Festival Review: Magnifique 2016

Festival Review: Magnifique 2016

There is really nothing quite like the Gorge Amphitheatre. Time and time again I am blown away by the incredible views as well as the crazy, happy and free people here. I think for this trip especially, my friends and I might have been among the craziest.

It couldn’t have been a better day, which was nice because driving blind in a rainstorm for nearly two hours before we arrived had been extremely nerve racking. The sun shined down on us as we set up our tents, cracked some beers and settled into our campsite. After a while, we ate and began to plan our departure time. Word slowly got to us that a wind delay had pushed back the times and put a pause on entry for now. We could see the massive line of anxiously waiting guests from our campsite. Eventually the line died down and we were able to proceed.

I really have to hand it to USC events on this one. Paradiso is now one of the country’s most popular electronic music festivals. They could have easily kept pushing Paradiso, maybe even making it a 3 day festival but they didn’t. They created a new event with unique acts whose music changed throughout the night. Magnifique turned the regular EDM festival on its head with live acts sprinkled here and there between DJs and producers.

Gramatik blew my mind. I had listened to some of his music before. I knew it would be something similar to Pretty Lights; real instrument samples intertwined with bassy dance tracks. I had no idea he would have live guitar and piano during his show. If you didn’t know any better, you thought you might have stumbled into a rock/jazz concert during his set. You couldn’t help but dance when Gramatik and his keyboardist, Anomalie were grooving up on stage. Every time Gramatik would play a jazzy trumpet sample straight out of the 20’s or Anomalie would tickle the ivory, goosebumps ran up my spine. This performance alone made my night.

Honestly, I was pretty excited to see Chromeo. I was familiar with a few of their songs and remembered it to be some sort of disco synth rock. I also knew they would play with a full live band which is always better than a simple DJ set. Things changed very quickly when the lead singer, Dave 1, began to ask a bit too much of the crowd. Before I get into it, I would like to say that I respect Chromeo. Their musical production and talent is without question, amazing. I also appreciate USC for bringing a group like this to Magnifique. But, Chromeo’s stage presence was a bit too pushy for my taste. Good music should make you want to dance, raise your hands and maybe even hop on your friend’s shoulders. An artist shouldn’t have to beg these things of you; their music should make you do it. As Dave 1 repeatedly stopped the music and asked the crowd to perform these tasks I couldn’t help but feel disinterested. But the real kicker was when he referred to Magnifique as Majestic not once, but twice. Although this was unfortunate, I wouldn’t let it get me down. Kaskade was next.

I hadn’t seen Kaskade since the Paradiso of 2013. It was very refreshing to hear him play some of his old songs like “eyes”, “llove”, “angel on my shoulder” and more between his more heavy, crowd pleaser songs. Kaskade made it abundantly clear to us that he loved playing the Gorge so much. He even posted on his Instagram later saying that the Gorge is the best venue on the planet. I know I’m not alone when I say that Kaskade will always be welcome at the Gorge. I’m very thankful to have seen him again.

I would like to thank USC, Live Nation, The Columbia Gorge and my friends for making this final summer trip one that I will remember forever. Until next time, peace out girl scout.

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