Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Warmer Fest

Winter Warmer Fest was a two day music festival held at Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The hotel definitely was not prepared for the invasion of ravers that sold out their rooms. Sold on a snowboarding tournament scheduled for Saturday afternoon, the shows in the ballroom were definitely the main attraction. Two ballrooms had stages and lights, separated by a hallway of light reflective fabric that created a tunnel. The second stage had a crazy light setup, with projections on the walls and lazers everywhere. The most important thing I noticed was the consideration of the people attending, everyone was there to have a good time and there was always space. I didn't see a single drunk fight or belligerent person. Although there was a man (?) in a panda suit.

Friday, Paper Diamond from the Pretty Lights Label was headlining. I love the label and everything they stand for in their free music model. I had seen Paper Diamond once before at The Rave in Milwaukee when he opened for Bassnectar, but this small performance blew the first out of the water. Held in a ballroom that could have hosted my prom, the tiny stage was literally two feet off the ground and had no barrier for the crowd. And the crowd was great, everyone was dancing and the front row was open to anyone who wanted to be there. It was so accessible. Furthermore, Paper Diamond put on the most fantastically simple light show I had ever seen, filling the room with colors using standard stage lights and panels. He mixed a lot of fan favorites too, like 100% in the Bitch by Porter Robinson. Maximal Crazy by Tiesto sent us into a frenzy and my personal favorite remix, The Power by Kanye West, was just enough incentive to hop on stage with the rest of the girls (a check off my bucket list). Afterwards I jumped down backstage and met him, which was really cool. He was a super nice guy and it was really cool to be at a show that was held in such a personal setting.
I slept through the snowboarding competition... and the entirety of Saturday afternoon. I could not wait to see Gramatik, who was the real reason I bought the ticket in the first place. Front row again with no problems, the smell of sweat had definitely already settled into the carpet. Regardless, the show was just as amazing the second night. Gramatik had a more simple light setup, using only one lazer behind him and a few stage lights, but his enthusiasm was vibrant enough. Singing along and dancing, Gramatik threw the fuck down. I was excited for his jazzy mixes, which were present and wonderful, but when he blindsided me with dubstep my mind was blown. Gramatik is a great dj, bottom line. He knows what he is doing and how to keep the party going, and when he mixed Pretty Lights I almost lost my mind.
Props to the Van Dyke Collection for this picture of Gramatik

Overall it was an amazing crowd, great shows, and the hotel setting was something I had never seen before but fell in love with. Any time I needed to run back it was just a few minutes away, and there was no freezing wait for a cab after it was all over. The only complaint? Girls: if the shorts youre wearing make your hips smaller than your lower back, size up... for your own sake.

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