Photos by Mikey Avila (unless otherwise noted)
When Porter Robinson first debuted Second Sky Fest in 2019, fans were eager for what was in store for 2020. When the worldwide pandemic hit—festivals across the globe were postponed or cancelled. Of course, Second Sky was one of the many festivals that got postponed. This still didn’t stop Porter from holding virtual events in honor of Second Sky. His virtual festival Secret Sky was a huge hit, both in 2020 and earlier this year in 2021. But what shocked fans was the announcement and return of the real life, in-person Second Sky Music Festival. Held this past weekend on September 18 and 19, fans from all over reunited to escape from reality and experience the realm that Porter envisioned for us all. From the art installations, Potaro mascot, themed food and beverages, and the incredibly curated lineup—Second Sky Fest made a huge return, making lasting impressions for all attendees.
Second Sky Change to Oakland Arena Grounds
Second Sky Fest was initially slated for César E. Chávez Park in Berkeley, CA. However, due to safety concerns with the ongoing construction, the festival moved to the Oakland Arena Grounds. Though disappointing at first to relocate to a coliseum parking lot, the Second Sky staff made sure to transform it into “Something Comforting” and magical. With the help of Porter’s management, Second Sky was able to hire Nassal: the creators behind Disneyland’s immersive Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With Nassal, Second Sky had beautifully crafted art installations perfect for photo ops, group meet ups, and much more. Some of the art installations included an ancient Potaro Statue, the Tree of Life, and other uniquely crafted crystal installations.
Exclusive Second Sky Fest Food & Drinks
Adding to the magic, Second Sky Fest had limited, exclusive “nourishment” items sold at several food vendors and bars. These exclusive items are all influenced by Asian or Asian-fusion cuisines, such as the Taiwanese Tacos in a Potaro Pocket from the El Chino Grande booth. Popular items included the Penguin Punch, the Scribble Noodles and the “100% in the Bowl” Poke dish. The Potaro Taro from Lilikoi Boba had lines that had you wait for hours, and the Potaro Pop had the classic Porter Kaomoji logo (which is also Potaro’s face) on these souvenir cups. For the early-in-the-day attendees or coffee fanatics, Second Sky Fest partnered with Dripdash for a limited edition Kyoto Iced Cold Brew coffee.
New Day, Same Lineup
What’s unique to Second Sky Fest is that the lineup remains the same for both days. So if you weren’t able to attend on Saturday, you would have the chance to get the same experience by attending on Sunday. Attendees didn’t have to worry about missing a surprise set like 2019’s edition of Second Sky. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity of going both days; if you missed any opening acts one day you would have the chance to see them the next day. Want to experience all that’s offered at Second Sky? You’d be able to space out your itinerary in the span of both days. One day you could focus on buying the exclusive merch offered and meet up with friends. The next day, focus on the music and try all the delicious food.
Due to visa issues, the lineup did change and JYOCHO was not able to perform. With this change, Porter announced a new lineup addition: himself, with his new project Air to Earth!
Debut of Porter’s Newest Side Project: Air to Earth
At Second Sky 2019, Porter Robinson surprised fans with an opening Virtual Self set, encouraging attendees to arrive when festival doors open. With this, fans can be present for all performing artists and not just for the headliners. For this year, Porter debuted his newest project Air to Earth, which focuses on “sample-driven, tranquil proghouse and airy disco.” Compared to his Virtual Self project that’s reminiscent of Dance Dance Revolution music and that era of fantastical trance music, Air to Earth emits this light, cheery nostalgia of dance music similar to Anjunadeep, Monstercat Silk and Emergent Music labels. After hearing “Strange Condition” by Morgan Page, an Air to Earth rendition of Porter’s “Language” and a mashup of “Mirror” and Ben Böhmer’s “Korona,” I knew this was one of the top sets of the weekend. Air to Earth was the set we didn’t know we needed; it was absolutely beautiful.
Nurture Live: Not the ONLY Live Debut at Second Sky Fest
Since the last time we were all together for a festival was almost two years ago, you could see how much work and dedication the artists put in for all their performances. Most of these were actually debut performances, including Wavedash, Jai Wolf and Madeon. Wavedash debuted their World Famous Tour live performance after releasing their album mid-pandemic. Jai Wolf debuted the only festival performance of The Cure To Loneliness: Live. Additionally, Madeon was performing the first ever performance of Good Faith Forever live.
These performances were amazing in their own ways. Wavedash’s energy was off the charts and had the crowd on their toes the entirety of their set. Jai Wolf’s set had everyone in the feels. OG fans rejoiced when he threw in tracks from his Kindred Spirits album and smash hit singles like “Indian Summer” and “Starlight.” It was over for me when I heard his “Feels” remix transition to “The World is Ours”; as soon as I heard that I was emotionally in shambles. It’s nearly mind-blowing on how much detail goes into the visual production for Good Faith Forever. Without spoiling anything: that Madeon performance was so next level; each drop, transition and mashup gave me instant goosebumps and chills.
Notable Acts throughout Both Days
It’s hard to say what the favorite acts were from both days when all the artists did amazing. I personally have never heard of Jon Hopkins, and I wasn’t familiar with Jacob Collier‘s live performances; but their performances all blew me away. First, Jon Hopkins turned out to be one of my favorite sets. His skills as a producer are insanely impressive; and his unique, trippy, techno psychedelic sound was a perfect break between Jacob’s harmonious set and Toro y Moi‘s melodic sounds. Additionally, I truly enjoyed how interactive Jacob is with his audiences, from vocal exercises to joined harmonies. His musicality truly shined with all the readily available instruments and equipments at hand, followed by his energetic stage presence. I will give an honorable mention to KNOWER; i wasn’t familiar with their music but their set turned out to be ridiculously wild yet fun.
Overall: Second Sky was Magically Unreal
Second Sky Fest has been notorious for some of the most polite, respectable and hospitable individuals. Whether you were part of the tour crew, festival staff or a regular attendee, positive vibes were radiating throughout the entire venue. Of course, it might just be everyone excited about live music coming back. It could also be the influence of all the artists and their fanbases. Or it could be Potaro roaming around the venue and putting a smile on everyone’s faces. All in all, Second Sky Fest is in a world of its own and truly magical. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of all the artists or looking into expanding your music horizons, Second Sky should definitely be on your list of festivals to attend in the future. With only two years of experience amongst many other festivals, it’s holding down to be one of the most successful on-the-rise, large-scale festivals we’ve ever attended. As Jai Wolf said, thank you Second Sky Fest for “an unreal weekend.”
Relive the Magic IRL or via URL
Need new phone/desktop wallpapers? We got you covered!
Our amazing photographer was able to catch the magic from both days of Second Sky Fest. Whether you had group pictures or found yourself vibing during your favorite set, we got it. If you want memories from this year’s Second Sky, we have it all! Our photo albums from both days are now LIVE: Check them out here.
Check if the Nurture Live Tour Stops near You!
Having Second Sky Fest FOMO? Were you unable to attend Second Sky? Catch some of the Second Sky performing artists through Porter Robinson’s Nurture Live Tour! Jai Wolf will be supporting Porter Robinson at all the Nurture tour stops alongside James Ivy. Additionally, Toro y Moi and Wavedash are joining in with Sam Gellaitry for the LA stop at Los Angeles State Historic Park on October 1st and 2nd. Tickets are available at most stops; to see if Porter’s coming near you, go to https://nurturelive.com.