As 2017 draws to a close, EDM squads scramble to make plans. A Texas favorite among Electronic music lovers has always been the 2 day, Dallas based festival – Lights All Night.
My photographer, myself and a few friends packed our bags and piled in the car at early on Friday, December 29th after a long night. Can’t deny the difficulty in waking up as early as we did, but we were on a mission to be the first to arrive at our Air-bnb, a mansion that sleeps 30 people. We drove out from Houston leaving 50 degree weather, and arrived in piercing, below freezing temperatures. We underestimated the cold.
Our stay at the mansion was worth every penny, the house boasted zip-lining, a full size basketball court, pool & hot tub with 3 slides, (which we couldn’t use, they were practically ice) and a game room equipped with a foosball, ping-pong table and air hockey rink. Highly recommend for your Dallas weekend trips!
A few hours after pre-gaming and making sure the squad arrived safely to the house, we left our friends early to get to the festival and explore all the new features of this 8 year strong festival!
(If you’re looking for best & worst of the festival, skip to bottom of review)
The festival is indoors which is perfect, because it’s freezing outside in Dallas around this time of year. A few good things about having an indoor festival: the lights look amazing, the sound is contained and it’s a shelter from the antarctic weather outside.
When you first enter and immediately turn to your right, there is a very thoughtful and much-needed feature – coat check! The layout boasts two HUGE rooms with the main stage in the biggest, and the bass stage furthest away from the entrance. Every single vendor and amenity was pressed up against the walls of both rooms, creating a border like insulation. Back in the main room you’ll find the merch vendors, and right around the corner you’ll walk outside to a large patio with very well-organized porta potty style restrooms and food trucks.
The water refill stations were outside right next to the food trucks! My team and I don’t remember seeing this last year, we may have missed it, however; this was a welcoming addition.
Major Change: The Silent disco that adorned the back walls of the venue from previous years was no longer here, which made for a smaller lineup, but probably provided more money towards production for main-stages. So, this year instead of three stages, there were two.
The main stage was to your immediate left as you walked into the main room. The stage had a HUGE spanning from wall to wall, which boasted 12 giant screens around one immense LED screen placed right in the center. Lasers, lights and every stage feature you can imagine (besides fire) complimented production for this monstrous stage. VIP was HUGE and nestled to the left of the stage with bottle service, private restrooms and their own entertainers bathing in champagne installations.
The side stage, which was honestly almost just as huge as the main stage, was impressive. This was my favorite stage of the festival for the simplistic genius of design alone. The design was a TOWER of huge translucent 275 Gallon Reconditioned water Tanks! You can find them online for less than $200! The water crates were stacked on top of each other, floor to ceiling, lining the stage. Each crate had its own LED lights strapped to its backside which lit up the crate and made for an incredible, light changing, custom-made LED wall. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.
Food & Drink
- Beatbox mixer – A new alcoholic beverage that the booth worker told me was equivalent to taking 3 shots. The booth was set up with glitter face painting for festival goers to get their face glammed out.
- Fireball Whiskey tent & riding cart – Giving out free fireball to music lover all night.
- Food Trucks – Shawarma Point Halal, Traditional New York Style Pizza, Wal Garrison BBQ, Pop That Chalupa Street Tacos
- Traditional Carnival Food – Including hot dogs and funnel cakes
- Mikes Hard Lemonade tent – My favorite tent, the had a HUGE disco ball, mechanical shark, you could ride like a bull! We took turns testing it out!
- 99 Bar Rum – offering free samples for attendees
- We counted 3 bars, one of which was EXTRA big packed with bartenders
Merch and Goodies
The back of the festival boasted a very well set up merchant and vendor area. There were 2 Glo FX Booths which were surprisingly very close to one another. Some of the vendors goodies were very cool! One booth called, “Perceptive Healing” had really trippy art for sale along with custom-made crystal jewelry. The We Rave Hard and Electric family booths were live in action along with the Official Lights All Night merch booth. A very interesting booth called “Ether Elixer” was giving out samples of their health shots which were kefir based juice!
There was a vendor called “phunkee live” that sold flow toys in the form of gloves, custom-made for the purchaser, and a mobile power charging booth that sold portable chargers and for the remainder of the festival promised to recharge both for you if you bought!
One merch booth even boasted a sign stating, “If you buy it, we will hold it until after the show!” How thoughtful.
Cool Artistic Features
There were a lot of cool artistic upgrades this year, one of which was some art that migrated to Lights All Night from another festival, Day for Night. adorning the back of the side room this year was a beautiful piece of disco ball art that made the back room sparkle like diamonds!
Acting as an artistic divider between merch and the festival was another cool piece of art that migrated from DFN; cellophane stretched out between columns with rainbow lights filtered through the translucent plastic! Such a cool feature.
The giant Light All Night, light-up lettering blessed the main room, a welcome change from having it outside in the cold.
The Artist’s Performances
Top Ranked Sets
Without a doubt, WHIPPED CREAM. Caroline played as if she had something to prove and knew she had all the ammunition to do just that. Moving effortlessly from heavy bass to house to experimental sounds and every other spectrum you can imagine. There were so many times during her set I found myself muttering, “What.. TF!” She blew everyone away.
