Last year, Identity Festival defied the odds by launching one of the biggest and most ambitious new electronic festivals imaginable and turned it into a great success. Amid the slow but steady rise of dance music, which was still on the cusp of the mainstream fame it enjoys today, Identity had the idea of taking a festival on the road, bringing the opportunity for fans to see a stacked lineup of their favorite DJ’s come to them. Most anybody behind a festival can tell you that it is a huge gamble (just ask the people behind Playground Festival and Snowmont) and with the divide between established festivals and new ones growing faster than that between the 1% and 99%, what Identity managed to pull off last year was truly inspiring. What’s even more amazing is that they are able to bring it to us once again, with a tweaked lineup and a refined list of cities, and it’s already off to a running start.

Mansfield, MA @ The Comcast Center – Thursday July 26th, 2012

Last year at the Comcast Center, Massachusetts’ largest amphitheater, Identity Festival rolled through on a Saturday and it instantly became one of the best weekends we experienced during the Summer of 2011. We had a great crew with us, friends from near and far were in attendance, and the lineup was about as good as it could get for about $40. This year things are a bit different. We aren’t graced with the opportunity to rage on a weekend day/night and instead are faced with the challenge of figuring out how to make it work on a Thursday. Personally speaking, it’s a great excuse to take off work, but not everyone has that luxury. I understand it’s not possible to hit 15 cities only on weekends during the Summer, and last year’s tour saw several dates fall on weekdays, but I have a fear this year may not quite live up to last year’s amazing time.

Having said that, I surely don’t expect to have a bad time this year. The folks at Identity managed to bring in a completely different roster of talent this year from a headlining perspective. Massachusetts should feel honored to receive artists like Eric Prydz, Wolfgang Gartner, and Arty – who are the top three I’m most excited about. Eric Prydz has really risen to the forefront as far as production value and the fact that he holds true to his unique style, which A-Trak calls out in this Tweet. Prydz’s new podcast series is something to free your mind with and I’m excited to see him for the first time. Wolfgang Gartner needs no introduction. His productions are top notch (Flexx is unreal), they go hard as hell, and his live sets are among the most fun I’ve ever gotten to witness, as recently as his Spring Awakening Festival set a few weeks ago. Rounding out my top three is the Russian prodigy Arty who I also had the pleasure of seeing live at Spring Awakening. He’s in his early 20s but his name is already known around the world and receiving heavy support from all the big guns. His set was way more House than Trance which was a bit surprising but I had no problem with. And his new song “The Slide” is unfucking real. Honorable mention goes to youngster Madeon who wowed me at Royale nightclub in Boston a couple months ago and who will undoubtedly keep the party going.

So this Thursday the 26th, make sure you get out to Mansfield for an all-day party. And find me for some pictures!

-Gballz

New York @ Jones Beach Theater – Saturday July 28th, 2012

New York’s stop will again take place at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, which is situated about an hour away by car from downtown NYC on the south side of Long Island. An interesting choice and it makes me question what motivated them to have it there for several reasons: a) those living in NYC will have a difficult time getting there, unless they are able to charter a bus (so it will be filled with people from Long Island), b) the venue is small relative to some of the other stops on the tour and c) they don’t serve alcohol there (except in VIP areas, I believe). Although the NY area has always been considered to be less involved in the electronic scene compared to cities in California and other major cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Miami, EDC New York this past May proved with its sold out audience that tri-state fans are just as excited about EDM as the rest of the world (maybe we have the Jersey Shore to thank for that? I hope not). Hopefully next year we can expect a bigger venue in a better location.

The venue notwithstanding, the lineup spread over both the main and the Rockstar Energy stages looks to be solid enough and, while perhaps not as exciting as last year’s, provides a generous mix of music and, of course, the undeniable presence of Eric Prydz. With Kaskade filling his shoes last year, it must have been tough to lock down someone who could draw a similar crowd and generate as much excitement as the Freaks of Nature DJ, but they have undoubtedly pulled it off. Aside from Prydz, support from Madeon, Arty and experimental bass producer Noisia should put new experiences in front of the eyes and grooving bodies of the sold out crowd. If you are without tickets, the NY date is the only one so far that can boast being sold out of every price point up to and including VIP tickets. So keep your eyes on Craigslist and ticket brokers for some (hopefully not too overpriced) tickets. For all the info on the official site, check here. [Editors Note: July 28th is my birthday, so expect to see me having a terrible time…]