Underground electronic is slowly bubbling upward through the concrete cracks, to the dismay of wooks globally. But Skyline Fest isn’t embarrassed to go over your head. To keep it real: there’s a good chance you don’t know most of these artists.
Mind you, Skream was there when Skrillex broke the genre in 2011 (and then fixed it in 2023 I guess), Peggy Gou was there at Portola fest headlining next to James Blake and Flume. Monsieur Frazier is enabled by Understated Recordings, a label whose entire virtue of doing things is for the love of the game. Despite their relative anonymity, these are full-fledged producers, they know what the bounce sounds like and they deploy it decisively.
Because despite what people who only listen to classic rock from 1982 say, electronic music is beautiful. Skyline Fest corroborates this in full force next week. Its junior year celebration is taking place in Expo Park, Los Angeles on Feb 25/26. With it comes an armada of tech house, deep electronica, and UK garage – a welcome sight for the west coast. Last year we were graced by the almighties: Chris Lake, Maya Jane Coles, and Carl Cox – who played both nights, that rapscallion.
This year is a bit more startling for the electronic purist because Diplo is headlining. Which is great news if you’re an Insomniac trying to garner more momentum for your 120 bpm hullabaloo; I can see that being a decisive issue for some others. It’s difficult to zone into the house groove when an electro-salsa flip of Wannabe, one of the Fantano’s worst-rated singles of 2019, just tossed you around like a salad.
Dom Dolla is co-headlining Day 1 and his discography is more in line with the demographic of Skyline’s constituents. His Gorillaz remix blew up late last year in part thanks to Kevin Parker’s familiarity. He’s joined by the likes of Meduza, Michael Bibi, Dennis Ferrer, and Ben Hemsley: a spectrum of club music ranging from overproduced festival beast-trance to deep lo-fi microhouse. Day 2 is comprised of multiple B2B acts: Shiba San, Solardo, J. Worra, MIANE, Ellen Allien, and Sara Landry.
The venue, only a stone’s throw from the USC campus, is laid out in two plateaus: East and West. It’s only a brief jaunt from one side to the other but keep that in mind when forecasting the schedule. Judging from past years the stages are quite immense. We’re a long way from the dark seedy clubs of the warehouse district Dorothy, the house scene has become its own emerald city.
But rave true knowing that you’re in good hands. We covered Countdown Festival over new years at were blown away by the effort taken in all directions. It was almost two months ago but its music echoes well past the vernal solstice. Insomniac has seemingly nailed festivals down to a science, throwing events out like ninja stars, most if not all of which are remarkable. I’m not apprehensive to say that Skyline is going to be competently managed, safe, loud, and noteworthy.
Skyline Festival is next weekend February 25th and 26th, at Expo Park (700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles CA, 90037). Tickets are available here and range from single-day GA at $100 to full weekend GA at $170. Single/both-day VIP tickets are $160/$250 respectively and include various amenities such as exclusive viewing areas and expedited festival entry. Skyline boasts various pre/afterparties as well that you can learn more about here. For everything else, check out the Insomniacs Skyline guide on their official website.
Cover image courtesy of the festival.