Musikfest 2015: Snoop Dogg Proves It Ain’t Nothin’ But a Gangsta Party!

Featured Image by Matt Smith of Lehigh Valley Live

As Musikfest 2015 “rolls” to its close, the tone of Saturday’s festival was relaxed, fun, and full of dancing and singing by everyone.

Sandwiched in-between Friday’s sold-out Darius “Hootie” Rucker show (the only official sell out of this year’s fest) and Sunday’s hard rock rooster snuffing of Alice in Chains was Saturday’s “Gangsta Party” led by Snoop Dogg and local reggae band Trouble City All-Stars.

Saturday, like much of the week of Musikfest, was a hot one in Bethlehem, PA. At a toasty ninety-three degrees, the South Side of the festival seemed pretty quiet outside. While the North Side of the festival boasted a great deal of activities and the bulk of the food vendors, the South Side feature the largest free stage, as well as the Sands Steel Stage where the daily headliners all performed. Scattered fans gathered at the TD Community Stage and the Aetna Ameriplatz Stage for great local and national acts, though it seemed that many people were intentionally congregating inside the ArtsQuest building to enjoy some food in the lobby, or taking in some of the great tunes at the Musikfest Cafe, or the Martin Guitar Lyrikplatz, and National Penn Bank Jazz Cabaret Stage.

Among the great acts that played on Saturday were New York City indie pop rock quartet Rexford (shown below in studio, covering “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder), local funk and dance-rock outfit The Aadvarks, and The Kickstand Band from Detroit.

Maryland soul rockers Sweet Leda rocked the Aetna Ameriplatz Stage at the base of the Stacks while people began to file into the South Side for the evening’s Snoop Dogg show. With a mix of killer original songs and covers ranging from The Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” to the Fugees’ arrangement of “Killing Me Softly”, leading lady Juls Cymek led the band in a set that grew the crowd continually despite the stage being directly in the pounding late afternoon sun.

image6Photo by Justin Harlan

The gates opened to the Sands Steel Stage around 6:30 pm and a few thousand of Snoop’s closest friends from the greater Lehigh Valley filed in. Within moments, the lines for food and drinks began to swell as concertgoers fueled up for the ensuing musical fiesta. The standard Musikfest food stands were in play, as well as the beer tent and the daiquiri stand, but a special beverage stop for Snoop fans was the main attraction…

image4Photo by Justin Harlan

 

As the fans filed to their seats, ushers reminded them that no smoking or vaping was allowed. It was natural to wonder how long such a mandate could be enforced at a concert of someone who is known in larger part for his love of smoking marijuana. However, as Trouble City All-Stars took the stage and shared their reggae dub stylee, there were a few puffs of smoke visible throughout the crowd despite lyrics and banter about legalizing marijuana and smoking your cares away.

image5Photo by Justin Harlan

The crowd quickly took to the stylings of Trouble City All-Stars, even if they were unknown to most of the crowd prior to that evening. The Bethlehem natives played a fifty minute set of mostly original tunes, with a few great covers mixed in. Highlights of their set included the clever and catchy “Jumbo Shrimp”, as well as their renditions of “5446” and “Pass the Dutchie”.

After a brief commercial from sponsor Service Electric, a few words from some of the other sponsors, and some set up time, the house lights went dark and the stage lit up. The speakers began to bump with Tupac and Dr. Dre‘s “California Love” and the crowd went wild awaiting the arrival of Snoop Dogg. Then, the song faded and the intro to Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” was met with even louder screams from the crowd… “Da Da Da Da, it’s the motherf#$*in’ D-O-Double-G.” The no-smoke mandate had already began to crumble, but when Snoop took the stage with a visible blunt in his mouth, it was fully shattered. The stage was set for an all-out party.

What followed can only be described as equal parts hip hop concert and karaoke dance party, as Snoop’s forty-five minute set mixed a combination of his classics, his newer tracks, and singalongs to a variety of other random tracks. Besides singing a good number of his biggest hits, Snoop sang along to Tupac, Biggie, and even Joan Jett, all the while smoking and dancing and having a good time.

His brief set was a shade shorter than that of his opening act, but it delivered as much fun as more bands and artists deliver in double the time. As he got ready to leave the stage, he led the crowd in a singalong to his Bruno Mars/Wiz Khalifa collab “Young, Wild, and Free” that could have been heard for miles. As he said his goodbyes, he made a point to pose and wave to every fan who caught his eye, all the time strutting to Bob Marley.

snoop2Photo by Matt Smith of Lehigh Valley Live

Last night’s closing show from 90’s rock giants Alice in Chains delivered for the valley’s grunge rockers and headbangers a trip of nostalgia and great rock riffs, but nothing could top the party vibe of Snoop’s Saturday festivities. This climactic evening was the accent to an amazing year at Musikfest.

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Photo by Justin Harlan

As we look over the grounds of the festival, we can all agree that this festival keeps getting better and better!

Were you at Musikfest? Tell us about your adventures in the comments below!

 

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: At Musikfest 2015, The Sound They Made was Love | The Farsighted

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