One major thing that plays a factor in your rave experience is the season you are raving in and the particular festival or rave you are going to. Unlike raves festivals are fewer and farther between. Huge numbers of attendees and elaborate productions make for incredible events.
One major thing that plays a factor in your rave experience is the season you are raving in and the particular festival or rave you are going to. Unlike raves festivals are fewer and farther between. Huge numbers of attendees and elaborate productions make for incredible events. Many ravers wait all year for festival season! Most festivals take place over the summer months but there are festivals year round. Lights all Night and Snowglobe are both popular New Years Eve festivals featuring some of the biggest names in EDM today like Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, Avicii, Mimosa and many more.
Kicking off the festival season quite early is Snowball Music Festival in Colorado. Formally held in Vail Valley, this year it will be in Winter Park in early March. March in Colorado is still pretty cold, so pack your boots, gloves and snow pants because you’re going to need them! I’ve been to Snowball and it was way different than any festival I’ve been too previously. Instead of the usual heat, trying to cool down and getting out of the crowd because everyone is sweating on you, you’re constantly moving and trying to get into the middle of the crowd for warmth. There was nowhere inside to go at all so your only option was to dance and even though everyone was freezing the first night when it was about 4 degrees everyone was still there having an amazing time. I remember the last day it was 40 degrees out and sunny and EVERYONE was wearing short sleeves and acting like it was a tropical paradise. With the mountains in the background and the snow beneath your feet the entire time, Snowball is a rave for the cold weather lovers but more on that in a different post. While Snowball is unique in the sense that it can be freezing cold out that means there’s no camping which brings me to my next set of festivals; the camping ones!
Popular camping festivals are Coachella, Counterpoint, Electric Forest, Summer Camp, Wakarusa, Bonaroo, and SO many more. Last summer I went to the premier of Summerset Music Festival in Wisconsin. With a killer line-up for their first year having booked big names like Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Zeds Dead, Excision, etc. and a super cheap ticket price I had to go. This was my first camping festival and I loved it, it’s like camping fully charged. People are always awake, blasting music and partying. After the festival is over for the day you just walk to your campsite and continue the fun. The camping festivals allow you to make small communities and life-long friends throughout your weekend. Up next are the festivals of all festivals. I’m talking EDC, Ultra, Electric Zoo, and Global Dance Festival, the festivals every raver craves. Set in big cities, people travel across states and even entire oceans to attend these one of a kind events. To start off the festival season is Ultra Music Festival set right in downtown Miami during spring break. Ultra is during Miami Music week and Winter Music Conference so pretty much every DJ you have ever heard of will be in Miami at that time and it’s an explosion of EDM, pool parties, all night clubs and non stop ragers. I went last year and am going again this year and it is just an authentic rave with so many different DJs, stages and after parties my ears were sad to leave. A lot of festivals try to do it up and add all these fun activities to do like water slides, silent discos, disc golf, art walls, tons of concessions but Ultra just sticks with the music and that’s why I love it. Don’t get me wrong, having other things to do is sometimes quite nice but you then have to divide your time between going to do these activities that the festival has set up for you and seeing the music you came to see. Ravers go to raves because they want to listen to the music live and experience that and that’s exactly what Ultra does and does well. With a huge main stage, a live stage, a stage just for the trance lovers and three more after that there’s no room for any other activities. Set right on the port, on one side you have the humid ocean air warming you all day and night while the skyscrapers are a canvas for detailed projections and lasers on the other side.
EDC or Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is another insanely popular festival. Spanning 3 hot days at the end of June each year, EDC Vegas is filled with gogo dancers dressed as dolls, clowns on stilts, acrobats, and of course free carnival rides for those who go. In one of my previous sentences I mentioned how some festivals like to do it up with little activities, EDC does not count in that statement. This isn’t your sad potato sack slides type of carnival; this is your spin around on crazy flashing huge rides and try not to puke on yourself or everyone else type of carnival. It IS called Electric Daisy CARNIVAL after all. Ravers love to have fun and love to let their inner child run free so adding carnival rides into the middle of a rave? Genius.
After EDC ravers look forward to Global Dance Festival set in the beautiful venue that is Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. Less popular than the 2 former festivals, Global still brings something magical to the table, or maybe I’m just partial because I love Red Rocks. Global is a lot smaller than Ultra and EDC but that just means the intimacy between the crowd and artist grows. Pregaming in the parking lots and buzzing around chatting with everyone and listening to the music blaring from different cars is part of the experience of Red Rocks. The landscape is already beautiful with the rolling hills and red dirt but then when you actually enter the amphitheater and see the stage and the huge rocks shooting up to the sky on either side of you it’s like pure magic. Watching the sun set over the horizon and the stars appear above you in this natural amphitheater is amazing. DJs and EDM artists play their sets and you can almost find a sense of peace, until the bass drops and everyone dances hard.
When it comes down to it all festivals have the same basic features. There’s the main stage with a sea of people dancing, bathed in LED lights, strobe lights, lasers, balloons and confetti. There are the smaller stages or tents that are usually categorized by genre attracting smaller crowds on the outskirts of the event. People always on the move, running from stage to stage to catch the next set, the festival is always in motion. But whether you are breathing in the cold breeze from the mountains, the sticky sweaty heat from the middle of the main stage or the crisp morning sunrise after a long night it’s all filled with that same energy and positivity you can only get from an EDM festival.
Keep in mind that these festivals I mentioned are only in America, and that the rest of the world is nuts over EDM and festivals too. Many European countries have great events as well as many Latin American countries and Japan. As far as America goes though the festivals I mentioned are about as good as it gets!