Second Sky Festival19 min read

If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely adore Porter Robinson. I would consider myself “Porter Trash”. I’m grateful that I got to meet him, and I am especially grateful that I got to attend both days of his first festival, Second Sky.

Grab a snack, get comfortable, and get ready for a nice, long read. This was quite the weekend.

Second Sky Ticketing Stress

My Second Sky preparation began way back in March, when Porter first announced the festival. If anyone wasn’t aware of the absolute chaos that ensued, it was quite the shit-show.

The purchasing queue was in a random order. The website itself could not handle the amount of eager Porter fans ready to sell their souls for this experience. Within a matter of hours, everything sold out. By popular demand, Golden Voice announced a second day of Second Sky.

It was terrifying. I entered the queue several times, and whenever I would arrive at the purchase screen, it would say there were no tickets left. I spent a good few hours crying, refreshing, and reentering the queue. Eventually, I figured out how to get myself into the queue faster (don’t tell Porter), and after several more attempts, I finally purchased the maximum of four third-tier GA tickets for the second day of Second Sky.

I was very happy, to say the least.

Then, to make things even better, my boyfriend Quentin surprised me with two VIP tickets to Day 1.

Traveling Light(headed)

My sister, Kaylin, purchased her shuttle & flight tickets weeks before I did. To make things easier, I just bought the same tickets she did. My jaw dropped to the floor when I saw the times – a 3AM shuttle and 7AM flight… Which meant I was not getting any sleep that night.

I tried to sleep on the shuttle and on the flight, but even all that turns out to be a measly 2 hours of shut-eye. I wasn’t extremely tired (yet) when we got to Oakland. However, I was groggy, and I was feeling it. Kaylin and I figured out the BART system and headed toward Fruitvale to grab some coffee. Basically, we spent that entire morning exploring the Fruitvale Village and taking pictures, waiting for my buddy Eric to show us more around Oakland.

Myself very awkwardly posing at Fruitvale Village
Myself awkwardly posing at Fruitvale Village

As you can tell, I was a model in a previous life. And I was definitely sleep deprived.

“Pre-Gaming” Second Sky with Eric

To give you a little background, I met Eric (his music alias is oksami and his music is incredible) last year during the Louis the Child remix competition, and we’ve been best buds ever since. We also met up in February to go snowboarding while he was visiting Park City for Sundance.

Anyway, we decided to hang out again, and he showed my sister and I some of what Oakland/San Fransisco has to offer. When we first discussed plans weeks prior, he asked me, “Do you like chicken and waffles?” to which I responded, “Yes.”

Eric and I at Twin Peaks, San Francisco

So, we went to a cute little popular joint called 900 Grayson for some lunch. I split a meal with my sister because I wasn’t super hungry, but everything tasted amazing, so I would definitely recommend the place. We headed toward Salt & Straw for some ice cream afterward. I got the honey lavender flavour, which had an extremely unique taste, but I loved it a lot.

To close out our pre-game adventures, we drove over the bridge to San Fransisco to visit the Twin Peaks point and get an awesome view of the city. I’m very grateful to Eric for taking us all around and hanging out with us!

Second Sky Day 1

Second Sky set times and roster

Quentin landed in San Fransisco at about 3pm, so Eric was kind enough to drop my sister off at her AirBnB, then myself at Quentin’s hotel in Oakland. We said our goodbyes and that we were excited to see each other again the next day at the festival.

I was ecstatic to see Quentin again, since the last time I saw him was in February for Valentine’s day! I missed him so much.

We were kind of in a rush to get to the festival so we wouldn’t miss Chrome Sparks, so we dashed downstairs, ordered an Uber, and headed toward the festival site.

Kero Kero Bonito

Quentin and I arrived during Kero Kero Bonito’s set. We got through security and ticketing while dancing to “Flamingo”.

We caught the tail-end of the set as we headed toward the VIP area. Quentin got in line for some drinks and we saw Kendall as she was in the VIP line for sushi. It was nice to see her; she was super sweet and even joked about how much more excited she was to see me over her closer friend, Quentin.

After we got our drinks, we ran into Brett Blackman and Chris (Manila Killa) and I had immediate flashbacks of Electric Forest the previous year. We hung around them, Chet Porter, and a couple more of their friends.

G Jones

Because G Jones wasn’t playing on the second day, I’m insanely grateful to Quentin for getting us into the first day of Second Sky. I first heard of him through Lain’s edit of “Understanding the Possibility“, and I fell in love with the sound design.

