Photos by Mikey Avila
Head in the Clouds 2022 returned to the Brookside at Rose Bowl in Pasadena this past August 20 & 21, presented by Goldenvoice and 88rising. This year’s edition included new and returning 88rising artists and friends, the return of 626 Night Market‘s food area, an assortment of pop up shops and a variety of photo op areas. This provided attendees with a vast amount of things to do once entering the fest or in-between artist sets. New to this year was an added “Club Year Of” Dance Tent, the AMBUSH® brand pop-up, the NICOLE experience (although NIKI had to pull her performance due to COVID), and many surprise guest/artist appearances.
Head in the Clouds 2022 Highlights
Chung Ha, Thuy, and Jay Park
I’m sure many attendees would agree that Chung Ha had such a standout performance on Day 1 of Head in the Clouds 2022. Her stage presence, charm and just everything about her was incredible—making fans want more time during her set. Thuy‘s performance at the Double Happiness stage was emotional and driven, but enough to give attendees time to unwind and relax during her set. I already knew that Jay Park was going to be one of the top performances of Day 1, but his performance blew everyone out of the water.
BIBI, Jackson Wang, and the Finale
One of the most anticipated performances was BIBI, who shocked fans at last year’s Head in the Clouds—not only for her set, but for kissing one of her fans in the audience. As expected, BIBI once again had an exceptional set and fans were here for it. For example, fans were barking at BIBI. Barking (yes, like dog barks) has been an ongoing fan trend during Korean artist concerts or performances in the US. This was first seen at the TWICE concert at the Kia Forum back in February of this year.
Jackson Wang aka “Magic Man” did a phenomenal performance ahead of his debut album Magic Man out on September 7. Longtime fans showed support by bringing and flashing their GoT7 lightsticks. For those who didn’t know, Jackson Wang was part of JYP Entertainment’s k-pop boy group called GoT7. Following his performance, he closes out his set with a really endearing message, and cheers roared across the main stage.
“As an Asian artist—as a Chinese boy—my dream is always hope. I can leave something behind for my culture, for my people, before I’m gone…I might fail, but imma die trying. This is 88rising. Asians always rising.”Jackson Wang @ Head in the Clouds 2022
All the artists at Head in the Clouds 2022 did not hold back for the finale performances. Jackson Wang returned to the stage alongside MILLI to perform “Mind Games.” After ATARASHII GAKKO!‘s return to the stage, fans were stunned when Teriyaki Boyz‘ performed their iconic track “Tokyo Drift” with Rich Brian. The last song performance was “Midsummer Madness” led by 88rising’s AUGUST 08, and the entire crowd sang along.
Special Guests & Appearances
The community 88rising has built is incredibly tight-knit and supportive, many artists and celebrities will make guest appearances or join their friends for surprise performances during the weekend. Surprise appearances include SIK-K and PH1, who Jay Park brought out to close out the set. Lastly, closing out Day 1 of the Club Year Of stage as the surprise guest was none other than Autograf. For Day 2, Manila Killa surprised Club Year Of’s fans to close out the stage.
One of the most iconic appearances during the Day 2 finale performance was Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh is a legendary actress in feature films like Everything Everywhere All at Once, Shang Chi; Crazy Rich Asians and more. Yeoh came out and joined all the artists during the finale, closing out the 2-day festival.
Head in the Clouds Artist Fanbase
One thing that really stands out at this festival is how dedicated the fans are for the Head in the Clouds 2022 artists. Attendees would camp all day at the rails just to be in close proximity with their favorite artists during their sets. Fans would bring in bouquets of flowers to give or throw their phones to the stage so artists can record themselves. Other attendees would even bring albums or other items for their favorite artists to sign. Because of how community-oriented Head in the Clouds and 88rising’s artists are, the performers are actually excited to interact with these fans, accept the flowers, record on their phones, and more.
With that said, Goldenvoice and 88rising’s Head in the Clouds 2022 ended on a high note, highlighting Asian and Asian-American artists and showcasing their talents and cultures to the US festival circuits. Because of how much this festival has grown, 88rising is now able to expand internationally—bringing Head in the Clouds to Jakarta, Indonesia on December 3-4, 2022; and Manila, Philippines right after on December 9-10. It’s exciting to see this festival continue to grow and unite artists and fans together through the love of music, food and art.