A Family Reunited: CharlesTheFirst and Friends in Cheyenne, Wyoming [EVENT REVIEW]
Charles The Fest? The Fest W/ No Name? Charlesthefirst and Friends?
These are just some of the renegade titles that fans on the Terry Bison Ranch festival grounds ascribed to the event that took place last weekend on the sprawling fields of southeast Wyoming. For many artists and festival attendees gathered at The Chinook, just south of Cheyenne and right above the northern Colorado state border, this was the first event back after quarantine and the feeling of being reunited with family was inescapable. Over 4,000 bass music fans were in attendance for Charlesthefirst‘s inaugural curated event which set a new standard for what Charles Ingalls and his team are capable of.
The Descent: Day 1
Hand-picked by Charles himself, each and every artist was chosen based on their ability to push bass music in entirely new directions and Black Carl! proved this as soon as he stepped up to the plate. Opening the festival with a slew of live edits and unreleased goodies, such as his new collab with the young bass producer MYTHM, Carl’s ability to rally the festival at the start of this two-day event was unforgettable.
Following Black Carl!, Huxley Anne took the stage with an incredibly unique sonic experience. Leading the crowd through an array of eclectic beat work and unique track selections, she instantly proved she is a force to be reckoned with. Watch her perform live vocals over Kanye West’s “Ultra lightbeam” below.
As the sun set over the expansive grounds of Terry Bison Ranch, Esseks took control of the decks with a conglomeration of heavy-hitting subs and fascinating rhythms. Just after dusk took hold over the campgrounds, Tsuruda came out swinging from the top rope with some of the heaviest experimental sound design of night, teasing festival-goers for what lied ahead for the rest of the event.
Watching lasers from the main stage spill out over Wyoming while the massive L’Accoustic sound systems ran by Brown Note Productions pulsated across the festival grounds, the entire set-up looked like something out of a science fiction film.
As attendees raged against the dying light, EPROM seemingly opened a portal to another world with one of the most innovative sets of the night. Fusing sparkling drum breaks, live-remixes of classic tracks such as “In Your Head” byy G-Jones and “Two One Six,” one concept rang true: the man came to show off in the most fascinating of ways and left thousands of bass fans with their jaws dropped and eyes wide.
Listen to EPROM’s latest track, “Dangerous Sound,” that was debuted at the festival for the first time during his set:
Following EPROM, the king himself, Charlesthefirst, took to his throne amongst the massive production and dazzling visuals. Fusing hawk. tracks with that classic CTF sound, he focused on the more hip-hop-infused elements of his sound and left the audience swooning over each and every bit of aural storytelling.
As the main stage closed following Charles’ beautifully crafted set, the audience was ushered into the renegade late-night stage arena. The bass consumers who purchased the camping passes to the event got to taste the wonderful Hennessy Sound Rigs that were expertly run by TOWR MEDIA and Unify Mountain Soundz. This rig specifically is known amongst audiophiles for wonderfully portraying the low end exquisitely while carefully conveying the high ends; allowing for bass fiends to feel the subs without the highs being unbearable.
Potions and kLL SMTH were first up to swing and they brought their heaviest energy up to bat. Following these performances, attendees were met by possibly one of the most anticipated sets of the night which was the massive B2B with Integrate (Black Carl! and VCTRE), Chee, and EPROM. Peep the video below of this historical B2B and catch just a taste of the shenanigans that happened that night (watching Black Carl! chow down on some pizza while hyping up the rest of the squad is just too fun to watch).
Thoughts From The Lot: Unity Amongst Friends
The feeling of walking through the festival grounds was a mix of ethereal sensations and true emotional connection. Old friends were reunited after almost two years of festival-droughts from quarantine and many-a-vibes were to be had across the campgrounds. Visual artists shared their craft with eager onlookers, flow artists united their energies to dance underneath the stars, and young DJs played sets at their own renegade pop-up stages for the rest of the attendees between performances.
During the second day of the festival, a massive thunderstorm billowed over the campgrounds, seemingly setting a precedent for the energy of the rest of the night. While hail began to fall from the sky, eager DJs serenaded attendees that were hunkering down in their tents, embracing the storm. It was an absolutely beautiful sight to see everyone come together and it felt like the family was finally back together again.
Into The Dark: Day 2
After a riveting first day of stellar performances, Potions once again graced attendees with another awe-inspiring set to open the second day, this time showcasing a slew of unreleased tracks.
Following potions, VCTRE took the spotlight and brought his classic guttural bass lines along with his vivacious swagger. His stage presence was full of unforgettable enthusiasm that was felt through his music and performance.
