Electronic dance music, or EDM, house, and hyperpop artists from across the world flocked to Pier 80 to perform for 30,000 festival goers at the two-day Portola Music Festival this month.
Ravers walked the grounds of Pier 80 from stage to stage, checking out different acts and picking up vegan soul food, Korean BBQ, and snacks from local restaurants such as Gracias Madre and Respectable Bird.
One thing that set the lineup apart at Portola, compared to other music festivals like Coachella or Rolling Loud, is the focus on EDM. From Toro y Moi’s dazey indie sound to Slayyyter’s hyperpop fierce beats, there was room for everyone’s favorite genre of electronic music.
On the first day of the festival, fans were quite eager to see the British DJ, Fred again.. (stage name) perform at Pier 80’s Warehouse stage. Some went around the line at the entrance and instead entered through the exit, others even hopped a fence to enter the VIP section.
Witnessing the commotion, I was curious as to why Fred again..’s performance was so heavily desired by fans. Janey, a 22-year-old from Colorado, was excited to see Fred again.., despite the chaos. “Fred again.. is an international movement, and one of the most important performers at the entire festival,” Janey said.
An international movement is right; I could not get into the Warehouse for about 30 minutes. I was able to catch the end of one of Fred again’s songs, “Turn On The Lights again…” The Warehouse exploded with energy and Fred again.. relished in the music that was bouncing from the speakers and into the crowd.
May, a joyful 26-year-old from San Francisco, said, “This is my second time seeing Fred again.., it was amazing, and his music is just real; he speaks a lot about hope and is very positive, which is something we all need at the moment.”
Twenty-one-year-old singer Pink Pantheress brought the same energy to the Warehouse stage. She emerged in an all black, monochromatic, business-chic look with a matching black purse.
Pantheress, a “British house music” performer, is known for her songs “Pain,” “Just For Me,” and “Where you are.” Some people might know Pantheress from TikTok, where her videos put her in the spotlight. She has been on the rise performing at many different festivals such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Reading Festival, and now Portola. On the stage, Pantheress’ energy was calm and collected, but her fans were ecstatic.
Festivalgoers ran between stages to catch their favorite acts. Shygirl performed at the Ship Tent for a go-getting and highly entertaining set where she played one of her hit songs “Firefly.” The audience begged for more songs after she finished her set. Meanwhile, Toro y Moi’s set at the Pier stage allowed for people to chill out to some classic indie and soft rock tunes.
As night approached, people ran to the Pier Stage to end the evening with a performance from popular EDM musician Flume. Flume’s repertoire includes songs like “Never Be Like You,” “You & Me,” and “Rushing Back.” He emerged onto stage through a fabric arch and teased fans with an experimental motorcycle noise in the first five minutes of his set, making the whole festival vibrate.
Fourth-year international studies major Sofia Chavez was in the first row at Flume’s show. “I’ve been listening to his music since I was a teenager,” she said. “Seeing him live when I’m months away from graduating college was like putting a bow on my coming of age.”
The Portola Music Festival was an adventure to say the least. From discovering new artists to moshing to their favorites, festivalgoers had an experience they will rave about forever.