Oakland’s Blurry Vision Festival Sets a High Bar for Bay Area Festivals
With Performances Spanning the Angelic to the Hectic, Festival Leaves a Local Mark
Friday, May 18, 2018
As artists lined the stage at Blurry Visions Music Festival in Oakland, CA on May 12-13, the Bay’s blustery spring weather showed off with views of the San Francisco city skyline, draped in clouds sweeping dramatically across the water. Being its first year, Blurry Vision’s crowd wasn’t one measured in the hundreds of thousands, but in the thousands, with one stage sitting amidst a large dirt field lined with food and drink vendors. In spite of its novelty, the festival boasted many well-known artists including SZA, Migos, NxWorries, and Brockhampton, cultivating a series of exciting and energy-filled performances.
By Brandon Yadegari
Blurry Vision’s crowds go crazy during Brockhampton’s hour-long set.
Mild tones opened the festival on Saturday as Clairo’s ethereal voice swept the stage. Nineteen years old and discovered from a YouTube video of her song “Pretty Girl,” she represented one of the many fresh, talented performers on the festival’s line up. Energy continued to build through the day with performances by Isaiah Rashad and Majid Jordan carrying the crowds into the evening hours.
Brockhampton’s Ameer Vann
With the sun setting, Brockhampton, the Texas boy band/collective composed of 14 members, opened slow with Bearface’s song “Summer,” but erupted with tracks from their lauded 2017 Saturation trilogy. With the backing of a full strings ensemble, perfectly synchronized vocals, and surprisingly choreographed dance moves, Brockhampton had festival goers dancing — and at one point moshing en masse — to their songs “Gold,” “Bleach,” and others. Consistent with past performances (the group donned orange prison jumpsuits on their last tour), Brockhampton pushed the limits with their attire, wearing bulletproof vests lined with provocative words and slurs in an act of defiant reclamation, brandishing “FAGGOT”, “WAKANDA”, and the N-word among others.
By Brandon Yadegari
Brockhampton frontman Kevin Abstract
Brockhampton dominated the stage at a time of unprecedented popular ascension, but also controversy and accusation. Earlier that same day, the first in a series of allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse were levied against Brockhampton member Ameer Vann, who subsequently offered a limited apology via Twitter for his past behavior. The full collective has yet to address the matter.
One of Brockhampton’s handful of choreographed moments. From left to right: Dom McLennon, Matt Champion, Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, and Merlyn Wood