Category - Feature

Goldrush Announces 2018 Phase 1 Lineup

Goldrush 2018 Lineup

Phoenix, AZ (May 31, 2018) – After stepping out strong, tapping Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki as the first headliners for the second annual Goldrush Music Festival, Relentless Beats has released the first round of artists for 2018. Returning to Rawhide Western Town in Chandler, Arizona, September 29 and 30, one of 2017’s best received new festival experiences pushes further into the Wild, Wild West with a goldmine of electronic dance music and hip-hop talent from across the globe. #CanYouDigIt.

With Illenium joining Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki as headliners, the Phoenix-based dance music and EDM promoter has also added a collection of Special Guests, including: Kevin Gates; Vince Staples; Black Tiger Sex Machine and Slushii. Additional artists on the lineup are: Chris Lake; Jpegmafia; Juice WRLD; Liquid Stranger; Matroda; Medasin; Said The Sky; Tokimonsta; Wifisfuneral; YOOKiE and Yung Pinch.

Also adding to the Goldrush Lineup is Relentless Beats’ premiere house, techno, and underground brand, RBDeep, which will host a stage with performances by Born Dirty; Claptone; Guy J; Leftwing & Kody; Max Chapman; Moon Boots; Prok | Fitch; Sacha Robotti and Yotto. New to the Goldrush experience is the Desert Hearts Takeover, featuring: Mikey Lion; Lee Reynolds; Marbs and Porky. A second round of artists and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The energy and excitement behind Goldrush are unlike anything we do,” says Relentless Beats founder Thomas Turner. “As the lineup continues to grow, I have no doubt we will be attracting a new group of fans to join the Goldrush family.”

Goldrush 2018 Girls Dancing

Attendees dancing at Goldrush 2017

Following the success of the inaugural festival, which saw over 25,000 prospectors rush upon Relentless Beats’ blend of the Wild West, year two will dig further into the musical amalgamation of styles, tastes and energy- further embracing the unique setting of Rawhide Western Event Center Situated on the Gila River Indian Community, Arizona’s largest 1880s western-themed entertainment venue is located just south of Phoenix- a mere 20 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Chandler, AZ. The venue hosts several marquee Relentless Beats events, including; BOO!, CRUSH AZ, Decadence, Global Dance Festival, and other major artist concerts.

General admission passes are now available, starting at $139 for a two-day pass, plus fees. VIP passes will be available at two levels: Standard VIP, including everything that a GA ticket provides plus express VIP entrance, a commemorative lanyard, access to VIP lounge, access to VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms and passed desserts in the VIP areas. Platinum VIP includes everything that the Standard VIP pass includes, plus: complimentary drinks, side stage viewing at the Golden Gorge stage, access to artist hospitality lounge, steakhouse quality dinner, exclusive festival gift bag, and festival concierge. VIP options are available starting at $219 for a two-day pass, plus fees and you must be 18 for Standard VIP and 21 and up for Platinum VIP to purchase. Table service will be available at the Golden Gorge stage. Tickets are on sale now and are available online at www.relentlessbeats.com. Goldrush is an 18+ event.

Goldrush is produced by Relentless Beats, Universatile Music and Global Dance. Visit www.goldrushfestaz.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter and Instagram at @GoldrushFestAZ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoldrushFestAZ.

Behind the Scenes at BUKU: 4 Features That Made BUKU 2018 Standout

Bassnectar Performing at BUKU 2018

Pictured above: Bassnectar at the Power Plant stage at BUKU 2018

These days, you could be forgiven for looking at a festival lineup and confusing it with another festival, as the market becomes saturated with festivals, with each one trying to out-gun the others with massive lineups pulling in slews of headlining artists. As a result, some festivals end up booking many of the same artists as their peers. However, it’s beyond the music that really makes or breaks a festival; the little things that add flare and make a festival truly shine, like set and setting, art installations, location, environment, and the community of people that pull together to make it all happen.

BUKU Music + Art Project is a two day festival taking place at Mardi Gras World, along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, LA, which took place this past March 9-10, 2018. While the festival is often lumped in the same category as other EDM festivals, the BUKrewe always manage to pull together a healthy mix of musical variety, ranging from heavy bass artists like Bassnectar, Rezz, and Snails, to hip-hop and R&B artists Flatbush Zombies and Sza, house artists Green Velvet and Bonobo, and everything in between. While the music in and of itself is a joy, it’s the artistic extras that provide an immersive environment, creating a seamless experience as attendants move from stage to stage and explore the BUKulture.

Raven
Much of the BUKU production can be attributed to Raven, a New Orleans-based audio/video vendor that “cultivates a boutique design” for events that they work. The face of the company includes partners Chris Berends and Melinda Cohen, with president James Dufrene playing a more behind-the-scenes role, Marco Apostolico and Will Nemitoff working fabrication, and Jason Starkey and Ben Lewis in charge of production. The company is divided into different departments of Design, consisting of Chris, Melinda, and other architects, and Production, which is responsible for the stages and fabrication.

Raven VIP Viewing Area at BUKU 2018

VIP Viewing Area built by Raven at BUKU 2018

Raven has been around since 2009, with the artistic aspect having been around for about seven years. The company does sponsorship activations for Electric Daisy Carnival, Hangout Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and Voodoo Festival. However, the festival Raven contributes the most to is BUKU. As Chris explains, “We actually met as partners at BUKU in the first couple of years. So our company is almost kind of constructed by the beginning of BUKU.” Expanding on that, “I was a street team member for Winter Circle when I was in college. When they said they were going to do a music festival, I pulled together a group of architecture students and we built some of the art installations for them and it kind of just capitulated from there.” For Raven’s contributions to BUKU, Chris explains:

“For the past seven years, we’ve been designing art installations for BUKU. All the art installations that you see on site, from the totems on the Wharf Stage, to Fort BUKU, the stars out in the field, the tree, all of those are built in our shop. Our team designed them. We also designed the Float Den Stage, the Wharf Stage, previously the Back Alley Stage and provide A/V solutions for a number of the different stages and components. We also started the Graffiti Gallery in year three.”

