Cover photo by Parallax
June 14-15th can’t come quickly enough to the Pacific Northwest as we [im]patiently await our first music festival of the season, Paradiso. “Where Digital Meets Nature,” couldn’t be more perfect as the magnificent venue sits poised on The Columbia River Gorge. Surrounded by nature, fans return to The Gorge for music with an above average view. I’ve had the pleasure of attending two events at The Gorge, but this will be my first Paradiso. With the trifecta of a fantastic venue, bangin’ lineup and famed production, I’ve already assembled my crew and designed my outfits!
Whether this is your first ‘Diso or your 7th, this lineup is sure to have something for everyone to go ape over. USC Events really hit a home run as they announce heavy hitters, such as Kaskade, Zeds Dead, ZHU, San Holo, Alison Wonderland, Illenium, Skrillex, Snails, What So Not and TroyBoi. My only complaint is that this is only a 2 Day event, which means there will be lots of FOMO. I’ve made an offering to the music gods in hopes that the aforementioned artists play at different times because I honestly don’t know how I’ll choose…
In addition to my dancing shoes, I am packing a few extra items to make the most out of these artists’ performances:
- ZHU: My Last Will & Testament in the likely event I die from sheer happiness
- Zed’s Dead: CBD/Ibuprofen for my head banging muscles
- Kaskade: Tissues for The Feels
- Illenium: a freaking Mop for The Feels
- What So Not: Yerba Matte for extra energy to dance to banger after banger
- TroyBoi: My very best Bass Face
Artists Not To Miss
Apart from the obvious headliners, these artists are on my list:
Skrillex took some time off touring and creating music to “be human” and now has returned to the festival circuit with a renewed passion. As one of the original dubstep trailblazers, his sound has evolved, yet stayed true to his roots at the same time. His latest remix of Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Be.Humble” still carry his unique sound as he continues his upward trajectory. I can’t wait to see him perform again and hope he has lots of new material to show us. Fingers crossed!
Opiuo creates a beautiful hybrid of bass meets glitch meets funk. He played with a full orchestra at Red Rocks last year and thankfully released it on Spotify. We are seeing a new depth and complexity in quality of music as artists perform with and sample live instruments, which brings a unique element into the experience. Opiuo masterfully blends the line between electronic music and the soul of funk. I can’t get enough of his remix of Griz’s “PS GFY.”
There has been loads of buzz surrounding the new and very mysterious 1788-L, whose identity is unknown. We do know he began performing in July of 2018. His glitch-hop and bass-heavy sound we all crave has a newness about it, as illustrated in his remixes of Illenium, The Glitch Mob, Skrillex and RL Grime. Though I have not seen him yet, my friends rave about his live show (see what I did there?).
Whethan is another quickly rising future bass star who has collaborated with Dua Lipa and Flux Pavilion as he plays festivals across the nation. Boasting over a million plays on some tracks, his music has an uplifting yet effervescent quality, but he can still go hard. The catchy lyrics and well thought out hooks beg one to dance and sing along. My personal favorite is “Savage” with Flux Pavilion. Friends say his shows are tons of fun live!
Any attempt to describe The Gorge, even with photos and words, is wholly inadequate— you just have to see it with your own eyes. In a way it feels as though you’ve left Earth and have been deposited on another planet. The Columbia River Gorge is an incredible sight to behold on it’s own and lucky for us, hosts musicians.
Located in the high desert, temperatures can get above 100 degrees with a 100% chance of sun but drop into the 50’s at night. I highly recommend renting a locker and bringing warmer clothes for the trek home. And let’s talk about this trek…. it’s more of a hike, really, at least from the GA campground, to the venue. My first time, I had no idea I signed myself up for 3 days of “Leg Day:” You’ve been warned. Stretch those legs before dancing all day and be sure to hydrate!
The main stage is nestled at the very bottom of the amphitheater and offers the view of a lifetime. Lush, green grass fills the bowl and offers you varying levels of participation depending on where you chose to be. The very bottom of the venue is level and paved, which is really great to give your calves a break from the hill. The magnificent backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge stretches in every direction.
Sunsets here are world-class, with the sun setting directly behind the main stage; it’s an Instagrammer’s paradise! I always make a point to watch the sunset every day. On either side of the main stage there are bars (21+), which have viewing platforms that legitimately hang off the very edge of The Gorge. Nothing impedes the view and I cannot recommend these viewing platforms enough.
USC Events always put a lot of time, energy and thought into the final product for us fans, and it shows. Friends who have gone in years past say the atmosphere is electric and unbelievably fun. Each year the stage designs are dynamic and edgy while performers roam around in fabulous costumes. Shade structures are installed to give much needed respite from the desert sun and plenty of water stations, complete with an ultraviolet sterilization and filtration system, deliver the freshest, cleanest water to fans.
Not feeling an artist? Check out the various amusement rides and get your adrenaline fix. Want to feel inspired? Or reflect? Art Installations pepper the venue and provide a different kind of interaction. A variety of Food and Drink vendors will be available in case you need to refuel.
Festival tickets and camping passes are sold separately, but both can be found here.
Note: my brother went in 2018 and said there is no re-entry, so I advise renting a locker to store warmer clothes for when temperatures drop at night: ladies, I’m lookin’ at you. You’ve been warned! As always, be sure to check out the festival’s FAQ/Rules & Regs page here.
With intensely beautiful views, a dope lineup, and the promise to dance with my friends, I can’t wait to go to Paradiso. I’ll see you there!
Photography by Parallax