The traditional music festival season is thought to begin around the start of spring and head into early fall, times when the weather is agreeable for crop tops, bro tanks, and flower head bands. However, if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the vicinity of northern California around the end of December you can fill your music festival void with one epic, snow-covered wonderland at Snowglobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe.
Can a music festival even happen in the snow? Yes. Is it really that fun? You better believe it. Is it too cold? Just a little, but it’s worth every second.
Some who think that a festival taking place in the snow might be a bad idea would need to understand how it adds to the uniqueness of this festival and the overall experience. This past year as Skrillex ended his set at the main stage, snowflakes began to fall upon the groovin’ and dancing crowd. There is no other way to describe it than something that felt like magic. Vast skies sprinkled with stars that glittered as much as the packed snow underneath our snow boots, it was a different kind of festival experience all its own. Here’s our guide to making the most of the Snowglobe Music Festival:
Buying and Picking Up Your Tickets
Snowglobe, like other festivals, will sell tickets ahead of time on their website. Purchase these early, as they are likely to sell out! You can purchase 1-day passes for individual days or 3-day passes for the whole festival.
Tip: If you are just coming for one day on New Year’s Eve buy this pass right away. This will be the most popular day for the festival as everyone wants to attend and partake in a great New Year’s Eve celebration!
Snowglobe does not mail out tickets or wristbands. In order to get into the festival you will need to bring your electronic copy of your ticket to the MontBleu Resort Casino or the box office at Lake Tahoe Community College and have it scanned in exchange for a wristband. This wristband will be your ticket into the festival and checked at the festival gate. Similarly, if you buy a Shuttle Pass you will also pick up another separate wristband to ride the Snowglobe shuttle. You can pick up these wristbands starting the day or two before the festival begins.
It is also smart to figure out where you will be staying before buying your tickets to decide if you need to purchase a ticket with or without a Shuttle Pass. Ideally you want to be within walking distance of the venue (near Lake Tahoe Community College) or near MontBleu Resort Casino as that is where the shuttles taking you to and from the venue are.
If you stay in hotels around this area, you definitely will want to purchase the shuttle pass because it is the easiest and cheapest way to get to the venue. Shuttles run each day from the beginning of the festival until an hour past the end of the festival.
Getting To Tahoe
Like most music festivals, figuring out the logistics of getting to and from festival can be the most cumbersome. There are several options:
- Fly: Flying into airports such as San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose or Sacramento in California or Reno in Nevada, will put you within a 1 to 3 hour drive from Tahoe. There are shuttles that run from the Reno airport to the MontBleu Casino; Snowglobe also organizes busses that you can get a ticket for if you are coming from one of these locations.
- Drive: Find a friend or a ride share headed towards Tahoe. Make sure to have 4-wheel drive or chains for your car in case the snow picks up!
- RYDE Motorcoaches: Again, if you don’t have a car but are in the Northern California area there are round-trip motorcoach busses available. These RYDE motorcoaches leave from multiple locations including San Jose/Concord, San Mateo/San Francisco, Novato/Fairfield, and Sacramento/Folsom.
Where To Stay
There are two main options for accommodations for the festival: booking a cabin or reserving a hotel room. Either way, try to stay as close to Lake Tahoe Community College or the casinos in downtown South Lake Tahoe like MontBleu. You can book hotel rooms with competitive prices using the FestPop travel site, which you can access here.
What To Bring & Wear
It will be cold. Save your crop tops and jean shorts for another festival; this one is all about layers. Make sure to double check the weather beforehand, but plan on temperatures in the tens to thirties. Here are some tips to keep warm:
- Wear layers! Think long sleeve shirts, a lighter jacket or two, vests, and a ski jacket on top. On bottom layer up with long underwear, jeans or leggings, and ski pants.
- Warm, waterproof boots or shoes are vital for preventing your feet from getting wet and freezing up over the course of the festival. Gloves and earmuffs or a hat are also smart to make sure you are keeping as warm as possible.
- Keep your extremities warm! That means hats for your head, gloves for your hands, and nice, thick socks.
The style at Snowglobe is all things steezy. Wear your flashiest, boldest printed ski gear and your brightest neon accessories. Rocking a onesie over all your layers is also highly encouraged.
Your Official Packing List: Beanies or hats | Gloves| Scarves | Boots | Water proof warm coats/ski jacket | Wool socks | Leggings/long johns | Chapstick
Getting To The Festival
- Shuttle Pass: The easiest way to the festival is to purchase a shuttle pass with your ticket and hop onto the shuttles that run continuously from MontBleu Resort to the festival grounds (a quick 15-minute-ride).
