Words by Betty | Photos by Kora |
| Prologue |
I need to get something off my chest before I get into the Boogaloo Mountain Jam review. I need to come straight with a few of you.
Never in all of my days have I met a collection of people so infinitely special, beautiful, creative and visionary. The Dirty Beetles crew are, without a doubt, unlike any other grouping of humans on this planet, and I mean that in the most heartfelt way possible. Each of you are one-of-a-kind originals. You explore and revel in who you are. You might be a bunch of Dirty Beetles, but covered in dirt or not, you are aligned in your originality and divided by your own unique composition. I love each and every one of you, and would like to thank you for throwing one heck of a festival.
Chapter One | Fuck you. It’s magic. |
Fuck you…it is magic, is a phrase that might seem simple in nature, but I assure you ladies and gentlemen that it’s not.
It’s fucking brilliant.
And while these four words may appear simplistic in composition, adorning a heart shaped piece of wood mounted on the top of the Charlie The Unicorn Art Car (one of four stages at Boogaloo) might not, in reality, make you think twice about their meaning, I think it contextualizes something far larger going on here.
The Boogaloo Mountain Jam is far from an ordinary festival. How far you might ask? I’d compare it to walking barefoot, uphill in the snow to school in your grandpa’s pyjamas…except when you get to school, you’ve suddenly entered this beautiful alternate whimsical universe, swap out your gramp’s PJs for a fur coat and decide that you’re moving in.
Now, stay with me here.
You see, all of the other people in this fairy tale universe are beautiful and exciting and are inherently charming. Each character you meet is as unique as the one before, and without a doubt your new best friend. Now, it might sound like I am describing a psychedelic mind trip here, but I assure you, this is what it was like even if you were stone cold sober at the jam. So Boogaloo, hats off to you. Although you’ve been around for a few years as an underground renegade party, in your first official festival year you not only nailed the music (which I will get to), but you created an environment beautiful in mind, body and soul.
So yeah. You are fucking magic.
The Boogaloo Mountain Jam was a weekend that I will never forget and I am left feeling deeply inspired and grateful for an event such as this and all of the lovely humans involved. I mean, when you have Brian Crain and The Dirty Beetles crew behind anything you are in for a one hell of a ride. Oh, and if you have the chance to roll on an adventure with this group of beautiful humans, make like a donut and roll.
Like dip yourself in pink frosting and jump into a ball-pit filled with sprinkles. Everyone loves sprinkles. Anyways…
Chapter Three | The Down Low, Low Down |
I’m not a big fan of comparing festivals to each other, because each and every one seems to be so infinitely different.
No matter how BIG or small.
However, to contextualize this for those of you who have yet to attend Boogaloo, I would combine elements of Burning Man, Shambhala and the Atmosphere Gathering, creating a template for infinite creativity, self expression, weirdness, community, intimacy and really, really good music.
The festival site is located on the old stomping ground of Lightning in a Bottle; a beautiful oasis surrounded by the sandy, dehydrated grasslands of California, and a quick 60-minute car ride outside of LA. The sunrises and sunsets were straight out of a Sanford Robinson Gifford painting – rich contours of colour and light. God, I love the desert. The centerpiece of the festival is little lake with trout meandering through it. Simply put, a stunning space to host an event.
The campgrounds were expansive, and I love festivals where you can setup shop wherever you want but are also a hop-skip-and-a-jump from the main site. Tucker, who we rolled in with, brought his beautiful lotus bell tent that we set up near members of camp Ego Trip and across from Tasty Noodles. Honestly, the campsite was almost like another festival within itself….like the official after, after, after, after party…Burning Man style. Loved it.
The Boogaloo, Charlie the Unicorn and Jabba Barge Art Cars were the three main stages of the festival, congregated in the lush grassy field of the site with a smaller stationary stage across the pond in the shape of a guitar. The art cars used as stages were such a special addition to the festival and created a vibe all its own. Nothing beats dancing on an art car. Nothing.
The creativity throughout the festival was endless. Myriads of stunning art in the form of paintings, activities, costumes and lighting made the space seem alive. At night Boogaloo transformed into a glowing masterpiece with each stage really coming into its own. Oh, and the costumes and outfits…if I had a ’10.0’ sign to hold up it would have been held up the whole time. WHOA. People were art, and art were people.
Chapter Four | The Curious Case of the Dangle Zone and the Tasty Noodle |
Tasty Noodles and the Dangle Zone, to those who are not familiar, are both official camps at Burning Man. They also set up shop at Boogaloo and with it came many days and nights of delicious debauchery, tasty beats…and, well dangling.
The Urban Dictionary says:
To Dangle: To use exemplary skill and stickhandling ability to manoeuvre oneself around the ice. Often displaying a variety of sick moves.
Ok, that’s cool Urban Dictionary. So in a sentence it would look like “Mario Lemieux has some sick dangles.”
You know what Urban Dictionary, while there was zero ice hockey being played, I saw an arena full of sick moves in the Dangle Zone, and there was most likely ‘stickhandling’ behind closed doors. So yeah, he shoots, he scores I guess? SHOUT OUT to that guy rocking paisley with the crane painted on the back – sick moves bruh.
But what I really want to know and what I remain curious about are the two noodles in mechanic onesies DJing during the day on both Saturday and Sunday. While I don’t know your names I am curious to find out what they are. When the rain poured on Saturday, you guys got on the decks and played one of my favourite rouge sets of the festival. We hid out in our tent fist pumping to your tunes. Respect. If anyone can get me fist pumping from my mattress you’re doing something right. Thank you for making the sun shine through on a rainy day ❤
Side note: the sun actually did come out later that day…so for the record, noodles are magical. Just like the common theme throughout this entire article. So, the next time you have the choice between noodles and a burger….I’ll let you finish that sentence.
