Greetings from the west coast, where it is still summer. While I am infinitely jealous of everyone who attended this year’s Juice Jam Fest, everyone should be infinitely jealous of ME for attending Mad Decent Block Party in Los Angeles this past weekend.
Los Angeles was the second to last stop for this year’s Mad Decent Block Party summer tour. It’s the fourth time the tour has been through L.A., showcasing artists from Diplo’s Mad Decent record label. The all-day party drew in a crowd of “bad ass motherfucking bitches,” according to the one and only Kim Schifino of Matt & Kim… and she was damn right.
Entering the grounds was a bit hectic because the staff wasn’t entirely organized, but they worked it out eventually. I actually had my admission bracelet stuck on me before I was checked by security and my ticket was scanned, but they promptly changed that system when they realized people could sneak past security. There was a pat down and a bag check, but it wasn’t too strict. You could get your necessary “party supplies” in if you knew how to hide it.
My biggest complaint regarding security/banned items was that they would not let anyone bring in any outside food or drink… not even sealed water bottles or Camelbaks. In light of recent events at other festivals in very hot locations, I believe it’s absolutely appalling to deny people cheap and easy access to water… but more on that later.
A patch of about 8 or 10 food trucks was gathered near the entrance of MDBP. Trucks served food from all around the world like Mexican, Vietnamese, and of course the good ol’ American grilled cheese. However, I opted for the fried chicken sandwich with jalapeño slaw (without the slaw because I’m a spice pussy, but it was still incredibly delicious).
But get this – none of the food trucks were serving drinks. Everyone was forced to get their drinks from a tent that had only two options: water or Red Bull. Excuse me; I’m forgetting that they also had sugar-free Red Bull for those watching their figure.
Seriously, Mad Decent? I get that Red Bull is a sponsor and everything but you could at least charge less for water! That’s right. Water: $4. Red Bull: $4. I, and many others, spent almost $20 on water alone. If there were one thing holding me back from going to another Mad Decent Block Party, it would be this outrageous scam.
Since this was a one-day, one-stage festival, the booths were nothing exquisite, but they did have a plethora of my favorite thing: FREE STUFF. iHome offered an iPhone 5 case to anyone that uploaded a picture from their little face-in-a-hole booth. Puma screen-printed t-shirts for people that took a picture with summer themed props in their photo booth. Since I’m not 21, I did not have access to Heineken’s Beer Garden, but it was poppin’ all day long. The sponsors really pulled through with a bunch of great activities for all Block Partiers.
College bros/hoes, hipsters, potheads, moshers, and ravers were all present at this intimately sweaty fest. It was truly one of the most diverse crowds I have ever found myself in at a music event. There was no lack of crowd surfers, twerkers, tree climbers, or moshers. The artists couldn’t even resist the crowd’s energy: Kim walked out on people’s hands and shook her ass, MC Ruben of The Partysquad leaped into the open arms of the crowd, and Diplo ran all over the crowd inside his signature hamster ball.
My favorite person was the woman who invited me for a PLUR bracelet exchange, offered me her rainbow prism glasses, and had her blow-up monkey sit on my head (he would vibrate when the bass dropped). Overall, the crowd was perfectly rowdy and everyone got really into the music. There was a bunch of twerking, jumping, and raging all around. L.A. killed it.
The lineup was absolutely incredible for just $30. Mad Decent Block Party has a different lineup for each city, but Major Lazer makes an appearance at every one. There’s a mad decent mix of rappers, DJs, bands, and artists from emerging genres of music who all got the crowd moving. Matt & Kim was the only artist I had seen previously, but they always give a kick-ass show so I was looking forward to them just as much as the other artists.
ARTISTS THAT FUCKING KILLED IT: Big Gigantic, Major Lazer, Matt & Kim
ARTISTS I DIDN’T KNOW & THEY WERE AMAZING: Clockwork, The Party Squad
ARTISTS THAT SURPRISED THE CROWD: Dillon Francis (!!!!)
ARTISTS THAT WERE SO, SO BAD: Riff Raff (he came late, had his poor puppy draped over his shoulders, and then threw a bitch fit when he went over his time and they cut his power)
MAD DECENT BLOCK PARTY: A
It was honestly the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Dancing my ass off with my new friends all day was the greatest remedy for missing this year’s Juice Jam (even though I’m still crying about missing Robert DeLong).
My heart will always belong to multi-day festivals, but everyone needs a one-day music festival every now and then. It’s the perfect solution for anyone that’s ballin’ on a budget. The lineup was amazing and I’m sure that more incredible artists will be added to the bill as Mad Decent gains popularity.
Photo by Tara McHugh