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Mt. Baldy becomes more eclectic

Karo Chakhlasyan
Arts Editor

Upstairs, three women, each wearing shorter shorts than the next began dancing down stairs to the Snowcrest Lodge bottom floor where Justin Taylor, singer of Jutty Ranx, expressed his gratitude towards the Crest Fest audience Saturday night.

“You’re all part of something special,” Taylor said.

“This is an underground community where we support each other.”

The first Crest Fest, held Saturday at Mt. Baldy, got rolling after co-founder Justin Hanna met with friends and co-founders Matteo Arias and Quincy Venter.

“I feel like a lot of the talent in the area is finally reaching that age where it’s make or break time, where either it’s gonna happen or it’s not gonna happen,” Hanna said.

“We’re all kind of making that final push to see if we need to get day jobs.”

With three months of planning Crest Fest expanded from just electronic DJs with one stage to three stages featuring bands and local artist of all mediums.

Kyle Ellison, a.k.a. DJ Nimbus, took the Cliffside stage next to the campgrounds.

While the cool breeze started to flow in, his mix of dubstep and dance got a few festival goers to warm up by head banging along with the beat.

Back at the bottom floor stage, T.V. Broken Third Eye Open, were ending their set to a crowd absorbed in their instrumental mixture of a 1970s psychedelic organist clashing against the sounds of a didgeridoo with the guitarist adding his blend of jazz inspired riffs.

In-between bands, walking from the upstairs stage that was a darkroom with a DJ spinning with projected scenes from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ altered to deceive viewers’ perception with added colors on a wall to the camping area where the faint smell of pot lingered in the air made it feel like a festival not a local event.

“We’re hoping to eventually become lighting in a bottle meets Coachella in the area,” Hanna said. “The goal is really to introduce everybody to everybody to create a community of artists and a community of work for everybody.”

With the final band of the night, Black Jesus and the Experimentalist leading the dance-crazed audience out into the night with the howling voice of front man Runson Willis, and the gut wrenching presence of the band brought life to an exhausted crowd.

Willis remarked towards the audience that we are all beautiful souls here on Earth with couples dancing along the rhythm from the Experimentalist on stage tied the festival together.

At times when the do-it-yourself part of the festival showed, those involved quickly got the festival back on track. The passion to organize something greater then a backyard party showed.

“We’ve been trying to keep it a little bit more underground cause you wanna let the people make it (the festival) grow rather than the connections,” said Jake Knaipe who performed his set as DJ Knabs.

“We wanna make sure the music festival stays from the heart and stays with the music rather then staying with the promotion.”

Crest Fest will become a biannual event, with the next one being planned for January.

Karo Chakhlasyan can be reached at

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