Primarily known for his prowess in the snowboarding industry, including his recent gold-medal victory in the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun White is making a name for himself in the festival production arena as he effortlessly combines his passions in life – snowboarding, skateboarding and music – for a collision of sight and sound that traverses the world. Making its way across the globe each year, Air + Style has landed in places like Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China, but most recently made its way to USC’s campus in Los Angeles, California this past weekend. With a musical lineup ranging from Phoenix and Zedd to Gucci Mane, Mura Masa and DRAM, it’s no surprise the festival was packed with attendees throughout the weekend.
After entering the festival and passing a sea of vendors lining the sides of the narrow street entrance, guests were immediately plunged into the fusion of music. The Winter Stage (main stage) and snowboard course could be found to the left and the Summer Stage (secondary stage) and skate course to the right. Fortunately, however, there was never much of a need to sacrifice one’s viewing desires as the schedule balanced all four attractions so that fans could likely see all of the events and musical artists. Both the snow and skate courses played host to a variety of athletes competing for cash prizes and badge of honor knowing they were taking home a win from the great Shaun White’s festival. In addition to the main competitions at both courses, each provided athletes with an opportunity to win the title for best trick. Some of the top winners from the weekend included Darcy Sharpe for snowboarding, as well as Alex Sorgente and Patrick Ryan for skateboarding Best Trick.
Creating an incredible soundtrack to the entirety of the weekend were the performances by artists like Zedd, Cut Copy, Phantogram, and DRAM. While the two main stages were positioned so that the music would resonate throughout the venue and seep into the sports competitions, the skateboarding arena had a stage positioned high up on one of the walls, allowing live performances to occur simultaneously with the skateboard competitions throughout the weekend. Having a live performance-turned-soundtrack was truly something unique for the skate competitions and festivals worldwide.
Although the overall nature of the festival, including its setup, scheduling and unique combination of sport and music captured the hearts of audiences, two overarching complaints were heard throughout the weekend. First, the restroom situation was quite unfortunate as guests were beyond crammed into narrow corridors barely wide enough to open the doors of the port-o-potties. Moreover, there was only one set of usable restrooms, causing mass chaos in the small breaks between competitions and musical performances as droves of
attendees attempted to relieve themselves before the next big event. Lastly, and this may certainly be a product of legal concerns as opposed to a simple planning decision, in order to obtain any alcohol in the festival, fans were corralled into small pens consisting of a row of servers and then prohibited from exiting with any alcoholic beverages. In contrast to the large majority of festivals that allow free roaming capabilities with a drink-in-hand, it was unfortunate that attendees were unable to enjoy their pricey cocktails or beer anywhere except for the small beer gardens.