Safe & Sound successfully mixed local artists with some of the biggest artists touring right now..
Rolling into the festival you get classic festival vibes in the heart of the city. Everybody is friendly and united by a common eagerness to see all the acts lined up for the day. The directions into the festival are not totally concrete however that led to strangers travelling together; following the music and connecting with one another.
First thing you'll come across is the variety of food trucks they've laid out for our selection. Everything from pizza to bubble tea. I personally had a go at the Mexican cart and pre-gamed with a hefty burrito knowing I've got hours of hype ahead of me.
After the food trucks you'll find a secondary entertainment area aside from the main stage with a basketball court where many ankles were broken and lots of free swag was given away. Behind that was a wall for graffiti art where a bunch of people had been showcasing their creativity. Beside that were the ping pong table courts intermixed with bars good for enjoying the times in between artists, and beer pong of course.
Being mostly an R&B and rap lineup they did well with the names brought in for the price of admission. Sadly Goldlink had too much trouble at the airport to make it out of the country, but there were enough other acts to make up for that loss. Like any festival the last two headliners of the night were the busiest shows, good energy and no problems in the crowd, which is good considering kids are allowed in. Overall good environment with exciting artists, and local ones too; creating a mix of artists that was set up to make the local acts feel like big acts.
The local acts definitely felt a special kind of love delivering sets that felt like their homecoming, which included So Loki, Manila Grey and SonReal. As for SonReal, you could really feel the love in the crowd performing hits such as "Everywhere We Go" for what may have been the biggest local artist present. He expressed multiple times how this set was his favourite show he'd ever done and it translated to the energy of his performance.
Other acts included Sabrina Claudio, LNDN DRGS, Alina Baraz and Rico Nasty all bringing their own energy and style to the stage. Every set had the crowd nodding their head to the music creating quite a scene that would have been unforgettable for an artist on stage. It was a tough race between the headliners for who brought the most energy with Vince Staples bringing a heavy west coast vibe packed with bars while Anderson .Paak brought his energetic soulful rhymes to New West. Though the surprise performance of the Saturday night was DJ Hedspin; a proper vinyl spinning DJ that knows how to work a set of tables and prepare a crowd for their headliner and festival closer Anderson .Paak. Obviously when Anderson .Paak came out it was pure madness. Always a high energy guy and halfway through the show took over the drums while still on the microphone to showcase his multiple talents and connect with the crowd. You have to respect the length of his show as the man runs around the stage and never shows any sign of fatigue. He loved the crowd and the vibe and kept it going as long as he physically could.
All in all while walking around the grounds I ran into several familiar faces and met some new ones. Had surreal views of the Fraser River, Skybridge and Patullo Bridge lit up in the night time as they were right behind the stage. Good vibes, good scenery and good music. Any true hip-hop fan would enjoy themselves here.
Thank you to Safe & Sound for hosting City Soundcheck, you can check out more photos from the festival on our Instagram here.
All photography by Isaac Zipursky.