Ahead of this year’s Euphoria, we got a chance to catch up with Euphoria founder/CEO Mitch Morales to discuss life, the festival, and what’s in store for the future of Euphoria.
It has been a year since Euphoria, are there any standout music festivals you’ve been to since? And what made them so special?
MM: I don’t get a lot of time to hit a lot of festivals, but I love what I am seeing from the Lockn’ Festival and Okeechobee. I think they are both taking the experience beyond just the festival itself and drawing in those who may not have been able to make it. Very important if you want to keep growing.
Can you tell us about your background and what events led to the creation of the inaugural Euphoria?
MM: I was originally in finance, but love to travel. Through all my years of traveling around the globe and seeing the sense of community that comes about when a festival is thrown—I knew I had to bring that feeling back to Austin and create something that would grow.
From its start as a one-day festival to now a multi-day event, what are some of the biggest challenges you have overcome along the way?
MM: I think the one thing I could point to is making sure that we stay fresh. The minute we become formulaic in how we go about creating the next edition of Euphoria, is the minute we die. We have a great team who is constantly challenging each other, so expect big things as we move forward.
Just like previous years, Euphoria is placing a lot of emphasis on community initiatives and programs. Can you tell us about some of the new programs you and your team have in place for 2017?
MM: We have a lot of exciting things happen this year. There is Ecophoria which is the moniker for our greening initiatives and includes a partnership with Austin Permaculture Guild, waste reduction and river clean ups with Keep Austin Beautiful. We are also offering wedding onsite this year, workshops and our festival within a festival – Art Outside. Our goal is to send our fans back into the world in a better place than when they arrived.
With so many music festivals, how do you and the Euphoria team strive to differentiate yourselves from the crowd?
MM: While Euphoria has grown considerably we still have managed to keep that same sense of community that drew people out in the first place and shared the experience with friends the following year. Euphoria about so much more than a good time and beats. We take steps to make sure we are creating a community, which fans will want to come back to year after year.
For those who haven’t yet experienced the unique culture and vibe of Austin, can you give us the lowdown on what makes Euphoria’s host city so special?
MM: C’mon, Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World. We pride ourselves in being unique, artistic and a little weird. The thing about Austin is that you could ask a dozen people and get a dozen different responses. The city needs to be experienced and explored to be able to describe what makes it so special.
Where do you see Euphoria in 5 years?
MM: Wow. Big question. It’s hard to say. I think we will go in the direction that the music, culture and our fans take us. Euphoria is about evolving and welcoming new ideas and discussion to the table. In 5 years I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our fans are now helping to put Euphoria on.
Will Euphoria Denali return this year?
MM: Indeed it will. All the good details will be out soon.
Who is on your booking bucket list?
MM: Probably the same as any music festival producer out there. Daft Punk. Would be hard to deny that bill, if they were on it. Beyond that, I think we have done pretty good at hitting a bunch on my list.
You mentioned in a previous interview that you were extremely excited to have booked Moby this year. What are some of the lesser known acts on this year’s lineup that you’re particularly excited for?
MM: Chronixx is going to be amazing. I would look into Chet Porter, Raven Felix, Unlike Pluto…
On the Euphoria website, you guys take story submissions where people describe where they found their Euphoria. So I must ask, at last year’s festival, where did you find your Euphoria?
MM: I found it during the Above & Beyond set, when the LED screen lit up asking my longtime girlfriend to marry me. Doesn’t get any better than that.
And to close, this is my first Euphoria, what would you recommend for those of us attending for the first time this year?
MM: Don’t just stick to the main stages. Check out the Dragonfly Stage, go take a yoga class or be a part of one of our workshops. Keep your mind open to new people and new ideas.