While large-scale events and festivals are still on hiatus for the foreseeable future, memories are perhaps the most powerful things we have at the moment. Until we're able to be reunited at a never-ending festival security line, EDM.com connected with some of the brightest in electronic music to share their favorite festival memories.
“One of my favorite festival memories was in Las Vegas at EDC when 20 fans all made special flags for me. That was very special for me because it brought people together from all around the world.”
"My most fond festival memory is probably more of an emotion than an action. It was time to head to the Basspod stage for my first ever EDC Las Vegas performance. I'll never forget how overwhelmed with happiness I was. I had dreamed of this moment since I started producing music. The nervousness, excitement, feeling of accomplishment and finally tackling such a big goal of mine. I went into the trailer and cried (literally). It was one of the biggest moments of my entire life, let alone my career."
"We were playing in Townsville, Australia as part of the Groove in the Moo Festival (a traveling festival throughout towns all over Australia), and we were in the middle of the set when Sophie broke her foot. She tripped on one of the risers and tried to pretend that she wasn't in excruciating pain, but then we realized something serious had happened and brought out a chair for her to sit on. She ended up performing through the rest of the show sitting down while tears ran down her face. It was painful but also ended up being a beautiful show because everyone in the crowd was so supportive and with us. We ended up having to cancel the rest of the tour and went home - and because of that wrote ‘House Arrest’!”
"My favorite festival memory of all time would be hands down when I played mainstage Paradiso at The Gorge Amphitheater. I've played a lot of festivals, including packed out football stadiums, over the years but this one was different. The venue is outdoors surrounded by a giant canyon, desert, trees and a massive lake that goes on for miles. I had tens of thousands of people in front of me jamming out to my tracks during sunset. I literally got to see the sun go down half way through my set which creates this amazing contrast to play off musically, the whole mood changes when it's dark and everything lights up. That had to be one of the best shows of my life."
"One of my favorite festival memories may also be my most absurd. I was in Sydney, Australia playing Defcon1 Festival. Long after playing my set, I got drunk with Oski and other friends. We wanted to go back to the artist area, but there was a line and it was far, so I decided to jump over a fence to get there faster. Some security guys saw me and started chasing me full speed. Not sure why, but instead of showing my artist wristband proving I was allowed, I started running. We started running in circles for a while until they caught me, jumped on me, then looked at my artist wristband. We all started laughing, or at least in my memories. Maybe in reality, I was the only one laughing, not sure. My friends were definitely dead laughing. Overall, the whole festival was incredible though! Crazy crowd, awesome time."
“I've played in front of thousands of people and in front of a handful of people, and I always feel more nervous for the small intimate shows. I think it's an ego thing. When you're playing for a big crowd, there's almost less expectation because there's some sense of having already established some level of success. This Spring Awakening Festival in the Corona tent was one of my favorite shows and it was a super small but super engaged crowd, and I think of it often. It reminds me that it's the music and the experience that really matter - the connection between me and whoever is listening, not some ego driven metric of what I think success should look like.”
“My favorite festival memory was pretty recent. Brainquility 2020, right before the virus hit. I was at Spirit of Suwannee and after playing my first ‘Kill Paris live’ set with a drummer. I decided to celebrate and get psychedelic ... for the first time. It was no more than 30 degrees Fahrenheit, absolutely freezing. I found myself in the middle of an open field, happily laying in what I didn't know to be a large dirt pile, listening to Justin Martin play an all DnB set. It was totally euphoric and hilarious and the absolute perfect evening.”
“One Schmunday morning at Shambhala, people were getting sideways on the beach, while the sun came up over the mountains, and passing around this sweet card. Someone had printed ‘You are beautiful’ as a cute little festival interaction spark. Each person had a glowing moment receiving the message, and then it was their turn to pass it on. Several self-appointed stage dancers had climbed the subs facing outwards towards the sunrise, and one of them was a wild eyed man with some extremely intense full face burn scars. Someone passed him the ‘You are beautiful’ card and I watched him take it in. He had clearly been up all night raving and was in the perfect mindset to really feel it. I saw him process the message, see the truth in it, and then take off his shirt, revealing a body that was entirely covered in burn scars with the very notable exception of his BC forest fire fighter crew tattoo on his right shoulder. In that beautiful perfect sunrise moment, his burn scarred body was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.”
“When anyone asks me about a favorite festival memory, I automatically go to my Electric Forest 2018 Weekend 1 closing set. There was a shift of set scheduling, and I was asked if I wanted to close out the entire festival on Sunday night at the Jubilee stage. Of course, I enthusiastically agreed to it, and it became my absolute most favorite festival experience. It was a set where I felt like I could do no wrong. Every song and transition was hitting. It felt like the culmination of years of hard work, and I still have people hitting me up expressing their love for the set. After the set, I ran off stage and absolutely bawled my eyes out. It was such a wonderful experience.”
“Back in 2016, when I first really started getting traction heavily in the scene, Getter brought me out to Ultra. An incredible moment to play our new collab in front of thousands. What everyone doesn’t fully know is that I fully ate s*** waking up the stage steps and made a fool of myself in front of everyone in the back. REZZ seemed to get a kick out of it though. Great first impression, right?”
"One that stands out for me was when I played at Arrivals last year in Canada. I typically go out in front of the DJ booth with my guitar so I can get up close with the fans, but this stage was definitely not set up for that. It was like an obstacle course. I had to squeeze through this narrow gap, tiptoe across a ledge, jump onto the speakers, then get back in time to cue the next song, all while playing a guitar. I just barely made it work, and I still wonder if anybody knew what I was going through that day."
