Smoking Grooves Festival – Photo Recap

June 15th 2019, a cloudy Saturday morning in Long Beach, Smoking Grooves Festival goers lined up in what seemed to be an endless sea of people hours before the gates even opened. At 10 am the attendees began to transgress back and forth from stage to stage.

European artist Maverick Sabre, with his first US music festival debut, smoked up the Smokin’ stage, and the festival just got better as the day went on. Marquee names on the Free Your Mind main stage included: Slum Village, The Dream, T-Pain, Kali Uchis, Common, Daniel Caesar, Ella Mai, Erykah Badu, and Usher. While other notable acts were on the smaller side stages there was by no means a smaller crowd. Looking over the tops of bobbing heads and swaying arms at every turn every moment of the festival was live and peaceful with people embracing and singing along with their favorite artist. So artist like; Summer Walker, Jacquees, Ari Lennox, Berhana, Jess Connelly, Kari Faux, Mereba, and Pink Sweat$ were embraced with the waves of love from the sea of fans.

There was food, drinks, and a cannabis friendly zone. As the festival continued on the sun burned off all the clouds but it still wasn’t too hot for the crowd to enjoy themselves. T-Pain came out with an entire energetic 45 minute set of all his radio and album hits accompanied by his notable pop-n-locking with a seamless transition in to Common‘s set where it really showed the dynamic range of musical enthusiasm because in the multitude of people for the young and old mouthed the lyrics to his hits that spans over two decades. As each performance ended, the crowd would just float to the next stage. No artist on the ticket was a disappointment. Grammy winning producer, DJ Mustard, showed up for Ella Mai‘s performance to watch her show. When she performed her Grammy winning son Boo’d Up it was if you could feel the Earth sway back and forth with all the people dancing in unison.

As the sun began to set it only intensified the crowd, there was a light show from the cell phones waving back and forth as Erykah Badu graced the stage with her interactive laser performance. Pink Sweat$ closed down Groovin stage after jumping out on stage through a fog of pink mist. The expression of fans as he sang Honesty was enough to show that they really were enthralled with being able to be feet from one of their favorite artist.

It was all an accumulation for when Usher glided out from behind the backstage curtain and busted right in to songs and dance moves, that he is so well known for, and the crowd went wild. Usher took us back to his debut album and closed down the show like the superstar that he is, and the smiles and chatter of fans as they walked back to the shuttles to leave showed in true fashion that they had indeed gotten all of their monies worth.


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Army Combat Veteran. Los Angeles Based Photographer.

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