ILLfest September 3-4, 2022 is an experience I will truly never forget. Attending this music festival was such a fun way to spend the Saturday and Sunday of my Labor Day weekend and showing by the crowd of people on both days it seems like many others agree with me! ILLfest undoubtedly lived up to the hype. I was impressed by the attention to detail in regard to how the festival was run and in all of art I experienced both musically and visually.
Arriving at ILLfest was like stepping into a different world. Walking into the music festival I was immediately met with the sound of bass from electronic music, breathtaking art, and array of flashing lights in the distance. This combination of stimuli added to my excitement for the festival and I was eager to begin my first music festival experience.
Louis The Child
Since I arrived later in the day on the first day of ILLfest, I was not able to experience an array of musical artist performances. However, I was able to experience Louis The Child’s set and they did not disappoint. Louis The Child is a Chicago-area based duo and was one the headliners at ILLfest. Their performance included a fun mix of their electronic music, visuals, and even pyrotechnics! Before the Duo went on the perform at ILLfest, I was able to witness part of their preparation process. This entailed one of their team members covering half of the duo (Robby) head to toe in neon paint. I think this commitment and attention to detail definitely enhanced the performance.
ILLfest showcased the artwork of over 30 muralists. The artwork at ILLfest was unique, innovative, and provided fun backdrops for festival goers to take pictures with. A lot of the art was transformative meaning it looked different in different angles or lighting. One example of this is the artwork shown above. Pictured above an artist creating his artwork during day one of ILLfest, and pictured below is the same artwork during the night of day two.
After day one, I made sure to arrive earlier on day two so that I could experience more of the festival. During day two I got to experience more of the music at ILLfest and met some amazing vendors.
Artists I got to experience
So Tuff So Cute
After eating dinner on day two, I was luckily able to catch part of So Tuff So Cute’s set. Their set included classic songs such as “Hey Jude”, which they had the whole crowd singing, along with more recent iconic songs such as Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u”. For the Austin crowd, So Tuff So Cute also played their new song “Death Wish” which was unreleased at the time. The high energy performance from this DJ duo was an unforgettable experience.
While I was preparing for ILLfest, I listened to a variety of different musical artists. However, I had a special connection to RJD2 because as I was listening to a playlist I came across one of their songs that was so familiar to me. After pondering for a bit on how I knew this song, I finally came to the realization that it was the theme song for one of my favorite shows – Mad Men. The production of RJD2’s set was immaculate and his experience in the field was shown through his sense of ease and focus.
The attention to detail in all aspects of Madeon’s performance far exceeds anything I have ever experienced before. Madeon is undoubtedly a remarkable performer and artist. The timing of his positioning and music with the combination of graphics and lighting was pure perfection.
The people working at the Kandies World tent were extremely kind, helpful, and welcoming. They genuinely made me feel welcome to the music festival scene. One of the employees even gave me my first kandi! Trading kandi is a tradition at rave and edm festivals that embodies peace, love, unity, and respect (aka PLUR). Festival goers visually depict these values through a special handshake done while trading.
What is unique about Kandies World is that they sell custom designed 3D printed beads. This means their beads are unique to their company and cannot be found just anywhere. To immerse myself in the festival experience, I bought a couple of rings, a bracelet, and some of their beads so that I could craft some of my own unique kandi. Before heading over to their free kandi making station, they shared the secret to making the perfect kandi – using 27 beads. It was fun to go through their fun assortment of beads and craft a bracelet that was entirely unique to me.
Check out their Instagram here !
RADD Co. (which stands for Ritualistic Artistic Design Co.) is another wonderful vendor that I got to meet on the second day of ILLfest. At their tent they sold beautiful crystals, custom artwork, and alkaline water. The owners were such sweet people and they were kindly giving away a free tigers eye stone for protection to all festival goers that visited their tent.
Check out their Instagram here !
Sandias Concessions was one of the food vendors at ILLfest and where I got my dinner on day two. Their speciality is tacos, nachos, and agua frescas. From this stand I ordered a strawberry horchata and some tasty chicken nachos. The strawberry horchata intrigued me as it is a flavor combination that I had personally never seen before. All of the agua frescas looked incredibly refreshing (perfect for a music festival) and I wish I could have tasted them all!
ILLfest is truly an unique and worthwhile experience. Being my first music festival, I am very appreciative of how ILLfest fosters such a welcoming and inclusive environment. The people I encountered at ILLfest, from vendors to other festival goers, were extremely kind and helpful. Throughout the weekend it became apparent to me that ILLfest truly is a place where people can express themselves freely and come together to bond over a shared love of music and art.
Make sure to keep an eye on ILLfest’s Instagram to see what is in store for 2023!