It seems nearly every week a new festival is announced — summer means weekends spent at your local amphitheater, hanging out with friends, enjoying good music — festival season is an absolute dream.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, affectionately appointed ‘king of the nerds,’ Chris Hardwick went and announced his first ever ID10T Festival, which took place this last weekend in Mountain View at the Shoreline Amphitheater. Where else can you check in and experience a day packed with music, comics, comedy, live panels, the amazing creativity of the vendors, the Power Rangers, cosplay, and more? That’s right. You can’t. The ID10T Festival was the first of it’s kind, perfectly blending together all forms of media and entertainment in a way that made the two-day event fun for attendees whether they were coming for the music, the comedy, the comics… there was no way you could leave without enjoying something unexpected.
The incredibly diverse crowd of festival-goers first gathered on Saturday, and the best way to explain the atmosphere was spoken by Hardwick himself. While on stage with one of the panels, he looked to his left to a sea of people happily buzzing around to ‘Exhibitor Village’ and ‘Artist Alley’ which featured pop-up shops from Aftershock Comics, Aspen, Boomi Studios, Howtoons, Skybound, Fez-O-Rama, Tinkertart, and so many more. Hardwick beamed from ear-to-ear as he shared with the crowd how much it meant for him to see his vision come to life, to see enthusiasts out there, doing as he intended, enjoying everything the ID10T Festival had to offer.
The skilled combination of comics, comedy and live music left for a truly remarkable and unique experience. It was almost impossible to be able to fit everything in the two provided days, but believe us, we tried! Saturday kicked off early with a panel from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang, leading up to a packed stage for Con Man, The Magicians, Stan Against Evil, and Nerdist Live! panels. These blocks were amazing insight for fans to be able to get an inside look and have the opportunity to talk to the creators and stars — from SyFy’s amazing series The Magicians discussing the next season and explaining how on earth they come up with the hand gestures associated with spells and which of their costumes they wish they could keep (like Margo’s crown), or the star/creator of Stan Against Evil, Dana Gould playfully joking that he would leave if there was one more question about co-star John McGinley’s time on Scrubs.
The day leads up to a live taping of Hardwick’s very own Nerdist podcast with co-hosts Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, where they joked about everything under the sun (a lot of self-pleasure) and opened up the floor for questions. A lot of eager fans shared their personal struggles and how much Nerdist meant to them, though some took to the microphone a bit differently, including one fan who bravely used the mic for his personal ID10T complaint line to Mr. Hardwick himself. The fan addressed the lack of communication with the comedy tent (the fact that it was limited seating and tickets were needed for entry), to which Hardwick had offered to personally take care of it… though there was no need. Generous crowd members quickly hurried to the boy behind the microphone, offering up spare tickets to allow him to catch those at the comedy show that night: Matt Brauger, Hampton Count, Greg Proops and Nikki Glaser… followed by a second show with Irene Tu, Dan Mintz, Jonah Ray, Michael Ian Black and Demetri Martin all hosted by April Richardson.
While these activities may have wrapped up around 8pm, the festival was just getting started as the panel stage turned into the Mad Decent Dance Stage, hosting sets by John Beaver, Griffin, Jai Wolf and Madeon. EDM not your thing? Then you had the option to head over to Shoreline’s main stage to catch headliners Lord Huron, Ok Go and Weezer closing out night one.
Day two of the ID10T festival seemed even more successful than the previous — the panel stage never had an empty seat (and barely any available standing room) for Sunday’s guests: Futurama, Animaniacs Live!, Portlandia and Harmontown. The voice actors from Futurama(Phil LaMarr, Billy West and Maurice LaMarche) shared what it was like to be part of such an influential animated series, including tidbits about the Harvard-graduate written scripts and table reads that would bring them to tears (anyone remember Futurama’s infamous dog episode?). Animaniac voice actor Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche and musician/lyricist Randy Rogel took the stage with a standing ovation as they performed renditions of memorable songs from the animated series produced by Steven Spielberg back in the ‘90s, including everyone’s favorite, “Yakko’s World.” As they closed with this performance, Paulsen gushed with admiration for Rogel, who auditioned for the show with the very same track, to which LaMarche happily boasted over his friend that it only took Paulsen a single take for the vocals to be tracked for the show. Such incredible insight for fans who grew up with “Yakko’s World” and other Animaniac moments constantly stuck in their heads!
The energy remained at an all time high for Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s discussion of their hit show as they shared some of their favorite past moments, Fred’s happy decision to cut out facial hair from his characters and answered some pretty deep questions from the fans (including; “Are you happy?”). Harmontown closed out the panel stage with a live taping of their podcast, where Dan Harmon pushed the limits with his jokes, danced to some EDM lighting with the commentary and co-hosting Jeff Davis (Whose Line Is It Anyway) and Spencer Crittenden before a very real, and very special session of Dungeons and Dragons went underway.
Comedians Natasha Muse, Marcella Arguello, Yassir Lester, Brian Posehn and the comedic/folk duo Garfunkel & Oates performed the first comedy set of the night — where Adrian McNair, Brent Weinbach, Mike Phirman and Michael Che closed out the comedy tent for good. Chris Hardwick made a surprise stop-in both days, sharing his jokes on parenting and even poking fun at the bumps to be expected with his festival’s first year.
Sunday’s musical acts included Wax Motif, Party Favor, Troyboi and Zeds Dead at the Made Decent Dance Stage and headliners Animal Collective, TV On The Radio and Girl Talk — who turned Shoreline’s MainStage into one epic dance party. Whether you prefer the indie-rock/alternative or the ever-increasing energetic electro-house/EDM sets, there was no way you could be disappointed with the seamless blend the ID10T festival had to offer.
Just how did Hardwick do it? It hasn’t been too uncommon this year for massive festivals to be announced (Fyre Festival, Karoondinha) and canceled due to their over-ambitious nature. Chris Hardwick has proved he was able to unveil the secret to success. With focuses on every major media out there, the ID10T Festival pulled off an amazing weekend that offered everything and more without overwhelming concert-goers. Of course, this isn’t to say there isn’t room for improvement, but we’re confident that Hardwick is already hard at work to make next year’s ID10T even better than the first, and already, we can’t wait!