“There were so many artists that played “Humble” omg so overplayed at the festival. I literally heard the SAME remix for EVERY set. it was annoying. But not her, WHIPPED CREAM did throw us Humble but i didn’t hear that remix repeated once. Just something that i noticed.” – Nina Lakhiani
“Tyler and I were going to the bathroom before illenium when we heard some nasty wubs coming from the other stage. We ran over (it was WHIPPED CREAM) and ended up staying her entire set. She fucking blew my mind” -Haylee Baswell
Vincent played some outstanding trap and future bass. It was so well put together, his stage presence along with his masterfully crafted transitions and such well produced tracks made for a roller coaster ride of a set I’d go catch again in a heartbeat.
Most Disappointing Sets
Every artist this weekend was incredible so we regret to have to place an artist here from a technical error. To no fault of his own, Illenium’s sound cut during his set around 5 times. Of course, when it was all up and running, he played just as amazing as he always does! We love you Illenium.
“As a fan of Bassnectar and having seen him twice, this 3rd time absolutely disappointed me. For him to play an opening track from his library of many songs to random trap songs instead of borrowing more from his beautifully extensive repertoire of music really saddened me. I expected to hear more of his tracks, and sadly I heard OTHER artist’s tracks most of the time. For that, Bassnectar has earned this spot for the first (and hopefully) only time ever of worst set.” – Michael Placencia
Most Beautiful Set
Seven Lions wins this by a long shot. An incredibly well crafted masterpiece filled with beauty and feels.
“I really just want to relive that set over and over and over. People don’t understand “feels” until they’ve witnessed/experienced something like that. That set was EVERYTHING.” – Payton Blackwell discussing Seven Lions
Most Surprising Sets
OOKAY’s Live set was a total favorite of the weekend.
“Abe sang and really killed it, the visuals had a late 80s to early 90s vibe and there was one point when this man ran from behind the decks and was a playing a synthesizer! Vibing out to all his originals and he even did some cool tricks with drumsticks as he dropped heavy bass.” – Jordan Platt
This was my first time seeing Tokimonsta and I had no idea what to expect. The long-haired DJ threw down a completely captivating set. She was one of the only artists that I heard throw down Drum & Bass the entire weekend, she even mixed in 90’s hip hop vibes like snoop dogg & Dr. Dre
Most Fun Sets
Destructo & AC Slater were so insanely fun! the entire crowd jumped and shuffled the night away! Destructo played an upbeat house set full of good vibes and Ac Slater finished off day 2 with grimy dark house vibes that had the shuffle circles going in!
NGHTMRE threw down a bass filled set with passion. The entire crowd was headbanging, jumping and yelling for the full set.
“NGHTMRE was unbelievable. I had never seen him play such a heavy set and I’ve seen him 3 other times. There was not one point in time during that set I wasn’t headbanging. Hands down, best set of my life.” – Daniel Joshua
Other Noteworthy Performances.
“I had never seen Marshmello before so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but oh my goodness did Marshmello throw down. This little fluffy ball of joy actually had a dark side and I fell in love. He had a plethora of filthy dubstep drops and hard hitting horns and drums. It was a rollercoaster of soft feels with intermittent raging and headbanging. Without shame I can now say I’m converted to #MelloGang” – Wil Rios
–Drezo played some badass bass house!
–Devault was a breath of fresh air, he’s a newcomer with a magical sounds that’s so soulful and vibey.
–Liquid Stranger blew my mind, he played a bass filled set that was complemented by the incredibly sound system on the satellite stage.
“Morgan Page – One of the most memorable sets for me. Not only did he play those top tracks everyone loves, but i def felt that diversity coming along. He hit us with some intense paced tracks while T-shirts were being thrown into the crowd hyping everyone up and then slowed it down to Alan Walkers beautiful melodic “Faded.” That was about mid-set, it was so hard to walk away from this one as i went to go check out the other stage.” – Nina Lakhiani
–Carlyle and Niko The Kid had some VERY dope opening sets and we think you’ll be seeing them all over the world after hearing sets like these.
–Black Gummy played a dark and industrial set full of techno, electro and tech house. His visuals and sounds danced together on the main stage.
–Holly B2B Sayer was something like I’ve never seen before. The two different styles of the artists made for a phenomenal b2b.
” I was very impressed with how heavy and hard Porter‘s set was compared to those I’ve heard from him in the past. Tons of bass, Trance and rave-worthy tracks being dropped surprisingly that I absolutely smiled throughout it all with how many surprises he gave us throughout his performance.” – Michael Placencia
What were the best things about the festival and what needs improvement?
– The lasers and overall production were Grade A. Check ++
– The bass at the side stage
-The newly added art installations
– The diversity and uniqueness of the line up
– Layout of the festival
– Being indoors is a huge plus when it’s freezing outside!
– The well organized coat check
-We’re not sure why they decided not to have it on New Years Eve this year but, We’d like to be able to experience the countdown at LAN (:
-The sound quality on the main stage was lacking in comparison to the side stage. It was one of the main complaints we heard all weekend.
– We’re a tad sad about the loss of the silent disco.
Lights All Night Gives Back! =D
With regard to additional charitable efforts by the festival team, LAN partnered earlier this fall with several of the performing artists for this year’s event to donate just over $22,000 directly to the Houston Food Bank in an effort to support the ongoing Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in the greater Houston area. Participating artists included Bassnectar, Porter Robinson, Illenium, Seven Lions, Ookay, Drezo and TOKiMONSTA.
Thank You Lights All Night 2017
Another amazing year in the books. LAN has always been one of our favorite festivals and we are so thankful we get to experience every year. We can’t wait to be back and share in this experience again. Thank you to the LAN team for doing such an incredible job and bringing something special to Texas.
OFFICIAL HASHTAG: #LAN2K17