The annual Das Energi Festival is like the rave prom for Utah's electronic music scene. As a local, it's the spot to run into friends you haven't seen in a while and enjoy good vibes with good music in a cool location. The annual festival celebrated its ten year anniversary this year, with a massive lineup and an even bigger festival to explore than ever before.
Like I said before, the Das Energi lineup is massive compared to other local events (or even any festival within a few hours' drive, for that matter). Das Energi does a great job of combining classic and emerging artists but tends to stick to a couple of key genres that local ravers will enjoy. This year's headliners were Deadmau5, Excision, and Louis The Child, which were hits among the crowd but have played in Salt Lake many times in the past.
Das Energi is a great festival to check out if you're into house or bass music, but is really ideal for ravers who enjoy a wide variety of dance music and have no hard preference. If you're strictly a house head, maybe Get Funky is the better festival for you. Deadmau5 played an amazing set, as to be expected, and had an extremely lively stage presence that showed he appreciated the crowd. For a smaller, regional festival, this can be rare to see from more established DJs. Too often Utah is treated as just another tour stop, so to see an artist genuinely appreciate their audience makes the experience that much better.
The other artists that really stood out to me this year was Level Up and Jessica Audiffred. Both artists not only played sets that got their respective crowds going crazy, but both had a particularly lively stage presence that matched the energy they were bringing. Personally I am particularly grateful for the Born This Way bass remix that Level Up played, and the dubstep remix of Zedd's Clarity from Jessica Audiffred.
Das Energi stands out against other local festivals in the sheer size and scale of the event, but what I would love to see in the future is a more diverse lineup that introduces ravers to emerging styles and genres. Regional festivals like The BUKU Project (RIP) became a destination not only for its unique venue and vibe, but for the diversity of its lineup that showed its willingness to take risks.
In 2017 I saw SOPHIE (also RIP) play an original set on a stage made of industrial sheet metal. It was one of my most memorable experiences to-date at any festival I've ever been to, probably because genres like SOPHIE don't often get booked at festival slots. I'd love to have a moment like that at Das Energi, which is already extremely unique for its stunning venue and beach.
On behalf of the hot girls, give us a hyperpop stage to put our lip gloss on at. Give us Paris Hilton sliving on the decks at the beach stage. Give us 100 Gecs headbanging inside the building. Give us Fred Again raging at sunset. In 2016 you gave us EPROM before he really hit it big, so I'm just looking for that moment again.
This year Das Energi expanded its festival grounds further into the beach, which was sprinkled with art installments, brand activations and food trucks for people to explore. The Great Saltair—the venue that Das Energi is held—sits on the beach of the Great Salt Lake and is home to the kind of pink, glowing sunset that will play back in your mind as a core memory for decades to come.
The building itself is old, but gives the sort of warehouse vibe that you want from a rave, and the beach is really unlike any other event you can really find (aside from maybe Burning Man). It did rain before the event started on Friday which caused a little bit of mud, but it wasn't so bad that you couldn't hang out in the area. It rained again on Saturday, but that only made the crowd go wild as the rain glittered in the lasers. If the rain did slow down the festival, it wasn't apparent as an attendee.
Das Energi offered more food this year than I had seen in the past, and had a lot of options ranging from local favorite spots and food trucks to what you would generally expect at a festival like pizza or tacos. The lines were never more than a few people long, which made getting anywhere quick and easy. I don't like being in tight crowds, and the crowds at Das Energi were always spaced out really well and never got pushy—even at the front of the main stage during Deadmau5.
Over the last Decade Das Energi has gone from a small local rave to a major regional festival. I attended the first ever event back in 2012 just a few weeks after I graduated high school and have grown with the event over the years. In that time the addition of the beach stage, art installments, food trucks and interactive activations have really brought Das Energi into the spotlight, and I'm excited to see how it will continue to evolve in the coming years. Das Energi is run by V2 presents, a small local company that has spent decades working to put Utah on the map in terms of its electronic scene. With the success of Das Energi and the announcement that its annual Halloween festival, Get Freaky, will add a third day, I think I can definitely say that V2 succeeded in making Utah a must-go for its rave scene.
There's a little something for everyone at Beyond Wonderland and I think that's usually expressed in the fashion, but here are some picks for what I recommend wearing to Beyond Wonderland from the new Beyond Wonderland collection from iHeartRaves.