While most of us in the country are dealing with leftover cold weather from winter and are anxiously So its safe to say while most of us think that Miami Music Week is the ultimate kick-off to festival season, I beg to differ. The Phoenix Lights Festival seemed to be the proper festival kickoff.
I wasn’t aware that Phoenix had an EDM presence at all. In fact, when I first heard that this festival was in Phoenix I was shocked…yet I knew they must have some validity to their point since they scored the number one DJ in the world, Hardwell, to play at the festival. And if Hardwell is coming out to Phoenix, I should of known that I was in for such a treat.
I took the light rail down to Civic Space Park and had no issues with speeding through the lines. I was surprised at the turn out for a Sunday afternoon and after standing in line to get my “I’m Old Enough to Drink” wristband, I went off exploring the architecture of the festival. There were beautiful sculptures not to mention plenty of lights around to give you everything you would expect from a place where UFO was seen over the heart of the city.
Another great positive of this festival, the crowd was so polite and well mannered. While I like to say every festival I attend is filled with good vibes there are always some who no matter how much love is felt at an event are still rude and don’t care if you offer a polite hello or smile. Yet the individuals at Phoenix were nice enough whenever I started up a conversation and by the end of the night I found myself surrounded by a nice group of people – that proceeded to drag me out after the show to the after party regardless of my 5:15 am flight time.
Great people and a beautiful landscape weren’t the best parts of this festival as the music was blasting and just as fantastic. I took a seat for a bit to eat some tacos and could heard Lane 8 just fine from the grassy area that I could sit in. Of course, Lane 8 had me moving, along with Bijou, a native Arizona DJ who killed in with the progressive house he was pushing. Kill the Buzz did a great job with his set and I had a great time laying in the grass staring up at the sun, wishing for a UFO to come fly over.
When the sun started to go down, that’s when the energy went from a 6 to a 12. It seemed Jauz caused me to instantly get up and start dancing with him. Jauz had a great electro house vibe that he delivered with a ton of lasers and him dancing all around as well. I love DJs that get into the music just as much as the fans and Jauz was no exception. By the time he finished his set, I was a bit sad yet I knew who was coming.
I have a fascination with Zeds Dead as I love how their sets can range from house to filthy dubstep back to some deep house and then to electro. Seeing the duo on the stage I couldn’t help but become deeply wrapped into the musical trance they seem to put me into every single time I see them perform. Of course they played some of their classics and it’s safe to say I had a great time shuffling with a group when “Lost You” and “You Know” came on. I was very sad when they finished yet I was already being pulled to their after party so after the show so I was okay with the little sneak peak that I did get.
Of course, the Hardwell chants started to pick up and after a short break on the stages, soon the #1 DJ in the world came on and all hell broke loose. I decided to stay in the back so that I could dance without bumping into someone and I was glad I did. The last time I saw Hardwell was 4 years ago was at the Electric Zoo in New York City. It had been a while since I have seen him, especially since he has taken over the EDM music scene and I was a bit worried that the set would sound generic. What I got instead was a DJ filled with energy and was ready to keep us dancing the entire time. He did a remix of "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi, which is one of my favorite songs of all time not to mention I had a great time with my hands in the air going back and forth to Armin van Buuren’s "Ping Pong". Hardwell left the stage with dropping "Spaceman" and it was great to hear it performed live as well as being a great song to end the night too.
A huge special shout out to Relentless Beats & True Music, this experience was amazing and top notch. My drinks weren’t watered down, I felt safe, there was more than enough safe for everyone to dance safely and the music was hands down spectacular. While I am glad there weren’t any UFOs showing up, it’s safe to say that I’ve jumping on the Phoenix EDM bandwagon and can’t wait to come back to the next show.
AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES