One of the largest summer EDM events in the Rocky Mountains, Global Dance Festival, celebrated it’s 15th anniversary with a new home!
Originally held at the historic Red Rocks Amphitheater, the festival moved closer to downtown Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Global Dance Festival decided that “it’s time for a bigger home”, and it was a huge success after seeing all the improvements made using the expanded grounds. Of course, there is always some resist to change. Few attendees seemed uncertain about the location change since Red Rocks is an iconic venue with great views, outstanding acoustics, tiered seating, and massive tailgate parties. Holding a capacity of 9,525 people, Red Rocks Amphitheater was limited on the number of people able to attend each day considering the layout only provided enough room for a main stage and a smaller stage at the top. With only two stages, the lineup at Red Rocks Amphitheater stretched over 3 days to accommodate all the DJ’s.
With this location change, Global Dance was able to double the number of stages (Global Summit, Northern Lights, Tundra, and Amazon) to accommodate a larger variety of DJ’s over the course of 2 days. In fact, over 30,000 people attended Global Dance Festival and Day 2 sold out! Even if Red Rocks Amphitheater was able to sell out all 3 days last year (~ 28,575 people), Global Dance Fest still had more people attend this year over 2 days. The new venue also provided easier ADA access, efficient parking and more transportation options for attendees. Attendees requiring ADA assistance benefited greatly as well since the new location was very flat and there weren’t hundreds of stairs to navigate like at Red Rocks. A large portion of cars were able to park right next to the new venue with minimal walking and people using alternative transportation had a wider variety of options (LightRail, public bus, Uber, Lyft, etc). The close vicinity to downtown Denver and major highways also increased the variety of hotel options and reduced commute times to the festival and after-parties as well.
The new amenities and enhancements transformed the grounds into a phenomenal festival experience.
Street food is one of the best ways to truly eat like the locals do. It’s no secret that the Denver area is home to famous food trucks that serve everything from international cuisine to hearty comfort food. Global Dance Festival stayed true to its Colorado roots by choosing food trucks as the vendors for delicious food this year. Ice cold beverages were available at any of the many bars throughout the grounds, which had a variety of liquor options, local craft beers, fast service, and awesome bartenders. Another improvement was large water stations with multiple fill spigots to keep attendees hydrated throughout the hot summer day. To escape the summer heat, many attendees took advantage of new cool down areas like the Arcave and Geyser Underpass.
The Arcave was such a great area to cool off because it was located in an underground tunnel below the stadium with plenty of air conditioning. The arcade cave (hence Arcave) was definitely a crowd favorite since it featured an assortment of old school arcade games, seating areas, a full service bar, and water refills. The Geyser Underpass was another great cool down area as well with mist showers underneath the highway overpass, which allowed attendees to still listen to the music.
Even those who decided to try the carnival rides were able to watch DJ’s perform on stages like Global Summit and Northern Lights. One of the most popular rides was the ferris wheel due to the absolutely breathtaking views during Kaskade’s set with the light rainfall and the Excision b2b Datsik set filled with flamethrowers, pyrotechnics, and lasers. What’s interesting though is that the stages weren’t the only ones to have fire features. The top art installations in the Dragonfly Art Park, such as the owl and dragon flies, came to life with memorizing fire as the sun dipped behind the tall Rocky Mountains. The VIP Village featured some exclusive art installations, which encouraged attendees to upgrade for the full experience.
Overall, the VIP experience was massively improved over what was previously done at Red Rocks. The VIP attendees had their own entrance with expedited entry, private viewing areas in front of the Global Summit and Northern Lights stages, and unlimited entry into the VIP Village. The village had an assortment of exclusive amenities, such as private bars, air conditioned bathrooms, shade, lockers, and lounge seating.
Attendees loved the daily contests, prizes, and meet n’ greets at Global Dance Festival.
Throughout the day, Global Dance Festivals and artists released special announcements on their social media. There were random giveaways, such as VIP upgrades, when attendees purchased official merchandise. Many of the artists took time out of their busy schedules to do meet n’ greets, like 3LAU, Chris Lake, Dabin, Two Owls, Crywolf, Mt Eden, Louis the Child, Crankdat, and Saymyname.
