Thrills and Chills at Minus Zero
written by Matt Long
photos by Logan Bykofsky
Minus Zero Festival is quickly becoming a staple for all northeastern festival goers and for good reason. Touting big name headliners such as ODESZA, Zeds Dead, and Claude Von Stroke, the stage was set for a massive 2018 showing in their new Vermont ski slope – Mount Snow. While finding the perfect venue for this festival is becoming an issue, one thing Minus Zero continues to crush is their headliner selection and reliable undercard performances. Who had the best set of the weekend? Here’s my top 2:
Looks like DC had some plane trouble, so Minus Zero got a Hooks only set that in my opinion was the best set of the weekend. Playing some fresh sounds along with their classics, Hooks kept the energy high and had Minus Zero jumping on Sunday night with an amazing display of fireworks and lasers. Throwing down heaters such as “Where the Wild Things Are” and their remix of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigsby.” I left the set absolutely mind blown. One of the most impressive drops of entire weekend came from his set when he mashed up Skrillex’s “Chicken Soup” & Rusko’s “Woo Boost.” Check out the video from Twitter user @ojikush below:
— ~ oji fam ~ (@ojikush) April 9, 2018
Space Mom continues her hot streak of unbelievable, ground shaking performances and absolutely dominated her time slot. Drawing what seemed to be one of the largest crowds of the weekend, REZZ took advantage of the high quality sound Minus Zero had to offer and created the musical equivalent to a defibrillator. Even while standing at the back of the crowd taking in her trippy visuals, you felt like your heart was going to jump right out of your chest as each hit of bass was better than the one before. True story – the bass was so heavy during REZZ’s set that it shook my phone off the counter in the porta-johns about 200 yards away and I walked back with a shattered phone screen.
Minus Zero 2018 brought us to a new home in Mount Snow, however the festival still ran into a lot of the same issues as they’ve had in years past such as limited area at the stages and long lines. My biggest issue came with the line to get into The Barn stage anytime a high profile act came on. Due to the capacity size of The Barn, there was usually a intimidatingly long line to get in. If you had a GA band, you’re looking at a 20-30 minute wait, and VIP about 5-10 minutes. When you’re bouncing from set to set it requires some tough decisions on when to leave a set to catch the next one. Once inside though, the speakers bumped and you were thankful to get out of the cold.
While it’s easy to pour on Minus Zero for their shortcomings, it’s also important to highlight some areas of improvement. They came correct with an organized on-site staff, who were in tune with locations for stages, bathrooms, and vendors. Everything you needed was easy to locate. Shuttles to the local hotels were frequent and easy to find while exiting the festival every night.
The vendor selection left a lot to be desired food-wise, but to their credit they made ample room this year for more merch vendors including a Grassroots tent and some local festival vendors selling the traditional festival gear. The drink selection was decent, but quite pricey. $13 for a mixed drink and $9 for a beer. There was some value if you purchased a double at $16. Something to consider – VIP gets a break with discounted drinks in their private areas. Heineken & Sparkling Ice sponsored the event making for some interesting mixers, but your standard mixers were available if you weren’t interested in trying something new. For food, you were limited to the selection that was offered by the Mount Snow food court – pizza, chicken fingers, fries etc. There’s certainly some room for improvement on bringing in more than 1 or 2 outside food vendors for the coming years.
Everything considered, Minus Zero Festival is a great way to get in those last licks of winter, while also welcoming in the festival season. We’re hoping for some venue and food upgrades next year, but as long as they keep up the stacked lineups and great vibes, we’ll be there. As we recommended before: squad up in a hotel to keep your costs low, bring your boots and plenty of layers, and we’ll see you next year for another blizzard bash!