From curating the official soundtrack of Marvel’s Shang-Chi to releasing countless hits throughout the year, 88Rising rises to new heights as they continue to bring Asian culture to the masses in new and innovative ways.
This past weekend, 88Rising hosted their third annual Head In The Clouds music festival in LA. And for the first time ever, the festival was also viewable to everyone from all over the world as it was live-streamed through Amazon Music. As the world is still dealing with a global pandemic, this was the perfect way for all of us to connect with everyone across the world for one special weekend, as we celebrated Asian music, art, and culture.
The festival, which debuted in 2018 as a single-day event at the Los Angeles Historic State Park, brought in a crowd of over 10,000 fans in its inaugural year. The very next year, the festival drew in more than 20,000 fans on a single day at the same venue. This year, the festival grew exponentially and became a 2-day event at a much bigger venue: The Brookside Golf Club located at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. With the announcement that this year’s festival would be co-hosted by Goldenvoice, we were expecting to see a couple upgrades here and there but were more than pleased to see how monumental the changes would become.
Just like the past years, the festival featured an all Asian lineup, showcasing the best and newest music to not only come from the Asia continent, but also from Asian Americans living here in the states. But this year also included some legendary acts like CL, the Queen of K-Pop who has been featured on tracks with Diplo and Skrillex, and also the Feel Ghood Music crew, which includes Korean hip-hop legends Tiger JK, Yoonmirae, and Bizzy, who kept the energy levels high as they spoke into the younger crowd, “Not a lot of people know who we are but that’s ok. But hopefully throughout the set we’ll get to know each other a little better.”
This year’s lineup also featured rap superstar Saweetie, who boasted her own Black, Filipino, and Chinese heritage, as she gave a special shoutout to all the “Asian kings and queens” in the audience. This was a special moment for a culture who has felt invisible within the American society for quite some time, especially as they saw a rise in violence and hatred during the pandemic.
88Rising alumni Joji, Niki, and Rich Brian all individually performed highly anticipated headlining sets, proving that they are truly one of today’s biggest acts, as we saw the whole crowd singing every single lyric to each one of their songs. Each hour-long performance featured outfit changes, live bands, well planned out choreography, and so much more. It’s crazy to think that the Indonesian born Rich Brian and Niki are both only 22 years old but they’re performing at levels of today’s greatest superstars.
One artist who we were very excited to see was Taiwanese-American DJ, producer, and singer Elephante, who we featured in our Artist Spotlight. Coming fresh off the release of his genre-blending sophomore album, “Heavy Glow”, the multi-instrumentalist delivered an unforgettably fun set to the crowd on Saturday. He would DJ and mix other artist’s songs and then switch to performing his own tracks while singing and playing live guitar. It was truly amazing to see how musically talented he actually is.
The whole weekend felt like a special homage to Asian culture as we celebrated Asian arts, music, and even food. The festival also included a huge food plaza which hosted the 626 Night Market, an annual night market food festival that was inspired by the famous open-air nighttime bazaars of Asia, where people come together to eat, drink, and socialize. You could get all types of food ranging from dim sum to Korean BBQ.
This year’s festival proved that 88Rising is far from having just their heads in the clouds. They will continue to grow and innovate to newer heights that the world hasn’t seen before. We’re also very excited to see this partnership between 88Rising and Goldenvoice continue to flourish as they collaborate on more events and projects. We hope to see you there next year!
Photo Credit: Willy Song