Air + Style: The Display of Charisma in Sport and Sound

Shaun White's fest continues its community driven ideals, bringing sports and music together.

The global skateboarding and snowboarding festival brought two days of tricks, falls, and music in the heart of Los Angeles and easily becomes a favorite as we head into April. Shaun White’s annual celebration highlighted and brought the best to the area with “heat” rounds that narrowed down the competition to Sunday’s finale. Regardless of the cloudy weather that surrounded Exposition Park, with a mild March shower on day one, nothing slowed down the festival.

Snow competitors graced the slopes, whizzing down while managing to utilize the wall and show off their charisma in a short amount of time. Notables included Ozzy Henning, who awed us with the most technical styling, as well as Drayden Gardner and Francis Jobin who each walked away in first place during the separate rounds of “Best Trick.”

Air and Style 2018

The usual festivities connected the worlds, as local artists spray painted and vendors graced us with food and beer. Yet, a particular highlight was within the realms of a skate park. The first time within the LA fest, a skateboarding competition took control with Patrick Ryan, Lizzie Armanto, and first place holder, Heimana Reynolds with an impeccable score of 88.33 closing day two. The course welcomed skaters for each of their 40 second rounds while artists such as SurfBort and Ex-Cult provided the adrenaline rush, sharing the platform as a unique stage truly separating them from other fests.

Air and Style 2018

Musical acts such as D.R.A.M., Cashmere Cat, and WET allowed for a racucious, electronic party that vitalized the fest goers on opening day. Divided into two realms, the Summer and Winter Stage, Air + Style worked around these elements allowing for a centered focus of sport and sound. Providing one of the most entertaining performances during day one — aside from simply production — was Australian producer and multi-instrumentalist, Mura Masa. Surrounded with his weapons of choice, the artist dabbled from vocals, percussion, and keys, killing the visual and audible aspect. With help from Bonzai during a performance of “Nuggets“, the two warmed up the night and without a doubt reassuring us that Mura Masa is performer that must be witnessed live.

Day two brought a livelier aroma of instrumental musicians such as  BADBADNOTGOOD, Phantogram, Cloud Nothings, and Tinashe. Closers, such as Gucci Mane brought an immensely huge crowd that seemed impossible to catch view as Phoenix matched that size and blissfully ended the night, featuring nostaglic tracks such as “1901” and “Lisztomania.” GRiZ and The Paranoyds generated a different amount of energy, each propelling the crowd with fast, high-tempo productions, regardless of genre.

The reason why Air + Style continues this momentum is due to the vast collection of diversity and fresh breath of air that stirs vitality within Los Angeles. With a well balanced selection of acts that hailed to the gritty punks, the slackers, and the eccentric ravers, there seemed to be a bit of relatable youth through various musical forms. Not only on the stage, but within the athletic realm, the fest’s balance of male and female pro-skaters and snowboarders spoke louder than any line-up.

All photos: Martin Santacruz Jr.

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