Photos by Santiago Burelli
On a brick red desert expanse surrounded by mountains just beyond Las Vegas, a few of my closest friends and I discovered a portal for inspiration, progressive connection, and authentic musical performances. Of course, these opportunities came with obstacles and mishaps but we can’t really expect a utopian future – mostly at a festival whose sole mission is to create an environment in which the future of the world and how we interact with it is the discussion. Although Further Future 002 had its logistical issues, we never let that rain on our parade (even though, as you’ve probably already heard, it did). We danced on, as we always do, laughing at the odds and taking advantage of every moment.
We arrived at the stunning Moapa Indian Reservation Friday after dark having no idea what to expect and ready to blast into the Future. We reached the entry and received our high-tech wristbands, which ended up being unnecessary due to the fact that the “cashless festival” perk wasn’t available to most because of malfunctions with some of the bands. As we made our way through the gates we were gifted futuristic sunglasses and a reusable water bottle for the weekend. We parked, adorned ourselves in glitter and fur and celebrated our arrival with some whiskey, warming up for a long night of music. We were initially blocked from getting inside due to a one hour weather hold but after it was lifted we headed to the impressive, but cozy, Mothership stage to catch Four Tet and Caribou.
Four Tet came at us with a tribal set and graced the crowds with some Fela Kuti hits followed by some heavy bass. The large area allocated for the Mothership stage made it easy for people to enjoy their own dancing space and we made our way to the front of the stage where we promptly got weird. I found myself on top of a speaker directly in front of the band as Caribou began to pour emotion & passion into everyone’s ears. Dan Snaith and his band played in a circle, interacting with each other rather than the audience, and, in turn, created some beautiful moments of musical ecstasy instead of worrying about the audience’s reactions. We snapped photos in awe and I came close to shedding tears as they began to play “Can’t Do Without You.” Rain drizzled down and the band played on, capturing the energy of the Moapa Valley and injecting it into the crowd. I tilted my head back in complete bliss and watched the drops fall down as the crowd seemed to collectively feel this moment of pure talent and nature’s raw, unexpected appearance.
Due to the rain, highly anticipated artist, Dixon was moved to the smaller covered yurt stage, where the sound system was somewhat out of tune. That being said, the crowd cuddled up and the energy was absolutely bumping. The vibes were heavy, and Dixon’s energy was out of this world, making up for the fact that he was not able to play at Robot Heart. His dark, melodic beats were captivating, and he even kept the party going elsewhere after his set was over.
The rain and thunder continued throughout Saturday, which resulted in many changes and confusion as well as the need to stay in the safety of our tent until the storm blew over. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see many of the speakers, but I know there wasn’t much to be done without dry space. The main logistical issue of this weekend was the lack of foresight on behalf of the production team when it came to inclement weather. There were not many places inside of the festival for people to take shelter or keep warm and the comfortable couches and loveseats strewn across the premises actually just turned into massive wet sponges until the sun came out on, the appropriately named, Sunday. Rain checks are always a bitch, but when you take into account the steep ticket prices and the heavy music line up the production team should be prepared for plan B in case a two-day storm rolls through, mostly when it is fully forecasted. Nonetheless, we were well rested after the storm and ready for a long, eventful night beginning with an irrelevant (when compared to the rest of the lineup), yet legendary hip hop group, The Pharcyde. We walked up to the Mothership stage as nostalgic 90’s visuals graced the screen. We, once again, claimed a spot on the right front speaker, and I looked around wondering why there weren’t hoards of people there to witness what was about to go down. Mike Brown, The Pharcyde’s DJ, warmed the crowd up with a short, but impressive set featuring Daft Punk and Andre 3000 and the moment The Pharcyde hit the stage and began laying down beats, the energy climbed and the futurists scrambled for a piece of the past, forming a crowd all the way to the back. The group played classics such as “Passin Me By”, “Drop”, “Runnin”, and, my personal favorite high school stoner jam, “Pack the Pipe.” It is safe to say that The Pharcyde brought the heat and was the perfect hip-hop group to throw into a lineup dominated by weird electro powerhouses.
The powerful and eclectic artist Nicolas Jaar followed with a rumbling intro that mimicked the weekend’s thunder rolls, building the anticipation and curiosity of the crowd. I marveled at noises I’ve never heard before and surrendered to the sounds that sent a dark, somehow comforting chill down my spine. He smoothly shifted from ambient tones to salsa and disco tracks before finishing off with a dose of his latest release “Flight.” I got a chance to briefly speak to Nico backstage where he lamented only being allowed to play for about an hour. “I wanted to play a three hour set” he told me; I wish you had too Nico, I wish you had too… After Nicolas Jaar, we made our way to Robot Heart, and I stood in awe before the legendary Robot Heart bus for the very first time. The LED heart was filled with magical beings climbing and dancing inside, adorned with sparkles, fur, and platform boots. We sat on top of a structure and vibed our way through transcending, bumping sets from YokoO and Kimball Collins, followed by Lee Burridge who kept the vibe high through sunrise. The crowd marched on to Lee’s captivating sounds, connecting on the dance floor as the rise of the sun always seems to encourage.
Since our return from the future we have have read a lot of bad publicity regarding this event. Whoever wrote these articles was clearly not at Robot Heart during sunrise Sunday and Monday. Sunrise always seems to reveal our souls, it has a way of bringing new light and clarity to the reflections of the night. Fest-heads and tech moguls alike danced, hugged, and smiled to their hearts content while Lee provided us with the necessary lubrication to shake of the cold rust of the night. After Lee Burridge and a beautiful sunrise, I got some rest before getting a major groove on to a long refreshing set of selections from the fireball of energy that is Jane Fitz. Fitz laid down an impressive all vinyl set which resulted in several hours of dirty stomping.
As an avid festival attendee, I always like to have a solo exploration or two to see where the energy takes me. As I ventured around I felt a child-like curiosity among this very adult atmosphere. There was a certain vibe that I’ve never felt at another festival. I saw others expressing themselves through fashion, connecting, introducing, discussing. I engaged in relevant and refreshing mature conversation over the weekend with many friends, new and old, about how we are seemingly building our own economy throughout the festival realm. This community is extremely important in the continuation of the conscious revolution that has been spreading since the beat generation. Personally, I loved the fact that Further Future involved speakers from larger corporations such as Facebook, iHeartMedia, and the founder of Hanson Robotics. This makes it possible for people to build the confidence to create and interact with those who have already moved our society into the future. Modern day society makes it difficult for creative minds to thrive, this budding community makes it easy to express oneself, it provides endless opportunities for artists, entrepreneurs, and others interested in finding their passion.
The last night was blissful, HVOB played an ethereal and sultry show, ending brilliantly with one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Dogs”. I spent the rest of the evening reuniting, dancing, and connecting with a large group of friends, new and old. It’s a beautiful thing having a place to bring the people you know together from different times, experiences, and places to build a community and provide each other with opportunity, inspiration and encouragement.
Further Future is taking action within the “transformational festival” world by making these possibilities a reality and bringing this movement to the next level. It was refreshing for me to leave and to have really taken something relevant away from it. It wasn’t just a nonstop party, or a spiritual space for transformation, this festival is a different breed. It was an opportunity tor me to connect with myself and others as well as my inner values and carry them out when I returned. I came back feeling inspired and eager to progress, which is a feeling I love when returning from an event. I have high hopes for 2017 and the advancement of Further Future and I look forward to attending next year and supporting the endeavors of this community.
Coverage and photos by Madison Kneupper and Santiago Burelli