I headed out to the Mala Luna Music Festival a few weeks ago at the Nelson Wolff Stadium and got myself into a whirlwind of dust and low-quality rap music . Arriving at around 2p, I was able to catch many of the opening acts. The first performance that I caught was Kurt Rockmore on the Lone Star Stage. I was willing to be open-minded about what he was going to perform and showcase to his audience, but unfortunately I instead found myself witnessing a rather amateurish set.  

Kurt performed a 45 minute set, jumping around and yelling while trying to convince everyone that he was “the life of the party,” although it seemed nothing could be further from the truth. One attempt after another with engaging the audience left the crowd confused as to when he was actually going to start playing some of his own music. At one point in his set, he rather explicitly denounced Twitter and Instagram and instead flashed his “number” on the screen while asking the audience to text him, and for the ladies to “send nudes.” Kurt made one final plea to the audience to “get turnt” because if they didn’t, he was going to “get fired.”

On a more positive note, festival goers who caught Kali Uchis’ set on the Lone Star stage were likely grateful for her performance as the highlight of Saturday’s lineup. Taking the stage 20 minutes later than her scheduled time, Uchis had a rather impatient crowd, but nostalgic undertones, dreamy guitar riffs, soothing vocals and a talented band captivated the audience. One highlight was the cover of classic bolero Sabor a Mi. Their modern rendition of the tune was a special moment in her set, with Uchis indirectly reminding her audience on  the importance of returning to the source of the music.

It was an interesting dynamic throughout the festival and I appreciate the efforts that the coordinators put together to try and make the festival as aesthetically pleasing as possible, but there really is only so much you can do on a giant, dry, field of grass. For future festival-goers, be forewarned: take a dust mask. It’s not the most fashionable accessory, but unless you’re willing to be coughing up dust and suffering at the hands of your allergies for the next two days, highly consider keeping one handy on you at all times, especially toward the end of the day when there are more people kicking up grass and dust than in the early afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, the weather was beautiful and the festival took place on a great weekend, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the 1930s Dust Bowl.

If you’re willing to look past the mediocre opening acts, $7 corn dogs and ungodly dust clouds, you might enjoy Mala Luna, a festival that still has room to grow and gain a footing in the festival world. Considering this was only the second year of the festival, it’s likely the festival organizers will work to provide festival-goers with more opportunities to promote a sense of family and unity through a shared love of rap and hip hop music.