Don’t remember what happened yesterday? Bwog first-years Sophie Tobin and Liv Nelson have your bacch with a review of this year’s Bacchanal music festival.
First things first, we opened on an exceptionally sunny day for Bacchanal 2019, although one of our Bwoggers feared her exposed nipples would be sunburned (good news: they weren’t!). Her fellow Bwogger, while her nipples were safe, is currently suffering from shoulders the shade of overcooked lobster. Despite all this, the beautiful weather promised a day of fun in the sun.
Columbia-based rapper and DJ Oswald Fresh, who won this February’s Battle of the Bands, opened Bacchanal 2019, and we quickly decided he was a pretty cool dude. We chatted with him before his set and noticed he had a giant QR code on his shirt. If you use your phone camera to scan it, it takes you directly to his website. WHAT!
Fresh was a very engaging performer. He was super high-energy, and you could really see the passion behind his words showing through as he performed them. It’s clear that he was speaking from the heart in a lot of them, and it was some pretty relatable content. The lyrics, “put in work, overtime, go berserk, on the grind,” really put us into the “oh god it’s almost finals” mindset; due to his background as a Columbia student, Oswald Fresh’s set was relatable as a lot of his lyrics gave a pretty accurate sense of stress culture. Ha ha! Stress exists within Columbia! I know! We can’t believe it either! All in all, a great opening which set the tone for a great day.
At this point, Low Beach was swarmed with drunken/high/god-knows-what Millennials and Gen Z-ers. The fashion? Incredible. Coachella is quaking. The vibes? Straight up (for lack of a better word) vibin’. People were clustered, sitting, standing, wailing, singing, crying, and laughing. It was quite literally a montage of emotion and feeling.
Next up: Japanese-British singer and songwriter Rina Sawayama, whose retro-sounding, glittery R&B pop has long captured fans with hits like “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” and “Cherry.” We really dug the upbeat, sweet vibes of her music, and it was great to see LGBTQ+ representation (she’s openly pansexual and her songs described her romantic/sexual feelings towards women). Her backup dancers were entertaining as well, and her fantastic, metallic green eye makeup also deserves mad props. At one point, she said we all must be “pretty fucking special” to attend Columbia, and we couldn’t help but cringe as the crowd screamed in agreement with how special they are.
After a brief interlude, it was time for hip hop artist Tierra Whack to take the stage. After ten minutes of waiting, Bwog began to hope that their prayers for Prezbo to take the stage had finally been answered. However, once Tierra showed up, we were far from disappointed. She appeared with a giant bowl of fruit (plus paper plates that were probably from Ferris) and made the guard in front of the stage distribute the goods to the mosh pit. It was absolutely iconic. One of her most notable lines: “ALL BOYS CRY, MEN TOUCH VAGINAS, BITCHES EAT TACOS”, from the song “Cable Guy”. Truer words were never spoken, queen.
Last, but not least: SOPHIE. At first we didn’t realize she didn’t sing, so for about the first ten minutes of her set, we thought it was still an interlude between acts. Once we realized that it was, in fact, the headliner performance, we booked it to the front of the stage after finessing our way forward with our press passes. It was cool to watch her work the DJ table live and in person, but again, I wish the headliner actually sang. However, I will admit that when “Immaterial” came on, I’m pretty sure the entire crowd by the stage experienced a collective eargasm. It’s just a great fucking song.
Soon after the final set, the crowd began to dissolve, and our valiant Bwoggers slinked off to JJ’s for some RNR in the form of mango slushees and mozz sticks. And after that? To rest off the hangover before locking ourselves in all the campus libraries to finish the work we’d neglected to finish all Friday and Saturday.
All in all, a fulfilling afternoon, despite the confusing shenanigans of the past week. The “Bacchanal Is Cancelled” theme was absent from the day itself – and with the great lineup, we were left wondering why the theatrics were necessary. The all-female (minus the student opener) and extremely queer line-up made this Bacchanal feel more inclusive and radical for a lot of students, though it did invite some sneers from frat boys. However, speaking personally, we had so much fun soaking up the attitudes of the students who came out with hoards of friends and dressed in their funky raiments with the intention of having a bash.
It was our first Bacchanal but we cannot wait for the future three. There’s something bizarrely fun about sticking cameras in students’ faces while they give us confused but willing smiles.
Over and out – see you next year!
Proof we weren’t lying about the fruit via Sophie Tobin.