Review: Lights All Night 2014

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As a Dallas-ite, it’s true that not too many big music festivals happen throughout the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, especially nothing that has a 2-day lineup. On the other hand, the 5th annual Lights All Night festival sure is making a name for itself. Centered at the heart of downtown Dallas, the everything-is-bigger-in-Texas venue at the Dallas Convention Center sure did it justice. With a sold out crowd of 40,000, 4 stages and 50 plus DJ’s, Lights All Night finished up the Texas music festival year right.

There’s lots of parking at the convention center but Lights All Night and Uber had a promotion where your first ride was $20 off. I Uber-ed it and thank goodness because it was so cold while walking into the venue. I definitely appreciated the fact that it was an indoor festival, which it used to be outside at Fair Park. Especially after seeing all the young festival goers in their bare lingerie and exposed costumes, I’m sure they were hurting on Saturday night with temperatures in the forties. There was a plethora of tutus, glowing costumes, glitter, make-up, sunglasses, glow sticks, fur, and even a Jesus! You could pick out the people who were hardcore electronic dance music fans and the people who were in the entertainment industry, as well as the people who probably just showed up because all of their friends were going and there was nothing better to do on a Friday night. Kandi masks were very popular as well as EQ Equalizer Rave T-Shirts that are equipped with a sound responsive special technology called electroluminescence, which basically means they move to the beat of the music on your shirt (which is pretty awesome). Of course you can’t be at a electronic dance music festival without the kandi bracelets fully covering the arms of eighteen year olds.

Before I went I was asked why I am going because the majority of the people I talked to were telling me about their 18-year-old niece or their best friend’s little brother attending it. It was along the lines of I was too old to go. But definitely the age range was pretty spread out; it was definitely more of an 18-24 crowd. The older crowd was seen only in the VIP section ready to pop bottles to be part of the scene than to indulge in the crowded general admission area. Typical Dallas. In the event that you didn’t even know any of the DJ’s, just showing up to see the crowd is a spectacle in itself; definitely a free for all and a great place to dress however you want. EDM isn’t just about the music; the culture definitely involves the light show as well as the fashion.

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Don’t forget to read what’s not allowed inside. They took my lip gloss away due to the fact that it didn’t have a seal on it, which wasn’t a big deal because it was freezing outside and I was ready to just go in.  They made you take your shoes off as well. So it turns out that the less clothes you have on the faster you get in. The Dallas Convention Center works. It is huge and you are going to be doing some walking, as well as dancing of course, but I definitely think it’s a perfect location for the amount of people. The grand scale of the venue does no justice for the backboards and light shows, which kind of makes them seem smaller than they really are but once you are up in the crowd the proportion works. They had separate sections for people who who want alcohol, where they show their identification to get a wristband in order to get a drink. Vendors sold glow sticks, food, watering stations, energy drinks, and everything you need for a music festival you are going to be dancing all night too. The VIP area, which you can purchase tickets for, is a great spot to be in because they take up a good part of the sides of the stages. The premium VIP area has elevated platforms so you can see the sea of bouncing heads and swinging hands to the back of the room, which always makes for great pictures. The Area by the artist trailers was a place to meet up with people in the industry and for the artists and their crew to celebrate after they finished performing. It reminded me of a backyard house party.

Hip-hop and rap influences definitely dominated most of the DJ sets, which got the crowd on their feet ready to party. One of my favorite DJ’s I never heard of was Wheyl. He had some deep beats and got everyone excited after playing Ludacris’ Move. All of the DJ’s were leaping on their sets getting the crowd going, especially Audien and 12th Planet, who played back to back on the Drop Stage Saturday night. Audien brought an amazing energy to the crowd and 12th Planet was just as popular. Paradise, a Dallas-based DJ, had the honor of opening up the Mothership Stage on Saturday night and from what I saw from my friend’s post on social media he was the one to check out. I was in the artist lounge interviewing most of that time so unfortunately I did not get to see his set. Friday, Zedd was definitely my favorite playing his hits Clarity, remix to Magic’s Rude, and Empire of the Sun’s Alive as well as La Roux’s Bulletproof. Skrillex, of course, was the complete opposite coming on right after Zedd with his beat drops and intense energy that everyone loved.

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The Chainsmokers had everyone singing along to their songs. Disclosure had a laser outlined face that sang along to one of their big hit remix with Sam Smith called Latch. Armin Van Buuren, a Dutch music producer and DJ, who controls his lights with his arms, started the show asking if “everyone was ready for a state of trance” and closed Lights All Night with his infectious musing music. Most of these DJ’s work countless hours and travel day to day; you could tell everyone was getting excited for their New Year’s Eve performances. I had the honor to talk to Gary Richards, also known as Destructo who was giving some advice about his upcoming cruise ship music festival Holy Ship! He said, “Definitely get some rest and don’t miss the islands!” When it comes to music festivals, rest and hydration are always your main priorities so you don’t have too miss a beat. Even if you are not into electronic dance music, or trance music, you are going to hear a remix of something you know so it’s always a good reason to get out and dance.

One good thing I noticed was that even before I knew that few people were hospitalized and some treated as I was going through the crowds, no one looked like they were on anything and everyone just flowed with the music, which was good unlike some shows I’ve been too. Everyone was in the moment happy to be apart of the crowd. Lights All Night ended the year with an everything-is-bigger-in-Texas spectacle of world with renowned DJs, beats to dance to all night, and light shows that bounced off the glittery costumes of selfie-obsessed millennials.


Written by FestPop Staff Writer 
Cassandra Ann Archut
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