As we made our way down to Oak Canyon Park - a gorgeous venue in Orange County most known for hosting house and techno-based events like Woogie Weekend and Dirtybird Campout - it became relatively clear that the weekend was going to bring its fair share of headaches.
We should have realized this weeks earlier when we made the decision to take on a first-year festival at an outdoor venue with a lineup consisting primarily of hip-hop artists. The reality only truly kicked in when we got off the freeway and saw a line extending about five miles from the gates of the festival.
Sitting alongside my friend (also named) Jordan, who would be my companion for this wild journey, I waited patiently and slowly inched towards the parking lot while taking solace in the fact that my press pass had come complete with VIP parking.
This would help us later in the night as we tried to fight the crowds to leave the venue - or so we thought. Remember those last few sentences because I'll revisit that later.
Half of the security team told us that there was no such thing as VIP parking, while the other half told us to keep going and to tell the next security guard down the road that we were VIP. And the next. And the next. You can imagine how this turned out.
After ending up in the far back corner of the parking lot, we once again rejoiced in the fact that we were finally at the venue and minutes away from enjoying a cold beer while watching Atlanta rapper Father.
...Or so we thought. After we made our way to the front of the security line, I was stopped and told that I couldn't come in because I only had a festival wristband and no physical ticket - the irony being that you got a festival wristband when you gave them your ticket.
About an hour earlier we had stopped in the parking lot of a local college a few miles from the venue, the offsite pickup place for all things press. In this tucked away lot I was given VIP parking passes for both days (you already know how that went), and a general festival wristband for the weekend. I asked if I needed anything else to indicate I was press or a physical ticket, and they shook their heads no.
Flash forward to an hour later and I'm faced with multiple security guards who assume I'm just another kid trying to sneak in (there were many). I continue to explain my circumstances to no avail, and am eventually directed to the box office to get a physical ticket. I am then directed to the complete opposite side of the venue - a journey that required walking up a busy road with cars coming at me and security guards trying to stop me - to check in at the other box office.
Once there, I am told by the second box office team that I only needed a festival wristband and did not need a physical ticket - as that was my ticket and security didn't know what they were talking about. Facepalm.
After finally getting a physical ticket to get me past a security team that was clearly not on the same page as the box office or press team, I finally entered a world that could best be described as hip-hop's answer to Warped Tour.
You know, kids in high school running around trying to bum cigarettes off people and give the older crowd a few bucks to buy them a beer. The irony was that I had actually been at Warped Tour the weekend before and this crowd felt much younger, not to mention Day N Night also had about 10 times more mosh pits (step up your game Warped Tour).
After finally spotting Jordan from across the crowd at Father's set with his bleached-blonde hair and Where's Waldo shirt making him an easy target, we settled into the festival and adjusted to a world where time slots meant nothing and there was really no way of knowing when, or even if the artist you were planning on seeing would be playing.
This was, however, expected with a hip-hop festival, and led to artists popping up hours after their scheduled set time with no warning after other artists on the lineup had performed.
Regardless, the music was clearly on point at Day N Night with a stacked lineup that painstakingly highlighted the next generation of rising hip-hop artists with a focus on cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City.
Presented by The Observatory, Orange County's premiere venue that has established themselves as being on top of booking the hottest names in music, it was no surprise that from the headliners to the undercard it was pure talent and highly eclectic in nature.
Beyond the four hours it took to leave the parking lot, which led to a dangerous combination of cars swerving to get ahead of others, crowds of kids walking around not paying attention, hot dog lines of up to 20 people, and parked cars in between, I would say that Day N Night Festival made for a successful weekend and was worth attending.
However, it seemed like everything within the actual festival was relatively on point, while everything just outside and mostly related to parking and getting in and out of the venue was an absolute nightmare. But hey, it's a first-year festival with a lot of growth ahead.
You can get a better taste of the wildest moments on the music front of Day N Night below, as opposed to the headache-inducing moments that were often the result of miscommunications between security at a festival - much of which stemmed from only having one main road from which to enter and exit the venue.
10. Yung Pinch Rapping On Benches While Kids Ate Their Lunch.
You know that feeling when you are trying to take a break from the craziness of a music festival and just sit down and each your lunch and a shirtless rapper from Huntington Beach named Yung Pinch starts jumping over your pizza? Props to this dude.
