January 21, 2016

1198 words 6 mins read

Snowglobe 2015 – Logistics need not apply

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We decided to spend this past New Years up at Lake Tahoe. Specifically we went to the 3 day concert extravaganza known as the Snowglobe Music Festival (or sometimes ‘Snerglerb’). There were a lot of good acts, some great acts, and it generally wasn’t horrible. However it appeared to me that the Snowglobe organizers really did not have a great grasp on the core logistics relating to putting on a music festival in Tahoe. Yes, the artists were there, music was played and alcohol was available. Beyond that there were numerous ways in which the event started to unravel. Depending on how cold (or grumpy) you were, it could make for a fairly miserable experience. I know I’m going to sound like a nitpicking a$$hole, but my post here is an honest attempt to highlight the failings I saw, in hopes that event organizers can be aware of these issues and potentially rectify them for next year.

Since this is a rather long list, I decided to stick to bullet points and keep it brief.

  • Transportation — The shuttles went to only one location which wasn’t useful for a lot of people. Perhaps they could have multiple “lines”
  • Transportation — Unlike San Francisco (or other urban areas) there is almost no Uber in Tahoe (and no Lyft at all). There are also only a few dozen taxis. This meant that a LOT of people were walking potentially several miles, in the dark, on the side of major roads with un-plowed sidewalks.
  • Transportation — The only vehicles allowed into the Snowglobe loading/unloading area were “real” Taxis. Unfortunately upon departure those Taxis were charging a minimum of $30 for trips no more than a mile. The gypsy cabs that were charging significantly more reasonable rates were not allowed anywhere near the event. Secondary to that, kick out the cabs which aren’t charging meter rates.
  • Line up schedule — I’m sure it’s hard to get a bunch of artists together and schedule, I certainly wouldn’t want to do it myself. However releasing the line up schedule just a day or two before the event makes it really difficult for attendees. Some of our group had to call in sick because they didn’t think a big named act like JackU would play on the first night.
  • Lines & Signs — The signage outside of the event area was very minimal. The first night we got into a huge line because that’s what everyone else was doing. We stood there for about 15 minutes before someone in our party walked to the front to look around, to find out we didn’t even need to stand in line. There were no signs and no one coming around to make any announcements.
  • Wrist bands — We had wristbands at Outside Lands which was fine. However when you’re wearing gloves and two layers of jackets (because it’s really that cold), wristband tickets don’t work so well. Additionally wristbands for ID checks are even worse.
  • Rotating ID checks — Most events have wristbands for ID checks, okay fine, but all the multi-day events I’ve been to (including Outside Lands) do not change their ID check wristbands everyday. There is no good reason to get people to line up every single day for the most thorough ID check process I’ve ever experienced (seriously, not even the TSA studied my drivers license that hard).
  • Stage viewing — As you’ll notice from my picture at the top, the stage was not wide enough to accommodate people out to the sides. There was also not enough space directly out from the stage for people to gather. On Thursdays night (NYE) there was so many people directly out from the stage that they started to run into the poorly located VIP area. That was also the only corridor upon which to walk to the other half of the event space. Basically I had to devolve into shoving people around to get through so I could get to the bathroom.
  • Bathroom lighting — Speaking of the bathroom, perhaps provide some lights vaguely in the area? Snowglobe is predominately a night event and trying to using a portapotty in the freezing cold, through several layers, in the dark… is stupidly hard. Trying to hold a flashlight (which I did bring, unlike most others) at the same time was even harder.
  • Too many people/Not enough space — On NYE there were too many people for the space allotted in all aspects. The main stage was a great example, as previously noted, however that held true for everywhere else you went. The bathrooms were not spaced far enough apart to accommodate both the lines and people trying to get past. You had to climb over icy rocks to get behind the lines to the food/drink area.
  • Dangerous walking — Being an event named “Snowglobe” and located in Tahoe, one expects snow and ice — no problem. However the event made no visible attempts to provide a safe walking environment. The most egregious infraction I experienced was the numerous plastic cable covers and plywood covers that were used to cover various utilities. Do you know what happens when warm cables sit under plastic/plywood covers? The snow melts, then it gets cold (really cold) and it freezes. Now you have ice! Add some snow on top and you’ve got EXTREMELY dangerous, slippery conditions. I saw more than a few people medivac’d for knee and ankle injuries, along with numerous people falling. Honestly, this particular issue is so negligent I wouldn’t be surprised if Snowglobe got sued for it.
  • No heat — There was one little spot where they had a “Snowglobe” sign that was lit with fire, but beyond that there was literally no heat provided anywhere in the entire event space. It was cold. To be exact it was 6 F (-14 C), before windchill, on NYE and that’s before you take into account standing around in the snow for several hours. Even with two jackets on, my heavy duty ski gloves and several heat packs… it was still miserably cold. There was absolutely nowhere to warm up, even temporarily. I’m sure that the people using illegal substances and moshing themselves in center of the crowd were okay, but that’s not everyone who attends the event.
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Are there more issues? I’m sure; I didn’t write anything down at the time so this is my recollection of the major issues a week after the fact. If you went to Snreglerb and saw other issues that I didn’t mention please leave them in the comments. None of this is to say I didn’t have some fun at the event, Eric Prydz and Kaskade were awesome. However I did spend a majority of the event either miserably cold (even with all the winter weather gear) or annoyed at trying to fight my way from point A to point B. I love the cold and I love Tahoe (lived there for 6 years), but an event in the dead of winter at night? There needs to be escape from the cold. If things change, I might be back… however at this point in time I’d rather spend my New Years elsewhere.