Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival 2021 Recap

Porter Robinson Second Sky Festival 2021

Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival Recap

Porter Robinson’s second edition of his Second Sky Festival, was held on September 18 and 19, in Oakland, CA, and this was a Music Festival that Porter fans needed, to help get over the pandemic blues.

This was also Porter Robinson’s first live performance of his new Nurture album that he released just last year. Many of you may have seen his Nurture album songs performed on his live stream Secret Sky sets that he had in the spring of 2020 and again in the spring of 2021.

But this is the first chance we get to see Porter Robinson perform live songs from his Worlds album and his Nurture album.

The Line-Up

Porter Robinson is the headliner of Second Sky, but when he thinks about who he wants to invite as his co-headliners, he wanted to invite other artists that are his friends, that he enjoys being around and appreciates their music.

The other artist that co-headlined Second Sky Festival 2021 are Madeon, Jai Wolf, Toro Y Moi, Jon Hopkins, Jacob Collier, Knower, and Wavedash.

The Venue

In 2019, The Second Sky Festival was held at the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park which is located on the waterfront of the Oakland Ports, which makes for beautiful scenery overlooking the San Francisco Bay, but also has the eyesore of the Port of Oakland Shipping Containers.

For 2021, they wanted a similar venue that would overlook the Bay Water so it was going to be held at The Cesar E Chavez Park in Berkeley, CA that would have the same feel as the Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.

But after some thoughtful consideration of the public transportation and parking inconvenience, along with the cold Bay Winds over the water, the venue was moved to the Oakland Coliseum Parking grounds just outside the Oakland Coliseum (where the Oakland A’s play MLB baseball) and Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors played NBA basketball prior to 2019).

This venue may not have the bay water to look out over, but it does have more mild weather, with less wind and more ground space to work with, which allows for free parking and large check-in and security areas to speed up the entry process.

They also covered the main stage grounds with a grass-like carpet cover so it has a very nature feel that is warm and inviting to sit on. The newly rolled green grass carpet also allows for guests to sit down with beach towels and blankets to stay cozy thru the night.

Overall the Oakland Coliseum parking grounds venue was convenient for public transportation, parking, and rideshares, and being so close to the stadium and arena, there was great cell phone coverage. And at night, they light up the Oakland Arena and Oakland Coliseum to give it a beautiful backdrop for the event.

The Stage

Second Sky Festival is more of a show with one main stage that allows you to have an intimate experience with the artist that is performing. The stage height was well above four stories high and had 2 very large LCD displays on each side of the stage along with the main center LCD display behind the artist performing center stage.

The visual displays would often show the artist performing or the video graphics that tie in with the music being played. The lasers and strobe lights also help enhance the visual experience of the show as well.

There were no bad seats at the event, and the music can be heard all the way in the back, in case you just want to hang out on the fake grass all snuggled up in a blanket to relax and enjoy the music.

The Covid Precautions and Security

The first security line was to check for your vaccination card, as you are required to be fully vaccinated or have a negative Covid test prior to this event. Mask were asked to be worn at all times, unless you were eating or drinking.

After the vax checkpoint, you then make your way to the box office to get your will call tickets, and then head to the security line where due to Covid protocol, security was not required to pat you down but instead asked you to remove everything in your pockets and walk thru the metal detector.

After that, you’re all cleared to go into the event.

Food, Drink & Merch

The venue had three main food and drink locations placed all around the edges of the main stage. The food mostly included your basic of pizza, burgers, and fries. But there was one food station hidden away with more specialized food trucks, such as tacos, gyros, poke bowls, specialized sandwiches and I think I even saw a sushi food truck.

The drink locations were next to the food and you would be able to find domestic beers, well liquor as well as some top-shelf vodkas and whiskeys.

They even made a drink called Purple Juice, which was Gray Goose vodka, Blue Curacao, pineapple juice, and Red Bull. My favorite will always be WhiteClaw, which I mixed with Grey Goose Vodka.

The merchandise stores had two locations and a lot of the popular items sold out rather fast, such as the Porter Robinson hats and beanies. Many other items you could buy are the Second Sky shirts and sweaters, a poster, and even the DJ Potaro doll that doubles as a small backpack.

The Music

Jai Wolf played a very serene and tranquil trance set that took you on a peaceful journey thru his set. The mellow vibe would get you waving your hands in the air, moving your head side to side, while leaving a smile on your face as your stress and anxiety melts away with melodic vocals.

As Jai Wolf’s set went on, it became more progressive trance that brought the energy levels up and got you to start hopping around. Jai Wolf ended his set with his hit song Indian Summer, which perfectly closes his set to get you ready for Madeon and Porter Robinson.

