History was made this weekend at 88rising's first ever 'Head in the Clouds Music and Arts Festival' took place in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The festival featured a star-studded lineup including artists like Zion. T, Rich Brian, Keith Ape, Joji, Niki, KOHH, and Dumbfoundead, the collective took their inaugural festival to the next level.
Upon entrance were huge 88rising cloud balloons that towered above the heads of thousands of concert-goers. From photo-opportunities to long merchandise lines, there was no shortage of things to check out and buy at the festival. 88rising even did an exclusive clothing collaboration with fashion powerhouse, GUESS, to make special shirts and hoodies unique to the event. For those that weren't trying to expand their wardrobes, the event also hosted a myriad of dining options including local Los Angeles favorites like Howlin' Rays and Baohaus. The food area, adorned with lanterns, also included all types of local Asian fare from orange chicken to KBBQ and desserts like ice cream and boba.
Among the artists, the most notable Korean act was Zion.T. Though the festival underwent some slight technical difficulties with the sound, the crowd, whose energy was sky-high, didn't seem to mind one bit during Zion.T's explosive R&B crooning. He performed a number of his hits and ended with his classic ballad, "Two Melodies".
Zion.T's fans chanted his name like a mantra throughout the performance and he was a hugely memorable performance of the night. We were huge fans of his stylish outfit despite the hot LA weather.
Other Korean artists like rappers Dumbfoundead and Keith Ape also graced the stage and performed some of their hits. Dumbfoundead's "Harambe" and "Rocketman" hit extra hard and the crowd went wild for the LA native's set. Keith Ape, of course, was also able to bring out Japanese rapper, KOHH, to join him on a live rendition of "It G Ma," among a number of other Cohort classics.
Rich Brian had the crowd hype with is performance.
Performances got more and more dynamic as the night went on including a special surprise guest! None other than Anderson Paak showed up to grace the stage with a few of his well-known tracks, but "Glowed Up" really took the cake as the best song he performed of the night. His live rendition of this Kaytranada produced track was incredible to hear and experience.
The festival rounded itself out with a large performance of 88rising's biggest hits like "Midsummer Madness" and Higher Brothers' hit track "WeChat". The energy of the entire park was buzzing from 3 pm all the way to midnight as the artists made jokes, performed, and threw inflatables into the crowd.
88rising is more than just a collective, it's a movement that gives an enormous amount of representation to the not-so-conventional Asian. The group serves as a huge step towards the ascension to mainstream status for those who would otherwise be hugely underrepresented and disregarded artists. The sense of pride and self-worth instilled in the crowd by the end of the night was the most powerful thing the festival offered an experience that I'm sure many who attended will never forget.