The new three-day hip-hop festival debuted at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds to a sold-out throng of tens of thousands, a number of the more skimpily dressed attendees huddling around heat lamps, seeking warmth from flames in place of fabrics.
Lil Uzi Vert, a man who possesses an N’oreaster’s bluster, originally was scheduled to perform an hour earlier on the festival’s Jackpot stage, its largest, but because of travel issues, commanded the more intimate Roll the Dice stage instead.
It was a scene that encapsulated the no-frills, the more in-your-face feel of the festival itself, which largely eschewed the bells-and-whistles and carnival rides and craft beers and myriad selfie spots that have to come increasingly define the modern music fest.
At other popular Las Vegas destination festivals like the electronic dance music-centered Electric Daisy Carnival and the wider-ranging Life is Beautiful, the idea is to create an experience beyond the music, an immersive atmosphere where the performers on stage are but one part of the draw — and maybe not always the most important part, which is at least partially why EDC brands its fans “headliners,” for instance.
In this context, Day N Vegas felt like a bit of a throwback, a straight-up, unostentatious music festival with three stages erected upon acres of asphalt ringed by various food and drink vendors.
There were the requisite amenities, like a large, well-appointed V.I.P. section, and plenty of the aforementioned booze and snack offerings, meaning there was no dearth of Hennessy and fried pickles.
But the footprint was simple and easily navigable with the stages relatively close together, resulting in large clumps of humanity forsaking personal space for full-contact revelry.
Not everything ran smoothly inside the festival, either.
R&B singer Summer Walker took to the Roll the Dice stage 20 minutes late only to exit after one song, presumably because of poor sound mixing, her voice barely audible amid the crashing drums and purring synth lines.
She came back shortly thereafter, eventually joined by a couple of pole dancers, ending her performance after roughly 15 minutes amid vocal displeasure from the large crowd that waited to see her.
The show boasts a line up fit for the millennial hip-hop lover, but News 3 had to ask those who are here for the festival to weigh in on this question. Which is better? Old school hip hop or new school?
“I like the new school, but you gotta respect the old school. Because without the old school, there wouldn’t be a new school,” said Dave Plaseencia from Colorado.
“Old school is like with more lyrics. This generation now, now it’s just to get hype”, said a Travis Scott fan, rocking an Astroworld tee.
“Respect to the oldies. I was supposed to go to Wu-Tang last night at Red Rock. Gave that up to come here to see the new guys. Stoked for J Cole, Kendrick. You know those guys kill it, so it’s going to be a good time,” said Maxwell Morrison, visiting from Colorado
In festival news, Saturday’s original headliner Travis Scott is unable to perform due to a knee injury.
Prefacing his set with a mock campaign add hyping his forthcoming new album “The Fall Off” before taking to the red, white and blue adorned stage, Cole worked for the crowd like a politician on the stump.
He fancies himself the conscience of contemporary hip-hop, and carries himself as such, rapping earnestly with his eyes closed, a lyrical technician with a heart as big as his vocabulary.
And then he repeated the line again, because, you know, practice makes perfect.