Along the harbor that the Queen Mary calls home, thousands of concertgoers came together to lose themselves in the hip-hop atmosphere, chill vibes and tons of herbal greenery for a mini two-day getaway on Saturday and Sunday.
As if Goldenvoice didn’t already have its hands full with two weeks of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, followed by Stagecoach this past weekend, the concert and music festival company did not ease up with The Smokers Club Festival in Long Beach.
The Smokers Club Festival was by no means perfect but flourished on most aspects that a festivalgoer would expect.
Looking at both days, the lineup was slightly top heavy with Wiz Khalifa, Schoolboy Q, Lil Skies and Lil Pump performing Saturday. Sunday still showcased Ty Dolla Sign, Kid Cudi and up-and-coming rapper Lil Xan, but taking an overall glance, it seems that Saturday’s names were more notable to music fans who may not be sunken in to the rap industry.
There was a flurry of unexpected appearances to the lineup.
Big Sean, a rapper hailing from Detroit, made a very brief pit stop during Khalifa’s set.
MadeinTYO, best known for his hit tracks like “Uber Everywhere” and “Skateboard P” jumped on Ty Dolla Sign’s performance, similar to Ty Dolla Sign’s show at The Observatory in Santa Ana in February. MadeinTYO also popped his head in for Mac Miller’s set.
Trippie Redd, a singer and rapper who is one of the young stars gaining notoriety through social media, didn’t show up to his set. As if event coordinators had seen this coming, Young Thug was the emergency replacement and filled Trippie Redd’s spot.
Another glaring hole was the absence of Los Angeles-native Drakeo the Ruler.
Drakeo was arrested in March after being charged with “first-degree murder, attempted murder and several counts of conspiracy to commit murder” according to hip-hop magazine XXL.
The venue chosen for the festival was in an allocated area beside the Queen Mary ship. It was small enough for friends to navigate and locate one another and just big enough to where it wasn’t so congested people were shoulder to shoulder at all times (except for those in the mosh pit, of course, then that’s a different story.)
The festival featured two stages: the main stage (Stick.E.Vape) and the small stage (Super Clinik).
Both stages were connected by a tunnel and a bridge, giving people two different access points and decreasing foot traffic.
The main stage looked over dead grass and dirt, similar to what festival stages normally look like, with the photo pit running on the front borders and splitting down the middle, dividing the crowd into two sections. The small stage was laid out on top of what seemed like a parking lot.
The Stick.E.Vape stage served the likes of Khalifa, Schoolboy Q, Kid Cudi and Dezzy Hollow while the Super Clinik stage featured Joyner Lucas, Earl Sweatshirt, Dom Kennedy and Rich the Kid to name a few.
With any festival, traffic is unavoidable — whether it’s by car or on foot.
Rather than have patrons park at the Queen Mary, the festival had concertgoers park off-site at different locations including the parking garage that serves the Governor George Duekmejian Courthouse, offering free shuttle services to and from the venue.
Getting to the festival was a breeze, only taking approximately 10 to 15 minutes to arrive.
Making the trip back to the courthouse was a whole different story, but understandable when there are thousands of people heading the same direction. The lines to the shuttles after the festival ended were extensive and took roughly 30 to 35 minutes to reach the courthouse.
For what it was, it seemed like event coordinators and law enforcement had it handled, maximizing the efficiency of traffic to and from the venue.
The venue and how it was set up played a huge factor to the enjoyment of all the festivities. Long lines were not as much of a factor as it would be at Coachella, of course, but lines to food and drinks, bathrooms and tap water were minimal.
The lineup could have been a bit more balanced out between both days, but even then, the most anticipated performances brought the energy to the fans in attendance.
The well-thought-out planning of The Smokers Club Festival is an awesome experience for lovers of rap and hip-hop and a must-see for those looking for a relaxed setting combined with musical talent.