Sundance Diaries: Wade Hampton [Gallery]

By Société Perrier

Wade Hampton (a.k.a. Wish FM) has been DJing and working in the music scene for many years. When we found out he was going to open and close for Ke$ha at Sundance, we asked him to put on his reporter’s hat. Here’s his account of the show.

Not even Ke$ha’s most avid fans would be caught dead role-playing their favorite star in leotards at 8,000 feet above ground and at 22 degrees in the snow. Besides, Sundance is the one annual entertainment industry event where it’s perfectly acceptable for a celebrity to be photographed on red carpet in the same down coat, three days in a row. Fashion at the fest, typically takes a backseat to comfort, warmth, and airline baggage fees.

But just after midnight on the closing night of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at Park City Live, Ke$ha stripped down to an ice-skater meets gladiator onesie, that had my stylist wondering if Chrome Hearts had moved into sportswear. Earlier the crowd had relentlessly chanted, “KE$HA! KE$HA! KE$HA,” which would be fine, except the audience was chanting this over the breakdown of a Calvin Harris’ “Sweet Nothing” while the opening DJs struggled to appease the Forever 21 groupies in anguish over their idol. If ever there were a case for breaking the opening act rule, this was it… as playing ‘Tic Toc” was the only thing that would appease this swarming crowd.

My phone suddenly lit up with a flurry of texts crying of problems outside as promoters V2 and Disco Donnie negotiate with a massive walk-up crowd at a sold out show. I should have been crushed that a great deal of my guest list would not get in now but then, I’m the type who gets all warm and fuzzy when the party is so rocking that the Park City fire department stops letting people in at the doors by 10 pm. And I mean, is there is really anything more rock ’n’ roll than a complete mob scene?


Sans any hint of an encore, Ke$ha hastily exited the stage as we briefly passed each other and her huge entourage of security, managers and backup dancers. At that moment, I can’t help but feel a bit stealth, and not the least bit lonely, as I commuted to the DJ booth with only a single backpack for company on stage. And besides, look who is opening for who tonight, as well.

Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I chose to light the fuse with what I’d deem the state-of-the-art in the Ke$ha realm, as I barrel right into the already nostalgic Madeon remix of the well-written, Grammy nominated lyrics of “Raise Your Weapon” by deadmau5. I like to imagine Ke$ha’s bedazzled eyebrows raising in approval from backstage, but we all know she was halfway to the Salt Lake City airport by then.

Symphony Hall’s “Metal Has Arrived” provided the rowdy cherry on top for what will go down as one of my top Sundance gigs in my 15 years, on a film fest stage that has played host to decades of boutique shows, including Snoop Dogg, Metallica and Bob Dylan. Don’t get it twisted… Sundance is still about independent film but there are few stages on the planet that can claim a more discreet, annual showcase for historical shows, acts both new and old. And while Ke$ha may not exactly represent legacy comparable to Stevie Nicks who played opening weekend with Dave Grohl, John Fogarty and Co., it is easy to see dance music’s domination as the largest music crowds of the week were easily those that turned up in droves for V2/Disco Donnie’s Sundance nightly DJ shows that included Nervo, Kaskade and Nero.

It’s sounds almost cliché but it’s for a good reason. Pop music is EDM. And EDM is now pop music. I couldn’t help but seeing Ke$ha is a little of both, as is almost every other song on the Billboard pop charts. I’m sure Redford wasn’t the only one feeling a little left behind now with club culture dominating his school of thought and bullying arena acts, previously thought immovable. But don’t worry heavy metal fans, we’ll carry the torch high.

And besides, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a stunning young woman tell me after the show, “that was so intense, it felt like my fucking face was peeling off!”

Metallica. Eat your heart out.