Many in the Raven crew came from architectural backgrounds, like Chris, who worked internships, but felt that he “had been beaten down by the corporate feel of a lot of architecture firms. It’s pretty depressing. Music festivals gave us an avenue to explore more of the fun side of architecture and build things like the stars and stuff.” Melinda adds that the exciting thing about music festivals, compared to traditional architecture work, is the pace of projects and modular design. Festival projects work on a much faster schedule, so that a design could go from inception to fabrication at a festival in a matter of weeks. On top of that is the extra consideration of mobility. As Chris points out, “It’s a different way of thinking about everything. Everything has to disassemble quickly and reassemble quickly.” The fast pace makes for long days, as in the case of BUKU teardown, a process which must be completed in 48 hours; the festival ends Saturday March 10 (technically Sunday, with the last stage closing at 1AM), and the site must be cleared by Monday night. Raven starts dissembling immediately after BUKU, running multiple teams 24-hours a day for two days; as soon as the festival ends, crews are already working on teardown.

You can check out more of Raven’s work on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

NOLA Projection Mapped Art Installation
The art installations at BUKU are a significant feature that drive the intimacy of the festival, serving as interactive installations throughout the venue. One of the recognizable installations are the NOLA letters, naturally representing the host city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Located outside the Ballroom entrance, near the Mississippi River, the installation uses light projection mapping to illuminate the letters and the area, and often serves as the backdrop for group photos of passers-by. And for much of the weekend, a local band, New Thousand, served their “cinematic booty-shakin’ music” just steps away, pulling in crowds with their violin-infused music.

The NOLA art installation is a solo art project and the creation of Brennan Steele, a New Orleans local. After attending architecture school, Brennan dove into the world of festival art in 2012. He uses his architecture background as a foundation for art projects; it allows him to first design projects on a computer and then fabricate the final work with a solid blueprint.

NOLA Projection Mapped Art Installation

NOLA Projection Mapped Art Installation by Brennan Steele

Currently, art installations serve as a side project for Brennan, but he mentions that he would like to do more of them: “Art installations are something I do on the side. They are a great way for me to develop new techniques and concepts outside of my day job, which has led me to doing commissions, like a small art cart for Burning Man this year.” When he’s not working on festival art installations, he’s working in his company’s studio: “Day-to-day I’m a float designer, and I make Mardi Gras floats for a living. I operate a giant KUKA robotic arm that sculpts props  out of styrofoam.”

Brennan’s creations have made appearances at other festivals, like LUNA Fete, a festival that showcases light-based art, like projection mapping and LED art. However, BUKU is a natural draw for Brennan, as the festival takes place at his place of work. He elaborates:

“BUKU’s festival grounds are at my place of work, Mardi Gras World, so it’s kind of hard for me to not be part of BUKU. Like right now we’re having this talk in my office, which is kind of nice because we’re having a bit of respite from the festival. I like doing art and this is one of the cooler festivals in town to do it.”

When asked about his artistic motivations, Brennan comments:

“I’m inspired by a lot of art that I see at other festivals, like Burning Man. I kind of reverse engineer it and figure out how I can do it on my own and in my own style. I like incorporating all sorts of technology, like projection mapping and computer aided design. The robot I operate opens all kinds of possibilities. Really just pushing the envelope and doing cool new stuff, learning all the different trades, and using all those trades to make unique experiences that people will enjoy.”

If fan enjoyment is something that drives Brennan, then he is succeeding, without a doubt. For the entirety of the festival, lines of people formed in front of his NOLA letters, waiting their turn to capture a memorable moment at the festival.

Mobile DJs
The music never stops at BUKU. You can travel from stage to stage without an interruption in music, thanks in no small part to the mobile DJs, which include setups like a shopping cart and large tricycle decked out with lights, speakers, and DJs. That’s where guys like Graham Holly and Tatum Neill come in, two friends that operate the DJ Trike. The DJ Trike was built by Peter Stanley and is owned by the Organ Grinders, a New Orleans dancing troupe. For the entirety of BUKU, the DJ Trike is operated by Graham and Tatum. Graham got his start with mobile DJing on a shopping cart made by his friend Finn Stormo. It has 10” rubber tires on it, making it possible to traverse a variety of terrain, and it’s the same shopping cart still making the rounds at BUKU, inspired by Graham’s friend Mike Feduccia. As Graham notes, “It’s just kind of run in the family of friends to start doing this mobile DJ thing.”

After DJing on the shopping cart for some time, Graham got the opportunity to DJ on the tricycle, which holds four times the number of speakers. He enjoys it, because it’s “fun to roll up in the street and meet a bunch of people” and “have a bunch of people that don’t know you, just dancing with you and following you all evening,” the best parts being the “serendipitous moments” of running into someone he’s met before in a similar fashion. Describing the scene at BUKU, Graham explains: “at BUKU, it’s fun, people don’t expect it. Most of the time, right now, this year they’ve just been kind of passing by. We’ve had a couple of good moving dance parties, but it’s just something for in between. And we’re having a good time doing it.”

Graham doesn’t stick strictly to mobile DJing. He also followed in Brennan’s footsteps by working on art installations. For other festivals, Graham has built two effigies and participated in a deep-forest rave called Cinema Paradiso at the Louisiana Regional Burn called Engluf.  There are multiple light projections in the woods with Graham stepping in as a DJ.