The original clip was clipping audio too hard, so I thought I'd dub over the track that dropped.@khivamusic CRUSHED her set. At one point I wasn't sure if the crowd was louder or if the music was!!— Nathen Lane Media (@NathenLane) June 3, 2021
Track: Testing Sound- Angelic Root@ctfbeats again THANK YOU GUYS pic.twitter.com/77hCYyCJNp
After a striking opening sequence, she took to the mic and had the audience wobbling in synchronicity over the fresh bars she began to spit into the crowd.
At this point, attendees were soaking in the fresh vibes and organically amped off the pure artistry that was performed on stage.
Following Khiva, West Coast favorite Supertask took to the stage, breathing ethereal beat-work across the valley south of Cheyenne.
The celestial visuals acted as his entourage as the crowd was serenaded with a barrage of tight-knit low-end and empowering frequencies. Attendees reached their hands to the heavens and many wept at the pure unadulterated love echoed throughout the festival grounds.
The climax of his set came from Supertask dropping his most significant single released during quarantine, “Healing,” which many attendees resonated with at a spiritual level. One simple scan of the crowd showcased just how deeply Supertask is able to connect with his audience.
As Supertask exited the stage, Yheti gripped with decks wearing a hooden night-gown which immediately brought smiles to the whole festival. Dropping a set of mostly unreleased tracks that were made during quarantine, Yheti had the crowd falling in love with bass music all over again. Taking the stage as his humble self garnered in child-like warmth, his energy was the perfect fit for this true homie-fest.
From his remix of Wreckno’s Medusa to his jungle remix of ‘Everything All At Once’ by G-Jones, Yheti had the whole crowd shaking and geeking from ear to ear. His closing sequence was a meticulous mash-up of ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ and Aphex Twin’s ‘Avril 14’ which caused many-a-tears to flow and hearts to be touched. “Shout out to water!”
After an emotionally charged set from Yheti, Charlesthefirst once again gripped the spotlight for his second round of solo performances, this time digging deep into VIP remixes of all time classics such as ‘The Forest With No Name” and stellar mashups of many of his heavier, sub-focused tracks; once more claiming the throne as a true bass connoisseur.
Teasing a multitude of collaborations with artists such as VCTRE and Tsuruda, the festival met its climax. Peep the video below that CE photographer Nathen Lane expertly captured on video and catch the vibe of Charles’ heavier side. A love-filled shout-out to CloZee was made as she silently watched from VIP, which had the audience audibly gasping in surprise.
After the onslaught of main stage performances, the renegade stage started off Night 2 with the talented South African producer, CHEE who brought UK Grime tracks along with booming hybrid trap beats. The crowd eagerly welcomed him with open arms and grinning faces as many of the previous day’s performers hyped him up on stage. Halfway through the set, Tsuruda joined forces with CHEE to drop some of the most intense tracks the underground has to offer.
After the onslaught of main stage performances, the renegade stage started off Night 2 with the talented South African producer, CHEE who brought UK Grime tracks along with booming hybrid trap beats.
The crowd eagerly welcomed him with open arms and grinning faces as many of the previous day’s performers hyped him up on stage. Halfway through the set, Tsuruda joined forces with CHEE to drop some of the most intense tracks the underground has to offer.
Following CHEE, Of The Trees ripped the renegade CDJs bringing an entirely fresh sound to the festival. With a focus on D&B, breaks, and high energy selections, he also teased the crowd with one unreleased track known as the fan-deemed ‘Owl Song’. His set was an instant fan favorite for many of the people in attendance as he breathed fresh energy intro the crowd.
The final mystery slot on the line-up was none other than another ultra B2B that featured the majority of the performers that took the stage earlier that day. Yheti, VCTRE, Supertask, Charlesthefirst, Black Carl!, kLL SMTH and more could be seen tag teaming the CDJs with bubbling camaraderie.
Intense remixes of hip-hop legends such as Mac Miller and The Notorious BIG echoed across the valley as the Hennessy rigs flexed in unison. Perhaps the apex of musical experiences were to be had was watching Charles performing Lab Group’s track ‘Old Ways’, showcasing some of freshest verses of his career. Peep the magic below:
All said and done, this was an event that marked history in the making. From the loving energy of the staff workers to the expertise found within the production, Charles has proved that his curated events cannot be missed and is a staple within bass music culture.
Be on the lookout for the first Lab Group EP that is dropping July 1 and many more exciting things coming down the pipeline from the Charlesthefrist camp!
Lover of all things strange and electronic. Writer/A&R for CE by day, freeform bass producer by night.