Sometimes before I even get to a festival destination, I get a feeling that let’s me know I am already going to have a good time. It’s this vibe of anticipation, anxiousness, excitement that the minute I hear a festival name I just get ramped up with feelings. That’s exactly how I felt the entire week leading up to the festival and the minute I stepped in Phoenix those vibes came on full force and Phoenix Lights did not disappoint at all.

I was really impressed last year for a first year festival. The setup was easy to navigate, the people were friendly, and the music and sound had no issues at all. This year, it seems like Relentless had no issues amping up the quality and expectations of what a festival should be. From the lines, to the music, to the vendors, to the visuals my phrase of the weekend became “Wow, that’s amazing”.

Walking in as a solo raver, I really was looking forward to exploring a festival and getting ready to bounce between the stages as freely as I wanted to but within the first hour I had befriended a girl who introduced me to her rave fam and I suddenly I had a new crew to party with for the weekend. It’s clear that the people of Phoenix are so excited about this festival and Relentless is definitely making a statement that they are going to be here to stay. Seriously…it’s not going to take long for this festival to expand to more days.

It’s hard really to put a point on where I had the most fun on Saturday night. The amount of talent circling through all in one day seriously gave me a creativity overload as set after set my expectations continued to not only get met but surpassed by the music. Black Tiger Sex Machine had me moving the entire time and joining in a shuffle circle. Of course, I lost myself once Eric Prydz graced the stage. Seeing him perform multiple times I know what type of experience that is and how it’s easy to transport to another place in the crowd. I’m not sure if it was the vibes, the festival itself or both, but the entire time during Prydz set I had a permanent smile on my face that I couldn’t seem to shake. Of course, once he played Liberate a dance circle of 3 suddenly became 20 and I bonded with individuals that I will probably stay in touch with for the rest of my life.

But of course, Saturday also included some other amazing artists that know how to put on a great show. Illenium was the perfect addition to the sunny day and even though I have seen him a handful of times all over Colorado, it was great to see him at a festival and seeing that other ravers across the states support one of our local artist. But I really got into my own of course once Kaskade hit the stage. It’s funny that I’ve seen him multiple times, I have heard BPM blast his music constantly on repeat nonstop and still the minute he took the stage I got a tingle in my arms from anticipation. Yes, you already know it. I sung out loud as I could while listening to “Disarm You” and “Runaway” (His infamous Galantis remix). His set was the perfect way to end my night and I was secretly wishing hoping for a few more hours once it was all over.

By the time the second day rolled around, I always expect much longer lines, rougher or more aggressive security or some type of hold up but that wasn’t the case. Once again I was in the festival in record time and of course, after a quick meetup with my new adopted rave fam , we were on our way to explore Day 2. I have to admit this day I spent most of my time talking to other festival goers and getting to know the people I am with. The weather was perfect, the music was perfect and I couldn’t stop thinking how impressed I was with this festival and how much I so desperately want it to grow bigger with each year. No hassle, no discrepancies just having a chance to listen to the music in an safe open an environment with friends. I was so impressed with Relentless Beats and all of the amazing crew with how much dedication they were putting into this show.

But of course, it was Excision time. Now of course, Excision isn’t for everyone and all the bassheads were of course crowded around the stage super excited for this event. And I was too of course after hearing all of the reviews of his paradox tour from this year. But of course, even though the paradox wasn’t with him, the show still went on perfectly. The bass was perfect and even though I was towards the back I could hear the music as if I was right next to the speaker. By the time the bass from Excision ended, I was excited to end the night with DJ Snake. And I’m not sure if it was just the amazing vibes or the people I was surrounded with but singing “Middle” was something so fulfilling that I had a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the night.

Once again, I’m so impressed by this festival. I think a lot of what a festival has to do with the promoters and people putting on the show are putting out to the crew behind the scenes. No judgment, no attitude everyone working there had an amazing attitude. The stages were of great design, tons of lights and the sound was perfect. Once again I had high expectations and once again they were met. And of course, once again I will definitely be returning next year.

AUTHOR CREDIT: SHANNON BALMES

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