And G Jones’ set was absolutely mind-blowing. I’m sad he didn’t play on the second day, which makes me even more glad I was able to enjoy his set on the first day. The visuals were so great, and of course his tracks were intense and I loved it. Definitely a sight to experience if you get the chance.

Cashmere Cat

I would definitely consider Cashmere Cat to be one of my original influencers in the music industry. I’ve looked up to his work a lot, with instrument selection and songwriting in particular. His Mirror Maru EP was on repeat for a good few months.

He played some hit classics mixed into his set, such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” turned Jersey. As soon as I heard that, I knew my sister would enjoy it the following day.

Cashmere Cat at Second Sky
Photo courtesy of Second Sky

This was the point where I was just getting comfortable with myself dancing in front of everyone. I don’t usually let myself “get loose” or whatever. However, I knew I just wanted to have a good time and look back on Second Sky knowing that I showcased my enjoyment. Even if I looked like a fool. I think it also helped that I was wearing a face mask the entire time.

Madeon

This was my third time experiencing a Madeon set. The first time was in 2014 at Das Energi, then in 2017 for Shelter Tour. But this was definitely the set that I danced the most (both days).

I was also particularly excited to dance to Pay No Mind, since I had recently gone to see Passion Pit, and learned about them through Madeon.

It was so fun to be dancing around with Quentin, Chris, Brett, and Chet. Everyone around us was happy and excited to be there. Madeon also played the Slow Hours remix of “Lone” in his set, and Quentin absolutely lost his marbles.

At one point, we took a very short dancing break to sit down in the VIP area and catch up a little. Brett told me about Chris’s upcoming SLC show, Chet Porter told us his inside scoop about the Special Guest for Second Sky Day 2, and we all caught our breath.

Until “All My Friends” started playing. Then I hopped right back up and headed back toward the stage to start dancing again. I’m extremely stoked for “Good Faith”.

Porter Robinson – Worlds Live

So, this was my first Worlds Live experience, but it was not my first time listening to Worlds Live. Since their release, I’ve revisited the ripped edits at least once a month. The album itself has served as a bookmark in my life, coming back around with every major change. It’s so important to me. I think I’ve already mentioned that in my blog about a million times.

As soon as the first note hit, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I looked over to Quentin and he hugged me. Then, the tears really started flowing. I immediately got flashbacks of all the times I had imagined being in that moment, and all the times I had the album on repeat. God, I’m such Porter trash, but I’m not even ashamed to admit it. These moments mean so much to me.

Porter also included some new live edits, which were received very well by the audience. I pretty much know the original set by heart, so I was pleasantly surprised at the new mixes he sprinkled in for Second Sky.

Everyone in our group was overly emotional, crying and hugging and singing together. I reached out to Chet Porter during Fellow Feeling and recited the monologue, referencing his flip that I spoke on. It was the best first Worlds Live I could have ever asked for.

Can’t wait to revisit this set once a month as I have been revisiting Worlds Live and Shelter Tour for the past 5 years.

And of course, at the end of the set, we were rewelcomed with Language, then Madeon came on stage for Shelter. It was perfect.

Leaving Second Sky Was Difficult

I don’t have many complaints about the festival. My list can be boiled down to three main issues:

  1. There was no service, which made it difficult to meet up with my twitter friends
  2. It was a bit chilly, but that could be partially remedied by dancing or huddling in the crowd
  3. Getting out of the festival was an extremely long and painful hour-or-so of waiting, especially since I hadn’t slept for about 40 hours at that point.

I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives of Second Sky, because the positives overwhelmingly outweighed them. But I do need to note that the lines to the shuttle were very long and crowded and anxiety-inducing. I know the team was trying their best, but I was so tired and all I wanted was to get back to the hotel and sleep.

At least we briefly saw JKL while in line for the shuttles! Until he got swallowed by the sea of people.

Second Sky Day 2

My sister joined us for the second day of Second Sky, so she took an Uber (use my Uber invite code marynw31ue to get $2 off each of your first 3 rides) to our hotel, and we all headed downstairs to wait for our next Uber to the festival grounds.

As we were waiting in the front for our car to arrive, we spotted an artist van pull up. My sister wondered aloud who was getting in it. At the same time, Quentin exclaimed, “Hey, it’s Chrome Sparks!” I looked up, and sure enough, there he was. He was looking in our general direction, so I made a heart shape with my hands. He waved back to me. I fangirled a little to Quentin and Kaylin.

