After 17 years of throwing down amongst the snowy slopes of Austria, Snowbombing Festival brought the party to Canada. The throwdown consisted of daytime shredding, mountaintop dancing, classic village après, and music deep into the night. Located at Sun Peaks Resort it was the perfect location to capture the British Columbia take on a cozy ski village atmosphere. For the most part, the festival took over the village, booking up most of the hotels and other accommodations available. With the support of Blueprint, Live Nation, and Coors, Snowboming was able to turn this seemingly quiet ski resort into the heart of a party for the weekend, And believe me when I tell you people were there for a party. The crowd was a mix of skier/boarders, brightly clothed and flashy ravers and some locals. They all had one thing in common, the need for bone-shaking beats and fresh powder.
After the beautiful drive from Vancouver to Sun Peaks, the festival kicked off just right. The first destination was basecamp stage, located right at bottom of the mountain next to the village with clear views of the mountains and surrounding slopes. The stage was multi-tiered with the DJ setup above the crowd and a couple levels to dance on. Games were set to the side of the stage, such as garbage bin ball toss and ladder toss, as well as a surprisingly difficult inflatable, climbable Coors mountain. After a good selection of upbeat party tunes, Sara Sukkha made her way off the stage to make way for the special guest of the afternoon, Oliver Heldens. Heldens continued to get the party lit with some more bouncy house beats while a bundled up and toque covered crowd got the dancing juices flowing.
Around 6pm everyday there was a 3-hour break in music, giving space for a potential recharge. This was a good time to use the bars and food joints in the village, and maybe even the pool or hot tub if you were staying close. The night’s music was focused in the village with stages set up at various bars and other venues. The Crystal Cave, a conference room turned dance hall, offered dim lighting, a carpeted floor and warmth, which could be a nice break from the outdoor stages. Canadian artists Bob Moses took the stage to play a rocking set, veering away from the electronic dance beats and instead delivering an instrumental performance to back their characteristically chilling vocals. Lauren Lane followed this up with getting back into that house vibe and keeping the energy high, and Thomas Jack finished off the night in the Underground, situated snuggly in a cleared out underground parking garage. As usual, Thomas pumped out a high-quality mix of beats that made the most out of the surrounding concrete; the reverb was real. His quintessential tropical sound was certainly present, but the set had more of a deep house theme going on, which was a well-suited choice for the underground. His ending mix of ‘Is This Love’ left with me with that smile that he is always good for.
Kicking off day two was a party for whole village, wristband or not. The street party stage was set up at the base of the mountain, right in front of the village. Those locals who chose not take a little vacation away from Sun Peaks while Snowbombing was in town were welcome to join in the funk festivities as artists such as Harrison Brome and The Funk Hunters took the stage. The Funk Hunters happen to be two of the most notorious funk poachers on the west coast, often playing at festivals such as Shambhala and Basscoast. Dropping tunes like ‘Clap Your Hands’ definitely woke up those who may have been struggling from the night before and cranked up the energy all around. Overall, it was a solid free event to have available for those locals who wanted to see what the Snowbombing party is all about.
Later on back in the Crystal Cave, it was SNBRN’s turn to lay down some heavy future house beats. This artist knows how to hit hard while keeping it fun with songs like ‘Gangsta Walk’ and ‘California’. The positive energy in the Cave for the set was tangible. The last set of the night was top notch as the Legend Pete Tong took over the Underground to keep the house tracks pumping. The pace was fast and constant, making it hard to get tired even after a full day of music and skiing/boarding.
Day 3 was the day that I finally saw Skiitour in their natural habitat. Up at The Sundance Terrace, a picturesque location on the top of the mountain, BC locals Skiitour blasted attendees with faux-snow and bouncy drops that you can’t help but move too. Despite a small sound issue, Skiitour was able to capture the magic of what the festival has to offer. This day was full of beautiful scenes, as the next part of the night took place at the forest stage, which can be considered the main stage. A long path led out of the village, through some trees and ended in a clearing. There was a view down the valley where the sun was setting and the mountains looming up on both sides. As the sun began to set and Whipped Cream took her bow, Netsky proceeded to fill the valley with some light dnb that suited a sunset atmosphere. The energy in the crowd was high by the time Duke Dumont hit the stage, and a mix of his old and new upbeat house tunes were enough to warm the bones of the bundled dancers. When the party finally peaked, Kaskade was there to deliver his characteristic sound that epically filled the whole valley. The non-stop tunes were beautifully timed to a wealth of lasers that elegantly manoeuvred their way through a light flurry of snowflakes.
After a morning of hitting the slopes, it was right back to the music for Day 4. On the Forest Stage, Australian duo Peking Duk brought the bass and threw down some electro house anthems. The people started to really file in as Peking Duk closed out and the stage went through a Ludacris transformation. This time Luda brought his live band along with him, which added an extra oomph to the show. Ludacris’s excitement to be there was clear, and he was strongly engaged with the crowd throughout the show. If anyone at this festival knew how to get a crowd hyped, it was Ludacris.
Two wonderful acts to end the night and festival were BC locals Mat the Alien and The Librarian. Mat the Alien played the Underground and delivered a full, deep set of bass infused hip-hop that really gets the body moving. Mat is a master a creating a sound and energy that is infectious and immersive. A similar thing can be said for the second artist, the Librarian who played the Caribou Club. Co-founder of Basscoast Music Festival, she consistently delivers a deep, organic, and raw sound that gets you dancing right down on the floor. Always top quality and with a demeanour that suggests mastery of the music, the Librarian is a set that you should really try to never miss.
Overall, Snowbombing’s first throwdown in Canada has provided a glimpse at the potential this festival has in BC. With great music, snow-covered mountains, and a party for the books, you’d be hard-pressed not to have a blast. Though there are some aspects that will benefit from developing over the years, such as artist selection and venue design, there is no doubt that Snowbombing has created something that calls out to this part of the world.