Now I’m going to be honest, after the last Bay Dreams, held in Tauranga, my friend and I told ourselves we wouldn’t go back again. But with a lineup like this we just had too. Though we didn’t get off to a great start, as I am sure most of you witnessed yourselves. We bused into the festival, however the bus was delayed and as we arrived at the festival to find out the gates had been delayed as well which meant the queues were huge. Due to getting stuck in traffic on the bus and the gate delays, we missed a few acts. But we decided to just accept that, that’s what it was and try not to let it ruin our day.
The first act we caught was Mitch James! He played to a very excited crowd who seemed to really love seeing him on such a hot summers day. Mitch really gives that chill summer vibe but also has a couple of tracks for you to dance and smile too. It was a fun one, with Mitch all smiles himself as he ran around the stage.
Blackbear followed on the same stage. I only saw a few songs before running off to the next act because like most festivals with multiple stages, there were quite a few clashes. But one thing I really took from his performance was that I couldn’t shake the great energy that came from his performance. He was all smiles as he performed and his 2-piece band just added that extra element to it. I really wish I could have stayed for the dull set. Hopefully next time, like Australia, we get some sideshows!
I ran off from blackbear’s set to catch Tones and I, who kept the party rolling at the BayPark stage. With a set that included her global hit ‘Dance Monkey’, as well as other tracks off her incredible EP ‘The Kids are Coming’, there was bound to be something for everyone in the crowd. I loved seeing such a range of different people in the crowd singing along. Tones and I was all wrapped up with long blonde, green-tinged hair that flowed down her sides. It seemed like Tones and I fed off the crowd as she stepped down from her instrument-set platform to bust a few moves as she sang. It was the best!
Now I one act I caught which I didn’t plan on seeing was Shoreline Mafia. Ohgeesy and Fenix paced the stage, delivering track after track and the crowd went crazy. Considering the stage was exposed to the sun and heat as well as being on concrete, this wouldn’t have been easy. This is clearly a group to keep an eye on.
YBN Cordae followed on the same stage. He came running out with high energy and just got straight into it. Though I am sure he felt the heat as it wasn’t long before his denim jacket came off. The weather really hit everybody at this stage with people pouring water over themselves. YBN Cordae really gave a great performance vocally.
Now I was really excited to see Yelawolf as I have been a fan of him for quite a while but this was also his first performance since releasing his new album ‘Ghetto Cowboy’. I have to say Yelawolf seemed happier and healthier than ever as he came on to the stage. The huge crowd that greeted him probably added to that large smile on his face. Having just recently being married and celebrating his birthday on the way here, he has a lot to smile about. Accompanied by one on their than DJ Klever, the set just became a high-energy rap show. Yelawolf’s vocals were on point but sadly I couldn’t stay as I decided to run and squeeze in another act.
I have to say I am a bit glad Ella Mai’s set ran late because I ended up catching the whole thing. She was vining hard and, like Yelawolf, she couldn’t take the smile off her face. The crowd fed off her positive energy and so did I. Accompanied by 2 backing dancers, Ella Mai paced the stage and gave the crowd a performance to remember.
Next on my list was an artist I love, Halsey. I was excited to see her, especially since she had released new music since she last toured here and had a new look & energy to go with it. I love the creative side to the cycle for her new album ‘Manic’ which comes out on . Halsey is not only a great musician but she can paint & draw as well. Her creativity knows no bounds.
Her set matched this with a range of bright colours and visuals as well as a painterly-looking outfit. She performed a bunch of old hit and collaborations that everyone loves as well as her incredible new tracks, including ‘Graveyard’. Towards the end of her set Halsey spewed colour on to the crowd with streamers and bright blue confetti.
Skepta took the same stage next. I last saw him at Listen In a few years or so ago. But seeing him this time, he almost seemed like a different person. I last saw him in dim light, with a bright hoodie covering his head. This time he was in casual clothing, smiling and bouncing around the stage. So you couldn’t deny when he said the “show is about pure fucking energy”. Energy seemed to be the word for his set. He used it a lot and he was just as hype as the crowd was. With C02 and pyro going off as well, it was just all another level.
Then came the headliner, the guy everyone wanted a piece of, Tyler, The Creator! Tyler took the stage in a bright blue suit and a blonde wig. But if you know his stuff, you would know that this has been the look for a lot of his shows in the IGOR cycle. This was a. Big deal to fans, due to him previously being denied entry into the country. But he really put on a set and at one point even played the piano. He had a lot of energy and the crowd seemed to be in awe of the fact they were witnessing it.
As big of a headliner as he is, I did not stay for the whole set. As I mentioned at the start, knowing Bay Dreams, it was best to get out before the traffic became horrible and thousands of people overflowed on to the roads and transport. In regards to acts, Bay Dreams puts on a hell of lineup. The clashes suck but they can’t always be helped.
There definitely needed to be more shaded spots and I think they should have security issuing water or spraying some, especially at the concrete stage. The heat was insane and combining that with the energy people use plus drugs & alcohol, it just wasn’t good. Another photographer and I ended up giving people some of our personal sunblock and water. I also didn’t eat much as there wasn’t much of a range and topping up was such a mission in itself.
The headlines that followed mentioned fights. I witnessed one myself while in the photo pit. It just randomly started and I had to run and get security who were down the other end. Another memoprable moment was passing a group who were sorting their baggies, I wish I got a photo of it. I am not surprised at what people got in because security hardly seemed to check people. Even I didn’t get checked because I had a media pass, which is bad because you should never assume (not that I bought anything in).
Bay Dreams always needs to improve but after attending the past few years I can honestly say it won’t. But hey they get their money, we get to see some of the artists we like and some of us have a good time. That’s all that matters right?