While mother nature tried pretty hard to rain on our parade, Same Same but Different carried on in its same unique magical way that simply makes it different.
After a week-long heatwave in southern California, the weather seemed to break for the better at the start of Same Same But Different 2022 on Friday, September 9th (although some festees were already camped at Lake Perris, CA from this year’s Thursday pre-party installment). When the festival received rain, most of the attendees were in swimwear anyway, really just making it seem like a giant sprinkler party. When the rain stopped, it was the most perfect boogying temperature you could have imagined, paired with stunningly painted cloudy skies. At times, small bouts of high wind called for a pause in the show for safety. This didn’t damper any of the immaculate vibes and party at SSBD, though. They say when you learn to bend with the wind, you can then dance in the rain… which is exactly what we did.
SSBD-goers had a big change in temperature this year to adapt to, but also a whole new layout and stages, as well. We were still graced to camp and dance in the hidden gem that is Moreno Beach in Lake Perris, CA, but with a different perimeter, allowing for more car camp spacing options (such as electric car camping) and more grassy areas. There were also more park-maintained bathrooms with hot showers and more RV parking hookups. For this avid festival attendee, I can one hundred percent say that this new layout was super ideal. Traffic flow — throughout the festival at all times –felt easy and well maintained. Every vendor felt showcased and easy to find… and excellently chosen, I might add. I wanted to buy something from every single one!
The festival was off to a smooth start.
As I was running around taking pictures of literally everything throughout the music sets, I noticed that every single spot is a good place to be while you’re at the stages. The front of the crowd was full of wonderful dancing queens and kings, willing to take you in. The back of the house was full of light/flow toy performers, ready to give you a personal show. The lighting and visuals for every single artist were just totally unreal, but all in their own unique way (those Tipper visuals under the full moon — honestly spiritual).
Over at the Hempire Lounge, festees could reach their inner peace and spirituality with an array of yoga sessions, breath work guides, hula hooping classes, sound healing workshops and so many other amazing ways to reconnect with yourself and the amazing people that share the space at SSBD. We even got to check out paddleboard yoga, offered with a meditative sound bath at the end. I’m no yoga master, but I found the class so exciting, fun and ultimately refreshing.
Special shoutout to all those fabulous instructors that graced us at SSBD!
The newly named “But Circus” Stage offered us outstanding performances of all kinds (primarily of a fabulous theatrical and circus nature) and even giant loop fixtures that prompted attendees to live out their inner trapeze artist fantasies. Also on the But Stage was incredible freestyle rapping (kudos, Harry Mack — best I’ve seen in my life!!), whisper bingo, burlesque shows, marching band performances and some great music from artists like The Brothers Comatose, Moon Panda, Maddy O’Neil, The California Honeydrops and Brothertiger. This smaller stage setup, backed by tons of circus performers and dancers, gave the audience a crazy, creative, intimate experience with the artists. And, the music… the MUSIC was just phenomenal, which is (as I’ve come to notice) the SSBD standard. The music for the daytime Coconut Club felt excellently curated to match a funky floatie beach party. Superior house and techno sets were from Justin Jay, Weir, The Brothers Macklovitch (shoutout on that Pink Panther drop!), Casmalia, Canvas and Poolside.
The Same Stage and the Different Stage, the nighttime mainstays, hosted an array of household names in the funky EDM playing field, completing the platter of music to satisfy every taste. GRIZ, The Polish Ambassador, Funk Hunters, Chromeo, The Floozies and Lettuce gave us all those funky vibes that you never knew you needed, but you NEED… complete with guitar solos, intense keyboard moments and all that brass. Vulfpeck and Emancipator gave us those live, full jam band moments that both produced an incredible exciting energy throughout the whole crowd. So many moments of audible gasps and cheers from the crowd happened in response to a sick solo or a crazy music drop just snuck in there. The Glitch Mob and Tipper blew the industrial heavy dubstep out of the water. I was transformed back to the golden wubby dubstep days of the 2011-2015 era, where it was simple, hard-hitting and passionate. The list goes on and on…
My absolute favorite part about SSBD is the schedule layout.
The daytime acts stop as soon as the night stages open and then, the two of them flip in their performances — meaning no overlaps! You never have the issue of ‘picking’ which artist to see. This is an actual festival dream, if you ask me! The only thing that was able to slightly dampen the mood was the weather. Unfortunately, due to high winds and storms, the festival had to shut down early on the final day. That was when I called it a weekend, packed my stuff and headed home. However, apparently, they did open it back up later that night with shortened sets, which I’m sure were still amazing!
Same Same But Different has already announced that they will be returning to Moreno Beach next year for its fifth installment on September 21st through the 24th of 2023. Want my advice? Grab your tickets literally as soon as possible. It’s one of those scenarios that you know the lineup will fall into place along with this magical experience. With all that the grounds have to offer and the magical people who make it so, you do not want to miss out. You can grab your tickets on a payment plan for as low as an $11 down payment! No brainer! It’s guaranteed that this festival will stay the Same Same, but in its own Different way.
Photography by Franny Kovacs