In honor of 88rising’s upcoming 2022 Head in the Clouds Festival, I’ll post about our experience going in November 2021! We won’t be attending this one in August because my due date is in October haha. But anyway, HitC 2021 was a blast with an incredible lineup, food, etc. so I’ll post all the details here!
What to Wear
Day 1: I love the festival name and song, so I wanted to dress according to the Head in the Clouds theme one of the days. The 2021 festival was in November, so I packed a sweater shrug when the evening got chilly (stored it away in our locker during the day — more on that later), but if I was dressing for summer, I’d do a tube top and shorts version of this look.
Day 2: I went a little more casual and just had fun with accessories. During the day, it got warm so I just wore the sweater around my waist, and it was perfect for the cold evening. They passed out blankets (more on that later) so we got one each and those were lifesavers for keeping cozy later.
For both days, I wore comfortable shoes and that’s a must! I walked 20,000+ steps daily as the venue is sprawling and getting to transportation is a trek. Since it’s outdoors, wear shoes you wouldn’t mind getting dusty and dirty.
What to Expect
Entry/exit: We stayed at The Westin in Pasadena because it was only about a mile from the free HiTC shuttle in Parsons Parking Lot that dropped you off at the festival entrance. It was so convenient and timely!
VIP vs. General: We got VIP for the bathrooms and lockers haha. The bathroom lines were short, and they were nicer portable bathrooms with faucets and actual toilets that flushed and were clean and didn’t smell. Lockers booked out so reserve them quickly. We stored our flexible water bottles, outerwear, merch, etc. there and it was nice being hands-free. There was little crowding when listening to the artists, but you do have a side view and can’t get super close, which I didn’t mind because I preferred not being in the crowd. But if you want to be up close and personal, General is better for that.
Food/drink: For food, the lines were long in both VIP and General… like an hour+ depending on time of day. But that’s like most festivals, and at least they offered decent Asian food! My fave was Bang Bang Noodles in the VIP section — super long wait, but we got Pizza Cupcakes (basically bomb pizza bites) while waiting to pass the time. Drink lines in the VIP section were non-existent.
Merch: Also non-existent lines for merch in VIP. Though they did do hourly surprise drops like free blankets, etc. where people lined up. Try to line up before the drop, as they do run out of products quickly.
What to Pack
Bag: At the time there was no clear-bag policy, but always double check. I like to keep things light so I wore a crossbody bag one day and a fannypack the next. There was really nothing in it except for a lip tint, phone and power bank, high fidelity earplugs, and a cardholder.
Weather: Since it’ll be in August, staying hydrated is a must. I packed this flexible water bottle for the water stations and it rolled up small enough to fit in my bag when I wasn’t using it. You may also want a travel sunscreen to reapply. It may not ever get this cold during a summer night, but for a fall evening when we were there, handwarmers were wonderful. And of course, sunglasses.
The Lineup: My Favorites
Some highlights were seeing Audrey Nuna, hearing “Remember Me” (one of my favorite songs everrr) by Umi, and having “Midsummer Madness” close out the first night. I also loved seeing The Linda Lindas rock it at such a young age! It was an emotional moment listening to Keshi too — his emo indie music was exactly what I listened to in high school, except all the sad boy artists were white. To see 30,000+ fans listening and singing along to an Asian American artist was so amazing. My favorite track was Niki doing her acoustic version of “La La Lost You”. And to close out the second night, the whole crowd belted out “IN THE DARK!!!” when Joji performed “Slow Dancing in the Dark”.
Anyway, hope this post was helpful. Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll answer them! If you’re going this August, have the best time!