Las Vegas’ Intersect Festival on Friday, A First Impression
The brand new Intersect Festival on Friday resembles its birth city, Las Vegas, it is attractive and flashy, high tech and massive, and it promises to bring together music, art, and technology while mixing old and new into a very immersive new kind of event.
Presented by Amazon Web Service, the festival is held on Las Vegas Festival Grounds, next to the Circus Circus casino, and it is compact enough to save your feet from extreme tiredness but it is still impressive thanks to the for huge tents packed together around a dome and a series of art installations and interactive activities. It is an ambitious festival combining many kinds of music and technologies, with at the center a giant monolith, a 60-foot tall video tower showing the work of artists around the world. The experience tent included a gigantic ballpark with 200,000 balls, a lost and photons experience, a button mash game (an old fashion challenge with a modern twist) and some old fashioned arcade games… it’s probably the place where I spent the least amount of time, and I also mostly ignored the post-apocalyptic dodgeball arena, as I was too busy checking out the immense Supernova tent, the Infinity tent and the more intimate Dome with their intense music lineup.
From the inside to the outside, the festival looks very good with its colorful tents, futuristic installations, hip food choices, and sophisticated visual art, after just a look at it, it is clear that Intersect doesn’t resemble your average DIY festival. It is sponsored by the biggest hi-tech companies (AWS) and this precisely started a controversy among musicians as over 1,000 artists have signed a pledge refusing to participate in Intersect or any other Amazon-sponsored event.
‘I guess this kind of festival is inevitable’, said Lindsey Jordan of Snail Mail in the middle of her set as if she was excusing herself to be part of this big event.
Friday’s music lineup was as diverse as the festival combination of art and technology, and if it was impossible to catch every act, I got to see plenty of them: a sort of messy performance by Snail Mail, a solid set by Unknown Mortal Orchestra, an intriguing set by Sudan Archives, a very entertaining performance by rapper Channel Tres, a very festive set by Chvrches and later H.E.R., and one of my favorites, Weyes Blood. Of course, I could not miss the two headliners of the day, Beck and Kacey Musgraves, and I had such a great spot for Beck that I skipped Sophie and of course, Jamie XX and Gesaffelstein, whose sets were probably not too different than the one I saw at Adult Swim Festival. DJs are honestly quite boring live, no matter how much light, laser, and other high-tech enhancement they bring to their set. During Musgraves’ performance, there was a fleet of over 500 Intel drones outside, choreographed by an all-female team, but I stayed inside since when will I ever be front row for a Grammy Awards winner? I honestly found her on the boring side after Beck’s electrifying performance, but that’s another story. I will post more about all the music performances soon.