When people hear the phrase “Electronic Music Festival”, it’s easy to fall into the assumption that this means that there will be a distinct emphasis on the sort of big room DJs and pop sounds that dominate the main stages at festivals like Ultra and EDC. Euphoria ran counter to this assumption, placing an emphasis on booking unique acts, whether they play live, DJ, or a combination of the two.
So which artists impressed us the most?
Pretty Lights – Pretty Lights (live) is one of the most otherworldly things one can witness in a concert or festival setting. One could talk for hours about the complexity of the lights, the lasers, and the rest of the stage production without even once mentioning the music, which is as equally impressing, making this, by far, one of the most special sets played at Euphoria 2017.
BREDE – Texas native and Gravitas Recordings label owner Jesse Brede, while also doing a great job of running the Silent Disco this year, played another extremely memorable set for us. He took the crowd, at 2:30PM on a hot Texas Sunday, from 0 to 100, with his incredible energy behind the decks, setting the bar high for every act that played after him on the Elements stage that day.
Bakermat – Anytime you see a tropical house DJ about to introduce somebody on stage, you just hope that person is a saxophonist, and well… that’s exactly what happened. Bakermat stole the show on the mainstage Saturday with an energetic set consisting of his biggest singles, interspersed with creative remixes of popular songs that had the crowd dancing and singing along the entire time.
Yotto – Yotto took the cake for me when it came to the best set all weekend. As a fan of deep house, I had been looking forward to this set for a while and it blew my expectations out of the water. Watching this set towards the end of the final night at the Dragonfly Stage was the most cathartic experience of the whole weekend for me. Watching the lights on the stage and the projection mappings scattered on, around, and above the stage was simply beautiful as Yotto slowly developed his set with songs like “The Owls” and his remix of RÜFÜS DU SOL’s “Like an Animal”.
Euphoria’s lineup this past year took some reading into. It wasn’t plastered with the big names everybody expects for a music festival nowadays, but what it did have was variety and so before we packed our bags and went down, we made sure to do our homework and try our best to get to know all of the artists there. But still some managed to fall through the cracks and we were pleasantly surprised by their sets.
So who did we discover at Euphoria?
Asadi – Where do we even begin with this one? The “Persian Trap” drum pad wizard had us raging to some of the most unique sounds we’ve ever heard come out of a stage.
PETIT BISCUIT – We could have easily put PETIT BISCUIT as one of the most impressive acts of the entire festival. It was the 17 year old’s first gig in the United States and after that heartfelt, emotional performance, it most certainly won’t be his last. He dominated the Dragonfly stage with his live performance that by the end, had the audience begging for an encore.
Flamingosis – Flamingosis delivered one of the grooviest sets of the entire weekend. His soulful vibes had us relaxed and energetic at the same time throughout his entire performance.
Tennyson – The brother and sister duo of Luke & Tess Pretty delivered one of the most personable sets. They had the audience swooning over them with their beautiful harmonies and relaxed music. At one point, they even played a song they wrote on the way to Euphoria, winning over the audience in a way only rivaled by PETIT BISCUIT.
3. Vibes (Community)
Euphoria has always placed a strong emphasis on community through it’s various programs such as Ecophoria, the Dragonfly Initiative, art grants, various workshops and it’s elements team. This year was no different and although we never required help from the Vibe Tribe, it was pleasant just seeing them in their bright pink shirts knowing that Euphoria was making a conscious effort to spread happiness and help those that needed information, water, or anything else from them.
Likewise, the event staff was also helpful in dealing with the few issues that did come up. On Friday for example, there was an issue with VIP scanning at the entrance to the VIP lounge and the staff quickly came up with a temporary fix while they moved in a new scanner that would fix the problem for the rest of the festival.
It’s the little things like this that build a community at a festival and to see a constant improvement year to year, you can be confident that you will feel valued as an attendee.
4. The Dragonfly Stage
The third, and smallest stage at Euphoria, the Dragonfly Amphitheater is also one of the most incredible. The stage is located at the bottom of a hill with its back right up next to the Colorado River. It provides a place to sit for hundreds and it gives the audience a chance to get up close and personal with the musicians, who are often up and coming artists.
At night, projection mapping is used against the trees behind the stage on the other side of the river to create cool images and shapes for the audience, in addition to its use on other parts of the stage to create mind blowing visuals that add a unique 3d effect to certain elements of the stage. A colorful overhang above the crowd is the final touch on this masterpiece of a stage.
Overall, Euphoria was an eye opening experience. I was surprised by some artists in how well they performed and I learned about so many more, widening my horizons for what I believed was possible to do through music. My only hope is that I have as much fun next year as I did this year.