SAN ANTONIO — Start spinning the record player now San Antonio, let’s get noisy.
2018 was a fantastic year for music in the Alamo City. San Antonio is fortunate enough to host so many quality music festivals across the city.
Kicking off 2018 was the Botanica Music Festival with a festival presence that meshed rap and rock music and was hosted in a theme park, yeah really. To sum up the entire experience in a couple of sentences, here I go. Shaquille O’ Neal had a DJ set under the DJ name Diesel and Deftones performed a set near a giant rollercoaster. Shaq’s set was so energetic, wild, and fun.
The highlight here was that you could see as riders turned upside down with their hands in the air on a giant rollercoaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas while music was blaring and echoing throughout the park. You had to have been there to really immerse yourself in the energy.
Rap standouts Logic and Lil Yachty shared the stage with the Deftones to provide a mix of tunes for the theme park festival goers. Theme park festival, I just had to retype that because it sounds cool to say out loud, go ahead and try.
There has been no official confirmation if the festival will be returning in 2019, however, I hope it does. It was a very unique festival that is close to the top of my festival experiences for the year.
On top of the many concerts throughout the city, one key music event in the Alamo City is now retired. Time to put away the Doc Martens because we said our sad goodbye to the Van’s Warped Tour this past summer.
Van’s Warped Tour Founder Kevin Lyman officially stated that the tour would not be returning as a yearly tour but will have a celebration of 2019 dates for the tour’s 25th anniversary. No official date confirmed for San Antonio as of yet, unfortunately.
Every Time I Die closed out the date this past July and sent off the tour with a steady shot of moshing, fans yelling loudly, and erratic energy that was the final nail in the tour’s coffin. We shred and threw punches but most importantly, we had fun.
Stepping up to the plate was the return of the Mala Luna Music Festival. This predominantly rap festival is one of my favorites that comes through the city. Not only does it feel like a true music festival that you would experience in any other major city, but they also do not shy away from providing world-class entertainment by bringing a vast variety of major artists.
Fans running between two parallel stages with just enough time to grab a drink or two. They rocked it.
2018’s Mala Luna brought Cardi B in her first performance since having her child with Migo Member, Offset. In addition, Young Thug, Lil Pump, 2 Chainz, Tyler, The Creator, and Lil Baby, among others performed and brought a powerhouse of rap talent to one place.
Clouds of cannabis smoke engulfed the air while fans jumped and hopped around finding common ground sharing the energetic experience with everyone in attendance.
Age did not matter, old or young, you were thrown into an eclectic mix of energetic rap performances and treated with a festival experience that surely will speak to you. I can say with 100% confidence that Mala Luna will return in 2019 and possibly bigger and better for its fourth year.
Ok, so technically this next Festival is CHEATING because it was not hosted in San Antonio. It was in fact hosted in Houston. For the sake of this piece, I’m adding it in because it was my absolute favorite festival experience.
Travis Scott and Post Malone are both Texans and I’m going to shed some light on the fact they put the Lone Star State back on the map with quality musical experiences this year.
Travis Scott’s AstroWorld Festival is the crown jewel of my music festival experiences for 2018. The re-imagined Astroworld was something Scott had not only dreamed of but also brought to life.
A giant Ferris wheel greeted you upon entry, so massive you couldn’t miss it. The visual eye-candy of the decorations and props set up throughout the festival were a delight. Of course, there were more clouds of cannabis smoke which were a common theme at these festivals I’ve noticed.
Scott brought major national support with him including fellow Texan Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd, Sheck Wes, and also including a medley performance by legends Paul Wall, Lil Flip, Bun B, Maxo Kream and more.
Travis’s performance was what I would call the top live performance of the year. I’ll explain as easily as possible. The production and theatrics of Scott’s massive two-stage setup were a sight to see and his performance coupled with it created enough energy to power Reliant Stadium.
The stage that Travis emerged from was in the shape of a looped rollercoaster and the caveat? He would perform and strap himself in the rollercoaster while the coaster moved him upside down and he rapped enthusiastically. He allowed festival goers to ride the attraction as he was performing. Giving festival-goers not only an impactful experience but a thrilling chance to immerse themselves even further into the show.
The high energy in the audience was thick, you could feel the positivity and the substance of giddiness for those that awaited Scott and his performance of his numerous hits.
Noisy fun. It’s how I would describe all of the festival experiences of 2018 including the high energy Astroworld Festival. The year has come and gone, now we look forward to 2019 and the music festival experiences that are to come.
Check out my top five favorite musical projects of 2018 below:
Advisory: Some of the music contained below may not be suitable for all audiences.
MY TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2018:
BLOOD ORANGE – NEGRO SWAN
Favorite Track: Dagenham Dream
THOM YORKE’S – SUSPIRIA SOUNDTRACK ALBUM
Favorite Track: Unmade
JPEGMAFIA – THUG TEARS
Favorite Track: I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrisey Dies
PUSHA T – DAYTONA
Favorite Track: If You Know, You Know
FACING NEW YORK – DOGTOWN
Favorite Track: Gods of the Good Shit