Best and Worst of Air and Style 2018

The last couple of years, Los Angeles music-and-sport festival Air and Style took place in February. It usually was dogged by cold weather — sometimes rain — and with it taking place in March, better weather was expected. Yet Air and Style 2018 was as cold as it’s ever been, with a bit of rain coming in on Saturday before the skies cleared on Sunday.

That didn’t keep people from having a blast. Read as we recap the Best and Worst of Air and Style 2018 below!

BEST: Phoenix highlights unique lineup

I’ve been keeping track of spring 2018 festival lineups on a spreadsheet, and of the 19 lineups I’ve looked at, Air and Style 2018 had the third-most unique festival lineup with 15 of the scheduled 24 artists only playing this festival. That number included Sunday headliner Phoenix, who toured pretty heavily in 2017 in support of their Ti Amo album. Air and Style 2018 caught Phoenix outside of their album cycle for an incredible performance (though unfortunately they didn’t bring their crazy stage production from last year). Other acts unique to Air and Style 2018 included Tinashe, Washed Out, Gucci Mane, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Cut Snake.

BEST: Skateboarding and snowboarding ramps had music stages

One really cool thing was how the ramps for the sporting part of Air and Style 2018 had musical stages attached to them — and with music that fit the extreme sports. The Paranoyds, Surfbort, and Birth Defects were a few of the heavy rock acts that played while skaters and snowboarders practiced and competed on both days, giving festival-goers a taste of both of the best things the festival had to offer.

WORST: Saturday will-call line

If you had to pick up your ticket from will call on Saturday, chances are you waited a long time to do so. Some people waited as long as 40 minutes in the will-call line just to pick up their tickets and head into the festival. That means even if you timed your arrival for the festival conservatively and gave yourself a lot of time, chances are you missed most of if not all of the first act you had circled on your schedule as must-see. By the second day it seemed as though the team was better prepared.

BEST: GRiZ, Phantogram rock main stage Sunday

Leading up to Phoenix, the main stage on Sunday was fantastic. Phantogram played a perfect sunset set, mixing in their certified bangers with their slower-tempo jams. Phantogram lead singer Sarah Barthel looked as swagged out as ever in a beautiful outfit. GRiZ brought the funk hard as the precursor to Phoenix’s closing set. GRiZ and Phantogram are two acts who have traveled the festival circuit as heavily as anyone over the past few years and they have as good of a sense of how to rock a festival set as anyone — they proved that again on Sunday night.

BEST: Wet, BADBADNOTGOOD bring chill mid-day vibes

The 4 PM slot on the main stage each day was booked perfectly, so a round of applause for whoever configured the set times. New York alt-R&B act Wet played Saturday, and Kelly Zutrau’s serene vocals washed over the crowd perfectly alongside the strong breeze that came through while the sun was still out. The following day, Toronto electronica-jazz act BADBADNOTGOOD played a relaxing and fun set that was perfectly timed for my high that arrived around that time from my weed vape pen. They were great sets to take a breather during before things kicked into high gear the second half of the night.

BEST: These things we overheard

“Come get a sweatshirt! It’s like a hat, AND a sweatshirt!”
— Merch guy yelling into megaphone

“Wait, ‘Gucci Gang’ isn’t a song by Gucci Mane? Do I even know any Gucci Mane songs?”
— Girl at Gucci Mane set right as he’s about to start

“I just wanna SoulCycle to this Tinashe set and I’ve never SoulCycled in my life.”
— Okay, that was me

“I woke up this morning, someone took off my pants, took a shit in them, and then put them back on.”
— Dude to his friend as they were leaving the fest Sunday

Overall, Air and Style 2018 proved to be quite a fun time. In a crowded festival landscape and in one of the busiest music cities in the world with so many shows to compete with, Air and Style 2018 clearly had a hard time moving tickets. It’s a shame because it’s such a unique offering as far as festivals are concerned, so I’m hopeful that the festival can continue to run and build a strong following after completing its fourth year.

Tim Aarons was shooting the festival and got some amazing shots! All our photos are on page two!