About This Festival
SnowGlobe rolls a dance music festival, ski/snowboard adventure and New Year's Eve celebration into one. Here's how it goes down: you're swaddled in downy North Face garb, swaying and arm-flailing to the beat, while a snowboarder back-flips off a jump next to the stage. Then fireworks burst and confetti flutters and everyone screams "Happy New Year" before getting back to boogieing to stay warm.
It's a rad niche. For the tunes, SnowGlobe brings in 50-plus artists for a mostly electronic party. Big-name DJs, on-the-brink buzz bands and underground rappers take the stage in genres spanning avant-garde electropop, post-dubstep, booty house, hip-hop and whatever lies in between.
For the adventure sports, SnowGlobe not only sets up a ski/snowboard ramp beside the Main Stage where pro athletes show off tricks, it also arranges reduced-price lift tickets for fest-goers to Heavenly Mountain. One of the region's top resorts, Heavenly rises at the town's edge and unfurls 4800 acres of powdery terrain. So SnowGlobers hit the slopes by day and groove by night.
Sleep is for the weak, as the local saying goes.
The cold smacks you in the face as soon as you arrive – evening temperatures hover around 15 degrees Fahrenheit – but it doesn't take long to warm up as long as you're moving. Besides, gorgeous winter scenery is part of SnowGlobe's charm. Breathe in the crisp air, watch the hulking pine trees shimmer in the moonlight, and gawp at the Sierra Nevada Mountains that backdrop the venue.
SnowGlobe is smaller and more relaxed than many EDM fests, with about 11,000 attendees per day. It's easy to meander between the three stages to see what's on.
- The Main Stage is outdoors and uncovered. Everyone dances his or her ass off to keep toasty, though if that doesn't do the job there's a heated tent nearby with a stocked bar and lounge area to unthaw in.
- The medium-sized Sierra Tent is open-sided but under a canopy. Artists who are a bit more experimental let loose here, and it's a great venue for getting up close to the action.
- The small, enclosed Igloo is where everyone converges at night's end since it stays open later than the other two stages. Plus it's heated. Up-and-comers spin inside to a groovin', high-energy audience.
Wildcats, Tornado Potatoes and Casinos
Meanwhile between sets, pro skiers and snowboarders start dropping down the huge ramp next to the Main Stage. Look up and you'll see them flying through the air, sticking wildcats, tamedogs, 360s and 720s. It's like a mini X Games.
Graffiti artists and painters create works onsite, sometimes as live accompaniment to the music. Food trucks provide sustenance, cooking up comfort such as pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches and the "tornado potato" (a garlicky, spiral-cut spud on a stick). Beer, coffee and cocoa wash it all down.
Tahoe, if you didn't know, is the Vegas of the mountains. Harrah's, Hard Rock and other neon casinos flash, ding and clatter with coins 24/7. Many fest-goers greet the dawn pulling slots and throwing dice if they're not at SnowGlobe's after-parties in the clubs. The main strip is in Stateline (that's the Nevada-side town; South Lake Tahoe is the California-side town, though they've pretty much sprawled into one).
Lots of revelers hang out pre- or post-SnowGlobe to take advantage of the gambling and wintry activities, especially since it's a holiday week and most have traveled from distant cities such as LA, San Diego and San Francisco for the festivities.
History & Past Headliners
- SnowGlobe launched in 2011 with Pretty Lights, the Glitch Mob, Thievery Corporation, Doctor P and Bassnectar and Theophilus London holding down the decks.
- Deadmau5, Wiz Khalifa, Chromeo, Beats Antique and Big Gigantic headlined in 2012.
- Cut Copy, Tiesto, Kaskade, Snoop Dogg, Zeds Dead, Beats Antique, Gramatik, Dillon Francis, Claude VonStroke and Holy Ghost were among the groove providers in 2013.
- Skrillex, Disclosure, Porter Robinson, Zedd, Atmosphere, and Phantogram closed out 2014 with a bang.