Snowball is the closest Colorado has to a Coachella. Sure, we’ve got other successful festivals—Telluride Bluegrass and Global Dance represent the polar ends of the spectrum—but none boasts as diverse or eclectic a lineup as the ski resort town-based bash. Depending on the number of substances imbibed, past attendees may remember that previous installments went down in Vail Valley. Organizers apparently weren’t necessarily thrilled with police tactics there, so they’ve partnered with Mary Jane (technically Winter Park, home to the stoner-friendly slope) for the 2013 event. Headliners on deck include Snowball vet Pretty Lights, along with STS9, Big Gigantic and rising rhymer Kendrick Lamar. Navigate the elaborate schedule with the aid of the breakdown below.
Friday, Day 1:
The best way to start this festival off is with Robotic Pirate Monkey in the Groove Tent at 3:15. RPM is composed of three Boulder DJs: Andrew Hathaway, Matt Berryhill, and Matt Flesher. Not only does this trifecta of electronic talent have a kickass name, their brain-coagulating breakdowns, hip-hop inspired beats and killer bass lines make this a smart group. Check out their album, Heat.WAV.
Next up, check out Yamn on the main stage at 4:30. The band hails from Denver, under the genre of “progressive live-tronica” or trance fusion jam rock (similar to Lotus and Snowball headliner, STS9). The group promises a rich live experience and the music promises to be psychedelic friendly. Rock out responsibly!
At 7 head back to the Groove Tent for The Presets, who are touring on their newest album, Pacifica. As a successful Australian electronic music duo, these cats landed triple platinum and multiple awards with their 2008 sophomore release, Apocolypso. They have a unique style and will undoubtedly stand out against all the other electronic artists at Snowball. We recommend the single, “Youth In Trouble.” Then stick around to dance with Krewella, the pop electronic trio from Chicago.
Finally, on the main stage you’ll find Boulder’s Big Gigantic. These kids are crazy, combining dubstep and electronica with hip-hop, and improvised jazz. Their shows are known to be high energy and filled with intense lights and visuals. In a time of DJs standing on stage pushing buttons, these guys are refreshing, utilizing live instrumentation… to supplement the button pushing, of course. Check out “Lucid Dreams (A Place Behind the Moon).”
Saturday, Day 2:
Wake up to the noise-pop of School Knights in the Ball Room. They’re from Boulder and they know how to rock. Utilizing catchy pop punk riffs and grungy distortion and lo-fi vocals, these dudes will put you in the mood to party, or punch the guy next to you in the face, even if it’s only 2:15 in the afternoon. Screw it, it’s Snowball, baby! See if “Present Tense” fits into your scene.
Then on to some good ‘ol Americana with Tumbleweed Wanderers at 3:15 on main stage. Banjos and acoustic guitars, what more could you ask for on a warm-ish (hopefully) Saturday in the mountains of the great state of Colorado? Get the whiskey ready, because these Oakland wanderers are gonna make you thirsty. They’re nostalgic and boot-tappin’, just like any decent soul, folk group should be. “Roll With the Times.”
Run DMT is at 4:15 in the Groove Tent, all the way from Austin, Texas. If you like heavy, fuzzy, scorching bass screaming at you, making your organs shiver: check this show out. And as their name suggests, you acid junkies out there won’t be disappointed by the psychedelic backbone of their songs. Try on “Blueboy Goes Green.”
At 6:15 go to the main stage for Poliça, the indie rock outfit from Minneapolis, Minnesota. News media and musicians around the country hail Poliça as the next big thing. The combination of auto-tuned R&B vocals with electronica and live rock instrumentation leave a definite impression, as heard in songs like “Amongsters.”
Rubblebucket is next at 7:15 in the Ball Room. This indie-dance band based out of Brooklyn, knows how to put on a weird show. They usually go all out on stage with theatrics and fun interactive elements. They jam in so many genres, it’s not easy to classify these guys: dance, funk, afrobeat. But above all else, they appreciate the people who’ve come to see them and it really shows. Check out this music video for “Came Out of a Lady:”
And the rest of the night is big names in music: Portugal. The Man, Datsik, and Pretty Lights. Portugal. The Man is a psychedelic rock must-see, based out of Portland. Their songs are instantly catchy and demand to be drunkenly sang along with while swaying with your best friends. Datsik, the Canadian dubstep DJ known for his work with Korn, Zedd, and Deadmau5, is spinning at 8:30.
And sending you off to bed (or not) is Pretty Lights. Derek Vincent Smith went to high school in Fort Collins and attended the University of Boulder. And now he melts faces around the country with sick electronic music. This dude has an amazing handle on music and how to present it well. His beats never leave you wanting, and has superb taste in the samples he chooses. And of course, the lights are always pretty.
Sunday, Day 3:
If you can, drag yourself out of your tent or backseat of your car to hear Bonfire Dub. With a poppy mix of reggae and dub, you’ll feel chill and warm to start off the day. This is your daily dose of hippie love.
For you more experimental electro-fans, definitely stop by to experience ISHI at 5 in the Ball Room. ISHI opened for New Order last year and are known to do Depeche Mode and John Lennon covers, which proves they are a unique electronic act. “Come Closer” is a fantastic track.
Grizmatik, followed by STS9 begin on the main stage at 7. Grizmatik is danceable, funky and filled with soul. Another great combination of styles and hooks, forming an unstoppable good time. The hit song “Digital Liberation is Mad Freedom” has been making huge waves since the end of last year.
Sound Tribe Sector 9 concludes this year’s Snowball experience with a psychedelic dance party. This band will help you get a mile high and then some. With driving bass and drums, spacey keyboards and guitars, and hip-hop inspiration it should be no problem to shake off three days of dancing, and whatever else you’ve put yourself through, to hop around to this music. And if you can’t I’m sure there’s something floating around in the crowd that can help you get out of your funk and into STS9′s.