Virtual Self

I think it’s hilarious that Porter Robinson opened for himself as Virtual Self. Personally, I love the Virtual Self project a lot, and listen to it often. It was also awesome background music for when we were checking into the festival, going through security, and taking plenty of pictures underneath the flower bridge.

I kind of wish we also got pictures on the first day, because Quentin and I accidentally had matching pants.

Nina Las Vegas

Here’s a funny story. Porter announced he would be playing with Nina Las Vegas. Excitedly, I misread the poster, and started freaking out. I thought Porter said he was playing in Las Vegas. He wasn’t.

Anyway, I really enjoyed Nina’s set. I remember it being very house-heavy, which is always a lot of fun at festivals. Throughout her set, she was relaxed and friendly. “How about my opener?” she asked, and the crowd cheered for Virtual Self.

Quentin, Kaylin, and I found a nice area in the fake grass to sit and enjoy the ambiance. And we were spotted! My buddy Ricky from Twitter recognized us and came up to say hi and take a picture. It really made my day.

Toward the end of Nina’s set, I went to try out the Bling Bling Dumplings. I had been excited to try them since Second Sky announced their food & drink vendors.

There, I briefly said hi to my friend Omar, and spotted (but sadly didn’t say hi to) Mike. Other than that, I really don’t think I saw anyone else from Twitter.

Wednesday Campanella

When we got back to the stage area, Wednesday was performing her set, which was very interactive with the audience. Her music was different from anything else at the festival, featuring mainly her vocals with supplemental instrumentals.

She had a huge, billowing tarp growing larger behind her throughout her performance. Eventually, the tarp grew large enough to overflow off the stage. “Will you help me?” She asked her audience, and dragged it out for the crowd to carry. It passed us, and I urged Quentin to come with me and poke it.

Wednesday also created her own “stage” on a ladder in the middle of the crowd. She was smiling and excited to be there. I absolutely loved it.

Anamanaguchi

Fun fact: Anamanaguchi also performed at the Minecraft music festival we held last year!

The only song I really know from them is “Pop It“, but I really love it. When they performed it at second sky, they brought Meesh on stage to sing. She also surprised me by pouring two beers down her throat in the middle of the song. That was fun.

Anamanaguchi also played some of their unreleased, upcoming music, such as Lorem Ipsum and CRT Woods. I’m excited to hear all of it!

We ran into one of Quentin’s friends, Jude (Kerstell), toward the end of Anamanaguchi, so we kind of split up between sets. Quentin and Jude went to get food/snacks, and I went to take pictures of my sister.

Chrome Sparks

As soon as I heard Chrome Sparks begin, I had to go search for Quentin. Quentin and I were both sad that we missed Chrome Sparks’ set the first day, but I’m so glad we were able to catch it on the second. It was also fun to look forward to since we made a sort of connection earlier that morning.

Chrome Sparks has actually been a huge inspiration to me in terms of production. If you remember when I used to do monthly “partypathics” mix streams, Chrome Sparks was heavily featured.

Fun fact: he’s also on the same record label Quentin is signed to! We were low-key hoping to get Second Sky artist passes for this, but alas…

Anyway, I could only find a recording of his first day set, which is alright with me, because I missed it. I remember dancing to every song, but going all-out for O, My Perfection (Quentin’s favourite), Marijuana (my favourite), and Still Think (a song I added to a playlist of songs that remind me of Quentin).

Kero Kero Bonito

After Chrome Sparks’ set, my sister said she wanted to get some pictures with the giant “Second Sky” lettering at the entry of the festival, so we headed that way for a fun photoshoot. Plenty of people were there, so it was nearly impossible to get a good shot without strangers’ faces popping in and out of letters. Another girl sighed and asked her friends, “Should we just settle for the Y?” and everyone laughed in understanding.

Quentin and I got some cute pictures in the O though. 🙂

After we got our pictures, we headed back to the stage area and danced around to Kero Kero Bonito’s set up until Flamingo ended. Then, Quentin and I left Jude and my sister to go grab some more snacks. Churros! They were vanilla-creme-filled and delicious. Quentin bought four for himself.

Cashmere Cat

Our little group gathered on top of one of the raised palm tree platforms and danced to Cashmere Cat’s jersey-filled set. As aforementioned, I told my sister that I thought she would enjoy it, and she did.

