all photos by Don Idio for Festival Squad
For years I have been hearing about a small festival just outside of Salt Lake City, better known as Das Energi. I heard through the festival community that V2 Presents organizes the festival at a venue was out of this world, the art is always abundant, the lineups are always stacked and the ravers practice PLUR. Every year, Das Energi is held at The Great Saltair, a half outdoor half indoor venue that is approximately 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City. This venue is a tourist attraction as it was once a resort that sat ontop of the beautiful Great Salt Lake. Over the years amidst massive fires and the receding lake, the structure transformed into a concert hall. The end result is dry dusty flat land surrounded by the Rocky Mountains in the background, indoor space as a theater and the home of Das Energi Music Festival.
This year, I made my first pilgrimage to the 2018 installment of this festival, not entirely sure what to expect outside of the stacked lineup featuring Kaskade, Deadmau5 and REZZ.
After attending, I had so many people ask the question, “How was Das Energi?” or “What was the deal with the weather shut down?”. Question one comes because Salt Lake City isn’t exactly known as being a massive rave region like Las Vegas or Southern California. Do they even know how to rave out there? That question also gets fueled by the reputation that the city has regarding its religious preferences. Question two comes because similar to all media outlets in the world, music and festival media outlets like to highlight what is going wrong versus how a company made things right.
Since its inception in 2005, V2 has been throwing festivals and concerts around Utah and founded Das Energi Music Festival, the largest EDM festival in Utah.
However, it is not time that gives V2 Presents a Doctorate in Raving. Its consideration, respect and understanding of its rave scene and people.
1. Bad Weather, A+ Answer
One of the hottest topics of Das Energi was the weather, so I will address that first. On the first day of the festival, just a few short hours after the doors opened, a massive storm rolled in. This storm was a mixture of heavy rain and strong winds, forcing V2 to stop all music and draw festival goers to the indoor part of the venue. Festival goers who were just arriving to the venue were being stopped by security and denied entry. V2 made the announcement to all festival goers inside the venue that music may or may not resume, and that leaving for the day would be an option. During the 2.5 hour wait, hundreds of festival goers chose to go home while others waited inside for the music to resume.
Obviously this situation was less than ideal for the festival, and V2 handled it like pros. First, they allowed re-entry for any Friday ticket holder that may have left during the storm. Second, they quickly resumed the music and adjusted the schedule appropriately so that no major artist would be missed. Lastly, V2 Presents honored Friday ticket holders a Saturday entry if they were unable to attend on Friday due to the weather. Hats off to Das Energi for knowing how to treat its fans.
2. Venue Selection = 100%
As I mentioned earlier, The Great Saltair is one stunning venue. First, Das Energi has three stages which are split up quite well. There is an indoor stage known as Synergy Station (keeping the sound indoors and preventing noise bleeds), a main outdoor stage known as Energi Field, and a smaller outdoor stage known as Galactic Flats. Each stage is designed far from your cookie cutter stage. See for yourself below.
In fact, the landscape reminded me of Burning Man (hello, incredible sunset shots). And when you’re not at the festival, thats the time to explore Salt Lake City if you’re from out of town. After spending a week in the city, I can tell you that its one incredible place to explore. There are mountains everywhere, great food and jaw dropping hikes. Das Energi is a great excuse to take a long weekend and make a mini vacation.
3. Reasonable Ticket Prices, Never Too Crowded
Festival ticket prices have gone through the roof lately. Festivals are now averaging about $350-400 for three day passes. Add on each $15 meal and $15 drinks and we are talking about nearly a $1000 weekend (not including travel costs or camping/lodging). Rather than feed into festival extortion, V2 Presents keeps its ticket prices incredibly reasonable. Two day bands went for $140 for GA passes or $200 for VIP bands. For only about $70 per day, you could enter The Great Saltair and get your groove on for the night. One of the best parts? The Great Saltair has a max capacity of 10k. With three, very well spread out stages, you always had a great view.
4. A for Art
Art is expected at a festival, right? Wrong. Its true that most camping festivals dress up the land with art, LED lights, and fun installations… but what about city festivals? Most of the time, city/non-camping festivals steer away from investing in creative art pieces. Not Das Energi. The organizers know that adding life to the festival is essential to feeling apart of it all. V2 used everything pyro, cyro, and lights to create an immeserve festival experience.
Even the festival goers dressed over the top to be apart of the outerworldly experience that was Das Energi.
The grades are in, and Das Energi and V2 Presents have successfully graduated with a PhD in raving.
When a festival puts a serious amount of thought, consideration and planning all around the festival goer, they deserve the highest degree possible. Das Energi is a festival that knows how to treat its attendees, it knows how to exceed normal city festival expectations, and it knows how to wow the crowd. We can’t wait to be back in 2019!