Phoenix, Arizona is quickly becoming one the nation’s hottest music festival destinations, drawing an increasing number top-tier artists and events to the Valley the Sun year after year. This year was perhaps Phoenix’s biggest yet, hosting events like the debut installment and ‘ annual at Arcosanti, an artistic community about 30 minutes outside the city. But for ravers and hip-hop heads alike, one event’s talent roster may have stood head and shoulders above the rest, with Goldrush Festival also delivering its inaugural lineup, stacked with genre-hopping talent. , , , , , and a slew the year’s most sought-after artists flocked to Arizona just as the state’s sweltering temperatures began to break, only to heat things back up again for two days festival chaos wild west style. Here are Dancing Astronaut‘s top five takeaways from the inaugural Goldrush Festival.
Baauer and A-Trak’s highly anticipated b2b set
Lined up for only a handful joint shows to close out 2017, and finally joined forces for the back-to-back performance we all deserve, and boy did they deliver. With Baauer’s ever-variant track selections and A-Trak’s brilliant scratch routines, the pair put together a set that hit the crowd from every angle, complementing each other like they’ve been playing together for years. The chemistry was definitely there, it was like watching Carlos Santana and Slash trade solos for a full hour. The veteran and his counterpart delivered one the best sets the weekend and are hopefully planning to bless fans with additional back-to-backs in the very near future.
Once the representatives from Dirtybird Records touched down at Goldrush, the endless shuffling began, and the massive cloud dust didn’t settle over the venue until well after the weekend’s final performance. Claude Vonstroke and his Dirtybird cohorts undoubtedly ruled the roost at Goldrush’s debut weekend. The band (mostly) California-based house heroes including , , and more descended upon the desert to deliver some the weekend’s top highlights. From the label head’s double duty playing by both his Vonstroke and monikers to ‘s top-billed performance, took over the party with a commanding presence and the swelling Arizona crowds knew exactly what to do.
Curation and programming
For a new event concept in an emerging festival market, it can be difficult to rope together the perfect blend talent for a debut lineup. Beyond that, there’s an additional set difficulties in nailing the festival’s overall programming, though Goldrush navigated these challenges impressively well in its inaugural installment. The lineup included hip-hop and dance music’s top-tiered and newly emerging talents alike, pairing acts like , and with Rich Chigga, Lil Pump and G-Buck. The lineup showcased well-rounded bookings that spanned the spectrum, from Flatbush Zombies to , Öona Dahl to Justin Jay fering up a balanced blend talent with a clearly electronic-leaning focus. Beyond the lineup’s composition, the rest the event’s overall complexion was a highlight worth its own mention. While the wild west motif came f a kitschy at times, with fans panning for gold and old timey saloons selling neon shutter shades, it generally came f as well-intentioned, well-produced thematic appreciation for Arizona. The western town venue was spacious and open, and while stages experienced some clustering at times, the event’s layout generally held sway. Ahead Decadence New Year’s festivities at the same venue, Goldrush tested the grounds and successfully delivered a wild west experience that comfortably accommodated thousands attendees.
Plenty music festivals opt for cashless alternatives, though few execute as smoothly as Goldrush did. Communication with attendees was thorough and clear, and assistance at the festival was prompt and efficient. The event was strictly cashless. Once an attendee’s personal payment information was secured, wristbands with magnetic tokens managed the sale concessions, merchandise, and more. The event that was so heavily authentic to its wild west themed production, though Goldrush also directed the proper amount time and resources at ensuring a safer and swifter experience between performances. It is easy to overlook the small details such large-scale events, but Goldrush managed to nail down the little details that made the dusty main drag the micro-western town replica venue an amusing open-air marketplace packed with buzzing ravers.
Los Angeles is undoubtedly the foremost incubator electronic talent in the U.S., but only a few hundred miles east sits Phoenix, which has also been called home by some today’s top-tier DJs. Goldrush did a credible job including local Arizona talent on the lineup, but seeing heavy hitters like , , and come home and play before their hometown crowds made for some the weekend’s most memorable moments. Longtime local fans will remember Mija’s resident sets at dance clubs downtown, while droves came out to support dark house protege Drezo as he continues to carve out his own brooding, club-rattling house fare. Goldrush ensured that Phoenix is on the map, and it brought strong representation along to promote the hottest new stop on the major festival circuit. Among waves internationally touring talent, Arizona’s brightest exports came home to round out a successful event with some special, personalized touches.
s: Jacob Tyler Dunn