Intersect Festival… What a Blast!
Review and Photos by Gina Buban / PCN North American Correspondent
The Las Vegas Festival Grounds welcomed the Intersect Festival this past weekend, December 6th and 7th. The venue at north end of the Las Vegas Strip was created for festival’s first year, which featured three indoor stages, unique to the normal festival layout. Over 350 crew members and countless hours went into the design and build of the site, which hosted over 35 music acts, arts, and food over the two day festival.
The festival was created by Amazon and coincided with the AWS re:Invent conference. The conference, which is held every year in Las Vegas, is used to throwing big music parties. But this year, the organizers wanted to open up the musical experience to everyone. The organizers had the following response when asked about the new festival: “First, we love music at Amazon. We’ve had a big music business for 21 years, it’s a big part of many of our products including Alexa devices, and Amazonians are passionate music fans.
Second, we throw a big music party at our AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas every year that has grown to 35,000 attendees. We’ve built a pretty amazing and unusual live music experience that fans have loved; but in the past, the event has only been open to the re:Invent community. Instead, we thought we could extend this unique event into a two day music festival for music fans who weren’t attending our AWS re:Invent conference.
And finally, we have seen music as an uncanny unifier of people over the years, and especially at this time of flux in the world, we thought people could use an event that connected amazing musicians, storytellers, music genres, people of all ages and backgrounds, art, and technology. Intersect will do all that.”
The mission of Intersect was to cultivate thoughtful points of intersection between musicians, storytellers, artists, and innovators. The organizers wanted to create something that builds genuine human connection. And that they did. The attendees were treated to a diverse group of musicians over the weekend, which kicked off Friday afternoon and ended early Sunday AM.
Patchchord News covered the Supernova stage both days of the event. Indie pop artist Snail Mail kicked off the sets at the stage, followed by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Next up was Scottish group Chvrches, who performed songs off of their latest album ‘Love is Dead’, including “Get Out,” “Miracle,” and “Never Say Die.”
Grammy-winning singer H.E.R (which stands for Having Everything Revealed) followed Chvrches with an impressive set. The R&B singer got the crowd really dancing for such songs as “Make It Rain.”
Taking the festival into the later evening hours was Beck, who led the audience through his storied career with songs such as “Loser,” “Up All Night,” “Devils Haircut,” “Wow,” “Night Running,” which was co-wrote with band Cage the Elephant, and “Where It’s At.”
Between Beck and the headliner of the evening Kacey Musgraves, there was a unique drone show that was performed in partnership with Musgraves. Intel Presents UPLIFT: A drone light show celebrating women in tech in collaboration with Musgraves was an approximately five minute show, where Musgraves provided creative direction for 500 Intel drones. The drones were programmed and flown by a female-led team in a tribute to women’s contributions to advancements in technology. To accompany the show, a donation will be made to the nonprofit educational initiative Girls in Tech. The song accompanying the show was Musgraves “Oh, What a World.”
After the drone show, Musgraves took the stage and kicked off the final set of the night with “Slow Burn” and followed it up with “Wonder Woman.” Early on in the set, there was a technical difficulty with the screens in the background, and not missing a beat, Ms. Musgraves told the audience “Welcome to my Ted Talk.” Musgraves continued with favorites “Merry Go ‘Round” and “Butterflies” to conclude Day 1.
On Day 2, the Supernova stage continued with it’s stellar lineup. Kicking it off was Japanese Breakfast followed by Spoon and Leon Bridges. Hailing from Fort Worth, TX, Bridges and his stellar group of musicians performed a soulful set including “River” from the album ‘Coming Home’.
Brandi Carlile, the Seattle singer-songwriter that crosses many music genres including pop, Americana, Folk, Blues, and Alt Country, followed Bridges. After the opening song, “Everytime I Hear That Song”, which included a string section and French horn, Carlile announced that she was still suffering from laryngitis that had forced the cancellation of a show earlier in the week. Not wanting to disappoint the crowd, Carlile decided not to cancel her appearance and instead had designed a set list to not strain her voice and would rely on her bandmates the Hanseroth twins, Phil and Tim. Starting off with a wonderful cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sounds of Silence” on only acoustic guitar, the crowd showed its support for Hanseroths’ performance as well as Carlile’s efforts to still perform. Carlile came back to the stage to sing harmonies on favorites “Give Away Your Love” and “The Eye.”
As Carlile was forced to cut her set in half, the crowd had a break until the next to last act was up. If there was any lull in the crowd during the break, the energy was immediately brought back up by Grammy award winning Anderson Paak and his group the Free Nationals. The show started off with an off stage trumpet solo reminiscent of Miles Davis, which built as the band came onstage. The performance over the next hour continued to dazzle the crowd with the group’s unique staging and songs that seamlessly intertwined rap, R&B, soul and funk. Featuring solos by members of the Free Nationals and Paak himself on drums, the crowd was definitely pumped up and ready for see the final performance of the night from headliners, Foo Fighters.
Foo Fighters, led by singer Dave Grohl, upheld their reputation for being one of the best live acts in music. The festival headliners kicked off their set with “All My Life”, quickly getting the audience dancing and head banging away as the band moved directly into fan favorites “Pretender” and “Learn to Fly.” It seemed as if the crowd sang along with Grohl the entire 2- hour set, especially on “My Hero” where Grohl kept prompting the audience sing “louder please!” and “Best of You.” To the delight of the audience, drummer Taylor Hawkins came out from behind the kit to sing a cover of “Under Pressure” while Grohl covered drums, and one lucky festival goer got his Christmas present early by getting to go on stage with Grohl and shot-gunning a beer. The band also announced that they were approximately halfway done with a new record, which most fans are hoping will be ready during the band’s 25th anniversary next year. Ending their set at 12:30 AM on Sunday morning with “Everlong” Foo Fighters left the stage, and left the not yet fatigued audience wanting more.[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”1339″ display=”pro_horizontal_filmstrip”]