Without a doubt, the 2010s will irrevocably go down in history as the decade of dance music. The technological advancements achieved by the year 2010 made it possible for anyone with a laptop to produce music. 2012 saw the cultural explosion of electronic dance music, or “EDM” as it would controversially come to be known, into the mainstream. As a result, the decade will most synonymously be linked to EDM — like the 70s with disco, the 80s with synth-pop, the 90s with grunge, and the 00s with emo/punk.
In between these events, countless festivals sprouted up to get a slice of the pie as well as cater to a growing market of music lovers. This has resulted in the year-round festival market, with festival season beginning earlier and earlier each year and ending later and later. Then with the daunting “EDM bubble burst” of 2016 hit, which was marked by SFX’s bankruptcy, EDM-centric festivals also headed to the festival graveyard.
Still, several new festivals sprang to life in 2019 with such solid foundations that their inaugural years guaranteed them a healthy financial future. The meticulous planning, soaring production value, impressive musical line-ups, and overall unbeatable vibe is what make these infant festivals stand out on Conscious Electronic‘s Top Five Breakout Festivals of 2019.
Read more of our Best of 2019 picks here.
5) Quasar Flow, Music & Arts Festival, Commerce, Texas
From its inception, the organizers of Quasar Festival assigned themselves an ambitious task: create an environment that was just as focused on the flow and visual artists as it was the musical artists. Typically, most events seem to focus on one, where the others often become an afterthought: either the music lineup is stacked with flow workshops hastily tacked on, or there is a flow gathering with amazing workshops and jams, but with an ill-conceived music lineup.
As the flow arts scene becomes more popular, the emergence of flow-centric festivals across the nation is gaining undeniable speed. Quasar Festival seized on this opportunity, even taking the rare and almost unheard-of step of adding featured instructors to the bill alongside music performers. During the day, attendees were able to take workshops from a variety of nationally-recognized performers. At night, contests were held for different props, including the popular LED gloves and LED orbits. In fact, the event placed an emphasis on LED props, where most flow gatherings revolve around fire. While there was a fire circle, the flavor of the event was noticeably geared towards LEDs, which is unique in the flow festival scene as well.
All of this was the backdrop for an excellent music lineup: the likes of ill.Gates, Defunk, Detox Unit, Spoonbill, and many more graced the stage with a dazzling selection of today’s forward-thinking bass music. Also featuring a selection of rising artists as well as local talent, there was tremendous creativity bursting from every speaker on this three-day weekend.
Read our in-depth event review here.
Disco Donnie has been doing a lot of restructuring this year, due to repeated unlucky weather anomalies such as hurricane conditions cancelling day two of Tampa’s Sunset Music Festival. They’ve also rebranded their flagship Halloween festival, Something Wicked, which now bears the namesake of Chicago’s React Presents successful seasonal event, Freaky Deaky. Yet, even with the cancellations of El Paso’s Sun City and Dallas’ Something Wonderful, Disco Donnie remains one of largest live music brands in the southern US.
After putting their spring time massive Something Wonderful to rest this past year, Disco Donnie made a triumphant return to Dallas/Ft. Worth with their newly branded event, dubbed Ubbi Dubbi. While Disco Donnie had boasted past line-ups that appealed to the varied tastes of the dance music spectrum, Ubbi Dubbi seemed more interested in highlighting the growing bass music sector with big name acts like Ganja White Night, Illenium, Space Jesus, and Zeds Dead. Still, organizers did not sacrifice other genres at their expense, with Boombox Cartel, Borgore, Destructo, Galantis, and more joining as headlining talent.
Read our full event review here.
One insanely beautiful event that kicked off this past year was ODESZA’s Foreign Family Festival, Sundara. The all-inclusive festival was held at the Barceló Riviera Maya Resort in Mexico, which is where many other well-known artists have hosted events, including Dead & Company, Phish, Dave Matthew’s Band, and Bassnectar, just to name a few.
