Head In The Clouds New York, Day 2: More Artists, More Excellence

NIKI, DPR Live, DPR Ian, XG, LØREN and more make the second day of the festival another one to remember.
HITC New York rounds off with a bang. Photo: Lindsey Blaine (@lindseyblaine) from @hitcfestival, Instagram.
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Head In The Clouds New York, Day 2: More Artists, More Excellence

Compared to a majority of festivals that are hosted within the US, Head In The Clouds (HITC) focuses its efforts on showcasing Asian and Asian-American. On May 20th and 21st, Head In The Clouds made its way across the US for its inaugural festival on the East Coast of the United States at the storied Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York.

The weekend celebrated Asian creativity and businesses with the festival partnering with local New York Asian-owned restaurants. Though the Saturday had to weather less than ideal conditions given then steady downpour of rain that refused to let up, Sunday was completely different with beautiful weather that made the experience even more enjoyable for attendees. 

XG take to the stage. Photo: Bryan Kwon ( from @hitcfestival, Instagram.

Even though the main acts weren’t performing until later in the day, throughout the day there were a broad variety of artists to enjoy; from Korean Rock/Alternative artist LØREN, rapper and San-Fran native P-Lo, all the way to Knock2 and Dabin, who brought EDM to the forefront.

The event's corporate sponsors also brought many activities for festival goers to interact with to make their day out at the festival a truly fun experience. One of note was the Microsoft “MAGIC MAN EXPERIENCE” that allowed people to peek into the Magic Man world created by multi-talented popstar Jackson Wang. Another was the McDonalds x Broly Su installation where people could take pictures in a whimsical subway setup and then on a mirrored wall could write what Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month means to them. Both experiences provided perfect spaces for photo-ops and social media.

P-Lo at HITC NY. Photo: Bryan Kwon ( from @hitcfestival, Instagram.

Anticipation hit fever pitch when festival goers rushed toward the 88rising (88↑) stage to witness Japanese K-pop group XG (Xtraordinary Girls) make their international festival debut. As the group was being introduced via a VCR, the crowd teemed with excitement and once the girls took the stage the crowd roared for their performance. Their bright and bubbly personalities and crowd interactions made it seem as if they had been doing this for years, and while XG’s discography only contains four singles, that didn’t stop them from showcasing their prowess–by covering Cordae, N.O.R.E, and Justin Bieber before bookending their performance with their viral songs “Left Right” and “SHOOTING STAR”. 

From then on, the audience grew in size as K-R&B musicians DPR Live and DPR Ian took to the stage. Even though the crowd had already been buzzing for XG, as well as Atarashii Gakko! who had played on the smaller Double Happiness stage, the audience for both DPR Live and DPR Ian were unreal as they sang along to songs like “Jasmine” and “Martini Blue”. The transition between Live to Ian was seamless as they performed on stage together with “No Blueberries” - a track off of DPR Ian’s 2021 album MITO (Moodswings in This Order) - and “Hula Hoops” from IITE COOL. 

DPR Live. Photo: Bryan Kwon ( from @hitcfestival, Instagram.

As dusk turned into night at the Forest Hills Stadium, things came to a head as the main headliner NIKI took to the stage and swiftly captured the audience by starting her set with “Before”, the first track of her latest album NIKI (2022). Awestruck and enamored, the crowd sang and danced along with her throughout the rest of her set with songs like “La La Lost You” - a special moment being the lyric “fucking Brooklyns in Brooklyn”, received personally by the New York crowd - to “High School in Jakarta”. 

By the end of the night, the majority of the artists who were in attendance returned to the stage for a spectacular encore, closing the night with 88rising’s “Midsummer Madness”, a song from the label’s compilation album Head In The Clouds. It was a fitting and euphoric end to a festival celebrating Asian-led music, entertainment and more. Hopefully we will see more festivals like this outside of AAPI month.

If you didn’t get the chance to see DPR Live, DPR Ian Niki, Rich Brian, and the other acts that performed at Head in the Clouds New York, you’ll have the opportunity to see them in LA with a broader line up at Head in the Clouds LA. 

Tickets for Head In The Clouds LA can be found here.
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