Wake Up Call 2018 brings unique festival to W Hollywood

I’ve been to a ton of music festivals over the years. Many of them are hard to distinguish from each other. But this Labor Day Weekend, I experienced one that was pretty unique — Wake Up Call 2018 at the W Hollywood hotel.

The festival was catered towards SPG members who have accumulated a ton of points through booking at Marriott hotels over the years. Attendees could buy their hotel stays with points, and even bid on experiences like getting to hang out with performers like Phantogram, Betty Who, and others before they played their main-stage sets. There was a daytime pool party aspect at the W’s beautiful rooftop pool, and expectedly pricey drinks to keep you afloat if you weren’t in the water. (Full disclosure: I luckily scooped up a ton of $10 vouchers that basically took care of my whole tab for the weekend).

The room that eventually turned into the main stage room was open as a food court, with Shake Shack and a few healthier options available. The area around the pool was much more relaxed than what you normally come across at DJed pool parties, which was a breath of fresh air.

Betty Who with VIP winners

There were still a few too many dudes named Chad in tank tops, but that’s a Hollywood problem more than this festival’s problem. When I was towards the front of the crowd for the main stage performers, I was surrounded by big-time fans and the Chads were nowhere to be found.

Phantogram brought the heat for their hour-long set, leaning heavily on their most recent album, 2016’s Three. They still played all their biggest fan-pleasing bangers, from “Mouthful of Diamonds” to “Fall In Love” and “Black Out Days”. Getting to see this band in a small setting like this (the capacity of the room had to be somewhere in the 300-to-500 range) is lucky. Phantogram played the Hollywood Palladium last time they toured LA, which has a 3,700 capacity.

Betty Who performed with a track and a couple of dancers flanking her as the Saturday closer. It wasn’t at the level of her performance at The Wiltern earlier this year but still a boon for this kind of event. Charli XCX delivered a high-energy set and Chromeo closed Sunday out with a DJ set. Rising up-and-comers morgxn and LEON kicked off the main stage on each night.

The Living Room Stage was setup on the ground floor of the W Hollywood, meaning anyone that came through was able to get a small taste of what Wake Up Call 2018 had to offer.

It was a well-run event that was quite a blast. For me festivals are usually lineup dependent, but this could be a Labor Day staple for me moving forward.