Taking place over the course of three days, March 13-16, ODESZA performed three very special sets: an extended live performance, a no sleep DJ set, and an ambient DJ set. Alongside them was RÜFÜS DU SOL, RL Grime, Allison Wonderland, Bob Moses, Jai Wolf, TOKiMONSTA, and many more, who all got to perform two unique sets of their own. The resounding b2b of the weekend even came care of RL Grime and Alison Wonderland. Attendees were able to enjoy some truly incredible music in luxurious style, in addition to other fun activities such as yoga, beach games, tequila tasting, and even some off-site adventures.
While the weather was reading frigid temperatures in early 2019, bassheads descended onto Playa del Carmen, Mexico for DejaVoom, the lucid Bassnectar-curated festival that emulated a dream sequence in itself. How Bassnectar and his team of sound and lighting gurus managed to accomplish such a feat is still quite the mystery. The experience itself felt a lot like waking up from a dream. The event was, for all intents and purposes, exactly like experiencing déjà vu.
The all-inclusive event hosted three immersive Bassnectar sets, with the man pulling out some of his rarest tracks over the years, like “Heads Up (West Coast Lo-Fi Remix” and “Skin On The Drum.” Opening support came from REZZ, The Glitch Mob, 12th Planet, Beats Antique, Dorfex Bos, Kursa, and so many more.
While the event was very much centered around the music and sound, which fans can relive through these videos, there were endless activities to take advantage of. From the daytime resort activities that included morning yoga, an on-site waterpark, zip lining through the jungle, and snorkeling at sea on a catamaran rides. With additional off-site excursions that included climbing the steps of the Chican Itza Mayan temple, exploring underground water caverns, or visiting the picturesque town of Tulum, there just wasn’t enough time to experience everything.
Match that with the endless all-inclusive dining options and the daytime pool parties— which featured a Dirtybird Players takeover, Keerian Bopeerian, Beats Antique, Ooah and Boreta’s 29 Palms, and a pirate ship bass party takeover—and the three days of music created a mirage resembling every electronic music lover’s paradise.
Read our in-depth event review here.
Martin Staaf, known better under his Liquid Stranger moniker, has worked tirelessly on building his Wakaan empire since 2012. Now one of the fastest rising bass music labels in the electronic music scene, it was only a matter of time before Staaf threw his own festival centered around the sounds of his beloved imprint. Thankfully, the time had come this past fall. Fans gathered together on Mulberry Mountain in Arkansas the first weekend of October for the sold-out, 10,000-person inaugural edition of Wakaan Festival.
Headliners included Liquid Stranger, Space Jesus, LSDREAM, Russ Liquid, Rusko, and Yheti. Other upcoming artists like Mersiv, MIZE, Tiedye Ky, and Of The Trees were all featured on the bill as well. Logistically, the festival earned grade A marks. Musically, Wakaan proved it was at the forefront of the left-field bass movement. Not to mention, the intimate vibes were unmatched anywhere else. When all was said and done, Wakaan Music Festival in 2019 set a gold standard for bass music gatherings for years to come.
Technically, it wasn’t the first edition of Resonance Music and Arts Festival, as anyone in the transcendent festival world will tell you. When Resonance picked up and relocated the heart of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, it may as well have been their first year. A new venue, at Cooper’s Lake Event Venue and Campground, was cause for rezoning, replanning, and rebranding. Resonance hit the mark on every level.
Papadosio did an incredible job with this four-day event, making it so much more than just another music festival. Headliners also included Tipper, Jade Cicada, Thriftworks, Detox Unit, Twiddle, Umphree’s McGee, and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. As far as music goes, there was a very appealing blend of jam bands and bass artists.
But Resonance isn’t only a music and arts festival. It’s offerings stretch so much further beyond the imagination. The event is a transformational gathering of like-minded individuals coming together to celebrate life, love, and the human connection, while also inspiring them to invoke change from within. The main goal, which is very apparent in each and every one of the workshops, artists, and musicians, is to teach lessons of the human spirit that are necessary for personal growth and healing.
The four-day event itself played out in the quick blink of an eye, but the impact Resonance holds on each of its attendees will last a lifetime. Like a photo snapshot captures a forever memory, time stood still and yet passed you by if you weren’t soaking in every moment. It was truly a transformational gathering of some of the most beautiful, like-minded individuals to celebrate life, work through past traumas, dance around, and embody love.
Read our full festival review here.