Guest Written by Kyle DePriest
When it comes to this particular state, a question is frequently asked- “Why would anyone want to live here?”. They call it a flyover state; a place known for BBQ, farmland, and not much else. How could this place possibly be fit for an electronic dance festival? There were doubts upon arrival, but it only took one day for Kansas to prove me wrong.
The diverse groups of people that inhabited the Emerald City were some of the most fun-loving, down to earth people I’ve ever met. Sure, it’s easy to say that’s typical for the Midwest, but these fans showed a passion and excitement for music that would put other festivals to shame.
These festival goers were a different breed. They weren’t there for appearances and Instagram photos. They were there for the music. They were there for the positivity. They were there to celebrate the beautiful community that makes electronic music so special.
As expected, day 1 was light and relaxed with a majority of the crowd consisting of campers eager to get the party started. Rain didn’t help matters much as artists from Circus Records played one after another leading up to an epic B2B2B2B set by labelmates Cookie Monsta, Funtcase, Doctor P, and Flux Pavillion. While the ever-accumulating mud made for an extra grimy experience, it did not slow down the crowd. DFT campers were not about to let a little rain keep them from riding the rails.
Friday’s crowd was noticeably larger. By mid-afternoon, the festival grounds were teeming with hoopers, glovers, spinners, and dancers. Axilon kicked off the day with Boogie T and Squinto playing b2b as the sun set on La Cygne, KS.
By nightfall the crowd was in peak form, jumping and dancing to the sounds of Herobust and Snails, glow sticks hurled into the air drop after drop. The rain continued to fall as Illenium took the stage. The addition of a live band really made his set stand out. Space Jesus closed out the night with a comparatively casual set, continuing to keep the main stage vibing as many scattered to the other stages or back to camp.
The Lollipop stage and Pyromid stage were great options for night owls, and especially for those camping, as sets continued well into the night and early morning. Set aside from the main stage, these two areas offered a cozier setting for much more intimate performances. However, don’t confuse “cozy” and “intimate” for “soft”. Some of the performances at the Lollipop stage, specifically by He$h and Shatterworms, were some of the hardest sets of the weekend.
Aside from the action on stage, DFT also offered a wide range of other activities to enjoy. During the day, canoes were provided for a relaxing paddle around the grounds while others chose to enjoy the rockwall and zipline. The vendor village and food trucks were also very reasonably priced, which ensured that everyone at the festival had everything they needed to enjoy themselves.
By day 3 the rain had passed, but the grounds were still soft with mud; the grass had pretty much disappeared from two days of foot traffic. It wasn’t uncommon for several people in the crowd to continue the party barefoot. Crowds formed earlier on the third day as Dorothy the Don took the stage at 1 PM. By the time that Black Tiger Sex Machine kicked off their set, the field had become a sea of banging heads, totems, and light shows. BTSM gave a standout performance, hitting the crowd with wave after wave of bass. 12th Planet followed with an equally impressive trap-inspired performance, which was a welcome change up at this point in the night.
As the evening rolled on, the festival was treated to the long-awaited return of Rusko, who had spent the past year overcoming some unexpected health problems. Rusko seemed genuinely overjoyed to be back on the stage, playing some of his biggest hits. His performance was overwhelmingly positive and a perfect segway into a closing set from Adventure Club. The Canadian duo of Christian Sringley and Leighton James have been performing since 2011, which provided them with an ample amount of melodic bangers to choose from. Fireworks filled the sky as they played, completely captivating the crowd and providing a fitting end to the night.
The final day of Dancefestopia was bittersweet. Exhausted and excited, festival-goers filled the fields early in the day. By this point, many faces in the crowd had become familiar. It’s one of those little things that makes a festival like this so special. Music brings people together and the people of DFT could not have been nicer. Regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, all felt welcome to express themselves in any way they wished.
Sets from Hekler, Arius, and Junkie Kid kicked off the day before Said the Sky and Bear Grillz turned things up a notch. An army of Bear heads could be seen across the crowd as the Denver-based DJ played smash tracks from his Mo Honey Mo Problems EP. Kill the Noise followed with his own brand of dubstep/electro house and gave all of DFT the strength to keep on dancing.
It’s something every festival hopes to achieve, but DFT really saved the best for last. First came Rezz. She took the stage sporting her signature hypnotic goggles and got straight to work. Bursts of fire rose from the stage as she performed and the crowd couldn’t get enough. Her set was visually stunning and the performance served as a testament to her young, but brilliant career.
The mainstage closer for Dancefestopia 2018 was none other than Zeds Dead. Active on the EDM circuit for nearly a decade now, the Toronto-based duo gave those of us in La Cygne a show to remember. Between heart thumping bass drops, mesmerizing visuals, and a flair for the dramatic, Zeds Dead gave Dancefestopia the finale it deserved.
Dancefestopia has come a long way in its 6-year history. From its humble beginnings as a two-day festival headlined by the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, to the deep lineup of dubstep and trap artists that took the stage this past weekend, Borda Productions have really focused on satisfying their fans. Year after year the festival only gets better and fans of EDM will surely be looking forward to what Dancefestopia has in store for 2019.
See you in 2019!