Spanning over two beautiful days at Shoreline Amphitheatre, different cultures were brought together to create a weird and nerdy atmosphere which was perfect for the bay area. Nestled across the street from Google headquarters, Chris Hardwick orchestrated the perfect mixture of a comic-con, comedy show, and music festival with Id10t Fest. Attendees who showed up early could catch an informative panel on breaking into comics in Artist’s Alley, a live podcast, catch an early set in the amphitheater, or visit any one of the many exhibitors and food trucks. Although there was some extra traffic due to the event sharing the same weekend as Pride weekend in San Francisco and people from the valleys coming to the coast to beat the heat, once you got off of the freeway and onto the grounds they were fairly easy to navigate, and I had no real issues getting into or out of the parking lot on either day. There were hardly ever any lines for concessions or bathrooms on the right side of the amphitheater once they eventually opened that side up around 3 pm each day. The water stations were usually easily accessible, only ever running out towards the end of each night and that was normally only the ones closest to the dance tent. At the Monster Energy truck you could sit in the shade under their umbrellas and sip on a cool drink, or play against any and all challengers at the Rocket League set up they had off to the side. You would have to get there pretty early to take advantage of all of the free giveaways and samples without having to sit in line for quite a while, however. The free Peets coffee and Snickers samples were always a nice refreshing pick me up if we were ever in a hurry between panels or sets.
During the early afternoon you could catch a live Nerdist podcast or Futurama panel in the main tent, but at night it transformed into something completely different. You wouldn’t think that just hours ago that in the same spot where you were hearing a live Animaniacs panel just hours before, you are now fully immersed into a full blown dance party hosted by Mad Decent. Diplo’s record label brought two excellently curated days of dance music starting off the weekend with the first night, us having caught the end of Gryffin and stayed all the way through Jai Wolf and Madeon. Although I bounced around and caught what I could of Ok Go and Weezer during water and bathroom breaks, I was somehow always pulled back to the Dance tent and its amazing sound system. It was a little too good at times and would bleed into the Comedy tent at times, but we’ll touch on that later. Day two was the party day. Wax Motif started off the day playing the bangers and it didn’t really slow up at all until the festival was over. 4B showed the West Coast how Jersey gets down, Party Favor and Troyboi bombarded the tent with bass and filthy drops for hours. Zeds Dead confirmed that it was a very good idea to bring earplugs to these things, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what happened in that tent.
The comedy tent usually had a line and was a bit more popular than what was expected. Unfortunately for some, the fire marshal made the event go towards a ticket system to make sure that it was safe for all guests and that everyone had enough room to move around or get out. This prevented some guests from attending the comedy sets on the first day, but from what I understand, they were given tickets to the next day’s show to ensure that they were able to leave the comedy tent with sore cheeks and cramping sides. We were only able to catch the second set of the first day due to so many other things to do at Id10t Fest, but I’m sure the other sets were equally as hilarious. While I haven’t been to many comedy shows outside of those at other festivals, this one had by far the most impressive lineup for such a small venue. All of the shows were hosted by April Richardson who you may know from Comedy Central and Chelsea Lately. Irene Tu was an excellent start to the whole show, and she looks to have a very bright future in the comedy business. Dan Mintz spewed a constant slew of one-liners and held nothing back in the second performance we saw. Jonah Ray pretty much told my whole life story on stage and I couldn’t help and question if something had been put in the water or if this was about to be one of the better comedy shows that I had seen in a long time. It turns out, it was the latter. There was a surprise Chris Hardwick appearance for a short comedy set in the middle of everything which was a very pleasant surprise. Michael Ian Black and his ability to paint a picture with words can only be compared to the mastery of a Subway Sandwich Artist composing your lunch. Demetri Martin was amazing as always, although he did make the mistake of trying to play music and compete with the dance party next door. With the exceptions of the sound bleed and the capacity issue, the comedy tent was probably one of my more memorable moments of the weekend.
All in all, Id10t fest is the perfect niche festival for me. It brings multiple cultures together and the best of them really show out. Everyone was friendly and helped each other up after tripping over curbs in the dark and complimented each other on their outfits and cosplay. It’s refreshing that there can be a place where panelists can freely discuss their troubles with drugs and alcohol; where people of different shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds can all come together and have a safe and judge free environment. I had an absolutely wonderful time and if they decide to have me back next year, I will gladly be there.