Graham’s effigy building methods stem from his visual effects career. After studying business in college, he later learned post-production visual effects in New York, which led to his work with Flame, a visual effects program, leading to his involvement with effigies and the Burning Man scene. As far as DJing goes, Graham picked up those skills by teaching himself, first using Serato, and then later adding in Pacemaker, an iPad toolset that allows him to DJ mobily, away from his equipment. It adds an extra feature to his performance, allowing him to more easily move around, similar to how a singer might use a wireless mic for extra mobility.

Regarding his involvement at BUKU, Graham notes that he enjoys the festival because BUKU draws a certain crowd of people specifically there for the music. He likes DJing in the streets, which is “what makes it so fun. This is like a concentrated version of Mardi Gras.”

His excitement in DJing comes from the authentic reactions he gets from others when they make a music connection, through curating and sharing. As Graham adds: “when people are pumped about what I’m playing and excited about a set I did, there’s a lot of dopamine released in the brain. It’s like one giant Instagram like.  It’s nice to connect with people in that way.” He also adds that the connections he makes with others while DJing translate to confidence in the studio. Graham’s goal is to get more involved in music production, so the positive reactions from his listeners are reassurance that he’s working in the right direction. Of course, it also helps to have good peers. Graham points out:

“My buddy Tatum, he DJs with me, and he’s a great DJ too. He’s kind of why I started DJing, like one of the people in my life that was already doing it. We lived together in New York for a while and I would play with him every now and then. I just found a different way to do it. It’s nice that we can do that. We’ve been friends since we were toddlers basically. We grew up around the corner from each other, so it’s nice to be back in New Orleans from New York. Doing it in our hometown.”

Tatum Neill and Graham Holly at BUKU 2018

Tatum Neill & Graham Holly with their DJ Trike at BUKU 2018

Bassnectar Ambassadors
While Bassnectar Ambassadors are not exclusive to BUKU, any festival that books Bassnectar also invites the Bassnectar culture, which often includes Bassnectar Ambassadors. Ambassadors are part of an expansive network created and managed by the Bassnectar Crew, which includes groups like the Bass Network; the new community group Love Here; and Bassnectar Interactive, the new community organization that aims to “catalyze giving back to the world around us.”

Love Here is a Facebook community group created by the Bassnectar Crew as an experiment in positive interaction. The goals of the group are to “Celebrate what we enjoy,” “Share love & kindness” and “Nourish & enhance the Bassnectar Community & the world around us.” Love Here serves as an online sanctuary for Bassnectar fans and the general public to share their love, art, and charity with like-minded individuals. The group has been growing at a tremendous pace; started in early 2018, the group recorded about 7,000 members at the time of BUKU, increasing to currently over 10,500. The success of the group speaks to the eagerness the Bassnectar Community has to promote positive connections.

On a similar note, the Bassnectar Crew recently unveiled its newest community organization: Bassnectar Interactive. Although still in its infancy, expect to see Bassnectar Interactive serving as a platform for making a social impact through some of the social and political groups and campaigns that the Bassnectar Crew are passionate about.

Bassnectar Ambassadors at BUKU 2018

Bassnectar Ambassadors at BUKU 2018, with Raven art installation in the background

Although Ambassadors are not specifically connected to Love Here or Bassnectar Interactive, there is a lot of overlap of people and goals between the two groups. Like many other features at BUKU, Ambassadors help make a large festival more intimate, while also promoting safety. It’s especially important for large events that Bassnectar is playing, where crowds can be as big as 10 to 20 thousand or more. They promote health and safety by passing out water, ear plugs, and checking in on attendees to ensure that people are in a good space and being mindful of themselves. Ambassadors are tasked with creating projects to contribute, which can include things like art projects, community service, creating connections, and making memories. They are present at every Bassnectar-produced event, like Bass Center and New Year’s Eve. When possible, they make appearances at festivals like BUKU.

Mindfulness of the community is particularly important when it comes to Ambassadors. One of the ways they strove for that goal at BUKU was their Power Plant Stage cleanup; after Bassnectar closed out the main Power Plant Stage on the last night, Ambassadors gathered volunteers to pick up trash and debris that accumulated during the day, ensuring to leave the festival grounds trash-free as they left. The community projects are a regular fixture of Ambassador involvement. Ambassadors reach out into their local communities outside of festivals; they’re encouraged to give back and participate in things like beach cleanups, homeless outreach, and more. The daily practice of looking out for others extends into their festival presence at BUKU, serving as friendly faces in the crowd.

BUKU does a great job of booking a unique and diverse set of artists, ranging from up-and-coming to sell-out headliners, with lots of room to explore in between. On top of that, however, BUKU cultivates a unique Kulture by populating the venue with a number of art installations, interactive environments, and mobile music. While the music in and of itself is great, the extras ensure that the BUKU experience is an immersive one.

Happy Ears with OTOjOY at Phoenix Lights 2018

Pictured above: Gramatik at the Invasion stage, photo by Phil MacDonald

Earlier this month, Phoenix Lights touched down in Chandler, Arizona, April 7-8, 2018. The festival name is a nod to the original Phoenix Lights incident of March 13, 1997 when there were widespread reports of UFO sightings in Phoenix, which were later identified as flares from military aircraft. The two-day music festival pays homage to the original incident with its extraterrestrial-inspired stages, dancers, and décor. This year’s event featured artists from a spectrum of genres, like hip-hop acts Gucci Mane and Travis Scott, to dubstep/bass artists Zomboy and Seven Lions, instrumental-infused sets like Gramatik and Goldfish, and EDM artists like Diplo and Martin Garrix, just to name a few. It was the first time Phoenix Lights took place at its new venue, The Park at Wild Horse Pass. In addition to the new venue, festival producers Relentless Beats welcomed a service designed for people who are hard of hearing, provided by a company called OTOjOY. The goal of the service is to provide better listening experiences at festivals and beyond, a relevant goal as the world celebrates International Noise Awareness Day today.

