For anyone that has taken the liberty of either following or creeping VELD’s Instagram page, it’s unlikely they could have missed the collective demand of unhappy attendees. Of VELD’s roughly 50,000 guests, at least 500 have taken to social media to continually voice their opinions.
Peppered with defamations towards the organizing team – INK Entertainment – the unified ransom amongst irate fans is their entitlement to at least a partial refund; VELD festivalgoers showed up for two 12-hour days of music and received only a cumulative 18 hours. Though the final echoes of VELD 2015 ended on a bitter note, not everything about it was out-of-tune – if anyone besides me was sober enough to remember, VELD 2015 had its moments.
Arriving just in time for a hard-hitting afternoon set by none other than The Chainsmokers, the media entrance to the grounds immediately thrust me stage right into a crowd already almost halfway through a weekend of getting weird. The Chainsmokers’ very own 2013 remix to Smallpools’ “Dreaming” was my entrance music as I weaseled my way through the packed crowd of neon hues and pupil-hiding wayfarer sunglasses to a more comfortable spot stage left.
As the energetic duo engaged the crowd with recent hits such as Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance,” they simultaneously kept it diverse by mixing in hip-hop banger “Hip-Hop” by Dead Prez, sampling vocals from “We Want Some Pussy” by 2 Live Crew and briefly toying with Jersey club-type beats.
In retrospect, this diversity was all too fitting: the highlight of their set was their 2014 hit “Kanye,” performed live by vocalist SirenXX. They had the right crowd, too, taking to the mic to proclaim, “this song is about being who you are and not giving a fuck!” Briefly after dropping their recent remix of Deniz Koyu’s “Tung!,” they were unexpectedly interrupted by a VELD staff member who informed the crowd that due to weather concerns, a 30-minute delay was in effect and the crowd had to maintain a safe distance away from both stages.
Robbed of all the energy that The Chainsmokers had built up, the 30-minute delay eventually dragged on for a complete 2 hours. During this time of unwarranted liberty from music, I took a walk around the festival grounds to take in all VELD had to offer aside from aural pleasure.
In my wanderings, it was hard to miss the many numbered EMS tents stationed at the rear of the grounds – I witnessed an unconscious girl being carried off by two men to EMS for assistance. Luckily, she appeared to be okay a few minutes later. Importantly, especially in remembrance of last year’s tragedy, VELD seemed to have things under control. Additionally, there was signage on the main stage screens to stay hydrated and to seek help if necessary.