Set on continuing the success of their sold out Lightning in Bottle festival, Woogie Weekend was a haven for techno purists, hippie kids, gypsies and house music fans alike this past weekend in the Southern Californian oasis of Oak Canyon Ranch.
In its inaugural edition, Woogie Weekend was marred by a torrential downpour and gloomy weather on its last day. Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, Do LaB embraced this unforeseen weather and advertised Woogie’s second iteration as a “Wet ‘N’ Wild Playground” complete with mister-equipped stages, a large adult-sized slip n’ slide, and a water balloon fight. Luckily, the weekend was only filled with sunshine and an atmosphere that can only be described as communal.
Attendance seemed to have dipped compared to last year’s party but with such an intimate three-day camping festival, familiar faces fast became friends and the event is elevated from a collection of strangers to a gathering of family members.
Do LaB is constantly looking to improve and they took Woogie Weekend as an opportunity to showcase their thoughtfulness. Covering both dancefloors of the Hive and Kaleidoscope stages were newly erected shade awnings that successfully blocked dancers from the overbearing heat and sunlight. This allowed festival goers to fully appreciate the excellent music that was curated for the midday hours.
Some notable daytime sets came from Canadian duo Blond:ish with their take on high-energy, desert house, All Day I Dream resident Oona Dahl who brought a soothing and melodic sunset set, and Abelton-maestro Rodriguez Jr. provided an excellent blend of musicianship and rhythm that created the perfect atmosphere for a Sunday afternoon.
As with all Do LaB events, a number of conscious-minded vendors adorned the outer borders of the festival showcasing unique wardrobe options and a long list of healthy food offerings that included quinoa bowls, organic pizzas, and smoothies. Always looking to pioneer how festivals are produced, Do LaB do not sell water bottles at their festivals but opts to provide water refilling stations and encourage attendants to bring their own water bottles.
Another noticeable omission is the festival programs that are a mainstay at most other events, but none were distributed within the festival grounds and were only available at the box office. This was just one way the Do LaB tried to minimize waste that is common at festivals of their size.
With the sun set and the night breeze in full effect, Woogie’s inner child starts to immerge and the creativity of its festival goers was on full display. To capitalize on their fans’ imagination, Woogie Weekend announced theme days to their festival with Safari Saturday and Wiggie Sunday Funday. As you can imagine, every color of faux fur and hair emerged with herds of animals flocking the festival grounds.
To compliment Do LaB’s assertion to “Keep Woogie Weird” were some of the world’s best DJ’s including Crosstown Rebels head honcho Damian Lazarus and German techno wizard Thyladomid. Jon Hopkins gave the crowd a live performance that highlighted his tremendous ability to create tension with ambient sound and originality. After the two main stages called it a night, two after hours stages continued the party with quality local selectors including the LA’s Subtract and Deep crews, LIB’s Favela Bar, and a touch of drum and bass from the Respect collective.
After a week of tragic shootings across America, it was refreshing and encouraging to see people from all walks of life and backgrounds coming together to coexist in peace and harmony. Do LaB has created a festival that welcomes individuality and is an example on how to produce a festival that encourages interaction and dialogue. Woogie Weekend served yet again as a place that brings people together and highlights how a love for music can outshine any differences we might have.
(All Images Courtesy : Wesley Chen)