Founder Thomas Kaufmann and Outreach Specialist Micah Thomas at Phoenix Lights

OTOjOY Founder Thomas Kaufmann and Outreach Specialist Micah Thomas at Phoenix Lights

OTOjOY Founder Thomas Kaufmann and Outreach Specialist Micah Thomas were available to fill in the details of the service:

The technology is known as an assistive listening system. This particular one is called a hearing loop. It was originally meant for people who are hard of hearing – either people who were born hard of hearing or people who have lost their hearing throughout their lives – to enhance their experience. They really need that clearer sound and they need amplification that hearing aids provide for their specific hearing pattern. With this technology we’re getting a direct feed, direct audio signal from the mixing console and we’re sending that to people’s ears. 80% of all hearing aids in the market today and all cochlear implants are compatible with this type of technology. People can use their existing devices and just press a button on it and they’re tapped right into the sound system. They essentially get better sound quality than anybody who just uses their ears and loudspeakers. It’s interesting because it was meant for people who are hard of hearing, but it can really provide a benefit to anybody who has ears. We’re in the process of making that shift towards serving the general public with this, and not just people with hearing loss.

OTOjOY Accessible Area at the Mothership Stage

OTOjOY accessible area at the Mothership Stage, photo by Thomas Kaufmann

Attendees with hearing aids or cochlear implants are able to connect to the OTOjOY hearing loop within about a 10-yard radius of the sound booths for the two largest stages at Phoenix lights, the Mothership and Invasion stages. Headphones are also available for anyone without a hearing device wanting to listen in. Thomas elaborates on the wireless technology used for the hearing loop:

The way it works is we have an amplifier that connects directly to the mixing console and gets that direct feed. From there, we have a wire that is embedded in the ground and acts as an antenna. The current that flows through the wire creates a magnetic field that emanates into the space. As soon as you’re in that zone inside the wired area, you can pick up the signal. It’s very directional. You essentially have perimeter control over the sound. Once you step outside of it, you don’t hear it anymore. You can even create areas that are relatively close to each other and you can step outside of one and the sound fades out, you walk into the next one and it fades in.

While using OTOjOY’s technology, one of things a listener might notice is that there is no latency between the audio from the stage speakers and the OTOjOY hearing loop. Thomas mentions that the reason for this is the tried-and-tested technology he’s using that dates back decades:

The fundamentals of this technology have been around since the 1930s. The first patent for an audio frequency induction loop system was filed in 1937. That’s how long this stuff has been around. Not with the fidelity we have today, but in essence the same principle. The actual transmission from our amplifier to the hearing device or the wearable headset receiver is analog. That’s why we don’t have any latency. Whenever you go to a digital transmission, you need to encode the signal, you need to have data packets and then you’re potentially crowding the frequency space and might end up with interference with other devices, connectivity issues, and latency. If you strip it all the way down to just the analog audio transmission, there is no delay whatsoever. You put on the device and then you just melt into the sound.

The concept of OTOjOY might sound somewhat similar to another feature common at festivals: silent disco. At a silent disco, attendees enter a fenced off perimeter where they are handed a pair of headphones, connecting them to the audio feed of the artists performing. The only audio output available are the headphones; no speakers are playing. Thomas describes the difference:

At a silent disco event, you’re somewhat isolated in your bubble with your headphones on. You can’t really communicate with the people around you, whereas with this, depending on the device you’re using, you still perceive your environment like you usually would. Then, you get this augmented layer of clear sound on top of it. That’s really what makes the difference. We call this an “open fit,” where your ears aren’t plugged up or what we call “occluded.”

In addition to the augmented audio, users of the OTOjOY app have access to real-time closed captioning via automatic speech recognition provided through the app. For an example of OTOjOY’s technology in action, including the real-time closed captioning, take a look at one of their videos.

The vision Thomas has for OTOjOY’s future is providing experiences where an event could have the volume of the loudspeaker system turned down slightly, but augmented with individual hearing devices. This would have the benefits of protecting people’s ears from being damaged and solving the issue of audio bleed-over between stages, all while giving listeners more personal control over the volume and equalizer settings to customize  their experience. It also has the added benefit of potentially solving noise ordinance issues with local communities, as a result of the lowered main volume.

Originally from Germany, Thomas founded OTOjOY because of his extensive background in music and physics, getting involved in the world of electrical engineering when he was only 7 years old: “I built my first electromagnet when I was 7. My dad is an electrical engineer. That fascinating experience fueled my passion for electronics. I started soldering circuit boards when I was 12 or so. Then music came into play.”

He started DJing at parties with friends around the age of 13, landing his first paid gig when he was 15 years old. When he was 18, he started his own DJ booking agency and began performing at corporate events for companies like Audi, IKEA, and T-Mobile. Physics, electronics, and music began to mesh for him once he studied at the graduate level, completing a graduate program in physics at the University of Bonn in Germany, spending a year of research on magnetic resonance. He later moved to Santa Barbara to pursue a PhD in chemistry, continuing his work on magnetic resonance. One and a half years into his studies, he started OTOjOY, and half a year after that, he decided to leave the PhD program with a Master of Science degree in chemistry instead in order to run OTOjOY full-time. Thomas credits his international background as being a motivation for his work in the United States:

It’s interesting having that international background and the perception of how this technology is widespread in Europe and how in the US, we’re so behind on that. The infrastructure is a lot more established in Europe, leading to a bigger market for our consumer products. In comparison, here in the US, there are lots of opportunities to transform the market. Not just in the music world, but also in audiology when it comes to hearing aids. In the US, hearing aids are sold in a medical environment, where you make an appointment with a doctor in a medical suite and people feel like they’re being treated for a disease. In Europe, especially in the Netherlands and German-speaking countries, it’s all in a retail environment. You walk into a store that has the appeal of an Apple Store and it feels much more like purchasing a lifestyle product, something that enhances your quality of life. It’s a completely different perception and approach.

