the inaugural event it was incredible how smoothly everything played out. The event was extremely organized, shows ran on time and no major incidents occurred over the weekend. Everyone had the freedom to really do whatever he or she pleased. The venue in White River Canyon was the perfect adult wonderland for a hot summer weekend in July. Organizers really set the pace for this festival to become a summer staple for years to come.
Check out our coverage of all your favorite summer festivals in our 2012 Festival Guide.
What did you think of What The Festival? Highlights, lowlights and surprises. Let us know in the comments below . . .