Euphoria Music Festival 2016 Review

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Another one for the books! Euphoria Music Festival continues to grow and impress year by year. What was once a small gathering of Austinites just five years ago at a small racetrack, is now a many thousand strong family that completely transforms the twenty-acre space at Carson Creek Ranch each April. The balance between the vastly varying genres of electronic music is impeccably paired with a passionate production team and a vigorously enthusiastic audience to provide a truly euphoric festival experience.

Lindsay Shearon

While the Texas festival scene has its many perks, such as the wide availability of large venues to host events and the massive groups of die-hard EDM fans in the major cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, there is one commonality that so often plagues a Texas fest…it gets hot as HELL Y’ALL. However, hosting this fest in April has continuously helped the Euphoria crowd remain fairly unscathed by the unforgiving Texas summer heat.

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As per usual, the Euphoria team not only provided an exquisite lineup, but also made sure we had the opportunity to decompress from the nights’ shenanigans with yoga each morning, were fully stocked on all the essential Austin food truck goodies, and put together what was very likely the biggest silent disco I have ever seen to close out each night. Also, (being the raging alcoholic that I am) I was very pleased to encounter such reasonably priced booze inside the festival. While rules were quite strict on bringing any sort of beer or liquor into the campgrounds, the fact that wells were only $5.00 and better drinks with liquor that doesn’t come in a plastic bottle were all $7. This definitely diminished the necessity for a personal booze stash. Sorry beer lovers, I don’t recall pricing of craft, import and domestic beers. I can’t handle all those calories when dancing and walking for hours on end and I think it’s safe to say we all got our fair share of walking in this past weekend! My buns and thighs are the most toned they have been in a hot minute.

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The two main stages, Euphoria and Elements, both served as the home for the major headliners of the weekend. The Elements stage mostly served as home base for all of the DJs and producers, while the Euphoria stage remained a haven for those who were more instrumentally inclined. However, the Euphoria stage did transform into the most bass-induced stage of them all on Saturday night of the fest when Bassnectar destroyed the stage. When I say destroyed, I mean people were literally about to take down the barrier fence between the front row and the stage. Shit got wild. Aside from the hyped Bassnectar and Above and Beyond sets, I found myself frequently breaking off from my predominantly raver-centric group of friends to mellow out at the Euphoria stage to the sounds of Nako and the Medicine for the People, Tycho, Lettuce, STS9, and The Motet. I actually got a chance to catch up with the guys in The Motet while out at Euphoria. You can catch our brief, goofy interview below.

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The Elements Stage hosted some of the more hard-hitting electronic and hip-hop acts such as the dirty south favorite Crizzly, Juicy J, Dillon Francis, Lil Dicky, Loudpvck, Eric Prydz, and Waka Flocka Flame. This was my first Waka show and holy shit…..that dude is hyped. Dillon’s set was goofy as always and by far the hardest I danced all weekend. By the way, if you aren’t following Dillon Francis on Snapchat, I don’t know what you are doing with your life. That boy is off his damn rocker but he’s hilarious.

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Probably the biggest surprise to me was how much I enjoyed the Dragonfly Stage. I was under the impression in previous years that this stage was merely a side stage but I found myself completely entranced by it for a huge portion of the festival. This may have largely had to do with the giant moving face projections on the trees across the river where the stage was set up on the river bank. Credit is due to the production team and Art Scene Alliance who helped with all of the mapping projections, they were incredible. SNBRN even threw down an eclectic set at the Dragonfly state that included a brief System of a Down remix (I may or may not have been a bit of a metal head in my formative teenage years). The sets that came out of this stage from Brede, Space Jesus, Andrew Luce, and many others made the jams by the river one of the most vital experiences of the weekend.

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However, Big Wild was by far my favorite set from the Dragonfly stage. I had been hearing about the anomaly that is Big Wild since I popped up my tent at Euphoria, but I had no idea how impressive it would be until I finally saw it for myself. Jackson, or Big Wild, is a one man show with endless talent. He has the aura of a former drum line member. No drumming out a series of beats and then cutting it off to loop it. While looping is obviously a necessity for a one man performance in which said man is playing the keyboard, all aspects of percussion, and producing; Jackson somehow maintains a perfect equilibrium between crowd engagement and always playing an instrument. While technical and digital facets are crucial to his act, it does not hinder his musicianship in anyway. That is an aspect of new music that I frequently criticize so Big Wild was a refreshing experience. I got a chance to catch up with Jackson shortly after Euphoria. You can catch the interview below.

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As another product of the Dragonfly Stage, I also got to gain some insight into the evolution of Euphoria Festival from a man who has seen Euphoria grow since its inception and local Austinite, Jesse Brede aka Brede (like braid-a, not breed). Jesse is the founder of Gravitas recordings, as well as a DJ himself. Gravitas is home to numerous local artists, some of which performed at Euphoria as well, such as Space Jesus. You can hear my interview with Brede below.

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The Euphoria Music Festival team is rapidly staking its hold in the electronic scene as one of the premier music festivals in the south. They are an extremely professional and responsive team which is huge from the media aspect. Everyone I asked questions to inside the festival was very knowledgeable and friendly as well. Each year they consistently prove that they are learning and evolving from previous years and clearly have an end goal of providing the best possible experience for their patrons. I cannot wait to see what they have up their sleeves next year because they have yet to disappoint!


Festpop Staff Writer: Lindsay Shearon

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