He breaks the US audiology market down into three segments: health — hearing aids and cochlear implants; lifestyle — personal sound amplifiers and smart earbuds, which can be similar to inexpensive/introductory hearing aids; and entertainment — headphones and earphones. He sees these markets merging into one, so that eventually, they will all provide a similar set of features and experiences. He notes that the convergence between the medical and entertainment worlds is already happening. For example, some high-end hearing aids can now stream Bluetooth audio from smartphones or media players. On the other hand, his LoopBuds incorporate features that were traditionally only found in hearing aids. However, one of the biggest hurdles Thomas sees is that hearing loop technology needs to become more widely adopted and available throughout day-to-day life:

You can think of theaters, places of worship, and movie theaters, those are the obvious ones. But, you could also use the technology at airports for gate announcements or any other type of public transportation or at ticket counters. Really, any situation where you have a glass window and people communicate through a microphone and a little loudspeaker that I can’t hear well most of the time. You could use hearing loop technology at retail stores, bank teller windows, drive-ups for fast-food restaurants, check-outs at grocery stores, their meat counters, fish counters, customer service desks. You name it. Essentially, we could create this fully integrated experience into your day-to-day life, where you wear a “hearable” all day long. Whenever you walk up to a place that features the technology, you get that clean sound and not the distorted DMV experience. ‘Now serving G zero two five at window number 12.’ I think my vision lies something like 5 to 10 years in the future, when this could really become transformative on so many levels.

Watching Zomboy perform from an OTOjOY accessible area at the Mothership Stage

Zomboy performance from an OTOjOY accessible area at the Mothership Stage, photo by Victor Tranfield

Thomas sees the festival environment as a place to grow awareness and propel hearing loops into the mainstream. For now, the issue is that not enough people know that this technology even exists. Micah, the company’s Outreach Specialist comments:

If there’s an opportunity to make the system available on a larger scale, it would be fun to see how it would change things. Where we are now, not enough people know about it and people don’t know that they could have such a better experience at a concert. People put up with what concerts have become. They put up with the sound bleeding over from different stages. They put up with not being able to hear lyrics. They put up with having a ringing in their ears after a show. All those things are problems we can easily fix.

Thomas reiterates the importance of more awareness of hearing loops: “A lot of times, the need isn’t even perceived, because the people that need it aren’t aware of the technology and then don’t speak up to the promoters or the venue operators that would provide it.” He’s thankful for Relentless Beats’ early adoption and support:

Relentless Beats are one of the first promoters who are embracing and really pioneering this technology. They’re open to it, they see the importance of providing a better experience for the people who are hard of hearing and have the need for better sound quality and they’re really curious about seeing how this could be applied on a larger scale. They’re helping us push the boundaries and I think they are seeing the future.

OTOjOY has become a regular fixture at Relentless Beats events. After providing service at Phoenix Lights, OTOjOY made an appearance at ODESZA’s Phoenix stop of their 2018 A Moment Apart Tour. ODESZA have also been an early supporter of OTOjOY, and the service has made appearances at festivals like Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, and Bonanza Campout.

For more information on OTOjOY, checkout some example videos or read what Thomas has to say about his journey to creating OTOjOY.

Phoenix Lights Day 1 Photos
Phoenix Lights Day 2 Photos

Relentless Beats Announces the Return of Goldrush

Goldrush 2018 Pre-sale

Phoenix, AZ (April 18, 2018) – Relentless Beats is excited to announce the return of Goldrush Music Festival, one of 2017’s best received new festival experiences, taking place at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler, Arizona, September 29 and 30, 2018. Following the success of the inaugural festival, which saw over 25,000 prospectors rush upon Relentless Beats’ blend of the Wild West, year two will dig further into the musical amalgamation of styles, tastes and energy. The fully immersive two-day festival will welcome electronic dance music and hip-hop fans from across the country to discover and experience world class DJs, across four expertly curated stages. The lineup will be announced in the coming week, with further details to accompany it. In the meantime, let’s go back and experience everything that makes Goldrush the can’t miss festival of the Fall. #InGoldWeTrust #CanYouDigIt

Rawhide Western Town & Event Center is situated on the Gila River Indian Community and is Arizona’s largest 1880s western-themed entertainment venue. Located just south of Phoenix, the venue is a mere 20 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Chandler, AZ. The venue hosts several marquee Relentless Beats events, including; BOO!, CRUSH AZ, Decadence, Global Dance Festival, and other major artist concerts.

A limited number of pre-sale general admission passes will go on sale Friday, April 20, at 10 a.m. MST, starting at $119 for a two-day pass. VIP passes will be available at two levels: Standard VIP, including everything that a GA tickets provides plus express VIP entrance, a commemorative lanyard, access to VIP lounge, access to VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms and passed desserts in the VIP areas. Platinum VIP includes everything that the Standard VIP pass includes, plus: complimentary drinks, side stage viewing at the Golden Gorge stage, access to artist hospitality lounge, steakhouse quality dinner, exclusive festival gift bag, and festival concierge. VIP options are available starting at $199 for a two-day pass and you must be 18 for Standard VIP and 21 and up for Platinum VIP to purchase. Table service will be available at the Golden Gorge stage. The general on sale will begin on Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m. MST. All ticket types are available online at www.relentlessbeats.com. Goldrush is a 18+ event..

