H20 Festival

L.A. State Historic Park

Aug 17. 2013

The H20 Festival, held Saturday at L.A. State Historic Park, was meant to appeal to the largely untapped market of Latino hip-hop fans. Featuring Pitbull, Tribe Called Quest, Big Boi, La Santa Cecilia and others, it succeeded on some counts and failed on others. Here's the best and worst of what we saw:

The Best

A Tribe Called Quest; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

A Tribe Called Quest; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

A Tribe Called Quest

It's fucking Tribe; you can only hope they'll live up to your expectations. And then when they do — everyone hollering “Yes you can!” — there's no better feeling.


Everyone knows Pitbull, whether you're a fan or not. Believe it or not he brought down the house on Saturday, taking control of the crowd with his anthemic songs. He even had a live band.

Food Trucks

Featuring everything from Kogi's to pizza and tortas, there was a big variety; it's hard to even imagine a time when festivals only had basic crappy munchies, considering that most everything is gourmet these days.

The Beer Gardens

Being a smaller festival on a huge piece of land (32 acres) has its perks. There's more room to work with, foot traffic isn't so bad, and there's plenty of room for beer gardens. Two of them were set up, on opposite sides of the grounds, each with a terrific view of the main stage and the Chevron stage. Even if you were waiting in line you wouldn't miss the show.

Open Grass Space

If you needed a place to rest in-between sets you were in luck, as there were long open spaces to sit and unwind on your blanket with your cervesa.

Below: The worst

The Worst

Pitbull; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

Pitbull; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

The staff

As nice as they were, the staff lacked basic knowledge about the festival and its amenities. Something that should have been as simple as getting a press pass was a big pain.

The V.I.P. situation

The festival had two different V.I.P areas but, oddly, the V.I.P tickets did not get you access to either. To get into the one near the Chevron stage, you actually had to be a special Chevron V.I.P winner, requiring a different bracelet. The other V.I.P area was by the main stage, and a V.I.P ticket could not get you into this area either. In fact, all you got for your $100 V.I.P. ticket was a segregated V.I.P area selling food, beer, and not much else.

The layout of the stages

The two stages were side-by-side, which made the festival seem really small, considering how much room there was. At least acts on the stages didn't go on at the same time, which would have caused the sound to bleed.

Tribe's last show?

During their set, Tribe said it was their last show. EVER. Forever ever, forever ever?

A Tribe Called Quest; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

A Tribe Called Quest; Credit: Courtesy of George Lelea

The people who looked bored in the pit

Aren't you embarrassed? You're in the pit!


Chuckie, a Dutch DJ (aren't they all) seemed to get the crowd going. But he did so mainly by planning generic, overplayed far like Nirvana and Skrillex.

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