The inaugural Zona Music Festival kicked off on December 3 under gloomy skies and steady rain, but the bands and fans made the most of the damp weather with an incredible first day. Atlas was there to catch all the action (and try to stay dry) and we’ve got the highlights from the whole weekend!
Bleachers Takes the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
Undercard act and Atlas favorite Bleachers undoubtedly stole the show as they took the stage when the rain started up once again. Vocalist Jack Antonoff was joined by the full band and a surprise appearance from his dad on guitar- to the absolute delight of everyone watching. The band unfortunately started late due to water-related technical issues but still managed to treat the huge crowd to 14 stunning songs.
It was the group’s last show of 2022, so they pulled out all the stops for us, including Bartees Strange making a special appearance for a cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Call It Off”, a massive jam session for “Rollercoaster” and the power cutting out during “Stop Making This Hurt”. Despite the weather and the setbacks, this was one of the best sets we’ve seen from Bleachers and the vibes have never been better.
The National Parks and Miniature Tigers Return
The sun was still high in the sky when The National Parks emerged on the Ronstadt Stage for a midafternoon set. Their setup was draped in florals and a plethora of green shades for the pop of color that the dreary day so desperately needed. The band didn’t let the rain faze them at all, playing all their sunshiny tunes like “Wildflower”, “Angels” and more. Judging by the dancing and smiles from the fans, The National Parks was just what the doctor ordered.
Miniature Tigers also made a very special appearance on the same stage later in the evening. The band has been away from live appearances for some time and looked thrilled to be performing for such a receptive audience. Inexplicably, they jumped into a cover of System of a Down’s “Chop Suey!”, joking that it was a song from their upcoming record. And before you ask- yes, it was still raining and both the band and the fans kept pushing through.
The Happy Fits Provides Midday Dance Party
If ever a band was joy personified, it’s The Happy Fits. The three piece pop-rock group was determined to give Zona Fest the best energy they could summon and every single song had everyone in the vicinity smiling from ear to ear. The stage filled with warm light and fog and together, the crowd kept each other warm. We never miss a chance to see THF and they were a treat to watch at Zona.
In addition to the killer lineup of bands, Zona Fest also boasted an impressive array of food trucks, a vendor village, local food and drinks and a locally sourced art installation that was the site of everyone’s festival group photo. The setbacks only put a slight damper on the overall experience and we certainly made the trek back out for day two.
Check out all the photos from day one of Zona Music Festival!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel