Los Angeles-based management label Cardinal Artists held a massively successful virtual festival fundraiser in the wake of COVID-19 on Sunday, March 22nd. Beginning with a $5,000 donation goal for Feeding America’s COVID-19 response fund, their audience quickly pushed the target to a staggering $20,000 hours before the last set. Equally impressive, JVNA not only hosted the entire festival, but also thanked nearly every contributor for over 12 hours. Despite the last few weeks’ descent of global panic, events like this remind us of the powerful community music creates.
Packed roster appeals to all listeners
Even alone, if only Cardinal Artists made up the roster for this event, the talent would impress us. Boasting the likes of JVNA herself, Quix, Luca Lush, Jaron, and Madnap, the festival had much more in store. This included the rising Deadbeats-releasing Ducky, Fairlane, HELLBOUND!, and Jericho. Each artist performed a bedroom (or kitchen) set for 35-45 minutes, highlighting their own tracks and other set favorites from every imaginable subgenre.
Donations poured in during every set, a promising sign that each artist appealed to different corners of the listener community. Reconstructing the live crowd energy during a good drop, the Twitch comment stream regularly exploded with emojis and all-caps. Complete with head-banging, arm-flailing artists, it almost felt like another live show with friends again.
As his set aired only halfway into the fest, Jaron stood out to us with one of the best sets of the day. It’s almost inconceivable the sheer force of talent and energy he brings, regardless of his age. At only 17 years old, Jaron is setting up to be one of the biggest names in future bass and trap. With thoughtful and contemplative lyrics, booming emotional peaks, and seamless transitions, his music blew us away. Featuring everyone from the future bass pioneer Rustie himself, to Jaguar, to Skrillex’s Humble remix, and back to Porter, each sound complemented his unique take.
From the trap side of the roster, both rising talents Madnap and Juelz performed great sets. While Madnap takes a more emotional and melodic approach to his music, he bounced through his live set featuring some more percussive and heavier bass sounds. Arguably the most entertaining to watch, we were exhausted just watching him jump for the entire set through Era, Ghost Voices, and DJ Snake and Eptic’s SouthSide. Juelz’s highly anticipated set featured Formula, his recently released single with RL Grime, and flawless transitions between heavily rap-influenced samples.
Ducky, who postponed her debut headlining tour, also performed Sunday. Mixing a slew of happy hardcore with some dubstep and drum n’ bass, we were on our toes the entire set. She’s released recently on the Zeds Dead-founded label, Deadbeats. A creative artist with a new sound, we’re looking forward her rescheduled Seattle and Portland stops.
Other artists jump to support cause
In addition to thousands of fans streaming and donating throughout the day, other EDM artists joined as well. RL Grime himself made a $500 donation the minute Juelz dropped their collaboration. Both Adventure Club and Peekaboo also contributed, and other Cardinal Fest artists hung out in the stream.
Virtual festivals creating community and impact
All in all, the festival raised $18,325 towards Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund. From an equally important stance, it created an atmosphere of shared experience over a phenomenal lineup across distance. In a scene so entrenched with technology, this virtual festival highlights an opportunity to unite listeners in uncertain times. One of the first virtual festivals of its kind, Cardinal Fest indicates the endless possibilities to come.
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