Goldrush Festival: The Wild West Roundup

Written by Mara Mannella and Andrea Hnatievych

Photos by Don Idio & Stephanie Rosa

The inaugural run of Goldrush Music Festival, hosted by Arizona’s own Relentless Beats, provided such a wide array of musical genres that it was hard to not do some serious stage-hopping. Where some festivals this might have been an arduous task, Rawhide Western Town in Chandler, AZ proved to be a venue heaven-sent for all the set splitters out there. The gorgeous weather brought out attendees at their festival best and wildest. With eyes everywhere, Festival Squad did its best to bring you the most thorough stage coverage of this wild west roundup.

The Golden Gorge

The Golden Gorge provided a massive area with plenty of room to accommodate the masses that ventured to the furthest corner of the festival grounds to see the likes of Rezz, Dillon Francis, Excision, RL Grime and many more.

This stage even had a few built-in meet-up spots for your squad, a rarity for the main stage, for example the leftmost light pole, or one of the many food and drink vendors that lined both sides of the stage area. With a full arsenal of LED screens and pyrotechnics, Rezz mesmerized the throngs of Cult-faithful. Dillon Francis closed out the stage on day 1 and his non-stop comical visuals paired with a few confetti blasts displayed the full force of what the stage was capable of.

The sound was rock solid no matter where you found yourself in the crowd and if you were positioned under the tree in the center of the crowd during Lil Uzi Vert, you got a front row seat for his high-energy performance. Midset the Grammy-nominated artist climbed up and rapped a few bars from the branches.

The Pioneer Peak

The aptly named Pioneer Peak showcased some of the most inventive and legendary music at the festival.

A-Trak b2b Baauer was the perfect mix of technical prowess and crowd-pleasing bangers – for some it was already branded the must-see performance of day 1 and the lucky ones who stumbled upon it quickly proclaimed it the best set of the night. Tough-to-catch Barclay Crenshaw put on a clinic serenading the crowd with a trippy mix filled with old school hip hop. Long after the sun went down mystery-man Malaa brought his special brand of dark house to the stage, drawing throngs of festival goers into the intimate space.

The Hideout

Oh, where do I begin?! For any house and techno lover like myself, the Birdhouse was the place to be for the weekend. The light-hearted vibes and incomparable crowds made for an environment that one felt obligated to stay all night. The stage wasn’t as flashy as the others, but the sound was absolutely incredible. You could feel the house music deep in your bones, and that’s what it was all about at the Hideout.

Photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn

It was day 1 and talk of the Dirtybird Saturday takeover filled the dirt roads of the Western town. Amidst the beauty of the Arizona sunset that day, Mikey Lion and Lee Reynolds led us into a journey through house and techno. This set could make just about anyone get movin’ and smiling from ear to ear, upbeat and easy to get down to. Promises of “House, Techno, and Love” drew many first-timers into the vibe, which quickly engulfed them. The duo opened up into the night and set the vibe that was far more than unforgettable. Walker & Royce followed with their trippy, deep house set that made you feel like you were on another planet. And when their incredibly catchy “Take Me to Your Leader” came on, the crowd went absolutely wild. Next up was Shiba San, who flipped the script a little and brought us back to planet Earth. The infectious deep house continued to boom through the Western town, drawing any passersby in impeccably. I knew it was a long journey, but I most definitely wanted it to NEVER end.

The man himself, “Father Dirtybird” closed out the Birdhouse Saturday night, keeping the energies high up until the very last minute. And the best part- the party continued into the dead of night with the afterparty, featuring Shiba San and Claude Vonstroke yet again.

WHAT. A. NIGHT- And it was only day one at the Hideout…

After a long slumber to recover from the epic madness that was Saturday night, you really couldn’t just stop there. HOSH, Justin Jay, Paco, Osuna, and Nicole Moudaber kept the Hideout house feels going all Sunday long. And in the end, feelings of contentment rang strong and all that was left to do was to reminisce about the weekend for days to come.

Relentless Beats absolutely slayed it for the inaugural year and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018!

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