88rising Celebrates Representation at the 2019 Head In The Clouds Music & Arts Festival

By Isabelle Cruz
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Art by Abigail Roxas

Returning for a second year, 88rising represents not only Asian immigrants, but all immigrants in their 2019 Head In The Clouds Music and Arts Festival at LA State Historic Park Aug. 17, 2019.

Doors opened at 3p.m. unleashing what 88rising fans have been waiting for all summer.

From their favorite music artists to merch, this Asian-centric festival truly highlighted the celebration of Asian pop culture. According to an attendee from the previous year, this time around the event was more organized with two stages (88rising Main Stage and Double Happiness Stage) set up, 626 Night Market: style food choices, multiple merch stands and many, many water resources. Something that stayed the same was the Guess merch stand and secluded VIP sections.

Photos by Andres Alvarado and Isabelle Cruz

88rising music artist August08 claimed the previous attendance last year which amounted to an estimated 9,000 people and had significantly increased this year. This is a big deal considering the continuing intertwining of eastern and western influences in current pop culture. 88rising was founded by Sean Miyashiro and Jaeson Ma with the intention of becoming the “most wavy, iconic crew.” I would say this turnout and praise exceeds far more than what they had initially dreamed of creating.

I personally did not attend last year to compare the crowd, but I can vouch that this year was exceptionally crowded (compared to most music festivals) with attendees who played push and shove as each music artist took the stage.

Photos by Andres Alvarado and Isabelle Cruz

When attendees weren’t watching performances, they were checking out the art, trying something from the 626 Asian food court like Boba Guys or looking for the perfect “Gram” pic on neon blocks scattered on the festival grounds and a large “Head In The Clouds” solid backdrop.

There weren’t any clear headliners for this festival, but the popular names thrown around by attendees included: Higher Brothers, Niki, Rich Brian, DPR Live, Ikon and Joji to name a few. And these artists didn’t all come from just one place. High Brothers came from Chengdu, China; Niki represented Indonesia (and Asian women); Ikon came from South Korea; the list could go on and on

These ground-breaking artists genuinely cared about the art of their music and best of all their fans. They performed fan favorites such as “Made In China,” “Vintage,” “History,” “Slow Dancing In the Dark,” “Martini Blue” and more.

Photos by Andres Alvarado and Isabelle Cruz

Singer Nikki said, “I am fully aware that none of this would have been possible without you guys and your love and your support and your stories.” Other artists extended this appreciation and attentiveness by stopping a performance to ensure safety.

This night left most feeling high with their heads in the clouds. By the end of the concert, fans were blissed out by a mix of collective performances and encores until the closing song “Midsummer Madness,” enthusiastically sung together by the group and crowd.

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