5 things we loved about the Head in the Clouds festival in Pasadena on Saturday – San Bernardino Sun

As singer-songwriter Mxmtoon reached the end of “Sad Disco” she looked, in contrast to her song’s title, absolutely delighted to be on stage at record label 88rising’s Head in the Clouds festival in Pasadena on Saturday.

“Being at this festival means so much to me,” the 22-year-old from Oakland told the crowd before her at the Double Happiness second stage. “I remember 88rising being such a huge part of my life.

“I remember hoping I could one day be up on a stage like that,” she said. “To be surrounded by people who are so proud of their culture. To be surrounded by people who love that music means so much to me.”

That sentiment felt true to performers and fans alike at Brookside at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, the first of two days of Head in the Clouds festival 2022. It’s wonderful to have this, they all said, because there is no other place like this.

88rising, which is sometimes referred to as a music collective, founded Head in the Clouds in 2018 as a festival to celebrate Asian musical artists from the United States and around the world.

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Now in its fourth year, and second at the Rose Bowl, the festival also includes a wide range of Asian food, thanks to the curation of the 626 Night Market, which has its own fanbase from across the country and around the world.

As we wandered the festival grounds on a day that went from a sweltering mid-afternoon to comfortably breezy at night fall, these were the five things that caught our attention.

Laid-back grooves: The R&B singer Keshi wasn’t supposed to play Head in the Clouds this year, but when Indonesian star Niki had to drop out after contracting COVID, he took her spot on the bill and ended up drawing the biggest crowd of the day.

It’s easy to see why the Vietnamese-American singer had such an effect on fans. His music is lush and romantic, full of longing and love. And songs such as “Somebody” and “Beside You” had the crowd sang loudly along to every word. (That he is objectively a very handsome young fella surely doesn’t hurt either.)

Singer-songwriter Joji also often works in a mellow, lo-fi R&B groove. As the final act on Saturday, though, he debuted his Yebi Labs DJ set surrounded by a handful of lab partners.

The electronic dance jams gave the crowd their biggest jolt of energy of the day, and, to finish off his set, Joji walked out from behind the DJ decks to close the night with a handful of more mellow grooves including “Slow Dancing In The Dark.”

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