What the Festival 2014 was a riotous celebration of art, film, music and community. But let’s be honest: Music is the center of the WTF experience. Amidst all the attempts at a silent disco and micro-stage diversions, there was only one way to enhance the musical experience: WTF’s two giant wading pools.
Here's a quick rundown of highlights:
- Jersey club producer Trippy Turtle got things heated on Friday, and while the pool wasn’t as packed as it would be the following days, an amped crowd threw down to DJ Sliink’s “Put Cha Back In It” and Turtle’s own remix of Chris Brown’s “Loyal.”
- Portland owned the evening on Friday, with back-to-back sets from Tyler Tastemaker, Ben Tactic and Natasha Kmeto, while Lost Lander played the main stage.
- I’m sure big name headliners Nightmares on Wax and Washed Out were excellent, but with San Franciscan multi-genre producer Giraffage, funky hip-hop master Kaytranada and Norwegian wunderkind Cashmere Cat closing out the secondary stage, it was hard to leave.
- DJ duo Pussy Brunch won me over with the dark horse performance of the weekend. Their hip-hop and bass didn’t stop and actually syphoned a good bit of the crowd to the smaller OMG Lounge from the nearby Cashmere Cat set.
- Insulated from Sunday’s melancholy comedowns and Friday’s anxious come-ups, Saturday is always a wild day at weekend festivals. After a wide range of deep-house jams at the pool, Kygo mellowed the vibes out further with his feel-good disco-pop remixes. Later, Phoenix trap runner Luminox and Aussie festival trap duo What So Not kept the focus on the secondary stage. But RL Grime, the night’s main stage headliner, would not be denied. I didn’t think the drop on “Tell Me” could get any more massive, but it did.
- On a much hotter Sunday, SF-based "weird house" label Dirtybird hosted the “pool party”—though "Soaked Bacchanal" might be the more appropriate way to refer to it. The two large wading pools were packed with jerking, face-painted, inflated-orca-riding ravers who were either scantily clad or not clad at all. Label boss Claude VonStroke, decked out in a Ducks duck hat, a snorkel, goggles and floaties, wiggled on stage to his labelmates' bubbly house jams while waiting for his headlining slot.
- J.Phlip, a favorite from last year, proved that dirty Bay Area bass lines can make it from SF to Berlin and back stateside.
- In all, the intimate, open-minded vibe of What the Festival—why everyone has driven out to Dufur each of the last three years—remains as strong as ever. As the dust trailed behind the cars on Sunday and Monday, no one spoke of the plethora of other festivals this summer. It was all, “Who do you think they’ll have at WTF next year?
A couple of revelers in the pool.
Trippy Turtle at the pool stage.
Ben Tactic looks out to Mt. Hood.
Kaytranada turning some knobs.
Pussy Brunch at the OMG Lounge.
RL Grime gets hyped.
Claude Von Stroke kinda blissing out.
J.Phlip peeks over the booth.
A WTFer flying through the festival.