“My Lollapalooza set from 2019 is one I'll never forget. My set was at 2:15 PM, middle of the day, and we packed out the Perry Stage. The energy was unreal!”
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“A memory that has always brought a smile to my face is from a Midwest festival I played some years back. I am not going to say any names, but there was a huge DJ at the time that decided not to show up for their set at the last minute. After I got off stage from my DJ set, my booking agent texted me that if I could get over to the headliner stage in an hour, I could go on as a surprise. Of course, I said yes. On the way to the stage, I bumped into Minnesota Bass and was like, ‘Hey, I am about to do this surprise set, you want to come up with me and do a tag team set?’ We had a blast, rotating playing after every few songs and actually started trying to outdo each other with who could play the hardest tune. Best time ever … the crowd went crazy!”
“I was excited to play at Great North festival in Maine but even more excited when someone mentioned that their friend, a lobster fisherman, needed a ticket and was prepared to bring me a lobster dinner (my fave). As he rolls up, I suddenly realize that he's got about 20 live lobsters in a crate and I just start laughing. How the hell are we going to prepare these in the middle of a field at a festival? As I'm lamenting this, I hear the crackle of a radio behind me and the words, 'Main stage to hospo. Can we get a lobster pot back here stat?' And yes, within five minutes, a giant lobster pot arrived. We had a massive feast and I may or may not have eaten at least ten of those. They were prepared for anything!”
"My favorite festival memories are getting into the crowd and doing my ‘Making Ravers Rich’ vlogs. It's always so fun (and funny) to interact with everyone while seeing everything from the other side."
"My favorite festival moment was when I was able to bring my mom on stage with me during my set at Imagine Festival. She is from Georgia so to her that was a very special moment for her. I have never seen her so happy!"
“One of my favourite festival memories was when my friend Joe, who works with Diplo, asked me at Global Dance Fest if he could borrow my headphones for his set. I said yeah, of course! The cord on my headphones is giant; a solid couple of meters. Next minute, I see a video of Diplo skipping on stage with them in front of thousands of people with pyro going off around him. I was surprised ... and impressed.”
“During my set at Hulaween, I looked out at the crowd at one point and saw everyone suddenly stop dancing to one of my heaviest drops. People were forming a circle around a kid that had fallen down. They helped him up and made sure he was okay before the moshing continued. That’s when I realized we are truly a FAMILY, and I fell even more in love with our bass community.”
Colin McCue: “I did acid and was married to 3 people backstage by an ordained minister dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog.”
“I was once booked to play at the LA Science Museum, for a set of ‘all the stuff you've ever wanted to play, but never had the chance or venue to.’ While playing the set in the African Mammal Hall, I was overcome with emotion at the peak of Rabbit In the Moon's ‘Out of Body Experience’ and had to close my eyes because I was crying so hard. I opened my eyes to see Bunny (of RITM) standing in front of me with a lighter in the air, and the world stopped for a second. Music is the most powerful drug on Earth!”
“I’d have to say my most fond festival moment was in 2013 when I played my second ever Living Light set. The night before, I was sleeping in a broken collapsed tent in the rain, feeling hopeless about my music career. But the next day, I consciously told myself to step into a different story and immediately met Desert Dwellers. I invited them to a renegade set I played on a tiny stage at the back corner of the festival. They signed me to their label on the spot, connected me with all the festivals I dreamed of playing, and released my album on their label that fall. It topped Beatport’s electronica, downtempo, and dub reggae charts for many weeks and hit #2 as the best selling dub/reggae album of the year, and the rest was history. It just goes to show that our past does not dictate our future, and a simple shift of perspective can have a huge effect on the rest of our life.”
“The first time I ever attended a festival was at a place 30 minutes down the road from where I grew up in Manistee, Michigan. It was Electric Forest when I was 15. The first time I EVER entered that beautiful place was so random and special. I was walking to the main entrance with a newly found festi fam, whom I never saw again after that weekend, when a woman security guard named Stewie stopped our group. For some crazy angelic reason, she wanted to show us through a side entrance with no checkpoints. The first time I ever walked into a festival was literally waltzing into the beautiful chaos that is Double JJ Ranch with NO LONG LINE OR SECURITY CHECK. The woman that let us through went to Borgore (2012! How times have changed) and rode on my shoulders for half the set. It’s a moment I’ll never forget and it set the tone for how special Electric Forest would be to me for years to come.”
“My first time ever going to EDC was actually my first time playing EDC Vegas in 2018, and I’ll never forget the complete awe I was in. I had been DJing for years at this point and just finished playing my first Coachella as well, but something about the energy at EDC from the people and the space was so overwhelmingly beautiful. I was almost at a loss for words. I’ll never forget how happy and grateful I felt there."
"My friends and I were at a French festival on the beach. I wasn't playing and we partied really, really hard the first day despite me having a broken foot in a cast. The second day, I just truly needed a nap so I kindly asked my friends to leave me alone in my tent for a few hours. Instead, I woke up with a national TV camera crew inside of my tent because my friends volunteered me for their segment.”
“One of my most cherished festival memories is the label meetup we had for Deep Dark & Dangerous at Shambhala in 2019. Meeting and having the chance to speak with fans, as well as see some of my closest friends from around the world and meet new ones, is one of my favorite parts of touring and is SUCH an honor and a blessing, especially when you’re on the road a lot! To be able to form that in person connection and just BARELY scratch the surface of expressing my gratitude and love, how much they mean to me, AND create an even deeper one is such a magical moment to share. On top of it, to be surrounded by the label mates I’ve experienced so much with and are my family is second to none. The absolute greatest people in the world. This was a special day.”