EDM music festivals have come a long way since they first began, gone are the days where you would watch your favorite DJ performing on a simple stage behind some decks. Now EDM festivals are giant adult amusement parks with insane set designs, art installations, entertainers, lasers, fireworks and fun around every corner. EDM festivals are a chance to escape reality for the weekend, immerse yourself in a fantasy world and watch in awe as the DJ performs on a stage that’s a blur of neon lights, fireworks and all sorts of other crazy things.
So with that in mind we’ve decided to round up some of the best neon festivals in the world that you’ll definitely need to add to your EDM festival bucket list.
Merritt, British Columbia: Bass Coast
Bass Coast is one of British Columbia’s most important dance music festivals and prides itself on being an event that brings people together from a wide range of backgrounds and encourages them to get stuck in to festival activities and events. The festival was founded in 2007 by Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson; Graham and Thomson both attended music festivals like Burning Man together and wanted to bring something similar back to their home in British Columbia and that’s how Bass Coast was born.
The festival has a similar approach to Burning Man with its strong emphasis on installation art and there are four stages that also double as high-tech art installations with amazing visuals and multi-media projections. There are even a number of grants given out for large art installation projects. If you’re one of the lucky 3,000 people to get a ticket, not only will you enjoy some amazing music but you can also attend a number of workshops over the weekend – there are talks on astronomy, cooking classes, burlesque workshops and yoga classes.
The name of the festival also has a secret (or not so secret now) meaning… The BC initials pay homage to the Canadian province in which the festival takes place, and Coast stands for ‘Community, Organization, Art, Science and Technology’, which are the principals in which the festival was founded. Make sure you keep an eye out for the 2017 theme (which is still to be revealed) as you can pack some theme-specific items to bring along with you!
7th to 10th July 2017
Previous line ups have included: Dimond Saints, Todd Edwards, Nathan Jonson, Funk the System, Christian Martin, Dave Nada, JETS, Knight Riderz and many many more…
Lexton, Australia: Rainbow Serpent Festival
The small town of Lexton in regional Victoria swells is home to the internationally recognized festival Rainbow Serpent. The festival started way back in 1998 and has come along way since its humble beginnings…what started out as a small gathering in a secluded clearing has turned into a 10,000 attendee weekend of dance, color, expression and celebration.
Like many other festivals there is the usual line up of awesome electronic music (for 24 hours every day might we add), but festival attendees also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a unique combination of music, art, performance, spiritual education, relaxation and healing. Rainbow Serpent is a four-day sensory overload, with world class acts, performances, activities and décor. There are five stages across Rainbow Serpent and each showcase a different type of electronic music genre – psytrance, chillout and tech house.
The festival gets its name from the Dreamtime creation story, which is told by the owners of the land. The Rainbow Serpent is protector of the land and the source of all life and its one of the most important and oldest Australian aboriginal religious beliefs. Much like Burning Man the ‘soul’ mission of Rainbow Serpent is to be as environmentally conscious as possible and festival attendees are encouraged to bring only what they need for the duration of the festival and to recycle everything they possibly can. There is also a huge line of stalls that sell a number of different sustainable and ethical products. Next year (in 2017) it’s the 20 year celebration so we’re sure it’s going to be one not to miss!
15th to 29th January 2017
2017 line up includes: Astrix, Dusty Kid, Guy J, Eelke Kleijn, Killerwatts, Steve Ward, Sugar, Goosebumpz, Mike Callander, El Moth and many many more…
Rothbury, Michigan: Electric Forest Festival
Electric Forest is a four-day woodland, dance party extravaganza, held every June in Rothbury, Michigan (next year there are two weekends). It takes inspiration from Alice in Wonderland and other magical, hallucinatory tales and festival attendees can enjoy their favorite DJ’s, electronic acts and jam bands in a spellbinding enchanted forest.
Electric Forest is pretty much the dream destination music festival as the resort where it takes place has all sorts of activities you would expect to find if you were going on holiday; there is a lake nearby so you can take a dip to cool off from dancing all day, a water park, a golf course and there’s even horse riding on offer! Festival organizers put on an array of amazing music acts that perform on an incredible stage set up, usually featuring an orchestrated light show, mechanical blooming flowers, and other trippy and surreal elements. The Sherwood Forest is definitely one of the sights not to miss if you’re lucky enough to attend. By day it’s a chilled out forest with hammocks that hang from trees and by night it turns into a crazy party, with state-of-the-art light displays and impromptu ‘secret’ parties and other surprises around every corner.
