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All photos: Alyssa Lesser

This past weekend’s inaugural Catalpa Music Festival on New York City’s Randall’s Island was filled with music, food, some art, lots of product placement, oh and, well, a really high number of girls with butts busting out of their jean shorts.

BUT back to the music –

The event featured a wide range of genres, from house to reggae, garage rock to hip-hop.

There were highs (Snoop Dogg opening with “Gin and Juice”), and then there were lows (the less than awesome turnout). Heavy rains throughout the weekend, mostly on Saturday, meant puddles and lots of mud – and not in a Glastonbury way, where they expect it. And then there’s the price; not everyone’s willing to pay $100/a day for tickets, considering the diverse lineup (Matisyahu, The Big Pink, and AraabMusik shared the same stage).


Towards the end of the day came A$AP Rocky, wearing all white, as he was surrounded by his large crew. “A$AP!” they shouted, and the audience echoed. The A$AP Mob warmed up the crowd for what felt like forever, before Rocky finally came out. “Everything is purple,” said the Harlem rapper  – the lights followed, as he began “Wassup”. It was the show I had anticipated the most, and while I loved it at times (hearing “Goldie”), I couldn’t help but feel disappointed, when he overpowered the PA, as he yelled along to his backing tracks during songs like “Purple Swag”. Still, the MC’s songs hold a place in my heart right now…I’d watch him all over again…and again.


While headliners The Black Keys, TV on the Radio, Hercules and Love Affair, and Zola Jesus were the highlights of day one (we missed it, but heard through the grapevine), Sunday felt like a build up for Snoop Dogg, who commanded the stage as he played tracks off 1993’s Doggystyle. The festival ended on a high note with the audience loving every second of his performance, singing along to all the classics as they passed each other joint after joint.

Best Onstage Party: Girl Talk
The mash-up DJ had the crowd going wild, having around 20 fans onstage (as he does), cheering, singing, and jumping up and down, as they let off balloons, confetti, and fired a toilet paper gun over the entire audience.

Band I Was Curious About Post-Catalpa: City and Colour
Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green’s sound felt perfect for the festival’s setting/feel.

Onto the photos–

  • Snoop Dogg Lion:

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  • Girl Talk

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  • A$AP Rocky:

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  • Matt & Kim

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  • Cold War Kids

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  • City & Colour


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  • Loitering girls + crowd shots:

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