Boogaloo 2017 Raged On In the Face of a Tempest

Boogaloo Art Car and Music Festival
Oak Canyon Park

How do you Boogaloo? The DIY-vibe, mini-Burning Man art car fest happened last weekend at Oak Canyon Park in the heart of Silverado Canyon. And, honestly, there couldn’t have been a better time to host a festival at that beloved location. Right now Silverado’s the greenest it’s been in years and Irvine Lake is filled with glistening, cerulean water. The surroundings made Boogaloo 2017 extra magical—despite a wind storm that wiped out a few massive art installations and blew over a tree on Friday night.

A mystical installation that Jessica the Glitter Fairy, a first-time Boogaloo-er, dubbed “the cornucopia of psychedelic treasures” was trashed on Friday night because of major wind gusts. A tree fell over and parts of the Dirty Beetle art car were taken down as a result. Merchandise and vendor booths were almost swept up and blown away Mary Poppins-style, while campers had to readjust their tents and shade structures to prevent them from flying away, too.

“I’ve never seen anything like that wind before,” said Ms. Glitter Fairy. “Lots of areas of the festival were shut down. It was kind of an ordeal,” as she pointed to three stumps that were cut from the tree that cracked and fell.

Boogaloo has earned the reputation as “baby-Burning Man.” The only feature Friday night lacked that kept it from being identical to the Burn (you know, minus the fact Boogaloo is only 2,500 people and isn’t in the Nevada desert)  was a blinding white dust storm. But much like the gathering in Black Rock, the tempest didn’t stop the party. In fact, all the wild weather Boogaloo’s faced in past years hasn’t ever halted the event. In 2015—the first year the fest was held in Silverado—the heavens poured inches of rain above Oak Canyon Park. Last year, a heavy mist coated festivalgoers on the first night. And this year, the wind brought chaos. But like Moulin Rouge, the show must go on—and it did. And Boogaloo raged.

Every year people spend thousands of dollars on their art cars for the Burn and generally only use them once every 365 days (on the Playa, of course.). Boogaloo offers another opportunity for people to dust off the cobwebs from their burner cars and take them for a joyride. Last weekend saw seven different art cars that’ve also graced Black Rock City, making for authentic burner-vibes.

Every inch of the festival glowed. Whether it was the cars, accessories worn by festivalgoers, art, the installations or bicycles— everything was electric. Oak Canyon Park had a fluorescent aura last weekend that easily could’ve been seen from outer space.

There was also a moment on Saturday night around 1:00 a.m. where a party truck filled to the brim with dancing, glowing people slowly drove through the festival grounds blasting bass music. People were jammed into the bed of the truck smiling, grooving and cheering, while others were hanging out of the windows and feelin’ the moment. Hard.

A staged tucked away into the trees between art cars rocked electro-funk / disco. I asked a few people if they knew the name of the stage but no one gave me a straight answer. The best name I came across for this area was “Disco Tree Land.” Although that wasn’t the official name for the area, it captured the ambiance with perfection.  Tall white candles lit up the Dj deck while rainbow lights reflected off a disco ball, making the area sparkle a spectrum of colors. It was hard for me to leave this mini-stage, as I came to the revelation that I’m way more of a disco-ball gal than a laser and light show girl.

Getting sucked into the nooks and crannies of the festival is one of Boogaloo’s best features. The Black Light Tea Lounge provided a genuine rabbit hole experience. Upon walking in, two artists greeted us with freshly brewed cups of tea. Dave the Rainbow and Steven Michael Saturn sat behind a table with an impressively high tech mobile tea set up.

Inside the Black Light Tea Lounge—which has also traveled Burning Man, as well as Symbiosis, Lightning In a Bottle and other festivals in the circuit—were Mr. Rainbow’s and Saturn’s artwork. On the tea table were activated crystals. The black lights within the dome shaped lounge illuminated the psychedelic painted canvases (and the tea) making the vibe otherworldly. If aliens were present at the festival last weekend, they definitely hung out at the tea lounge.

We sat on pillows and passed around a hybrid joint as we sipped on fine tea and enjoyed the company of good people. It was like a friendship ceremony. If it wasn’t for needing to make an emergency bathroom run, I could’ve stayed in there for hours.

The party rolled on all night. By 3 a.m. I made it back to my tent at what felt like the edge of the world. The moon reflected a celestial glow onto the lake, while the bass from a souped-up van vibrated into the wee-hours of the morn’. The big dipper was easily identifiable in the sky, as it pointed north above Oak Canyon Park.

Boogaloo is easily the best music festival in Orange County. It’s intimate (2,500 people intimate), the feeling of community radiates, and it’s easy to find places to chill away from the crowd or wedge yourself into the sea of people if you’re into that sort of thing. Wind, rain or hail—no tempest is bold enough to stop festivalgoers from getting their Boogaloo on, and this year was no different.

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