Photos by Chatterz
Every raver dreams of hitting the major festivals that make it onto every bucket list. Those are a good time, don't get me wrong, but there is something extra magical about building a ritual around a smaller boutique festival. I've been attending Salt Lake City's Das Energi Festival off and on for over ten years—since it's first event in 2012, actually—and have seen it grow from a small, single-day rave at a seemingly abandoned desert venue to the multi-day arts and music festival it is today.
Over the years, Das Energi has stayed true to its original vision under V2, the promoters behind the festival. The event brings together ravers from all over to celebrate both the biggest headliners and most promising up-and-coming artists in today's dance music world. Between the pastel skies illuminating the water and the soft neon glow from the interactive art installments littered throughout the beach of the Great Salt Lake, Das Energi is as much the ideal place to propose to your rave bae at sunset as it is a music festival. And people do, every year!
There are many reasons to make Das Energi a must-stop on your festival bucket list in 2024, but here are a few reasons why the 2023 festival was extra special:
Unreal sets from artists like Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson, DJ Snake, and Tchami, among others.
It's no secret, artists have fun at Das Energi. All weekend long, every artist to grace the stage at Das Energi was clearly having a great time doing so. Getting the sunset set at the beach or Energi Field stage is the best set to have, in my opinion, but there wasn't a single set all weekend that didn't bring headliner vibes.
Timmy Trumpet and Porter Robinson delivered high-energy sets on Friday night to raging crowds that could have gone all night, while ravers lined the rails for excision to headbang into oblivion on Saturday. Down on the Galactic Flats beach stage, Zeds Dead and Liquid Stranger brought a funky vibe that inspired many light performers around the beach.
On Saturday, Tchami and DJ Snake brought legendary sets for yet another Das Energi that will not be forgotten. The bigger mainstages allowed for more headliners at the festival, and the differences in genre helped keep the crowds from getting too tightly packed at each stage.
A larger festival to explore.
This year, Das Energi expanded its venue to include a larger beach area and an improved GA area at the back of the crowd by the Energi Field stage. The venue expansion allowed the festival to offer more interactive installments, like vendors and art to check out throughout the festival. The vendors and food trucks on the beach were easier to get to and prevented crowd bottlenecks at any high-traffic areas.
Parking at the festival wasn't as bad as I expected. In previous years, you would be banished to overflow parking much earlier at night and have to take a shuttle to and from the parking lot. This year it seemed that a lot of people could park in the main lot, and traffic getting out at night wasn't too bad either.
In the past the Galactic Flats beach stage has always been a supplemental experience to check out, but this year the crew increased the size on the stage to create a second main stage for larger artists. DJ Snake, Tchami, Zeds Dead, and other acts like Liquid Stranger and Evan Giia were just a few of the amazing sets you could catch down there—and with lots of space to dance, the crowd was never tightly packed.
Lines at the bars were never very long, and a large walkway between the two stages made it easy to go from one stage to another without getting stuck in the crowd.
I've talked before about how much I love The Great Saltair, but few US venues have such pretty views. Towering mountains set the venue's backdrop looking East, while an expansive desert sky extends far into the West. The whole venue lights up pink at sunset, and the beach makes it a unique venue to explore throughout the two-day event.
Vendors along the beach stage sold everything from clothes and kandi to food from local food trucks in the Salt Lake area. Ravers loved the available options, which has been a huge step up from the one food vendor that Saltair had previously offered up until a few years ago. Although you can't go wrong with chicken tenders, the food trucks added some much-needed variety to the festival. Things like ice cream, pizza, and tacos were all part of the options this year.
A loving rave community.
There is no shortage of PLUR at Das Energi, which became extra evident this year. Throughout the weekend, the crowd acted welcoming and nice as they moved for people around them and were generally friendly. Everyone in the crowd seemed happy to help those in their community, which I saw several times throughout the weekend and this week as people helped handicapped ravers and extended positive energy to those around them.
After a longtime member of the V2 staff and local rave community tragically passed away, the community came together to honor his memory both at Das Energi itself and throughout the following days. Ian was a beloved member of the local rave community and a friendly face to anyone he met. I had the pleasure of being introduced to him at Get Funky, where I instantly understood the love that his V2 family had for him.
Ian is an example of the love that this tight-knit rave community has for one another, and a testament to the fact that PLUR lives on in smaller festivals today. To celebrate Ian's life and provide support for his family, V2 is hosting a fundraiser by selling t-shirts that V2 designed with Ian before his passing through Friday, August 18th.
The V2 crew worked hard to level up Das Energi to new highs in 2023. Aside from including a few hyperpop artists in the setlist for 2024 and adding some more seating around the beach area, I don't have much feedback. This year brought a diverse lineup that attracted a diverse crowd of ravers who seemed to enjoy every moment of the festival throughout its two-day run. See the Saltair magic for yourself at Get Freaky this October 27-29.