9. Post Malone Covering "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac
You know the best way to confuse a bunch of kids in high-school? Cover Fleetwood Mac. That's what Post Malone did during one of the best sets of the entire weekend when he played his version of "Dreams" from the 1977 album Rumours. It was lit, and a moment I won't soon forget.
8. Flume Playing A Rare DJ Set and Bringing Out Vince Staples And Vic Mensa
Flume might be a skinny white dude from Australia, but at this point he has collaborated with more incredibly talented rappers than most hip-hop producers. Beyond bringing out Vince Staples to perform "Smoke & Retribution" and "Norf Norf" and Vic Mensa for "Lose It," Flume also flexed his DJ skills and dropped tracks from Sophie, JME, Denzel Curry, Pusha T, and much more for a well-rounded set that was a far cry from his usual live performances.
7. T-Pain Making A Surprise Appearance During Metro Boomin's Set
It's always going to be a good time when T-Pain shows up, and Day N Night Festival was no exception. Sporting a hat that made him look like a beekeeper (at least that's how I remember it), T-Pain came out during Metro's set for a quick performance that included the timeless anthem "Buy U A Drank."
6. Lil Yachty Screaming To The Audience That He Needed 10 Mosh Pits
Like we mentioned earlier, Day N Night was pretty much a constant mosh pit and even this won't be the last time we reference that in this article. While Lil Yachty's call to action during his final song for 10 mosh pits only led to about five, it was still an impressive feat during a highly energetic set filled with red beads swinging in every direction.
5. THEY. Playing Discovery Channel Videos of Animals Fighting During Their Set
While the majority of the audience wasn't quite up on THEY.'s early afternoon performance - which featured probably the only live instrumentals of the entire weekend - the Mind Of A Genius duo definitely caught attention with visuals consisting entirely of a loop of a Discovery Channel video featuring animals chasing and eating each other. 10/10 would watch that loop again.
4. Mike WiLL Made-It Bringing Out Rae Sremmurd For A Special Guest Appearance
Mike WiLL Made-It was only scheduled for a quick set that was supposed to take place in the 20-minute gap before Lil Yachty, so it wasn't much of a surprise when his set was skipped over and Lil Boat and his red beads appeared instead.
Then, after some confusion between Mike WiLL Made-It and the DJ playing music in between sets, the stage turned into a full Ear Drummers showcase for almost 45 minutes with Rae Sremmurd and iLoveMakonnen both making appearances. And yes, the swag was unlocked.
3. YG Screaming "Orange Bounty What's Brackin" During His Set
If you know much about the blood and crip dichotomy in hip-hop, you know that YG and many other blood rappers from Compton often replace Cs in words with Bs (hence Bompton). So before jumping into "Bicken Back Being Cool," YG took the time to address the OC as Orange Bounty - and in that moment all the teenagers from Anaheim felt more hood than they ever had before.
2. Goldlink Starting Mosh Pits While Covering Nirvana
As promised, we have more talk of mosh pits. During Goldlink's set, which included guest performances from Isaiah Rashad and Masego, the rising East Coast rapper took some time to honor Nirvana by dropping "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the rowdy crowd. Note that Waka Flocka Flame pulled this exact move at Warped Tour the week before, so it might be turning into a trend.
1. Lil Uzi Vert Getting Tackled By A Fan While During His Set
Here's a quick introduction to Lil Uzi Vert: he's a pint-sized rapper with purple hair and a rock star mentality who apparently has a penchant for getting chased during his sets. A similar incident took place at HARD Summer, which ended in Lil Uzi hopping a fence to escape his insanely dedicated fan base - but Day N Night was somehow even crazier.
After darting into the audience during his set and hopping over a few barriers, Lil Uzi launched into a full sprint as hundreds of rowdy fans attempted to chase him down. Uzi smashed through a few fans football style before getting tackled by another crazy fan, but quickly landed back on his feet before somehow making it back onstage.
It was absolute mayhem and I'm just glad I didn't spill my beer - the line in the photo below sums up the whole weekend.
The Observatory will be returning to Oak Canyon Park in October for Beach Goth with a lineup that includes James Blake, Bon Iver, Gucci Mane, The Pharcyde, Justice, RL Grime, Nicolas Jaar, and more. Tickets and info here.