"A free parade that celebrates music, love, diversity, tolerance, dance, and community is something... America needs now more than ever," stated the organizers of the big annual San Francisco LoveFest, the annual electronic music festival which celebrated year four on Saturday. "We know that in a culture awash in conflict, materialism, superficial concerns and greed, an event of this kind can lift the spirits and the hopes of those who surrender to its power. The power of dance. The power of music. The power of community." That statement was made before Saturday's big fourth annual parade and party. And having attended both the LoveFest Parade and the mega party it morphed into after parking at Civic Center Plaza, I can confidently say that it was mission accomplished for the LoveFest. The event kicked off around 12:30PM as a colorful parade from 2nd Street down Market and ended up as an all day outdoor dance party awash in tens of thousands revelers grooving to all strains of throbbing electronic music.
Saturday's upbeat SF LoveFest 2008 came after a week of downbeat, depressing news headlines. So it was the perfect antidote to the reality of the gloomy world outside where the economy is in the toilet and the future doesn't look bright from any angle. For the approximately 100,000 dancing bodies that packed the Civic Center Plaza to move to the various music booming sound system floats lined up across the large city center plaza, the SF LoveFest truly offered up pure unadulterated escapism -- if only for the day. Of course, there were reminders of the presidential election, with Barack Obama images everywhere. But Obama -- hung round as an image of hope -- never distracted; rather, the images only seemed to reinforce the good vibes that hung in the air all day up until the party wound to a close at around 8PM. Check out the SF LoveFest website for more images and info, plus an amazing bird's eye view video looking down on Civic Center Plaza on Saturday afternoon.
"Amazing and overwhelming. I was blown away. And goddamn, there [were] a lot of people there," enthused vocalist Audio Angel, who performed several times throughout the day on both the Bay Area Drum'N Bass (BADNB) float and on the Moulton Street & SF House Music float. The powerhouse female vocalist, who was on the committee for the first year of the event, has witnessed the San Francisco dance event grow by leaps and bounds each year with attendance jumping from approximately 40,000 in year one to more than double that three years later. "This year there were a lot more people who came into town from all over the place," noted Audio Angel, who performed on the BADNB stage with DJs such as Fife, High Side, and DJ Glyph. On the SF House/Moulton Street sound system float she had a killer set with DJ Andrew Phelan and bass guitar player Origami (as pictured on top of blog).
Other great DJs on the day included Doc Martin (pic below), who wrecked it towards the end of the event on the Stompy/Tweekin/Green Giorilla DJ float. LoveFest proved how music in a setting like Saturday's can have such a positive and uplifting effect on individuals, and also ably demonstrated what a really diverse array of electronic music is out there these days, from fast BPM trance to (relatively) slow deep house etc., It's one thing to check out the various styles and sub-genres of the music born out of house music on your IPod or even by going club-hopping, but at the SF LoveFest it was possible, within a matter of minutes, to get a taste of a half a dozen various strains of electronic music by just walking within earshot from one sound system to the next. Mark your calendars now for SF LoveFest 2009, or alternatively/additionally you could plan on going to Germany next year for the even bigger Berlin Love Parade 2009.