2011 In Review: Festivals, Live Performers, & Live Sets

US Festivals

Nowhere else can you see the electronic world growing more than at the marquee festivals that the artists attend every year. This year marked the first in so many ways for music festivals. Festivals are moving to a 3 day schedule to try and incorporate all of the top artists as well as their fans. We also saw these festivals sell out and in record fashion I might add. There is no better place to get exposed to new music and some wonderful people than at a music festival. We obviously couldn’t go to them all, but here are the ones that we did attend and loved!

1. Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas – Hands down the best produced festival I have ever attended. The shear size of the venue allowed for ample space and the creation of some very elaborate stage setups. It took us at least an hour to realize what stage was the “main stage” because at least four areas could hold over 10,000 people. Everything from lazers to intricate LED panels were used to stimulate the eyes including a 30 minute fireworks show every night at midnight. Partying all night was amazing and where did we get to go after the show was over, the Las Vegas Strip of course. Talk about fear and loathing, I have never partied harder for three straight days than at EDC Vegas. Oh yea, the Swedish House Mafia headlined too! [Tracklists and Downloads on RollingTuff.com]

2. Ultra Music Festival – Miami – This iconic festival, which takes place on the edge of Biscayne Bay in Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami, is home to one of the longest running and fastest growing electronic music festivals in the US. While 2011 marked the first year the festival was held exclusive of the week-long Winter Music Conference, it proved to be a major success with one of the most incredible lineups and a completely sold out attendance of 150,000 people. Because of the exponential growth of the festival, the promoters responsible for it are being forced to move 2012’s event to an even bigger venue, which should mean even more fans and DJ’s turning up for the 3-day bonanza. Miami provides the perfect end-of-winter escape for those of us in cooler climates and Ultra couldn’t be more appropriate way to ring in spring. [Downloads on SoundLogik.com]

3. Electric Zoo- New York City – 2011 marked the third year of this popular metro EDM event and, compared to previous years, promoters Made Events pulled out all the stops. Addressing the dust issues on the man-made Randall’s Island, on which the festival is held, and bringing some even bigger names and stages this year made the event better than it’s ever been. Expect even more in 2012 as word of this festival has spread throughout the entire eastern seaboard and more dance music fanatics will surely swarm the venue come this next Labor Day weekend. [Tracklists and Downloads on RollingTuff.com]

4. Identity Music Festival – Unlike anything ever done before, this festival hit the road for over twenty stops at amphitheaters around the country this summer. The star studded lineup caravaned across the country in their tour buses giving what many would be their first real EDM festival experience. Identity brought a lot of people together (the whole point of a festival) including almost the entire MMIBTY gang when it stopped in Mansfield MA this summer. All in all, it was a great event, the artists seemed to really enjoy it, and we hope it will return in the summer of 2012!

5. Snowball Music Festival – Vail, CO – Finally, we salute the Snowball Music Festival for the most original idea for a festival. Hosting the three day event at Vail Valley in Colorado in the middle of winter may sound insane for someone who has never been to the Rockies. But let’s be honest, ski bums know how to party hard! That’s why when the likes of Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, and Diplo all played under the moon in the open air, the party went crazy. It already looks like this years’ event is going to be bigger with RUSKO announced as a headliner.

Live Performers

I can truly remember the first electronic show I caught and how drastically it has altered the past years. It was at Starscape in Baltimore when I stumbled into the dance tent to catch Wolfgang Gartner’s set in entirely. Flash forward to today and I still love watching performers live more than all else. Seeing, feeling, hearing them all contributes to myself feeding directly off the actions of an artist. There is no better way to experience this music so we have selected the few that we have enjoyed watching for the first time, the tenth time, or somewhere in between.

1. Laidback Luke
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2. Dada Life
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3. Skrillex
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4. Wolfgang Gartner
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5. Kaskade
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6. Tiesto
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7. Porter Robinson
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9. Swedish House Mafia
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10. Martin Solveig
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Live Sets

Perhaps the game changer of the year was the ease and accessibility to download live sets from my favorite artists. Whether it be a show I caught live or just one I use while skiing, live sets are the perfect way to pass some time. We obviously can’t list them all so here are just a few we have enjoy over the past twelve months.

Bingo Players Live at Tomorrowland (Belgium)

Martin Solveig Live at Sensation White (Denmark)

Avicii Live at Super Glow (Washington, DC)

Hardwell Live at Electric Zoo (New York City)