Electric Forest fully encourages an engaged festival community and does so with their ‘Plug In Program’. In order to harness the full creativity and passion of the Electric Forest community the lines between event organizers and attendees are blurred. You are given lots of different options to participate in events, activities and all sorts over the weekend and in the lead up to the weekend too. You can submit your design for an official sticker, work as an unmediated photographer or be one of the live artists at the festival and create a one of a kind map of Electric Forest; they are just a small selection of attendee participation and the full ‘Plug In Program’ can be found here. Electric Forest is a fairytale adult playground where you can dance your troubles away in the forest and escape reality.
Two weekends – 22nd to 25th June & 29th June to 2nd July 2017
Tickets go on sale: 29th Nov – 8th Dec
2016 line up include: Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, Porter Robinson, Dusky, Bassnectar, Major Lazer, Chris Lorenzo, Flosstradamus and many many more…
Las Vegas, USA: Electric Daisy Carnival
We might have saved the best one for last… When it comes to electronic music festivals Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is pretty much the king of all of them! It’s the biggest electronic dance music festival outside of Europe and over the years due to its continued growing popularity it has expanded from its flagship location in Las Vegas to other locations like Mexico, Brazil, Japan and the UK (as well as other locations in the USA). EDC is much more than just a music festival; it’s a huge adult amusement park, think along the lines of Disneyland but x’s 1,000,000, with great music and millions of flashing lights and lasers.
The company behind EDC, Insomniac Events, are renowned for their dedication to not only booking the best and biggest names in electronic music, but for also putting on the most insane visuals and pyrotechnics over the weekend, it’s another level! And what would a carnival be without its rides and performers? The EDC festival ground has fun crammed round every corner, there’s full-size thrills, machines that spin and whirl, (multiple) Ferris wheels, circus performers, stilt walkers and loads of other crazy things.
We will warn you that the music doesn’t start until the evening and carries on into the early hours of the morning, so prepare yourself for a marathon of dancing each night and make sure you wear comfy shoes! Unlike many festivals EDC doesn’t have any camping facilities so you can book yourself into one of the many many hotels on offer in Las Vegas and enjoy the comforts of a nice cold shower (temperatures can get up to 100° F in June) after your day/night of neon raving. EDC is a neon lovers paradise and the energy and love that is put into the overall production really is out of this world, if you’re an electronic music lover then this is one festival you have to attend at least once in your lifetime!
June 2017 exact date to be confirmed
2016 line up included: Above & Beyond, Alesso, Galantis, Martin Solveig, Redlight, Zedd, DJ Snake, Danny Howard, Dusky, Eric Prydz, Flux Pavillion and many many more…
Idanha-A-Nova, Portugal: Boom Festival
Ok so we’re going to sneak Boom Festival onto this list as the next event isn’t actually taking place until August 2018 but but that doesn’t mean we can’t place this awesome festival on your radar for 2018…
Boom Festival is weeklong psychedelic trance music festival held every two years over a full moon in August near the border of Spain and Portugal. It started in 1997 and festivalgoers spend their time celebrating art, music, culture and spirituality. Boom not only has a wide range of electronic music for attendees to enjoy, but a whole range of art and performances too. You can expect to see circus performers, street theatre, jugglers, fire shows, film screens and a whole load of other incredibly talented performers.
The main focus of the festival is to integrate a sustainability ethos with arts and culture and since 2004 Boom has brought in a series of environmentally self-sustainable projects, for example the utilization of wind and solar energy and recycling all over the festival. There are also some incredible art installations at Boom and the whole festival is ‘designed like a carefully arranged painting’. Whilst walking around Boom you’ll stumble across land art, gardening, scuplutes and paintings, projections and a whole bunch of other incredible pieces of art that will relight your ‘sense of wonder and fascination.’ What’s great about these art installations is that not only are they there to look amazing, but many of the installations also have educational aspects and some will inspire self-reflection and alternative views on life. There are five stages at Boom: the Dance Temple, for psytrance and natural trance music,; the Alchemy Circle for house music; the Sacred Fire stage for world and live music; the Ambient Source for chill-out music and the Funky Beach stage for electronic dance DJs and producers.
2016 line up: Electric Universe, Nuky, Chris Rich, Dirty Hippo, Yumi, Lady G Brown, Rico Loops, Tjak and many many more…