Photos via HiJinx Festival
Written by Liz Penry
With the end of 2018 marking the beginning of HiJinx Festival, I think that everyone was a little skeptical of what exactly to expect with a first-year festival. Would the Philadelphia Convention Center be the right place to hold this event? How would hotels, traffic, taxis, Lyfts and Ubers be in the city’s square? How about the people of Philly and all the attendees? Would they be nice, kind, and chill? Or rather, uptight and rude? With only being to Philly a handful of times, I certainly did not know what to expect, and I think that a lot of people felt the same.
But HiJinx, you did not disappoint, you amazed.
The Philadelphia Convention Center was located in the heart of Philly. Only a block away from numerous hotels, figuring out how to get to the festival was not an issue at all. The walk to the venue was roughly 5 minutes, which was practically shorter than the time taken getting to the main area of an outdoor festival from your campsite. The Center staff and workers were very attentive and helpful. They greeted everyone with high fives and smiled when attendees walked through the door. Once inside, attendees were directed to the main ballroom which was on the second floor.
The ballroom provided ample space for everyone there. Food and drink stations, a bazaar, merch stations, restrooms, water fountains, and a VIP lounge were all located in this ballroom along with the stage, which was placed at the very back. There was plenty of room for people to dance, rave, walk around, or just hang out. And the best part was—the restrooms. These were the nicest restrooms I had ever had at a festival, and the lines moved fast as well.
The lineup was planned perfectly. Each night I left the venue with a feeling of euphoria in my heart like I had been extremely touched by some kind of magic. I felt hopeful for the future and excited for all great things to come, which is a great feeling to have when entering a new year.
The first night consisted of Dorfex Bos, Whipped Cream, Ganja White Night, RL Grime, Big Gigantic, and Bassnectar. Wobbles, bass, trap-infusion, funk, and hip-hop immersed into the ballroom throughout the entire night. Every set paved way for the next, and ending the night with Bassnectar left me mesmerized and truly needing a neck brace. After not playing in Philly for three years, Lorin showed the crowd what they had been missing. Overall, each and every artist killed it. With only having one stage, you were able to see the festival how the production envisioned it. Every unique artist after the next without having to switch stages or worry about set times was amazing.
Night two’s lineup mimicked the setup of night one. Although it wasn’t as heavy with bass and trap it had more melodic and immersive sounds. However, the bass was still extremely present throughout the sets. I was fully prepared to be left in tears and in my feels when leaving the venue the second night. Starting with Kaivon, then Xie, Vanic, PnB Rock, Illenium, GRiZ, and Odesza, it followed the very electronic to hip-hop to future bass and trap to funk to the closing headliner feel. Again, truly extraordinary. GRiZ, especially, brought the crowd together with good vibes and feel-good music, while Odesza closed the night with their breathtaking performance that I will say was truly magical and warmed my entire soul. While during some moments I was tempted to cry, but I was left more with feelings of grace and love. In addition, I felt that whatever was to happen in life next was for me to embrace, because life is truly wonderful. Every artist at HiJinx left that astonishing impact (although music in general leaves that impact) but the performances at HiJinx made it surreal.
I was never sure why Philadelphia was called the “City of Brotherly Love,” but these two nights of HiJinx put an answer to that question. Every person I met in the crowd was extremely nice and caring. We knew we were all unique, and yet so similar, because we were all here to share our love for music. At every festival I attend, I always meet great people, but at HiJinx there was definitely something special about the Philly crowd. I felt so connected and so included with everyone, like I was never once alone. Even on the street, walking to the festival, leaving and going to after parties, I interacted and made connections with people, learning about what artists they liked to listen to, where they were from, and where they were going from there. Everyone was respectful, and HiJinx felt as a safe place to express oneself. It was such an amazing experience to meet awesome new people, dance with them, and help each other out when needed. The music was not the only thing that warmed my heart, but the friendly and loving crowd as well.
Relive the magic with HiJinx’s recap video below!