We are constantly attending and reporting on various events, many of which are put on by big corporations in big markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Brazil, Europe, etc. Isle of Light, however, is changing things. We attended the one-day festival last week, and it definitely has the potential to be a great experience for anyone. Its location? Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
If you’re a reader of Noiseporn, you’re probably into music, so you may think that the DR is only a country that showcases boleros, merengue, salsa, and other Hispanic-themed music. However, it is much more than that, which is exactly what Mishu Music wanted to showcase.
When we arrived to Santo Domingo the day before Isle of Light, we felt a rush of excitement for the event. The event organizers had been up almost the entire night getting the event ready. That, combined with the amazing view of the water that touches the face of Santo Domingo, solidified that festivalgoers were in for an amazing weekend.
Our day started with an awesome pre-event gathering called IOL Pro, which was meant to give aspiring musicians a little bit of industry knowledge. First to speak were reps from Remezcla, who shared with us something that every artist needs to know: how every artist should be pitching their music to companies like Remezcla as well as others. We were next to speak on behalf of Noiseporn’s parent company, Symphonic Distribution. In this panel, we explained digital music distribution and other music monetization-based offerings for artists. Last was from Colombian producer Cero39, who chatted about production and the emerging sounds from all fusions of music today.
After IOL Pro, it was time to eat. The festival grounds, laid-back in nature, had some pretty impressive food spots. Aside of the music, there were creative vendors who showed us the indie side of the Dominican Republic, certainly breaking a stereotype of the nation known for Latin culture.
I took a walk around the grounds for a bit and immediately noticed a zip line and a ferris wheel. Yes, those were both at this Dominican Republic festival, because why not? As more people started to arrive, I knew we were about to see some magic happen.
Isle of Light’s lineup had been carefully curated to showcase amazing, emerging, energetic and unique talent. Mula rocked the house with their UK club style, making me temporarily forget that I was in the DR. Nearby Puerto Rico was greatly represented at the festival with artists such as Los Walters and Alvaro Diaz. Los Walters’ set was badass, but Alvaro Diaz stood out from the pack as the lone hip-hop artist with creative visuals that rocked the mostly-Spanish-speaking crowd. His sounds were a great way to get the crowd going as the night took over.
From there (and after a few Presidentes), I was eagerly awaiting Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who had the crowd hyped from beginning to end. Each band member got their opportunity to shine with solo break-downs and amazing renditions of their tracks “How Can You Luv Me” and “Like Acid Rain.” Easily stealing the show, the crowd made their presence known after demanding an encore.
It would be hard for anyone else to top the energy Unknown Mortal Orchestra brought, but if anyone could do it, it was the festival’s next act: Shamir. Shamir’s presence and personality truly shined through and drew the crowd to him as if he and his band were a magnet. To close out the set, Shamir danced the night away with the very fans who made his show all the more epic.
Other amazing artists on the lineup were headlining Neon Indian, Krisp, and lest we forget the amazing DJ set by Francesca Lombardo, who showed she should no longer be considered a newcomer; she sounded like a seasoned veteran.
To close, I was impressed by the festival, which is now in its third year. The crew of Mishu were fantastic, accommodating not only myself and my colleagues, but friends, fans and attendees. Isle of Light’s vibe felt joyous, positive, and allowed me to disconnect from the daily stresses of running a digital music company. I’d recommend this fest for anyone, and props to the Mishu family for showing that Santo Domingo’s scene, culture and people should be taken seriously as a strong contribution to the music industry.