The sports competition and music festival Air + Style, which took place at Exposition Park Saturday and Sunday, refused to let rain ruin its parade.
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White’s pet project, which combines music with snowboarding and skateboarding competitions, celebrated its fourth anniversary with festivities that were bigger and better than before. Air + Style has grown exponentially from a small, under-the-radar festival to an international event with stops in Los Angeles, Sydney and Beijing.
Despite inclement weather over the weekend, visitors remained buoyant, with help from high-energy headliners DJ Zedd and pop band Phoenix. The diverse lineup also included electronic artists Cashmere Cat, Cut Copy and Mura Masa, rappers DRAM and Gucci Mane and indie pop singers Tinashe, Washed Out and Wet. The inclusion of two stages, a Summer Stage and a Winter Stage, ensured that the loud, thumping music was a consistent background presence throughout the festival grounds. The flashy, dynamic performances, with flickering neon backdrops and larger-than-life screens projecting an array of psychedelic patterns, easily dispelled the gloomy gray fog.
Coming off the tail end of the 2018 Winter Olympics, interest in the festival’s athletic aspects was especially heightened. This year, the snowboard competition showcased street-style snowboarding inspired by skateboard culture, featuring an urban terrain where world-class competitors such as Francis Jobin, Frank Bourgeois and Kyle Mack exhibited their grace and ease on the slopes, accompanied by peppy commentary.
A new addition this year to the L.A. location was the skateboard arena, a transition-based concrete skatepark where acclaimed skateboarders such as Greyson Fletcher, Raven Tershy and Tom Schaar pulled off increasingly extreme stunts to raucous applause from the audience.
The L.A. street art scene is globally recognized, and Air + Style made sure to take advantage of it. Prominent street artists Vyal Reyes, Ricky Watts and Spencer “MAR” Guilburt were invited to paint original murals live in front of audiences. Afterward, visitors posed and snapped pictures in front of the finished paintings, bolstering the event’s Instagram-worthiness.
Attendees looking to grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks or vendors were offered myriad options to choose from. Just a few of the dining establishments available included Beyond Burgers, Kogi, Pizzanista, Fat Dragon and West Coast BBQ. Additionally, Beyond Meat and Strictly Vegan Jamaican Cuisine catered to the considerable vegan population and those with dietary restrictions.
Despite its relative newcomer status, Air + Style has certainly made its mark on the festival scene. The unexpected combination of sports with music, art, food and culture brings together diverse crowds from separate spheres to enjoy an unparalleled experience.