New Year’s festivals hold a special place in my heart. Sure, who doesn’t love the idea of saying goodbye to the year prior and getting amped for the New Year, all in the presence of your favorite DJs? But for me, it was a New Year’s Eve a few years back that I attended my first EDM music festival.
After I attended my first festival – Lights All Night in Dallas, I was hooked. You might even say I became obsessed. The music, the energy, the unity and respect that everyone feels for one another drew me in and began my exploration into EDM. Fast forward, and here I was ready to take on another New Year’s Eve festival. This time: Decadence Colorado.
For two days, Dec. 30th & 31st, I was a Citizen of the “City of Dreams” at the Colorado Convention Center. This meant I would get to see the likes of Bassnectar, GRiZ, Adventure Club, Marshmello, Flume, Eric Prydz, The Chainsmokers, Snails…the list seriously goes on. And with every lineup that’s this stacked, I ran into the issue of having to pick and choose who to see, as well as trying to run back and forth to catch multiple sets. But I guess that’s a good problem to have, right?
First off, the Colorado Convention Center is massive. I mean really, really massive. And this makes it optimal for multiple stages, ample resources like water stations & concessions and so much room for activities. There were two huge stages, the Daydreamer Stage and Time Keeper Stage, which were separated by a silent disco, jellyfish art instillations and comfortable spots for festivalgoers to lounge around in. I will say that the size and organization of the layout was one of the strongest logistical points of this festival. The stages were truly separate, no overflow from one another and transitioning to each one of them wasn’t overcrowded or unorganized.
In addition to the size and layout of the venue, it’s also important to note how well organized the entrance, security and exit was for this festival. There were stanchions dividing us into organized lines with multiple stations for bag checks, ID & ticket swipes and bracelet distribution. Even with long lines, we managed to get through it all in less than 15 minutes. Very impressive.
Which was crucial, considering the first night kicked off with RL Grime vs. Bauer for me. As an avid RL Grime fan, and seeing him live multiple times, I know that he does not disappoint. But seeing him B2B with Bauer = Mind. Blown. These guys may go down as the best performance of the night in my mind.
Next up was Marshmello. His set went hard, as it always does and then he was off to play Decadence’s sister festival in Arizona. From there, I split my time between Showtek and GRiZ, both my first time to see live and intriguing in their own right. GRiZ definitely brought the funk with electric guitar synths, futuristic bass and even busted out his saxophone, while Showtek caught me with all the extra bass they laid down.
The other high notes of day 1 consisted of Bassnectar’s Jimi Hendrix remix of “Fire,” among the slew of new hits he played from Unlimited. Next, it was off to catch bits and pieces of Borgeous, Zeds Dead, Keys N Krates & Adventure Club. As a bass lover, these guys always come correct. Two of the sets consistently impress me – Zeds Dead and Keys N Krates. ZD wins for their versatility and ability to carry their set from start to finish – it really never stopped or paused. And of course, Keys N Krates are just three crazy-talented dudes who put on an epic show complimented by their individual contributions of percussion, keys and synths.
Favorite performances of Day 1: RL Grime vs. Bauer & Keys N Krates
To kick things off for New Year’s Eve, I caught the tail end of Phantoms & Big Wild. Both new artists to me, and I’ll admit that both of these guys have been added to my Soundcloud for further research. I was intrigued. I’m excited to hear more from both. Another new one for me was Colorado-natives, Sunsquabi. These guys killed it. If you don’t know who they are, give them a shot. They are three dudes who bring the electronic funk, and I was thoroughly impressed.
Next, it was time for The Chainsmokers. I’m almost positive that 100% of the festival attendees ran to see these guys because this set was extra deep. The first 10 minutes were trap-tastic and a bit unexpected, honestly. After a slew of well known remixes like Panic! at the Disco’s “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” and their own “Don’t Let Me Down” & “Closer,” among others – we were hyped and ready to ring in 2017 with the mastermind himself, Flume.
A few of my favorites from Flume's set include his remix of Lorde’s “Tennis Court” and his very own “Smoke & Retribution“ feat. Vince Staples & Kučka. We counted down to 2017 to “Never Be Like You” as a waterfall of confetti and balloons shot into the air and we all cheered for the New Year (and Flume, of course). It was pretty damn magical.
And finally, to wrap one of the most epic weekends ever, I got 90 minutes of filthy bass from Snails. I must preface that I’m a HUGE Snails fan. He’s one of the artists that is responsible for unlocking my love of trap and bass. I’ve seen him countless times, and I’m going to say it – he was the best I’ve ever seen him. His set was hyped with extra amounts of grimy bass, as he played some of my most favorite tracks. Examples include: his latest collab with Flux Pavilion “Cannonball,” “Frogbass” and even M.O.P.’s “Ante Up.”
And of course, the biggest news of the night came during the last 5 minutes of the festival when Snails quieted the crowd and announced his very own 2017 festival at Red Rocks called Sluggtopia. It truly was the most epic ending to a mind-blowing weekend.
Favorite performances of day 2: Flume & Snails (obviously)
As I reflect back on my time as a City of Dreams citizen, I’m left with fond memories of the perfect amount of organized chaos, iconic sets by even more iconic artists and of course, a resolution to see if this festival can be topped in 2017 – that which will definitely be an incredible feat.