SubSessions’ Nightlife Savings rocked the hills of Santa Margarita for the first time since 2019 this weekend. From Nov. 4-6, festival-goers listened to live music for over 48 hours to celebrate daylight savings.
The festival brought hundreds of attendees to a location revealed only to ticket-buyers — many of whom camped in tents and vans on the grounds. Many Cal Poly students were also in attendance at the festival.
“This place just feels like home. It has that comfort and that warmth and love of home. I feel like that is the best way I can describe it,” Cal Poly junior Julia Healy said. “I just feel so welcomed. It’s just such a beautiful space with beautiful souls. I feel like this is the environment that I feel attracted to.”
The festival’s theme revolved around the daylight savings time change, calling on festival goers to “embrace the unknown, the anomalies and the anonymous,” according to the ticketing website.
KYRA performed a DJ set with her close friends beside her on stage. Her self-described psychedelic house, disco and hip-hop sound combined with a theatrical performance made her unique.
KYRA and her backup dancers feel empowered by their femininity. Her eccentric stage presence began years ago when she snuck her friends into one of her shows by having them pretend to be her backup dancers. KYRA and her friends quickly became an ensemble after that show.
“Every time we have themes. It’s a whole other message. So, it’s not just dancing, it’s like ‘what’s the theme? What’s the aesthetic? What is the message we are trying to convey?’” KYRA said. “Today was a Powerpuff baby. Like Powerpuff girls but super-babe.”
Creating retro-inspired beats mixed with psychedelic-electronic instrumentation, Kumiho brought the Roaring ‘20s to a whole new level. Kumiho’s burlesque performance brought sensualness and risque energy to the festival. She changed behind a partition and took off her flapper-girl dress while onstage.
Another standout performance was by the livetronica duo Kaipora. Ronnie and Kevin created magic this weekend, literally. Halfway through their bass-heavy, rap-filled set, Kevin asked the crowd to participate in their live mixing, or “crowd magic.” They invited about 15 festival-goers onto the stage to sing and rap. Moments later, Kaipora live-mixed the audio and spliced up vocals. Hearing it was nothing short of extraordinary.
Many local artists were also seen around the grounds painting and creating throughout the weekend. Surrounding “The Appear Inn” stage were multiple seating areas where audiences could simultaneously listen to music and watch local artists paint live. Many artists depicted time-traveling-themed artwork and used blacklights, creating a glow-in-the-dark effect.
Multiple art installations, which resembled ancient Stonehenge and other beautiful murals, were tucked deeper into the trees, surrounding a large tent seating area designed for conversation and rest. The Stonehenge at Nightlife Savings incorporated small peep-holes revealing miniature universes, like Baby Yodas dancing in a forest and psychedelic paintings surrounding frogs. Many theories about ancient Stonehenge in England speculate that the stones were used as a calendar and for time travel.