After over a year-and-a-half of everything either getting postponed or cancelled, I was so excited to finally get on a plane to go to a music festival. For me, there was really no better choice than Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Festival in Oakland, California.
Second Sky is a personally curated festival by Porter Robinson. Every single aspect of the festival felt like getting a peak inside of Robinson’s mind. After the first adaptation of Second Sky in 2019, and its huge success, Porter and Goldenvoice brought it back as a two-day event this year.
The Journey of Second Sky
Being a Seattleite, the Bay Area felt very similar to being home. There was lots of food and friendly people everywhere. Being near the water and the abundance of public transportation made things easy to get around. My friends and I used BART to get over to Oakland Arena for the festival. Once arriving, ground entry was fast and easy to get through into the magical world that was Second Sky.
The festival opened up with none other than the man himself- Porter Robinson. He premiered his new DJ live-only side project, Air to Earth. As somebody who has followed Porter for many years, and who has seen him go through many different musical directions, it’s always exciting to see what he comes up with next.
Air to Earth was a straight vibe. Porter was so hyped on stage that you could feel his excitement playing this new side for us.
Air to Earth | Photo by @yasi
Design and Experiences at Second Sky Festival
Something I was very excited to see within the festival was the design of it. Porter Robinson worked with the set builders of Universal’s Harry Potter World, Star Wars, and Nintendo theme parks to help bring a magic experience to life. People were taking their time exploring the festival grounds, taking pictures of and with everything around.
One thing I took time to explore was all the different food. Porter had unique food collaborations with Bay Area restaurants. Kiss My Boba, Bun Bao, Sunny Blue, Island Noodles, and Bonito Poke are a handful of the vendors that made up Second Sky’s food options.
Lines for the food were inevitable but well worth it. I happily waited in line for the very hyped-up noodles that were delicious. I also waited in line many times for the very refreshing Penguin Punch.
Potoro Noodles By Island Noodles
Besides the food and the design of the festival, what tied it all together for me were Madeon and Porter Robinson’s sets. I always love being at a show or a festival where they are on the same bill together, as their music compliments each other’s so well.
The last time I had seen them play at the same show together was the Shelter Tour in Seattle, back in 2017; which still to this day has been one of my favorite tours that I have attended, so I was very excited to see their sets this time around. Madeon premiered a new production of “Good Faith,” called “Good Faith Forever.”
He said towards the end of his set that a year ago he thought he would never play again. And also that this was everything it could have been. You could feel the emotion that he and the crowd were feeling during his set. The sense of finally being able to come together sharing these kinds of moments is something you can only feel during a music festival.
Nurture by Porter Robinson
Now the biggest element of Second Sky was none other than the first live performance of Nurture, Porter’s newest album he dropped back in April. All of Porter’s productions have always been such a cinematic experience. You wouldn’t want to take your eyes off anything. The amount of time, energy, and thought that Porter Robinson puts into the live performances he does is very admirable. You can feel it just by hearing the first note, as well as the aura you feel coming off of him from on-stage.
Second Sky was something else for him. You could feel the passion through him as he had everybody important to him there. His family, his girlfriend, his friends, but most importantly us, his die-hard fans.
For me, hearing “Something Comforting” live for the first time was definitely a surreal moment. It took me away from the rest of the world. I came to terms with a lot of things and got to embrace what was around me which was really something comforting.
It was great hearing Porter play all of the old favorites like “Sad Machine,” “Divinity,” “Flicker,” and “Shelter.” I also loved watching Madeon in the sound booth fan-girling during this.
The biggest wow factor was when he played “Language,” which is such an iconic song to hear, especially live from Porter himself.
Another RMR correspondent and one of Porter’s biggest fans, Nicolas Wiggins, attended Saturday:
When Second Sky was announced for 2021, I knew I had to plan a trip to witness it for myself. My fiancée Laura and I managed to save up money each week to fund our adventure. Those who are close with us know that I proposed to Laura during our favorite song, “Divinity,” which was the last time Porter was in Seattle.
As it turned out, that was our last festival before the pandemic began. So, it felt like the ultimate bookend to two long years without socializing or going to shows to have our return festival be Porter Robinson’s own: Second Sky!
Once at Second Sky, I felt myself living completely in the moment. It had been two years since I had experienced live music and eight years since I had been in that wonderful place. This time, I had the love of my life there with me to experience it as well. I was really impressed by Jai Wolf and Madeon, but the master Porter Robinson had me crying like a baby of pure joy.
I really appreciated the on-screen addition of Fantano’s infamous “solid five stars” rating of Worlds during “Divinity.” The fact that Porter is able to laugh something off like that made me laugh too. Obviously, those who didn’t understand Worlds just didn’t get it; what mattered were those who did understand Worlds, though.
Before we knew it, Porter’s set ended, and we got back on to BART along with the thousands of other Porter fans who shared our train. I’ve already been counting down the days until the next Porter Robinson adventure in the Bay Area. There are less than 350 left to go!
Porter Robinson’s Nurture Tour
Following Second Sky, Porter Robinson then started his Nurture Tour. Seattle had started out with one date in the tour. That had quickly changed to two dates with tickets selling out so quickly. I was still in such awe over Second Sky that I had to go see Nurture all over again, not even less than a week after I had just seen it.
There were some things that were a little different in the Nurture Tour production versus the Second Sky production. The difference was not a bad difference at all, though. I actually liked the tour production of Nurture better than the one at Second Sky. It felt like more of an intimate vibe. Also, some songs he played out longer with mixes.
I highly recommend going to check out the Nurture Tour at a stop near you.