Goldrush is produced by Relentless Beats, Universatile Music and Global Dance. Visit www.goldrushfestaz.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter and Instagram at @GoldrushFestAZ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoldrushFestAZ.

Shambhala Releases 2018 Lineup

Shambhala 2018 Lineup

The 21st annual Shambhala Music Festival returns to Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, Canada this August 10-13, 2018. This year’s lineup features an extensive and eclectic mix of music, featuring artists like Adventure Club, Brasstracks, Buku, Feed Me, Gramatik, Joker, The Funk Hunters, The Glitch Mob, and many more.

Shambhala is a four-day camping festival held in the woods of British Columbia, with a unique set of artistic stages and backdrops like The Amphitheater, Fractal Forest, The Grove, The Living Room, The Pagoda, and The Village. Shambhala is a 19+ alcohol-free festival, choosing instead to focus on the extensive selection of music and art available.

General Admission tickets are currently on sale for $420 CAD (not including taxes and fees), which includes basic tent camping. Additionally, there are a variety of early entry options available, ranging from $50-$150 CAD (not including taxes and fees). Early entry passes must be purchased at the festival. However, patrons that purchase any of the ShambhaLodging packages will receive complimentary early entry for two guests.

Sonic Bloom Releases 2018 Lineup

Sonic Bloom 2018 Lineup

Sonic Bloom has released their full lineup for Sonic Bloom 2018, taking place this June 14-17, 2018, featuring a funky mix of live electronic bands and DJs, like Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ Set ft. Live Visuals by Android Jones), Keys N Krates, Nightmares on Wax Live Band, Liquid Stranger, Eoto, Break Science, Desert Dwellers, and more.

Sonic Bloom is a four-day camping festival at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, Colorado. Tier 2 GA tickets are currently on sale for $199, not including taxes or fees. Car camping is an extra $99, while parking is $44, and to enter early on June 13, an additional $40 ticket is required. Tier 2 VIP tickets are on sale for $440, which includes early entry on June 13, and a reserved car camping spot.

Imagine Music Festival Releases 2017 After-Movie

Illenium at Imagine 2017

Atlanta, GA – Ramping up to release their biggest lineup to date, Imagine Music Festival, a 3-day camping electronic dance music festival in Atlanta, Georgia, has released the 2017 Official After-Movie for fans to re-live the aquatic fairytale.

The 5th Anniversary of Imagine Festival will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 21 through 23, 2018. One of the fastest growing festivals in the country, the 2017 festival hosted approximately 90,000 attendees over the weekend and anticipates even more guests in 2018. Located on 887 acres, with the infrastructure and amenities yet to be seen by a music and camping festival of its size in the U.S, Atlanta Motor Speedway is the ideal venue to support the rapidly growing event.

“Watching the After-Movie and re-living last year has us even more excited for what’s to come in 2018,” says Iris Presents founders Glenn and Madeleine Goodhand. “If there is one word that can describe Imagine, it’s magic and with our fan’s help- we look forward to creating even more in 2018. ”

As one of the country’s last remaining independent festivals, Imagine is an all-encompassing, 360-degree sensory experience that blends music, circus troupes, performers, dancers, art, workshops, classes and more. The festival will continue to build on its immersive aquatic fairytale with an abundance of performers, live acts, unique atmospheres, amusement rides, vendors and The Imaginarium’s variety of sacred teachings, ceremonies, and transformational workshops. Based on customer feedback, Imagine will continue to improve on lines and wait times to make sure their guests have the best experience and most efficient and safe entry possible. Other improvements include bigger stage designs, more art, and additional infrastructure and guest amenities. Fans can anticipate Imagine’s biggest lineup to date, early Spring.

Tickets are available now starting at $150 for a 3-day pass and $202 with camping. Payment plans are also available with monthly payments as low as $31.67. VIP passes, with front row pit access, elevated viewing area, VIP (no line) access, air conditioned chill lounge, bottle service, cocktail service, complimentary champagne toasts, private security, clean trailer bathrooms with running water and air conditioning, giveaways, meet and greets, and more are available starting at $299 for a 3-day pass. Camping Add-Ons including RV passes and Sky View VIP RV Camping are also available to purchase now. Tickets are available online at www.imaginefestival.com. Imagine Music Festival is an 18 and over event.

Imagine Music Festival is produced by Iris Presents. Visit www.imaginefestival.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Twitter at www.twitter.com/imaginemusicfes and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/imaginemusicfestival.

Phoenix Lights Announces 2nd Round of 2018 Artists

Phoenix Lights 2018 Full Lineup

Phoenix, Arizona (January 31, 2018) – The marquee Relentless Beats festival, Phoenix Lights, has announced a second round of artists for the fourth annual event. Presented by Relentless Beats, the two-day music festival is taking place at a brand-new, custom-built, permanent venue- The Park at Wild Horse Pass, in Phoenix on April 7 and 8, 2018. The festival has added nearly 20 artists to an already massive roster, which includes: Diplo; Gucci Mane (AZ Festival Debut); Martin Garrix (AZ Festival Debut); Autograf; Bad Decisions; Beats Antique (DJ set); Chris Lake; Goldfish; Gramatik; Joyride; Kasbo; Kuuro; Melvv; Minnesota; Morgan Page; Oshi; Seven Lions; and Zomboy. Newly announced artists for the 2018 festival are: Travis Scott; Arius; ATLiens; Bear Grillz; Boombox Cartel; Brownies & Lemonade; Gerry Gonza; GTA; Krane; Metro Boomin; Midnight Tyrannosaurus; Ray Volpe; Soulection, featuring: Esta & The Whooligan; Um.. and Wuki.

