Upon one's departure from Pimlico Race Course on Sunday, August 13, one most likely felt three different things. The first two were muddy and tired. The third, however, should have overshadowed one's weak and dirtied limbs: euphoria.
It's true. Moonrise Festival 2017 was a long two days for most. Mother Nature came through and tried to crash the party, but the show went on, and despite her causing a temporary evacuation on Saturday, the party never stopped. Attendees enjoyed racing, wrestling and rolling around in the mud, and although some artists would never get rescheduled, our dancing hearts never skipped a beat (per minute).
From W3PLAY to Pretty Lights, the show went on with very few losses in between, and ultimately, the many artists on 2017's stacked lineup helped keep the weekend alive. Artists such as Big Gigantic, Getter and Rezz didn't let the rain cancel their respective sets, and if the artists were ready to perform then the attendees were ready to get down and dirty: dancing, moshing and raging even if it meant ruining that cute new festival outfit — that's what laundry's for! Neither the rain, nor the mud mattered. What mattered most was the music.
Across all four stages, from the new main stage (Stellar) to the tent (Solar Dance) and from the live stage (Lunar) to the side stage (Celestial), an artist was performing most — if not all — the time. At this time, however, I should also mention that for a more trap-centric coverage, feel free to also read Stefano's Moonrise 2017 review; he had the tent covered!
(I know, “covered” was a bad tent pun), but to get back on track, we both went everywhere and each respective stage supplied a little something that differed from the last. The Stellar Stage, for example, offered a unique stage design unlike any other stage I've seen before. Meanwhile, the standard Lunar Stage, which was home to the weekend's live performances, had been my personal favorite of the four.
From Chet Porter to Porter Robinson, Lunar primarily featured a more recently popularized approach to the modern “EDM” bubble: live performances. Obviously, I understand live electronic music existed long before I was born; however, since the recent rise of EDM began within the last decade, the DJ has always been the star. Meanwhile, Moonrise 2017 shined a light on the all too forgotten live element of electronic music, giving artists such as Gramatik, Big Wild and quite likely the game's best, Pretty Lights, a stage to show attendees their own unique live set.
The Lunar Stage featured rappers as well with Run The Jewels and Lil Uzi Vert plus what would have been a performance from Migos if it weren't for that meddling Mother Nature, but the stage's headliners ultimately stole the show.
Headlining Saturday, Zeds Dead dropped two rock classics: “California Dreamin'” by The Beach Boys and then “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles. Both tracks were mixed with ease, too, and featured Zeds Dead's bass-driven style to fit in with the duo's original music.
Meanwhile the following day, secondary Sunday headliner Porter Robinson put on an absolutely surreal ‘Worlds' live show to remember — only one day after the album's third birthday. During which, the mud definitely couldn't stop me, among other diehard fans, from charging through the destroyed terrain to be as close to senpai as the rail allowed.
Furthermore, other highlights included Porter Robinson's “Shelter” collaborator, Madeon, as well as surprising favorites for me at JOYRYDE, Habstrakt and Getter. Not to mention, Dillstradamus (Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus) closing out the main stage for not only the weekend, but also until next year.
If I had to pick my top favorite sets though, I'd say:
- Porter Robinson (biased)
- Zeds Dead
- Chet Porter
However, a music festival still needs more than a stacked lineup to assure attendees have the best experience possible. And it's in this regard that Moonrise happened to fall short, but not necessarily far short because the festival was still successful overall. The food, drinks and other third party vendors were all amazing (the man at the mac and cheese vendor may have been the nicest human being I've ever met), but as for the free water stations… not up to par.
It's not necessarily the end of the world, but the free water system was imperfect and hydration has to be prioritized at all music festivals. It's my only critique and I'll say no more. Why?
Because at the end of the day, even through the mud (and sore limbs) we were smiling.
Cover Photo: aLIVE Coverage