- Uber or Cabs: There will also be Ubers or cabs roaming around South Lake Tahoe, but in limited quantities. If possible you should plan other transportation rather than count on these vehicles as the demand and supply will be unpredictable.
- Driving: There are also parking passes available to park on site at the venue, but don’t drive and drive! Make sure you have a designated driver. Need a rental car? Book one here.
- All-Access Transportation Package: Snowglobe also offered special All-Access Transportation packages this year. For a flat-rate of $1,200 you can have their drivers pick you and your group of up to 13 other people at the door of your house or hotel on your schedule, whenever you want, and bring you straight to the festival. They will also bring you home after, or to the after-parties back at the casinos.
- DO NOT WALK TO THE FESTIVAL
The Festival Itself
Snowglobe is absolutely amazing. The event is relatively small with one mainstage and two smaller, tented stages. There are two beer and cocktail tents, and a row of about 7 food vendors. Walking from one stage to the next will take you no more than a few minutes!
Plan ahead and check out the set times before heading to the event. Give yourself an hour or two to get to the festival before the first act you want to see. Lines for shuttles and the entrance typically move quickly, but you wont want to leave anything to chance!
Each day of the festival will have a great mix of top EDM, funk, house, and techno artists. Feeling a little bit chilly at main stage? Take a break and discover something new in one of the other tents. There’s also several fire pits and hammocks set a ways back from the main stage where you can take a break, grab a snack, and warm up with friends.
At the end of the day expect a 20 minute – 1 hour long wait to get back on a shuttle. Don’t worry; this time goes by fast as you recap your favorite sets with your friends.
On the final day of the festival, the sets play till 1am. Prepare yourself for the best New Year’s Eve countdown and celebration of your life. Under the stars and amongst your friends (and hopefully a “special someone”), it truly feels like there’s no better place to be than in the snow against a black backdrop that’s illuminated by massive fireworks in the sky.
Yes, there is more music. The Snowglobe Music Festival ends around 10 or 11pm on the first two days of the festival, but Snowglobe knows their audience and organizes after-parties with select acts and DJs spinning at the casino clubs. It is recommended to purchase tickets to at least one of these events, as you won’t want the fun to end after the festival day is over.
Don’t worry about getting back in time – the DJs usually come on around midnight or later and the shows go until 3am or later. There is also coat check for the clubs so it is easy to drop off all the layers you have covered yourself in that day.
What To See, Eat, and Do
You’ve already made the long trek to Tahoe, why not make a full vacation week of it? For those looking to extend their time in Tahoe or take advantage of a few free hours in the morning before the festival, there are tons of activities to partake in.
Eat & Drink:
- Maya’s Grill: Maya’s is a small hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant serving up authentic cuisine and much needed post-festival burritos and tacos. Open everyday at 9am, they offer breakfast burritos to help refuel you for the day ahead.
- Jimmy’s Restaurant: If you are looking for something a bit more refined, check out this restaurant located at South Lake Tahoe’s newest boutique hotel, The Landing Lake Tahoe Resort & Spa. Expect wood-fired Greek seafood created by celebrity chef Maria Elia.
- Driftwood Café: Looking for that quintessential ski town breakfast or brunch? Look no further than Driftwood Café. Prepare yourself, this place gets busy but if you can snag a table or manage the wait you’ll be rewarded with some great eats.
- Café Del Sol: Want something quick and easy? Café Del Sol offers surprisingly great Mexican food and is located conveniently inside of the MontBleu Resort Casino. This is the perfect spot to grab a bite before or after the festival. Catch their $1 margarita happy hour from 1-6pm each day and definitely get a round of their nachos.
Tahoe is one of the most gorgeous ski destinations, set against the deep blue waters with white snowcapped mountains that rim the entire lake. If you have a chance in between busy festival days, here are some great activities in the South Lake Tahoe area:
- Rubicon Trail: This 7.2 mile round-trip trail has gorgeous views of the entire bay. With little elevation change, this trail is relatively easy, but it is a good idea to bring snowshoes. Prepare for the lake to be frozen on the edges!
- Heavenly Mountain Resort: What would a winter vacation be without skiing? Make your way over to Heavenly to catch some fresh powder and loosen up your legs for all the dancing you’re about to do at Snowglobe.
- Mountain Aloha Massage: Looking to treat yourself? After 3 days of straight dancing in all of your snow gear, a massage just might be in order. Mountain Aloha Massage offers several different massage and pamper packages to bring your muscles back to life.
- Adventure Mountain: Understandably you might not be quite prepared to tackle the ski slopes of Heavenly. Adventure Mountain offers a great alternative to having some fun in the snow with 14 groomed sledding runs and rentals for sleds and inner tubes.
Written by FestPop Staff Writer
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