Boogaloo Festival Review: A Hidden Gem In The Sea of Festivals

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Written by Denise Hibbard & Jesse Gleaton 
Hidden in a canyon in Silverado, CA just an hour southeast of Los Angeles, a group of 2,000 art and music enthusiasts gather each year for a weekend back “home”.  Contrary to your typical music festival, this event doesn’t feature your major headliners or overbearing crowds.  Rather, this attracts a community of like-minded individuals looking to experience something unique outside the (as Burners would call it) “default world,” a weekend full of art, expression, and groovy vibes.

Boogaloo Festival Quick Facts

Camping: Yes

Capacity: Small

Crowd Type: Hippies, Burners, Hipsters, Family

Music Genre: EDM, Deep House, House, Trap, Dubstep, Chillstep, Glitch Hop


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How to Get There: While there, it seemed the best way in was via car or carpool.  Any cars with 3 or more people had free entry.  Arriving with 2 people in your car was $10, and 1 would have been $20 to encourage visitors to be environmentally conscious.  You could, in theory, take an Uber; however, service was so spotty at the fest, that it would be difficult to depend upon this service when trying to leave.  Nothing on the website directed us to a shuttle service existing, and event staff were also unaware of its availability.

Where to Stay

Camping is the way to go for this festival.  Pretty much everyone there, aside from people who came only for the day, being so close to Los Angeles, stayed in one of the few camping areas.  The festival is located just a short 45-60 minutes outside of Los Angeles, making the commute in and out an easy one for those that wish to go for the day only.  For those with an RV, just over $100 will get you a spot in the designated vehicle camping area.  Both adult and family friendly camping areas were offered.  In fact, the abundance of young children at first was surprising!  A few individuals familiar with the fest also pointed out that we could, if desired, pitch up our tent behind any of the art cars, installations, or commercial areas if we found a spot.  The festival seemed overall very relaxed about this portion of the experience.

Food

Available on site / bring yourself. There were a few food trucks and several vendors offering food ranging from tacos to BBQ.  The food was decent priced, even slightly less expensive than what you would normally expect from a festival.  There was also a food plan offered on site for people who didn’t want to deal with the hassle of fending for themselves or finding vendors to provide food.  Lines at all food vendors seemed minimal the entire weekend.  The majority of fest-goers cooked at their campsites or brought easy and quick meals to make at home base.

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Production

Many of the ideals of Burning Man translated to this festival, after all it was a festival of art cars, a well-known aspect of the yearly event in Black Rock City.  Unlike other fests, people managed their own trash, and sharing was a common rule.  Once inside the fest, the area spanned over only a small, maybe half of a mile, radius.  2 of the 3 main stages were art cars.  The stage at the far end was the only structure built specifically for the event, which featured mainly live music / instrumental artists.  Renegade stages were also located across the entire festival, including the camping areas, where late night music was played and off-the-beaten-path gems could be found.  Nothing seemed staged or payed for by the festival for visual effect.  Any performers seen throughout the fest were, more than likely, there on their own accord.

Artists

We gravitated towards the Boogaloo stage, as it featured mainly deep house, live new-age jazz, glitch, and the late nate dubstep.  Most music spanned across all types of EDM, but those were the most prominent genres heard.  A majority of the performers were local artists, most of whom we’d barely known in-depth prior to the show, something most attendees could relate to.  Tropkillaz had the most incredible late night set Saturday night, starting with a range of EDM oldies spin-offs ending with a killer, hardcore dubstep finale.  On the opposite end of the grounds was the Mountain Stage.  Saturday night Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe attracted a large crowd of people waiting in anticipation even 30 minutes prior to his starting, sprawled across the grassy grounds.  The groovy band came on with a loud introduction of the various instruments soon to play in harmony for the following hour, getting people immediately up on their feet dancing.  The final day, the “BBQ Sunday” in honor of the late Pumpkin, featured a string of DJs playing a range of music, mostly consisting of house and hip hop, at the Dinosaur stage including 2 Tight (a duo featuring Lou E. Bagels + Annie Dolly), where the beautiful female rapper spat out some catchy tunes.

Things to Do

Unlike other fests, the music was only a small part of what attracted people.  A large portion of the festival was built around the abundance of artistic minds that came together to make this happen.  With the recent passing of Nicholas “Pumpkin” Alvarado, a well-known Los Angeles DJ, much of his presence could be felt across the fest including several pieces of artwork made by local artists and a Sunday tribute.  Small stages hosted morning yoga, live art spanned across the venue, beautiful outdoor scenery pulled you to sit down and take it all in, and amongst that the community of eclectic individuals brought with them a range of talents and experiences to share.  Late night Saturday, we found ourselves sitting in a dome of unbelievable black light paint art where the artist and his friend, an astrologer (along with many other talents), offered us fresh brewed green tea while enjoying his masterpieces.  Near a small rock climbing wall accessible to festival goers, an artist gave attendees an opportunity to sit back and enjoy his virtual reality art.

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Why Go VIP

Unlike other festivals, Boogaloo didn’t really feature a VIP experience.  RV camping was the closest to VIP offered for an extra $100, but no additional privileges were given.  All attendees were treated as equals, and it didn’t take a VIP wristband to get up and close to the front of the stage.

What Makes the Festival Different: Community.  We left this fest not feeling like it was another wild weekend with the biggest artists and craziest party scenes.  Everyone was there because they shared a love of art, music, and making the people around them and world a better place.

Insider Tips

  • Check the weather ahead of time – it can be blazing hot and sunny during the day and chilly at night.

  • Bring trash bags – this is a no M.O.O.P. (Matter Out Of Place) fest.  You are expected to take care after your own trash.  Plan to carry it back out with you from the camp site.

  • Bring your own food if possible – food is available, but being a smaller fest, it’s limited.

  • The cops were pretty intense – every few hours you would catch a group of 5+ police officers parading through the venue and campgrounds.

  • The event as a whole is very easy going and relaxed despite the abundance of police officers.  We were able to easily bring our own alcohol and walk in and out of the festival with it from our campsite.

  • This is a festival for the open minded – Expect to see the occasional bit of nudity and edgy acts of expression.

Final Comments

This was an amazing festival for anyone looking to get away from the city without the hassle of a long commute.  The community was beyond welcoming, and anyone who has been to Burning Man, or wishes to go, will find the event to be a micro-expression of it.  With an attendance of just barely 2,000, it’s an easily accessible weekend getaway with an incredible experience.

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