There is a certain set of rules that the universe must follow. The Hallowbaloo Arts + Music Festival, Hawaii’s leading (and lets face it, almost only) big festival for alternative music, is unconcerned with most of them. This year marks its fourth return to the beloved Honolulu Arts District. The grit and squalor of Chinatown fosters a sense of spirited creativity and honesty that can’t be manufactured in Waikiki, making it the quintessential nerve center for Halloween revelry; last year, the festival attracted a mass of over 16,000 people.
Thursday will set the festivities in motion with an electronic pre-party featuring BATHS, the alias of 22-year-old Will Wiesenfeld. Glitchy, serrated beats move through Wiesenfeld’s atmospheric, celestial vocals like motes of light puncturing through water. Let’s just say his live performance will not disappoint. DJ Packo and Lapwing (Mathew McVickar) are also on the bill for a utopian night of electronic entertainment.
The Friday kick-off concert will provide respectable jams for the Hallowbaloo jamboree. Warpaint, a female-fronted LA-based quartet, dubbed one of BBC’s “15 Most Promising Artists of 2011,” will captivate the audience with a mesmerizing live performance they are increasingly praised for. Warpaint mingles melodious guitar lines with hollowed post-punk soundscapes, along with twisting strains of psychedelia. But what separates Warpaint from becoming a fleeting seasonal act are Emily Kokal’s arresting vocals–there is a soft plaintive note in her voice that sounds both pleading and forceful. Other performances include Paper Diamond, led by Alex Botwin, a Colorado-based electronic producer-turned-performer, and Clones of the Queen, Hawaii’s finest electro-pop outfit. Kalalea Fire will also heat things up with some spoooky fire dancing.
Saturday will follow with a street festival featuring six outdoor stages with food stations scattered throughout the streets. There will also be eight outdoor bars on hand for reformed trick-or-treaters wishing to replace candy for cocktails. Patrons can purchase one wristband ($10–$15) and enjoy live entertainment from eight of the most vibrant clubs in Chinatown–collectively there will be 40 bands, DJ’s and theatrical groups showcased. Man Man, an experimental outfit from Pennsylvania comprised of Honus Honus, Pow Pow, Chang Wang, Turkey Moth and Jefferson, is known for its animated on-stage spontaneity. Don’t miss free performances by The New Mastersounds (UK funk), Gaudi (Italian instrumentalist), Sing The Body, Hell Caminos and much more. On Sunday, unwind at Kaimana Beach Park for a free Kanikapila with Guy Cruz and Medicine for the People.