I stood in awe and elation as the summer sun that had illuminated the Great Saltair buried itself behind Antelope Island. The massive isle, which sat on the horizon in the middle of the Great Salt Lake, served as the perfect backdrop for thousands of festivalgoers attending Utah's premier electronic dance music festival. For me, the mesmerizing sunset was a breath of fresh air; combined with the embracing crowd, it set the tone for one of the best festivals I have ever experienced.
Das Energi Festival is quickly becoming one of the big players in the summer festival circuit. Situated just outside of Salt Lake City, the two-day event is held at the gorgeous (yet isolated) Great Saltair. The lakeside event venue takes advantage of its locale, with access to not only the indoor space but the outdoor grassy amphitheater and the sandy beaches of the Great Salt Lake.
The event plays host to three unique stages: the indoor Synergy Station, the lush main stage known as Energi Field, and the out-of-this-world arenaceous Galactic Flats. Each distinct stage offered an original festival atmosphere separate from its neighbors, allowing for different experiences throughout the weekend.
Synergy Station took on the role of opening act for Das Energi. Contained within the walls of the Saltair, the indoor stage packed a punch with LED screens, lights, and lasers that captivated the crowd. Notable acts that took to the stage at Synergy Station included Chris Lake, Destructo, Tchami, Lane 8, G Jones, Zeds Dead, and Matroda.
A major pain point at Synergy Station was the restrictive regulations in place on the second floor. Being the only place to purchase alcohol, the upper level was heavily guarded and did not allow bags of any kind upstairs. Without a secure location to place one's belongings, many guests placed their possessions in the bottom staircase. Once upstairs, alcoholic beverages were to be consumed in the upper story, confining guests to the area.
Energi Field emerged from behind the Saltair as a structure known as the Reactor. Though I am still puzzled as to what the edifice was supposed to resemble, the architecture of the main stage was intricate and packed with state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment. The positioning of Energi Field allowed for vantage points from multiple areas including the second-floor balcony of the Saltair, the verdant hillside, or up-close on the dancefloor.
Unfortunately, the layout of the main stage did cause major bottleneck issues. The crowds gathered to catch some of the artists at Energi Field was right in the middle of the pathway from the Saltair to the Galactic Flats section of the festival. This meant that the only way to get from one area to the other was to cut through the sea of people enjoying the performances. However, the crowd was generally in high spirits and were accommodating to the situation.
The Reactor was home to some of the most notable productions of the weekend. As the heart of Das Energi, the centerpiece shined brightest as the artists that graced the stage embraced it impassionately. Deorro, Bingo Players, i_o, Galantis, Said The Sky, RL Grime, Seven Lions, and Above & Beyond are some of the acts that performed inside the Reactor.
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Galactic Flats, established at the farthest reaches of the festival, was a highlight of Das Energi. The expansive area is confined within the sandy beaches of the Great Salt Lake. Here, one could wander through elaborate art exhibits, relax under the stars inside comfortable huts, shop the stalls, eat at one the food trucks, or catch a bass-fueled show.
The broad, acervulus section allowed for guests to display their most creative costumes alongside picturesque views of Antelope Island in the daytime. At night, the flats were illuminated by talented ravers spinning their light-up toys ranging from hula-hoops, poi, and fiber optic whips.
The stage itself, reminiscent of EDC Las Vegas' bassPOD stage, housed the more gritty, bass-heavy, experimental sounds of electronic dance music. The sounds of ATL, Quix, Destrukt b2b Loki, PhaseOne, Clearkut, Toothpick, and G-Rex enveloped the vast, disconnected beach known as Galactic Flats.
Surrounding the festival, and demonstrating the true spirit of Salt Lake City, were the thousands of party-goers that attended Das Energi. Having traveled to dozens of festivals, big and small, I have never experienced a more welcoming crowd.
Guests at Das Energi embraced rave culture to its fullest potential; dazzling with elaborate costumes, high spirits, and respectful attitudes throughout the weekend. The embodiment of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect (PLUR), the pillars of rave culture, manifested itself at Das Energi.
A relatively new event, Das Energi has proven it has the potential to grow and expand to become one of America's leading electronic dance events. Coupled with the spirited people of Utah, Das Energi Festival has exemplified its standing as a premier summertime festival.