I can only surmise that the crowd made up of a lot of college kids in loose T-shirts, Toms and neon-rimmed sunglasses had probably been drinking since the first band started at 12:15, so I thought the place might be a little rowdy by the time I showed up around 7:30pm to catch some of Big Boi’s performance. Mostly the fun-loving festival-goers were entertaining, though, as the deeper-voiced member of Outkast, rapped the words to fave beats that kept fans’ heads nodding, hands waving and lips forming lyrics like, “She need to get a piece of the American pie and take her bite out. That’s my house. I disconnect the cable and turn the lights out,” and “But I know you all wanted that 808, can you feel that B-A-S-S, bass?”
Several ladies joined Big Boi and his crew onstage to dance, and for those attention-loving ladies, it must have been like having the dream we all secretly share of dancing in a rap video fulfilled. At $95 a ticket, though, maybe they should have let everyone dance on the stage.
At one point the music was interrupted for a brief moment for an announcement about needing an EMT for someone who had possibly passed out, but the music barely paused, and the boundless energy of the audience was high until the set ended.
There were two stages at the festival and the shows were timed that when one ended another one started. After Big Boi wrapped up the remaining audience departed for the other stage where the Australian electronic duo Empire of the Sun was starting their set. I checked out their sound and outfits and was amused. The dancers were sci-fi outfitted in metallic blues and blacks, and the whole scene was almost like Ziggy Stardust and Lady Gaga got together and masterminded the entertainment for a fanboy convention.
Next, I caught Girl Talk’s performance, which was so much fun. He brought around 50 people onstage to stay for the entire show, so the stage mirrored the audience: nonstop dancing. The music was pretty much everything you could want in a club mix to dance with your friends. His mashups sampled loads of great dance songs layered with stuff that makes you want to bounce so much you can’t help but sweat. A woman standing near me summed it up best, saying, “I can’t stop dancing.”
Last up was electronic music artist Pretty Lights. His synthesized sound was super loud, and not long after the first song started I realized it was time for me to go. After an evening of drinking and dancing, the walk back to where the ferries were waiting was impossibly long. It felt like we were routed halfway around the island. Once we reached the boats, empty seats were filled with exhausted music lovers, and once the boat was cruising New York Harbor, the cool breeze and the night-sky view of Manhattan were a welcome comfort for the senses before tackling that hellish subway ride home.