Music, Adventure, Party. That’s what Snowball lives by and that’s exactly what you should expect. In the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains during early March this one of a kind 3-day festival takes place and it’s definitely one for the record books.
Music, Adventure, Party. That’s what Snowball lives by and that’s exactly what you should expect. In the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains during early March this one of a kind 3-day festival takes place and it’s definitely one for the record books. Different than any other raves or festivals this one is outside in the snow, in the middle of ski season. Be forewarned you will need your long johns, snow boots, mittens, hats and any other warm winter gear you have but that’s all part of the adventure. Celebrating their third year, Snowball has scored some big name artists like Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, Snoop Dogg, STS9 and more to entertain the crowd previously and is still delivering an amazing line-up. This year Snowball has been relocated from Vail Valley to Winter Park but even with a change in location the change in atmosphere won’t be different. For me Snowball was a realization that just because it’s cold out doesn’t give you an excuse not to party outside.
Vail Valley is no cheap place, it’s full of fancy lodges and elegant condos so we stayed about 15 miles away in the little town of Edwards but commuting was well worth it. Day one, after getting settled into our hotel we were all eager to get on the road and back to Avon where Snowball was. The first day of any festival is always the kind of ‘test’ day to see what you should bring, what’s allowed in and what you can live without the rest of the weekend. They had free parking which is always so convenient at a festival then they had a free bus come and shuttle us to the actual festival location which came every 5 minutes or so. I remember walking up to the entrance, the sun was shining bright but I could already see my breath, it was COLD. After going in and getting my wristband this wave of excitement washed over me, I was finally here! Time to rage! Although the festival started at 1:00pm that day we didn’t get there till about 4:30pm, just in time for the end of Gramatik’s set. After that I grabbed a couple drinks and rushed back to the Groove Tent for Marty Party. After Marty Party my friends and I went to the Main Stage to watch Major Lazer while the sun was setting. The landscape was incredible! Seeing the sunset over the snowy mountains with glowing pinks and oranges as the backdrop for this decked out stage with all these LED screens and strobe lights was an unforgettable sight. Major Lazer filled up the main stage area and got everyone dancing, setting the mood for the rest of the night. I stuck around the main stage for a bit after Major Lazer to see Big Boi from OutKast. I was a huge OutKast fan is high school and got me in a real nostalgic mood with some of my favorite songs by them. Dropping tracks like “Hey Ya” and “Roses” Big Boi got that hip-hop beat flowing through the crowd. From there I quickly ran over to the Heat Hut to catch Supervision, one of my favorite PLM artists. I love his unique style that he brings to the PLM family and he didn’t disappoint. Back to the Groove Tent for some Mimosa, I like him more and more with each time I see him. To finish off the first night of Snowball was Rusko someone I was very excited to see for the first time. The freezing cold air was not going to stop me or anyone else for that matter in seeing this headliner and I was absolutely thrilled! Even though it was a bone chilling 7 degrees out that night, Rusko played an incredible set with all my favorites like “Everyday” and “Hold On”. I danced the night away to keep my blood flowing for warmth. Even with the amazing set he played I was so happy to go back to the hotel and thaw my little toes out, they were purple when I finally got them in a hot bath. Just gotta prepare better for day 2.
The second day of festivals I feel are always the best because you still have the rush from day one but aren’t too hungover from one night of partying. Day 2 started off with one of my favorite sets of the entire weekend, FIGURE. He delivers the heavy beats, the sick drops and just nasty, disgusting, hard stuff while my friends and I were right up against the rail enjoying every minute of it. Next the PLM duo, Break Science rocked it out hard with live drums and I’m a sucker for live drums. After 2 wonderful sets I took a little break to really explore Snowball Music festival and it was a delight. The scenery was stunning and the crisp mountain air added to that so much, creating such a fresh environment. I walked around to the vendors and found some really cool things like Spirit hoods, Jammy Packs, unique Colorado Hats and these cool mittens that were also koozies called Sküüzi’s, how genius. It was an all age festival and had a lot of different genres of music intertwined with the EDM so there were families with their kids and people of all ages really. From what I explored around the SnowBall festival was a very well put together and organized event, a lot of thought goes into creating something as spectacular as this. Eventually we went back to the groove tent for Dillion Francis and his moombahton flavor then Dada Life. We caught about the last ten minutes of Paul Basic’s set. After that I started to not feel well because my body doesn’t do well when it’s cold for too long which was unfortunate. I tried to enjoy Ghostland Observatory’s set with their funk beats and zigzagging lasers as much I could. Closing out the second night was Snoop Dogg. My friends were getting cold even though it was probably 20 degrees warmer than the night before so we started leaving 15 minutes after Snoops set started. I did get to hear most of his set while we walked through Avon to a hotel to meet up with some other friends. We got back to our hotel and finally I got to rest and felt much better then next day. The cold can do weird things to your body so just make sure to take care of it. The elevation of Avon is higher than what a lot of people are used to, about 8,000 ft. so make sure to stay well hydrated.
Day Three! The last and final day of Snowball, a mix of feelings were flowing through my veins. Only one day left to party with my friends, see fantastic live music and be in this wonderful mountain town. I remember going in on the last day and seeing a little board with the weather for that day posted on it with the current temp right below 40 degrees. I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my dad saying “It’s a heat wave today!” and everyone was seriously acting like it was. People were running around in the puddles with just t-shirt and jeans on. They put hay all over the hills to try to soak up the water and prevent ice from forming at night. Even with their precautions Snowball was by far the slipperiest festival I’ve ever been to. To start off our last day we went to see Nit Grit & Two Fresh arriving about halfway through their set. This thunderous combo brought some bass to the stage unlike any other. Minnesota was next up on the list at the Groove Tent. Having never heard of him before, I’m not sure why we stayed but his bass heavy tracks made me so glad we did. We stuck around for Boom Box, then I caught about 10 minutes of Beats Antique but in those 10 minutes they impressed me. Their stage performance is unlike any other with the belly dancers, jugglers, poi and other circus like entertainment; I definitely look forward to seeing a full show by them someday. I had to leave and rush to see DallasK, yet another artist I was very excited to see. DallasK delivered a heart pounding set while we all danced in the mud. At the end of his set we actually got to talk to him for a minute and got a picture together, that’s always exciting and nice when the artist will actually come chill with his fans for a minute after their set. Last but certainly not least was the Sunday night headliner, Bassnectar. I absolutely love Bassnectar so my recollection of his set could be pretty partial. Good thing my friend Louisa was there and we both have a slight, okay huge, obsession with Lorin. Bassnectar’s sound and lights are perfectly and magically synced together to deliver a powerfully emotional set. It was a beautiful celebration to the end of Snowball. Also I think a lot of us were happy it was ending at 8pm tonight rather than the usual 10pm so it wasn’t as freezing that night. At the end we took the infamous family photo Bassnectar does with all of his crowds, and then it was over. Still tingle with excitement from the 3 days of dancing and tunes we headed to the car reminiscing about it all. But before we left, we all wanted to take a group picture so who better to ask then a friendly cop? He happily took it and told us to have a safe night, we thanked him and went on our way skipping and hopping not yet feeling that post festival depression. Snowball was a weekend of unforgettable adventures.
Marrying music and mountain perfectly, Snowball is one gem of a festival. A weekend full of hearing your favorite songs by some of your favorite artists and discovering all new music fills my heart with happiness. Although my toes hurt for a straight week because of the cold after Snowball it was a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make again. Music, Adventure, Party that’s what life should be about.