Building of its 2017 festival debut, Relentless Beats’ premiere house, techno, and underground brand, RBDeep, will return to host a stage with performances by: Bruno Furlan; Christoph; Eli & Fur; Huxley; Lee Foss; MK; Umek; and Will Clarke. Recently announced special guest Green Velvet, along with Catz ’N Dogz and Dosem, will be joining the party to round out one of Phoenix Lights’ more stacked stages.

“The evolution of Phoenix Lights in four short years has been incredible to be a part of,” says Relentless Beats founder Thomas Turner. “To see names like Travis Scott and Gucci Mane up there with the likes of Diplo and Martin Garrix is a testament to how far Phoenix Lights, Relentless Beats, and most importantly the scene has come.”

Also returning this year is Relentless Beat’s First Encounters DJ Competition, where the grand prize is an opening slot at this year’s Phoenix Lights Festival. Details will be announced in the coming weeks at www.relentlessbeats.com.

Phoenix Lights 2018 First Encounters DJ Competition

The multi-stage festival will be held at The Park at Wild Horse Pass, a brand new venue experience, specifically created with Relentless Beats and its events in mind. The custom built park situated at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona, is being optimized in order to provide the best possible experience for the Valley’s biggest promoter of electronic dance music events. To be completed in a series of phases over the course of 2018, with the first event being Phoenix Lights, the park is situated adjacent to Rawhide Event Center, on a mostly grass plot able to handle the steady growth of Relentless Beats’ marquee events, including: CRUSH, Phoenix Lights, Global Dance Festival, Goldrush and more. Carrying the full support of the local community, The Park at Wild Horse Pass will provide an experience that will be devoid of the sound and size restrictions that were often a hinderance at previous venues. The park is set to open in April 2018.

General Admission passes are on sale for $159, before fees for a single 2-day pass. VIP passes will be available at two levels: Standard VIP, including everything that a GA tickets provides, plus express VIP entrance, a commemorative lanyard, access to VIP lounge, access to VIP viewing deck, premium restrooms and passed desserts in the VIP areas. Gold VIP includes everything that the Standard VIP pass includes, plus: complimentary drinks, side stage viewing at the main stage, access to artist hospitality lounge, steakhouse quality dinner, exclusive festival gift bag and festival concierge. You must be ages 21 and up to purchase Gold VIP passes. Single-day tickets are now available for Saturday and Sunday, for $89, before fees. All details and ticket types are available online at www.phoenixlightsfest.com and www.relentlessbeats.com. Phoenix Lights is an all ages event. Fans under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Phoenix Lights Festival is produced by Relentless Beats. Visit www.phoenixlightsfest.com for the most up-to-date information. Stay connected on Instagram and Twitter at @PHXLightsFest and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PhoenixLightsFestival.

BUKU Music + Art Project Announces Final Additions to 2018 Lineup

BUKU 2018 Final Lineup

NEW ORLEANS, LA (January 17, 2018)BUKU Music + Art Project today announced the final additions to the lineup for the annual festival, taking place on March 9-10, 2018 at Mardi Gras World in downtown New Orleans. Set across five unique stages, including the backdrop of an abandoned early 20th Century power plant and a warehouse featuring the city’s iconic Mardi Gras floats, the two-day event fuses a progressive and diverse musical lineup with live street art, custom-made industrial art installations and dozens of surprise “pop-up” performances. The Buku Music + Art Project is an 18+ event.

To apply for media credentials, visit: http://thebukuproject.com/buku-2018-press-application/

Artists joining the roster include: chart-topping Philly rapper Lil Uzi Vert; electronic producer Illenium bringing his full “Awake” production for a special live show; Montreal DJ and “vomit-step” pioneer Snails; Florida rapper and mixtape master Ski Mask The Slump God; Chicago rapper and poet Noname; synth-pop / R&B project Homeshake; Dirtybird house duo Walker & Royce; a B2B set from New Orleans DJs Nice Rack and Rusty Lazer; and exclusive VIP performances, hosted by Brownies & Lemonade and Space Yacht, featuring DROELOE, Melvv, Suicideyear, and a B2B set from electronic artists Eprom and Mad Zach; as well as a showcase curated by acclaimed local artist collective Pink Room Project.

The talent will join a previously announced lineup including: Bassnectar, Migos, MGMT, SZA, the U.S. festival debut of Porter Robinson’s project Virtual Self, A Day To Remember, Isaiah Rashad, Alison Wonderland, Rezz, Borgore, Sylvan Esso, Flatbush Zombies, Bonobo (DJ), Mura Masa, Ganja White Night + Boogie T, Little Dragon, Green Velvet and Jay Electronica to name a few. The complete list of performers can be found at http://thebukuproject.com/2018-lineup/.

A variety of ticket offerings and travel packages are currently available at www.thebukuproject.com/tickets. When purchasing tickets patrons should be mindful that BUKU is an 18+ event.

For additional information and to sign up to be the first to receive updates, including lineup + after-party announcements, ticketing, special offers and more, visit BUKU Music + Art Project on the following platforms: Web, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The 2018 BUKU Music + Art Project is presented by Winter Circle Productions, an AEG Presents company.

