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Five Great Things about the Electronic Sriracha Fest

In Culture
DJ FelNLove was one of the highlights of the Electronic Sriracha Festival.

DJ FelNLove was one of the highlights of the Electronic Sriracha Festival.

In their inaugural shindig, food truck maestros Moveable Feast took to St. James Park to finish their summer of food with the final event in their trifecta: the Electronic Sriracha Festival.

Adding to the buzz of the Bacon Festival of America and the Taco Festival of Innovation, Moveable Feast took an off-the-wall pairing—electronic dance music and the cult-like fandom of hot sauce Sriracha—and curated a full day of spicy eats and Bay Area DJ’s that seemed to capture the sound (and tongue-in-cheek spirit) of the time. Here are five high points from the Electronic Sriracha Festival.

Ross FM on the Olmstead Stage
The sun was a bit of a problem for listeners early in the day, but when the shadows grew larger, so did the crowds in the late afternoon at the Olmstead Stage. From the moment he took the stage at 4pm, Ross FM went all out, diving head first into heavy electro house drops that struck the right note at just the right time.

Before Ross’s set, the Fest hadn’t seem to hit its musical stride, and even seemed to run the risk of never elevating the day from get together to day party. To be fair, patrons early in the day were mostly trying to avoid the hot sun. But with enough shade to enjoy the music up close, fans seemed to migrate en masse to the Olmstead Stage to hear Ross play. By 4:15, he had more than doubled his crowd, and the energy just grew from there. This was the sound listeners came to hear and they were wildly dancing along practically from start to finish.

Considering the mellow vibe felt around St. James Park before Ross took the stage, he was a major factor in taking the Fest’s musical energy to a new pinnacle.

DJ FeLNLove on Kennedy Stage
Though the Fest wasn’t able to sustain massive crowds on all three stages simultaneously, select stages carried moments of incredibly energy. Following Ross FM’s celebrated hour, much of the crowd seemed to eventually migrate to Kennedy to see DJ FeLNLove, which definitely elevated the second half of her set.

DJ FeLNLove started her 5pm set with only a select handful of people listening to her funky house tunes. Yet by her final 15 minutes, when she had switched to electro house (which seemed the preferred style of the day), she had a healthy mass of fans jumping along with each celebratory drop.

When she finished off with a remix of “Latch,” the top 10 summer hit by red-hot UK exports Disclosure, she stepped in front of her decks to jump right along with her eager listeners. It seemed to be a moment that both FeLNLove and her new fans relished.

Sam F on the Kennedy Stage
I’ve heard it said that San Jose is a trap town. Despite a full day of largely house stylings, Sam F rode out the populist electro peak reached by DJ FeLNLove before switching to heavy 808 bass. Judging from the crowd’s reaction, that statement is entirely correct.

With a set that dove into trap without fully forsaking the electro synths and rhythms that had listeners beating the beat, Sam F rode a fine line that seemed to satisfy both the PLUR EDM lovers and the bass lovers looking for a gritty alternative to the anthemic, upbeat tracks they’d been hearing for much of the day. In addition to his recent remix of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” Sam F played out “When Will the Bass Drop,” a production he composed for comedy trio Lonely Island as part of an SNL digital short that playfully lambasts the very crowds he was playing in front of (right before each drop, Lil Jon implores listeners to “get turned up to death”).

Easing into hip-hop territory near the halfway point, Sam even managed to sneak in the Kanye West and Jay-Z classic “Ni**as in Paris,” which had plenty of people in the crowd singing along to the track’s multiple quotables. Finishing with his own refix of Too Short’s “Blow the Whistle,” he chose an apt Bay fixture, complete with chanted “bitch” call-backs.

The Hoopers
Did you know that “hooping” is a thing? You likely do now if you saw the handful of girls strolling around the fest grounds, using their specially-designed hula hoops to dance to the many flavors of EDM blasting from three area stages. This isn’t your garden variety waist-shaking business either—legs, arms and necks are all fair game, and hoops are handled with a precision and ease you never thought possible.

Hula hoop dancing often seems a bit of a cheap gimmick, but after 10 minutes of watching these dancers expertly maneuver their hoops, I was rightly put in my place. This stuff is hard work and that effort was evident to anyone who took them seriously.

These hoopers were one example that proved how small details can really help transform a Fest experience.

A Transformed St. James Park
San Jose has been actively working to make St. James Park, typically a bastion for the homeless and derelict, a more inviting space for downtown workers and residents all summer. From World Cup viewing parties and Music in the Park to yoga classes and movie nights, the two block expanse has been getting plenty of love as of late. With Electronic Sriracha activating both blocks, this was the largest effort thus far in transforming perceptions about St. James.

It was particularly delightful seeing Sriracha Fest attendees hanging out around the playground near the Hart Stage, which was showcasing local DJ talent. It’s a piece of the park that’s nearly always overlooked, and including the space in the Fest blueprint was inspiring.

Electronic Sriracha Fest provided yet another example of what St. James Park has the potential to be. Here’s hoping the trend continues.

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