Moreso than RG3 sprinting 75 yards for a touchdown or Bryce Harper running head-long through a center-field wall, Saturday, August 17th’s Trillectro Festival at the Half-Street Fairgrounds may be one of the best advertisements to the world about the potential of the Nation’s Capital as center for progressive thought, behavior and activity.
In a summer where every weekend seems to have ten EDM or hip-hop festivals occurring, none of them arguably blend the styles as seamlessly as Trillectro. From Flosstradamus closing 2012’s inaugural event to Carnage being on this year’s billing, the DC-based event may be the only national music fest that ultimately understands the power of rap in EDM, and thus, the impressive potential of the concept of “festival trap.” It’s almost as if Carnage’s 2013 single “Michael Jordan” was tailor made for Saturday’s festivities. Hearing it dropped at the event may be one of the most musically significant touchstones of the year.
Key to Trillectro 2013 is how the rap lineup is tapped into the progressive zeitgeist. Similar to Schoolboy Q mashing the crowd with “Hands on the Wheel” last year, A$AP Ferg performing “Shabba” – his pop-friendly and hook-driven invitation to ratchet behavior – is an expected moment, too. DC-based rapper Wale, arguably one of rap’s most consistent mainstream stars-at-present, has yet to be presented as a super-duper-star among a sea of other top talents. Much like everything else regarding Trillectro, it’s brash, future-forward and ultimately different.
Dance’s representation at Trillectro continues to improve. Trillectro’s planners can be best described as rap fanatics loving the energy of EDM – but still lacking in understanding how to best present that to a curious, yet not fully engaged in EDM crowd. This year’s dance talents get closer to being a better synergy of how rap’s energy best translates to the dance floor. Bass-heavy dance styles like DC-invented moombahton, trap-as-EDM, and club music are all represented in the lineup.
Now nearing living legend status for a new generation of partiers, moombahton inventors Nadastrom and DC-to-LA bass wizard Tittsworth set the pace, while acts like club music and trap stars DJ Sliink (of “Crwd Cntrl” with Flosstradamus fame) and Salva, DC/Richmond-based trap duo Gent and Jawns, and female selector supreme Venus X from NYC’s Ghe20 Goth1k parties are performing as well. Furthermore, in a crazy twist, 16-year old electro producer Alex Young makes the unprecedented move from the crowd to the stage, his crowd-pleasing dance productions getting him booked only one year after he paid for a ticket.
On a local level, it’s worthwhile to check out bands like REDGLDGRN, Misun and New Retro. At three different levels of recognition, they are all solid and putting out progressive and challenging, yet still entirely ear-worming, material. Rapper Shy Glizzy’s performance is his largest opportunity to-date. He’s the one artist that everyone has heard about yet few at the most mainstream level of progressive behavior have yet to cosign. He may gain the largest bump in publicity and career development from the event.
Rounding out the national level, rapper Casey Veggies appears to have really gravitated towards being a fan of the event. Bookings like rapper Cleveland’s King Chip and the vibed out disco of LA’s Goldroom showcase the level of reach and dedication to truly searching any and everywhere to bring unique acts back to the DC area for what – after one year – has become a premier event for young progressives.