About Winter Circle Productions:
Winter Circle Productions began in 2009 as an independent promotion and production house to attract music that its founders felt was missing from a post-Katrina New Orleans. Creator of Buku Music + Art Project and three-time recipient of the Offbeat Best Promoter Award, WCP is now positioned as one of the most trusted tastemakers on the Gulf Coast, having produced hundreds of shows across many musical genres in dozens of venues. In July 2015, WCP joined AEG Presents to form and run AEG Presents’ new Gulf Coast regional office. Notable developments for WCP in 2017 include taking over a lease at the 1,200 capacity Joy Theater in New Orleans and contracting with Day For Night in Houston to associate produce the festival. In addition to concert production, the members of WCP founded the Upbeat Academy Foundation, a non-profit organization providing New Orleans youth with opportunities to study hip-hop and dance music production.

About AEG Presents:
AEG Presents, the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG, is dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance. AEG Presents is comprised of touring, festival, broadcast, merchandise and special event divisions, seventeen regional offices, and owns, operates or exclusively books thirty-five state-of-the-art venues. The current and recent concert tour roster includes artists such as Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Cher, Daughtry, Enrique Iglesias, J Cole, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Kenny Chesney, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, The WHO, Trey Songz and Juanes. The company is also currently producing residency shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart and Shania Twain and is the exclusive promoter at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. AEG Live is also the largest producer of music festivals in North America from the critically acclaimed Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Live & Love Relentlessly at Decadence AZ 2017

DecadenceAZ 2017 Sunset

This past December 30-31, 2017, thousands of music enthusiasts took over the Rawhide Western Town & Event Center in Chandler, AZ, for Arizona’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, Decadence. Festival producers Relentless Beats and Global Dance pulled in 12,000 attendants per day, with a lineup that featured a cast of national acts including Armin van Buuren, Big Wild, Borgore, Boys Noize, Duke Dumont, Galantis, Justice, Louis the Child, Madeon, Oliver Heldens, What So Not, Zedd, Zeds Dead, Zhu, and many more. The two-day event featured two main indoor stages: The Diamond Atrium and Sapphire Ballroom, along with the outdoor Ruby Courtyard and carnival rides.

Big Wild at DecadenceAZ 2017

Big Wild performing in the Sapphire Ballroom. Photo by Victor Tranfield

With a number of destructive natural disasters and unusual political phenomena in the US, many would consider 2017 a wild and tumultuous year. Perhaps that’s why 2017 also seemed to be a big year for music and festivals, as people search for a means of community, especially in the festival realm: a place to escape the distractions of the world and find love and peace. On that note, we reached out to several artists and people in the industry to ask them:

“Can you recall a particular moment that stands out, which happened in 2017 that you think exemplifies the unifying power of music?” Here’s what they had to say:

Snails
“The power of music is crazy. People can just forget everything and be with their friends and just have fun. That’s what it’s all about. A very special moment for me this year was pressing play at my Sluggtopia Red Rocks show in front of 10k people and everyone coming together for the moment and forgetting about everything else. Can’t wait for 2018!”

BIJOU
“For me that moment was EDC Las Vegas. This year has been an extremely difficult for many around the world. To have the opportunity to play on that size of a stage and watch every single person out there forget about all their problems and issues is truly empowering. It was a moment I’ll never forget and a moment that the music really brought everyone together as a whole. It’s really a beautiful thing that I feel like only music can do for such an audience.”

BIJOU DecadenceAZ 2017

BIJOU performing at the Diamond Atrium. Photo by Phil MacDonald

Thomas Turner of Relentless Beats
“When we announced Goldrush many were concerned overlapping fan bases might lead to an environment different than the one we have built in our electronic music scene. To witness it in fact be a cohesive event with many musical tastes coming together was such an amazing feeling. Arizona is really special place.”

Black Tiger Sex Machine
“It’s tough to single out a specific moment, so we are just going to choose our entire Midnight Terror Tour in 2017. We had the chance to play across all of North America in the span of a few weeks and it was our biggest tour yet. We always expect the smaller intimate shows to have a real unifying vibe, but we were so amazed to see these larger crowds coming together and enjoying themselves in such a positive way. And it wasn’t just one specific area. People all over are in tune with this idea of community and spreading positivity. It makes us really hopeful about the future, in spite of all the craziness that can happen in the world.

Music won’t hate. Music won’t judge. Music is here to stay. Music is our religion.”

While artists had the chance to reflect on the previous year, we spoke to festival attendants to ask the oft repeated New Year’s question: “what is your new years resolution?” While the festival’s name might betray a sense of extravagance, luxury, or self-indulgence, a fitting theme for an atmosphere of celebration, the reality is the responses were far humbler. In fact, festival owner Thomas Turner commented that Decadence was really about giving “our fans the most elaborate and immersive experience yet. Think of it as a ’Thank You’ for a great 2017 and a toast to an even bigger new year.” In other words, Decadence is less focused on self-indulgence and more of an unrestrained thank-you to the music community.

When festivalgoers were asked about their New Year’s resolutions, the responses resoundingly revolved around several key themes: self-improvement, self-love, helping those less fortunate, being more accepting, and being more environmentally conscious. When questioned, one festival attendant responded: “After 2017, I think we could all use a little more love.”

As thousands of people at Decadence danced, laughed, and celebrated the beginning of 2018 together, with a raucous celebration to end 2017, positivity was in the air; music enthusiasts radiated with a bright outlook entering the new year. Decadence Arizona 2017 was a magical weekend; take that magic that brings people together, share it with the world, and live and love relentlessly in 2018. Welcome to the future!

Editor’s Note: This was a collaborative article by Phil MacDonald and Victor Tranfield, with a special thank you to Caren West PR for assisting with artist relations.

DecadenceAZ 2017 Unicorns

Festivals: where magical things happen, like unicorns riding unicorns. Photo by Victor Tranfield