Chapter Five | Sound Out|
The musical programming was on point; integrating many local California based artists with several big names gracing stages globally. I really liked the proximity of the stages to each other, affording you the ability to catch two sets in one hour, or three if you really needed to. Regardless of the stages being close, there was ZERO residual sound, allowing each area to shine on its own.
As the wind blows, both Kora and I tried to see as many sets as possible throughout the weekend but unfortunately couldn’t always be three places at once. So apologies to those who we missed. Stand out performances over the weekend included: SxStampede who took us on a music journey; Worthy, who honestly broke the RAD meter atop the Jabba Barge and J*Labs whose set had the whole festival throwing down in the sun…and Jackie is such a babe (come on you guysss)…
The ever so talented The Gaff, who melds music unlike anyone I’ve ever listened to; Fort Knox 5 who gave us a little preview of their new album that literally came out this past week and it sounded damn good; divaDanielle who I’m super excited to have play our festival (Tall Tree) up in Canada, threw down a great set; Discofari who’s music actually prompted us to get engaged to each other (Kora and I) with the promise to be silly together forever nailed his set.
AfroQBen who was killing it with his beats and guitar; An-Ten-Nae who I was super amped to see live with his acid crunk style; Cameron St Denis – who has been a long time friend from Canada and it was so sick to see him play at Boogaloo (love ya buddy), played a fabulous set and we saw him again on that big bus of his to celebrate his Birthday.
DJ Dan, who I have had the pleasure of seeing before and always love his west coast house style music; The Funk Hunters – who of course bring the party every time; EVeryman whose hip hop tracks never disappoint; Henry Pope, who we met at Shambhala last year, played such a sick set…absolutely loved the mixes; Lou E. Bagles, who had me flailing around on the dance floor – your music rules, especially when Annie Dolly jumped on the mic; Neon Steve – who was as amazing as ever (love you Steve).
QDub – who covered us in stickers (of which they are all still on my poncho) had us dancing around like school girls; Stylust Beats who was honestly one of my favourite sets of the weekend; The Herbert Bail Orchestra – whose music I have been listening to for months on repeat (fuck I love you guys); and last but certainly not least, one of our favourites of all time: Pumpkin, who shut down the festival, and man, was that set epic. Love you.
Chapter Six | Wine Shots |
I gotta give a major SHOUT OUT to Chris for the hour we spent pouring copious amounts of wine shots for each other and passers by. That moment of you standing out in the rain with your inside-out pink umbrella frolicking in front of the Boogaloo, busting out high kicks, afternoon lunges and laughing so hard we literally forgot where we were– is honestly one of my personal highlights from the event. Once again, it’s the magic of Boogaloo. It brings you back to a child-like state – something nostalgic…goofing around with zero cares in the world. Best day ever you guyysss.
Chapter Seven | Getting Neon with Neon Steve |
Steve and Carly are two of my favourite people. On Saturday night, we all wandered into this incredible 3D neon art installation, put on our 3D glasses and proceeded to explore time, space, Disney cartoons and a bunch of other crazy shit. It was the realization that Steve actually was completely neon and having his moniker come to life…that really got us. It still gets me sitting here writing this review. Memories for life, and once again, the magic of Boogaloo.
Chapter Seven | The Shopping Cart |
Tomas Verde needs little introduction, however, for those of you who do not know him, he is possibly the most intriguing character I have ever met. Tomas Verde has a vision: to build a fleet of motorized shopping carts for people like you and me to rent at festivals and events. He also gifts tiny rubber chickens in glass vials that come with their very own manifesto. So yeah, I’d say Verde is one of the radest people I’ve met quite possibly ever.
Tomas invited Kora and I to sit in his shopping cart while he fed us a selection of delicious fruits, hummus and chips. We then proceeded to adventure around the festival and went off roading through the campsite and into the desert. Tomas, I fucking love you and cannot wait until we all join forces again. You sir, are magic.
Chapter Eight | Our Homecoming |
Two years ago almost exactly to date, Kora and I started our music festival blog because of Boogaloo and the beautiful cast of people who form just some of the community around this bus. If I remember correctly, it was Brian Crain, Annie Dolly, Super Tall Paul and a Frenchman (whose name has sadly slipped my memory) that told Kora and I to start a blog about our adventures while drinking champagne on the Boogaloo at Coachella 2013. I think the exact quote was “You two girls love music and festivals, radiate positivity and are so, so silly. You should start a blog, and name it after your alter egos – Betty and Kora.”
Following Coachella, we started B&K on April 21, 2013, and haven’t looked back since. And while our blog has grown with nearly 20 contributors and our Content Manager Lauren (who rocks), we can all thank the Boogaloo crew. I guess what I am trying to get at, is that this wasn’t just any other festival for us. Boogaloo is magic and it has most definitely changed our lives forever, in the best way possible.
Some things simply cannot be explained. That bus is one of them.
Betty and Kora love you ❤
| Epilogue |
SHOUT OUT to Jackie, Christina and Owen for opening up your home to us, you are like family, honestly. SHOUT OUTS to Brian Crain for your vision and hard work, Annie for your love + light, Garth for your beautiful spirit (Betty loves you), Evan and Nick for your constant supply of good times + music, and of course SHOUT OUT to Tucker, you sir are gold and the best cat wrangler in history. Lastly SHOUT OUT to everyone involved with the Boogaloo Mountain Jam, all of the lovely friends we met along the way, and SHOUT OUT to Tomas Verde – you’re so cool. Bak ba-GAWK. Oh, and shout out to Steve…I wish you all of the luck in the world training your chickens to ride on bikes. Best life goal I’ve heard. Ever.