I like the post on the Sun City Music Festival's Facebook today from a guy named Isaac Clemen.
"i lost about 5 pounds dancin 8 hours ... i'm ready to lose another 5 tonight!!! Round two baby!!!!:D."
That about sums up what I saw of Day 1 of the first-time, two-day electronic music extravaganza at Cohen Stadium.
I got there about 8:30 Saturday night and the place was hopping. There were easily 7,000-8,000 people there and that was before Afrojack, one of electronic music's hotter up-and-comers, Armin Van Buuren, one of the music's top DJs, had taken the stage.
SCMF has taken the music out of the clubs and into the mainstream, essentially putting on a two-day all-ages show that attracted not only obvious hardcore fans, but a lot of younger, high-school aged fans who can't get into the clubs legally.
The crowd the two hours I was there ranged from tweeners to thirtysomethings, but the bulk appeared to be high school and college kids, the latter being probably the fastest growing audience for this highly danceable, entrancing and sometimes dully repetitious musical genre.
There were young girls in go-go attire, including tutus in a variety of colors, those shaggy knee-high boots, bikini tops and head gear with pulsing lights, and guys spun their glow sticks like July 4th sparklers, donned cartoonishly oversized glasses and strutted around in neon-colored wigs and with little kids stuffed animals on their backs.
It was, in essence, about letting it all hang out, a very '60s-rooted reaction to the darkness in the world. Even the light shows that so many DJs rely on share a link to '60s psychedelia vestiges, such as the Joshua light shows used by San Francisco bands and the stuff Pink Floyd was doing when Syd Barrett was still in the band.
One thing that's very noticable at DJ shows, especially a large-scale one like SCMF, is how much people are dancing and having fun. You don't see or hear any of the anger you do at metal and rap shows. Refreshing.
The inclusion of the Dayglow paint party tent (with Chuckie) will only add to that today.
A DJ concert isn't a concert in the conventional sense, it's really more about creating a vibe, a feeling and, of course, music that makes you want to move.
Funkagenda was on the Sun City (main stage) when I got there about 8:30. The Brit is a real entertainer, using a combination of serrated synth sounds, pounding beats, dazzling visuals, hooky samples (including Swedish House Mafia's "Save the World") and a charming sense of fun to get the bulk of the crowd, about 6,000, moving on the field area between second base and home plate.
The crowd swelled even more by the time Dutch house producer and DJ Afrojack, who has quickly become a local favorite, took the stage around 9:30, about half hour later than scheduled.
I was only there for a couple of hours, caught parts of other set by bass-heavy Flinch on the Bass Dunes stage and LA Riots on the Electro Cactus stage. They are not as well known and their acts are not as joyous or as much fun as Funkagendas or Afrojacks.
Flinch wasn't afraid to talk to his crowd or work it, but LA Riots didn't interact at all, preferring instead to focus their energies on creating the kind of mesmerizing music that had people like Isaac gliding across the left field grass.
The set up, by the way, is genius. Designed and executed by Dallas' Onstage Systems, it positions three 40-foot wide stages back to back in a triangle shape. The Sun City stage, where the biggest names perform, faces home plate and has the most elaborate production, including a large LED wall that doubles as a DJ platform, with a video screen behind it.
The speakers for all the stages were hung in such a way that the sound from one stage did not bleed over into the others. The only thing close to that I noticed was some echo from the Sun City stage that bounced off the left field fence facing the Electro Cactus stage.
In terms of turn out, Sun City by far had the biggest crowd, followed by the Bass Dunes stage, which faces right field.
Promoter Adam Lucero of SMG Events, which teamed with LA electronic music event promoter Insomniac, on SCMF obviously knows his audience, knows the music and has done a commendable job of putting together his first major festival.
More than a dozen years promoting this music in the clubs and at parties ertainly paid off based on what I saw Saturday night — and that was before Van Buuren's headlining set around midnight.
He was hoping that 20,000 people would turn out by the time the last note plays around 2 a.m. Monday morning. I don't know if he'll get there, but with the positive word-of-mouth here and on the 'net (Funkagenda praised the "Tex Mex" food on his Facebook page and said that El Paso fans "party like no other place on earth"), plus a Sunday lineup that includes Paul Van Dyk and Sander Van Doorn should get him pretty close.
It's an impressive start for something I hope will grow over the years.
Here's today's posted schedule, by stage (subject to change):
6 p.m. — Panda
7 p.m. — Esteban Carrasco
8 p.m. — Ambivalent
9 p.m. — Chris Lake
10 p.m. — Cosmic Gate
11 p.m. — Sander Van Doorn
12:30 a.m. — Paul Van Dyk
6 p.m. — Astro Dudes
6:45 p.m. — The DA
7:30 p.m. — Johnny Kage
8:30 p.m. — Joachin Garraud
9:45 p.m. — Crystal Castles
11 p.m. — Sidney Samson
midnight — ZEDD
1 a.m. — Dusty Kid
6 p.m. — Mono Party
7 p.m. — Angello
8 p.m. — Cookie Monsta
9 p.m. — High Contrast
10 p.m. — Nero
11:30 p.m. — Sub Focus
1 a.m. — Showtek