Madeon opens his set with his song with All My friends, and instantly gets the crowd amped up with poppy EDM beats that you can’t help but boogie down to. Madeon goes on to play his other hits like Pop Culture and Nirvana.

What stands out from his performance is that he stands in front of a mic, singing half the time and is often dancing between performing on the keyboard and his launchpad. The crowd goes wild when they see him dancing along with his music.

My favorite part of Madeon’s set is at the end when he plays my favorite Porter Robinson and Madeon song, Shelter, and the crowd sings along with him. That song Shelter always makes me happy and puts a smile on my face.

Porter Robinson is the main reason why I wanted to attend Second Sky, as his music from his Worlds album, Shelter, and his Nurture album helped get me thru a very tough time during this pandemic when we are all in isolation and when I could only see my friends and family thru video chat and zoom meetings.

The few times that I would go on vacation, I would always have Porter Robinson’s music playing in the background as his music lifts my spirits and gives me a positive vibe. Porter Robinson’s music has really hit home for me, it helps me get some positive perspective on life, and is a reminder that everything will be ok, and that there are so many great things in this world to be grateful for.

Porter Robinson starts out on his keyboard playing an intro that lead to his new song Something Comforting, which is the first song released from his Nurture album. Once the beat drops, there is so much energy in the air, and at this point I’m jumping up and down and throwing my hands up in the air while Porter is singing on stage.

He then plays Look at the Sky and his piano solo is so soothing. Porter also takes a few moments to address the crowd to keep them engaged. He also shares that he has gone thru tough times during this pandemic, just like the rest of us, and that he’s been looking forward to performing for all of us again to reconnect again and have a good time.

Then he plays the Nurture Live Version of Shelter and the crowd melts as this version has a softer tone that leads into some really deep beats that get the crowd jumping. At this point everyone is in awe of Porter’s performance to singing, playing his keyboard, his launchpad, and of course the fireworks that are going off above the main stage.

I got to hear all my favorite Porter hits; Shelter, Mirror, Sad Machine, Musician, Flicker, and my favorite song from his Nurture album, Get Your Wish. Porter Robinson’s performance was amazing and I feel so lucky to have experienced it live from the VIP section.

The Experience

My overall experience with Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival 2021 was an amazing one, and I haven’t felt this way in a very long time and it was exactly what I needed to lift my spirits up, after 18 months of self-quarantine and social distancing during this pandemic.

From the very beginning of walking alongside fellow Porter Robinson fans and going thru security, there was a very positive vibe that can be felt from the smiles underneath their mask and their eyes smiling wide from a moment of happiness.

I can feel that everyone was here to hear great music and dance with amazing people while creating wonderful new memories. It was so great to see people hugging, dancing, and sharing this experience together. And I was putting out that positive vibe too because I was happy to be able to see Porter Robinson live for the first time since I saw him play as Virtual Self at EDC 2018.

This experience was made even more amazing because I was able to get a Media Pass for Shralpin to experience the VIP and backstage culture that only the select few get to see, and I am happy to be able to report that VIP experience back to you. It begins by walking out the main grounds to a secure area for the artists and their guests, security, grounds crew, and other media professionals.

The first lounge had free food, such as fresh fruit, chef-made meats, and sides, some pasta and bread, along with a nice charcuterie board with salami and cheeses. Oh, and there was a salad station along with snacks like chocolates and candies.

This lounge also had free drinks, which were mostly water bottles, sparkling water, sodas, and juice. The next security checkpoint allowed you to enter the RV park where the artist and their assistants get to rest and prepare for their upcoming live performances. The last checkpoint gets you into the lounge where they serve the Media VIP liquor for half the cost of what you pay at the normal drink station.

Here I got to meet Emma, who would be my bartender and refer to my request for a double shot as a regular for me. A drink with a shot pour of liquor only cost $8 and a double, or in my case, a “regular”, would only cost $12, in the Media VIP. That seems like a great deal to me, so I stayed and drank for while and kept Emma company.

Once I got enough liquor in me to get my feet dancing, I left the liquor lounge thru a small secret entrance that gets you to the normal VIP area that puts you on the right-hand side of the main stage, right in front to see the artist on stage about 30 yards away.

This was an experience like no other, and it’s something that I’ll never forget and always be grateful for. Maybe next time they’ll let me on stage with Porter Robinson, but until then, I will always be appreciative and grateful for that experience to be 10 yards away from him. I feel very lucky to Get My Wish.

By: Vu Ho

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Categories:   Music