The performers were talented and fucking awesome!
Many new types of performers joined Global Dance Festival this year, and they added greatly to the overall experience. With more stages and plenty of ground space to interact with the attendees, the performers really flourished this year. No matter what stage you went to, there was always someone dancing on stage or interacting with attendees in the crowd.
The after-parties had some great surprises to keep the party going!
The after-parties continued the party immediately after Global Dance Fest ended at 11pm each night. This year, there was an assortment of options for after-parties at local Denver clubs and venues like Beta Nightclub, The Church, Club Vinyl, Globe Hall, Privé at Dorchester, and many more. Friday night featured popular artists such as What So Not, Two Owls, Ecotek, Ganja White Night, and Joyzu. Saturday night also featured a fierce lineup of artists such as Green Velvet, 3LAU, and Ecotek. Global Dance Festival even surprised attendees with some secret sets, which were Ephwurd (and surprise guest Herobust) on Friday night at The Church and Datsik the following night at Beta Nightclub.
After Ephwurd’s set with Herobust on Friday night, I ran into Crywolf at The Church and he asked if I wanted to go to a secret after-party that he’s playing at. He made one rule, which was “don’t invite any uncool people, only cool people are allowed at my super secret after-party”. Rest assured Crywolf, no uncool people were invited by my self. After arriving at the secret location, I soon realized this wasn’t an ordinary house in the local Denver neighborhood. Upon entering, I could see nothing but pirate themed items as far as the eye could see. It truly felt as if you were sitting inside the captain’s quarters of a pirate ship. At the very back was a jungle themed room with a small DJ booth where Crywolf played for several hours. Even Herobust decided to swing by for a bit and hung out with everyone. Hands down, Herobust was one of the chillest people I talked to the whole week.
The smiles at Global Dance Festival say it all…
Overall the festival was amazing, the lineup was insane, and the move to a new venue was a huge success!
It took a lot of work for the DJ’s to get here! Here’s their story and thoughts on Global Dance Festival…
How did you first discover your passion for electronic dance music? Also, who or what are some of your current influences for your music?
I always loved hip hop. I was a big hip hop head and then I discovered house music in like 2011. Destructo then Rando was the kicker – I was like this is the fucking shit…what is this? And it’s funny cause now he’s like one of my homies. Destructo has been doing it [g-house] for a while. Max Motif, New Kid, Malaa…they’re making it [house] techier now. It’s more tech house now, you know, a lot of the g-house guys that started g-house back in the day. It’s all like tech house and techno now, you know it’s almost like the American scene took it over. Its more of an American sound now in the states. – Bijou
I used to be a session guitarist for big labels just doing session work. It’s not the most reliable type of work and you’re not making your dreams come true, you’re making someone else’s dreams come true. The friends I made there introduced me to EDM and we would go out. The first artists my friends showed me were Felix Cartel and Skrillex – that was the very first introduction into electronic music and then I really got into guys like Nero, Gemini and Flux Pavillion. Those guys were very influential in my early work and kind of steered me in that melodic direction. Right now I take a lot of influences from outside of the EDM world. I listen to a lot of Woodkid, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine, like Muse. People who have a really big orchestral epic sound…I’m really into that kind of stuff so those are my biggest inspirations, especially for my last album. ––Dabin
I’ve been a musician for pretty much all my life. I play guitar, I play the drums – I have a musical background. I started learning how to DJ myself when I was 21 years old in the basement of my girlfriends beat matching. When I first became a DJ trance was really big, but it was a really good trance back in those days. It was new, it was quality, it was great – the music was great. Then I moved to progressive house a few years later and I found it more dark, more interesting, so I stuck with that for a while. Now, I am a little different. Now, we do everything across the board pretty much everything from deep house to electro house, bass house, future house. It depends on the vibe – where I’m playing, what it is, and how the crowd responds. I really read the crowd and work them no matter where I am. We started off really small and we grew slowly and I think with the progression of the music the crowd comes too. – Ecotek
