Woogie Weekend's Drenched Debut was a Triumph of Soggy Spirit
The Do LaB's new festival brought Danny Daze, Lee Burridge, and Mikey Lion amidst torrential downpour in Los Angeles.
The Do LaB's inaugural Woogie Weekend will be remembered for the weather and what it brought out of those who came. After light showers on Saturday and a torrential downpour on Sunday, many campers understandably tapped out, threw their tents into the back of their cars and high-tailed it back to Los Angeles.
For those that stayed and braved it out, either through iron persistence or simply being too wasted to drive, it was waterlogged stomp-out that quickly descended into an All Day I Dream orgy in the mud.
The Do LaB's Woogie stage has been a highlight of Lightning in a Bottle for years, and their first attempt to bring the environment into its own was one of the most anticipated of the small festivals this summer. Returning to the summer camp vibes of Oak Canyon Park, upon which 2010's LiB was held, the LaB scaled back significantly on the production of the ever-expanding LiB and worked with two small stages (The Beat Nest and The Hive), and two campsite soundsystems for the after-parties.
Friday started late with Argentinian selector Patricio teeing up deep, soulful house at the Hive, while Seattle's Camea ploughed through a rolling techy set at the Beat Nest. The night rounded off with a big one from UK heavyweight Adam Freeland, who's a longtime performer at LiB and clearly knew the crowd's storied love for powerful beats, eclecticism and acid.
Saturday saw LA alt-scene veteran Pumpkin pull a suitably big crowd after the morning yoga session, as his fellow local hero Marquez Wyatt was getting stuck in at the Beat Nest. His set was interrupted by the first shower, and when they came back the Funktion One's were draped in trash bags that fluttered with every kick.
After Bushwacka! cancelled, Tara Brooks performed for four hours, and was followed by Dirtybirder J.Phlip, whose spiraling, eclectic brought out the biggest crowd of the weekend. Danny Daze closed the Saturday at the Hive with an aggressive, highly technical set that pummeled the crowd with relentless kick drums and deep bass.
Desert Hearts ringleader Mikey Lion had the early slot on Sunday and pulled one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. He showed any aspiring opener exactly how to empty a weary campsite. It's an oft-told story now, but Desert Hearts was a tale that's opening lines were written at LiB, and watching the squad charge into the festival's programming is a heartwarming recompense.
Autograf had the tough job of following Lion, and they brought those bubbly house cuts as the winds picked up and the black clouds began rolling towards festival site.
Significantly more severe than the previous day's shower, the impending storm was the tail end of Hurricane Dolores and turned the campsite into a squidgy graveyard of tent skeletons and emptied the festival site.
Around 4PM, both stages succumbed to the elements and anyone that hadn't bailed was left wondering if they were going to get anymore music at all, or if it was time to just ride it out in your miserable, soggy tent.
At around 5pm the Hive started thumping back to life, before Lee Burridge made his way across the site to the stage and brought the whole place to waterlogged transcendence with a storming two hour session from Burning Man favourites Bedouin.
By this point the entire crowd was a steaming pot of euphoric lust squelching around on the dancefloor, bubbling to a boil as revelers were rewarded for their persistence in partying. There's always a spiritual bent to proceedings with The Do LaB, but watching those smiling faces not only endure the rain, but embrace it, made for a whole 'nother level of communality.
And then, we trudged, caked in mud and sopping wet, from whence we came. There will be mud from Woogie Weekend caked into the finder corners of vehicles for years to come, and memories wedged deeper than that in the hearts of those who came, who danced, who damn near drowned in the name of getting weird.