88rising's second-ever "Head in the Clouds" Festival took place on a sunny afternoon and evening in Los Angeles at Los Angeles State Historic Park. The festival featured a star-studded lineup of 88rising's major stars like Joji, Rich Brian, Niki, and Higher Brothers, as well as numerous other acts like Dumbfoundead, DPR Live, and iKON. This year's festival boasted an additional stage where a number of electronic acts like Qrion, Josh Pan, Manila Killa, and Y2K graced the stage to give folks a different sound while they were in line for delicious food and merchandise. A record-breaking 25,000 people came out to this year's festival to celebrate Asian youth culture and creativity.
Fans began lining up mid-morning to early afternoon despite doors being open at 3 PM. These lines extended the length of the park and into Chinatown, but fans withstood the warm sun to get in to enjoy some of their favorite artists. Upon entry, the festival had a number of notable interactive improvements from their inaugural festival including art installations, increased food vendors, a giant slide for folks to enjoy, limited edition GUE88 merchandise, and much more were all available to entertain people looking to take a break from the hot sun and crowd. Food vendors included delicious trucks like Cali Bahn Mi and Baohaus to name a few.
This year's main highlight was the inclusion of the alternate "Double Happiness" stage. This gave fans the opportunity to walk to the other side of the park to enjoy a different style of music, making this 88rising's most musically diverse festival to date. Over at the "88rising Stage" fans squashed into the crowd to catch a glimpse of their favorite artists.
A huge number of lightstick-toting iKONics withstood the intense moshing of Higher Brothers in the heat to catch good footage of iKON. Fans traveled across multiple states to see iKON live, and despite the loss of one member, they were able to get the whole crowd chanting to "Rhythm Ta" without a single issue. Additionally, the festival ran into a small problem the day before with the lineup, but K-Pop fans still showed up with Jackson Wang related banners and signs to show their support for the artist's safety. DPR Live also performed a scintillating set and got the crowd to shout "Gang Gang" so loud we felt the ground tremble.
NIKI's seductive crooning set a tone for the rest of the night and performances throughout the night became more and more dynamic with Rich Brian performing his latest songs off "The Sailor" and Joji performing his most well-known tracks despite having tonsillitis. The festival even had a surprise for performance from up-and-coming singer, Stephanie Poetri, who is best known for her song "I Love You 3000".
This year's 88rising "Head in the Clouds" Festival showcased the best aspects of Asian youth culture and effectively solidified 88rising's place in not only the music industry but in the lives of Asian youth across the globe. This powerful showcase of energy, cultural pride and creative ability has yet to be effectively duplicated by another festival, making "Head in the Clouds" one of the most impressive Asian-centric festivals in existence.