Sun-Kissed Review of Sunset Music Festival
The shuffling commenced immediately as the music began on Saturday, May 27, of the sixth annual Sunset Musical Festival. Decked out in their best handcrafted costumes with totems flying high, the enthusiastic crowd rushed the festival grounds in droves. SMF Veteran, DJ Christian Alexander kicked things off on the Main Stage while DVNK SINATRV opened the dance floor at the Eclipse Stage and Nate Verde at the Horizon Stage.
This was my second year attending SMF but my first time working with Women of EDM and it’s founder, A. Re. Upon entering, I could immediately see the changes made to this year’s fest, held outside Raymond James Stadium. There was more free water refill stations, a cooling tent, and Coachella-like tents providing ample shade. The festival seemed to have doubled in size from what I remembered. Perfect! Because I like to dance.
We took a trip down under for Australian DJ Wax Motif’s set at 5pm before heading over to San Holo, at the Eclipse Stage. So many people were squeezed under the Eclipse Stage structure, there was barely enough room for the dust to settle. Festival goers were standing shoulder to shoulder, eagerly waiting to hear every next beat pound from the speakers.
Neither A. Re or I had ever experienced a live Tritonal set so we made our way to the Main Stage, right as their music began. They intro’d with a safari-esque visual story, capturing everyone’s attention. Fans were treated to two debuts, their newest Zedd remix and their remix of The Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s, ‘Something Just Like This.’
The highlight of day 1 was definitely RL Grime though, who blew me away with his mix of trap and hip hop. His visuals matched the intensity of his set, hypnotizing the Main Stage mob.
The blonde bombshell, Diplo, returned to close the fest for his second consecutive year. His performance with Major Lazer was so banging the crowd didn’t want to leave.
‘It feels good to be back in the Bay,” Diplo said. “I love you guys so much, Tampa.”
Tampa local, Nerd Rage, got day 2 started with his bone-crushing bass at the Eclipse Stage, hyping everyone up with his outstanding performance. Between sets, we would escape the scorching Florida sun by hanging in the beach-themed Bud Light Lime tent. It was a great spot to cool off, grab drinks, and vibe out in the sand while Winta kept the flavor real from the DJ booth.
We kept seeing so many girls adorned in body glitter with the most perfect braids ever so I had to find out where we could get this too. That’s when we found the Braid Babe tent near the main stage providing FREE hair braiding for festival goers.
The sweet sounds of Ookay playing while we got our hair done was fun and delightful, as the sun was preparing to go down. One of my favorite parts of his set was when he asked the crowd, “Do you like trap?!?” and then played a trap rendition of a Britney Spears song!
Chill indie-ish vibes cascaded through the audience when Louis The Child played following Ookay on the Main Stage. What a perfect way to watch the darkness fall upon the final day of SMF!
Things got crazy again when Yellow Claw and Zeds Dead took the stage, blowing crowds away with their booming trap and drum ‘n’ bass sets.
After a short Bob Marley intermission, an eerie excitement swallowed us up as lights from the led screens ignited the sky. The deafening roar from the crowd was contagious as everyone screamed for Above & Beyond, who closed out the weekend with their dreamy trance set.
I liked having the opportunity to work as media at Sunset Music Festival because it pushed me to talk to people I normally wouldn’t talk to and it brought awareness to festival amenities I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. Attending with Women of EDM was an unforgettable experience and I’m grateful I was able to partake in such an amazing Memorial weekend party.
Tags A. Re ApprovedAbove & BeyondChristian AlexanderdiploDVNK SINATRVLouis the ChildMajor LazerNate VerdeNerd RageOokayRL GrimeSAN HOLOSunset Music FestivaltritonalWAX MOTIFWintaWomen of EDMYellow ClawZed's Dead