We started a long time ago when we were sophomores or juniors in high school. We discovered dance music from Zeds Dead. They had a really small show in Sacramento – maybe a 150 people, it was really small. After that we were like wow, this is awesome, so we started DJ’ing and messing around with music production. We DJ’d a lot of parties in high school and we decided that we should start producing to take our name further. Luckily we were somewhat musically inclined and then we basically studied and studied and studied. Fast forward 7 years, and now we are here. Joyzu has only been a thing for a year and we’ve had a few accomplishments we’re proud of you and we just want to keep going. We are so stoked to be here and on a similar line up as Porter Robinson, even though we are small, we get to be on a lineup with all of these big guys and potentially work our way up. Flume, Odesza, Porter – basically anything that’s good. All good music inspires us. – Joyzu
I’ve been making music for about 6 or 7 years now. I was always a producer at first I just got in the love of making music like I used to go to underground raves in Brooklyn and stuff cause I’m from New York and I just like fell in love with that and fell in love with the music and I was like I want to start making this music so I bought a shitty laptop, downloaded FL Studio, and here I am. I’ve only been DJ’ing for 3 years and my first big event was Ultra Music Festival, I played at the 7-up stage, it’s so good they had to cut everybody off cause the capacity was too much for my set. I really don’t know if I have my own sound, everyone asks me that. I’m always changing my music. I’ve made dubstep, I’ve made house music, I’ve made trap music, I’ve made pretty much everything under the sun and that’s whats cool about being a producer, because you are able to make whatever. Right now I’m really trying to flock towards pop music. It seems like something really easy to make but it’s actually really hard. I’ve been having trouble with it being so melodic and it’s different making bangers. – Kandy
I [Robert] was living in England back in like 2009 and heard real dance music for the first time and became obsessed with it. I really looked up to guys like Kanye and Chance The Rapper. I [Nick] started really producing back in 2008 and at first it was a lot of hip hop, as far as dance music, it wasn’t until Avicii really started popping off 2 years later that I was like oh shit, and I started experimenting with making those type of records. I look up to guys like Kanye, because he’s the reason I started producing music in the first place. Also, guys like Ryan Leslie and Max Martin. – Lost Kings
I [Andrew] started with dubstep around 2007 or 2008…Rusko, Caspa. I started DJ’ing first and it only took me to a certain point on my own so I knew I had to learn how to make music and build a brand in order to be a DJ. I [Scotty] was a DJ first before I started producing and then at some point I realized before you can do anything you have to be able to produce. – Two Owls
What do you think about Global’s new home, upgrades, and changes for the 15th Anniversary at Sports Authority Field?
I think it’s a good move. When I first found out I was playing this I was like fuck, I get to play at Red Rocks and they were like “well they moved it” and I was like well I’m kinda disappointed I’m not playing Red Rocks but that’s fucking sick, like you can’t go wrong with that. There’s a lot of changes too, there’s more stages and the festival size is bigger this year. – Bijou
Red Rocks is one of my dream venues so, when I got the call that I was playing Global Dance my manager opened up with you’re playing Red Rocks – then 10 minutes late he calls me and he’s like “I’m so sorry”. I get it, there’s only so many stages and I’ve heard things about like sound restrictions there. You know, initially I was bummed, but looking at the logistics of it you can understand where they are coming from. You can bring in way more people. The most important thing is getting music lovers out to music shows, so I totally understand taking it this direction with this venue. It’s nice to be able to walk around to multiple stages, check out all the different vendors and food. And with that I feel like you can diversify the line up a little bit. You have more stages, no sound restrictions. It’s a great opportunity for diff types of artists to come together. – Dabin
I’ve pretty much played every year at Global Dance Festival. I think that it’s really good for the crowd, meaning, entertainment wise – there’s a lot more to do, but I feel like we are missing a little of the attention of the music. At Red Rocks, you sit and listen to music – there’s no distractions. I think for the audience it’s better, but for me as an artist it’s not as good as Red Rocks, because I want the kids to come here and listen to music and be inspired. I feel like the reason we do these festivals is the music. This is what our priority is and then the rest of it comes along with it. But it’s cool we did it for 15 years at Red Rocks and I think it’s a great venue, but it’s probably time to move and grow. – Ecotek