About halfway through the set, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and it was Eric! He said, “I was standing behind you for like 5 minutes and I didn’t even know!” and I laughed and welcomed him to the festival. He introduced me briefly to his buddies who came with him, including MorN! I asked if they had tried the dumplings. They did.

The Second Sky Special Guest….

Although Chet had told me who the Special Guest was, I still couldn’t believe my eyes. 14-year-old Maryn would have been ecstatic, as was 22-year-old Maryn. Can you guess who the Special Guest was?

DJ POTARO! Also known as Skrillex.

It was a really fun set! There was actually a lot more jersey than I thought there would be, but I suppose Skrillex has evolved. Also, I can’t believe that Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites is 9 years old. I feel old.

The crowd was really enthused by the set, and the sheer surprise of the reveal of the Special Guest. Several people around us were speculating who it might be. I heard someone suggesting it might be Skrillex, followed by their friend yelling, “Porter wouldn’t screw over Day 1 attendees like that.” But he did. It was Skrillex.

Madeon

I danced as much, if not more, as I did to Madeon’s set on day 1. At this point, we moved over to some more mushy, dusty ground, so I was glad I was wearing my face mask.

Honestly, I’m a terrible dancer. I will be the first to admit it. I will dance for Madeon though. Some people have already seen me dance to “All My Friends” on my instagram story.

God, I really don’t think I can stress enough how excited I am for “Good Faith”!

Porter Robinson – Worlds Live

We have a lot of footage for Worlds Live day 2 because my sister stole my phone to take videos during the set. I was busy crying and dancing with Quentin. But the videos make me super nostalgic, so I’m grateful to Kaylin for recording them.

We ended up leaving right after “Goodbye to a World” to avoid the Hell that is waiting in line for the shuttle. Several people did the same, although some were on accident. They didn’t know there would be an encore, so as soon as they heard Language, they dashed back to the stage.

Heading back wasn’t as bad this time around as it was the previous night. Props to Quentin for thinking ahead.

Post-Second Sky Adventures

Our flight the next day wouldn’t even begin boarding until around 8:45 PM. So, Quentin and I checked out of our hotel and headed toward the nearest Starbucks to wait for Kaylin and post stuff to social media.

I had really been craving Taiwanese breakfast (specifically 蛋餅/egg pancake) for the past couple days. Because we were basically in Oakland’s Chinatown, we went on a search for some egg pancake. After a few shops, we finally stumbled across a cute little street vendor. There, I purchased an “egg crepe” (which is basically 蛋餅/egg pancake wrapped over 油條 /fried breadstick) and 豆漿/soy milk.

Then, we ordered an Uber (again, please use my invite code marynw31ue for a discount) to take us to a point where we could see the Golden Gate Bridge. Or “GGB,” for short, per my cool/hip sister.

Golden Gate Bridge

The wind was intense, roaring, and cold. At least we got some decent photos.

Exploring Sausalito

We took yet another Uber (use my invite code marynw31ue pretty please) to the heart of Sausalito. There were cute little shops everywhere, so we decided to look around for a while.

Quentin was a little hungry, as he didn’t have any Taiwanese breakfast, so we stopped by a restaurant called Café Tutti. Quentin got some pasta, while my sister and I got ice cream.

Afterward, we walked some more and headed toward a little waterfront that Quentin spotted earlier. We hung around the area, just relaxing. It was super cute, so we also got some pictures. My sister wanted to showcase our matching bee tattoos. I look terrible in every picture. These are the only salvageable photos.

Heading Home

After looking around at a couple shops in the area, we took our final Uber (invite code marynw31ue I beg you) to the airport. Mind you, this was like an hour long ride. We tipped our driver fairly well.

When we got to the airport, we checked in, and headed toward a restaurant for dinner. I wasn’t super hungry, so I just had a protein bar I had packed for the trip.

After dinner, we waited a little longer (in front of some weird CVS vending machine), boarded our flight, and flew to Las Vegas. From there, we shuttled back home. Our shuttle driver was very kind, and dropped us off near our street so we didn’t have to walk all the way back. That was nice, since it was around 3AM again and we just wanted to pass out.

Second Sky Closing Remarks

I cannot wait until next year. Did it live up to the hype? Absolutely. Porter also announced that Second Sky merchandise would be available online for only 24 hours (for those who were unable to purchase at the festival). So, I bought a hoodie. I will update this post with a photo once I receive it. 🙂

 

love,
maryn


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