I [Quinton] actually went to Global Dance when it was held at Red Rocks a few years back. Red Rocks is such a beautiful venue, its hard to top that, but the volume restrictions definitely had a big play in them needing to move the festival elsewhere. The new location is really cool. Being so close to downtown is a cool vibe that not a lot of festivals can do! – Joyzu
I’ve been looking at the lineup and stuff of people I know and it’s really cool that they are showcasing new acts and I think that’s awesome. The festival itself is awesome, I was here all day yesterday. I was just here having fun just hanging out with everyone here and it was really fun. It’s crazy though because there’s only 2 stages there [Red Rocks] and they were saying the small stage was overriding the main stage. I’ll save Red Rocks for when I actually play there one day. – Kandy
We’ve only heard great things about Red Rocks and it’s definitely on the bucket list of venues to play, but we are so pumped we’re going to be playing at Sports Authority field. To play where the broncos play is insane! – Lost Kings
I can say honestly red rocks is the number 1 venue I personally want to play at, but being here there’s way more stages, it’s a bigger festival it’s really good for Global. They sold almost 15,000 tickets for today. The stage [Northern Lights] we played at was fucking awesome! – Two Owls
If you could give one piece of advice to an up-and-coming artist, producer, and/or DJ…what would it be?
Stay true to yourself and make the music that comes from your heart. – Bijou
A bit cliche but don’t be afraid to be the one outside the box. Draw inspiration from genres out of your element. Find samples from styles of music you normally wouldn’t. Get creative and have fun with whatever you’re doing. – Dabin
First thing I would tell them is to really dig deep into what inspires them. What do they like? Really educate themselves from older music like back from the 90’s and 2000 and learn what made EDM so big. Why and how and listen to the music – I think that is really inspirational cause I have a lot of kids they email me or on Facebook all day long. I always steer them in a way that they have to dig and inspire themselves and they have to create something that they love. My advice is just be original, first of all. Do your own thing, whatever that is. Love what you do first, then get it out to the people, otherwise you will be very manufactured. I play for the people through my heart. I love what I play, I never play a track that I don’t love. I play music that I love first and then I make sure they love it. – Ecotek
Surround yourself with motivating people. If you have the right mindset, anyone can do it. Everyone that we work with are all so energetic and fun to be with and love doing what they do which just motivates us all even more. Also, you have to surround yourself with people who click with you, and understand what you want. Getting your name out there in general is all about networking. If you aren’t networking or setting up interviews like this you’re not doing it right – it will all start snowballing. Another tip is push singles rather than albums while you’re building your name at the start. If you are releasing an EP or album and you’re small and you only have 1 big push to get people’s attention rather than spanning the releases out over time. ––Joyzu
Really put the time in & work hard at it day in & day out. A lot people see the over night success of an artist when really that artist worked in silence for 10 years to get what they have! Also, I’ve told myself countless amounts of times to never compare your chapter to someone else, each artist has their own unique story! – Kandy
Hard work pays off, as corny as it sounds it’s true. – Lost Kings
[Scotty] Don’t DJ until you get booked for music that you’ve made yourself. Second off, I used to be the kid that made super shitty music for years and laughed at myself like yo this is rough. I would never DJ it out. You have to be your biggest fan and your biggest critic. You have to be completely honest with yourself and that’s the only way you can get better at anything. [Andrew] For me, honesty is key. The more expertise you get the more you learn and the more honest your own feedback is with yourself. iI wouldn’t necessarily want to curse anyone with being creative or being someone that makes music. For an upcoming DJ I would say if you aren’t able to create you’re going to be miserable, but if you are able to find a job that allows you time to create but still get money and put food on the table… I think that’s some solid advice. You can’t make art without having that in your head. You gotta take care of your life before you can do anything else. ––Two Owls