The largest NYE party in Arizona celebrates a decadent weekend filled with nothing but smile as far as the eye can see.

Nestled within the Gila River Indian Community, the Rawhide Western Town & Event Center hosted the 4th edition of Decadence Arizona. The event center is Arizona’s largest 1880s western-themed entertainment venue and has hosted many EDM events such as Gold Rush, BOO! Arizona, and Crush Arizona. Relentless Beats and Global Dance brought amazing talent to ring in the new year and redefined what VIP really should be.

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Relentless Beats and Global Dance put careful thought into the customer experience.

Upon arriving at Rawhide, guests were greeted by staff as they directed traffic into the various paid parking lots. Parking was $10, but the festival had tablets to accept credit cards and even placed an ATM on the side of the street as well. Those who arrived early for doors opening (3pm) were able to snag prime parking in the front while the slackers had a bit of a walk in the back parking lots. The longest walk took no more than 10-15 min, so it wasn’t too bad. The will call and box office lines moved pretty quickly and the lines didn’t linger for too long. For late online orders, guest were able to exchange their e-tickets for a festival wristband. A RFID chip was placed in all the wristbands, which was used for entry as well as paying for concessions and merchandise inside. Guests could link up their credit card or top off with cash for hassle free purchases. The system overall was super efficient and very well received by guests.

Security was very organized, had virtually no lines, and were quite friendly. The festival created separate lines (with signage btw) for men, women, bags, no bags, and even a line for totems (never seen that one before). Easily this was one of the best security experiences at a music festival! As guests exited security, they were greeted with big white NYE letters where they could write on their NYE resolution and snap a group photo. Immediately behind the photo op was the back of the Diamond Atrium stage and the water station for staying hydrated. Relentless Beats and Global Dance allowed guests to bring Camelbak’s in addition to reusable water bottles, which many people took advantage of.

Deca AZ - People 3 (Phoenix New Times)
Credit: Phoenix New Times

There were 3 stages, each named after rare gemstones: Ruby Courtyard, Sapphire Ballroom, and Diamond Atrium. The biggest stage (Diamond Atrium) featured an impressive lighting setup complete with lasers, moving lights, confetti canons, LED panels, and live performers. The adjacent stage (Shappire Room) was housed inside a smaller tent structure, which created a very intimate setting. The smallest stage (Ruby Courtyard) was outside next to the ferris wheel and featured local talent. Gigantic quartz crystals could be found throughout the festival grounds, creating a lavish NYE atmosphere. The layout was pretty compact with all three stages being next to one another. All of the stages faced towards the back of the festival so there was minimal sound interference between them. It took no more than 3-5 minutes to navigate from one stage to another, which was a huge bonus for jumping back and forth between different sets.

All of the amenities were located in the rear of the festival grounds and the two main stages were located in the front side by side. There were live art installations at the rear of the stages as well as a photo booth, cell phone recharge station, concessions, merchandise, and even a ferris wheel. The food options were plentiful, which included: El Jefe Tacos, Farmboy Foods, Gypsy Cup, Island Noodles, Sonoran Kettle Corn, Southern Fried Vegan Food, Tee’s Concessions, The Spot, Treaty Ice Cream, and Tropical Sno. The festival pizza was oh so delicious due to all the savory toppings included. 

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With 12 hours of music each night, muscles can get tired and ache, which isn’t a fun way to ring in the new year. Don’t worry tho, Woven Ivy Massage was there to massage away all the pain and freshen up the body for extra shuffling and head banging. Forget your favorite flow toy or rave accessory? The festival had you covered with a variety of local vendors, including: Art Glitter, Boom Boom, Elite Wear, Pop Icon, Risqwear, and The Flow Shop. It got really chilly on both Saturday and Sunday night with temperatures getting down into the 40s. Despite the cold weather, many guests wore typical rave wear and deck themselves out with kandi. Night 2 featured more sequin and glitter outfits as everyone dressed up for the decadent evening of celebration. For those who brought too much clothing, there was a coat check (very rare for festivals) for getting rid of extra layers when the non-stop dancing heated things up. Lockers were also available for storing rave essentials, dope artist merchandise, and kandi gifts from new friends.

Decadence Arizona brought together unmatched musical talent, big production, and skilled performers.

First off, special shoutout to the all local DJ’s who played on the Ruby Courtyard stage, especially Juheun (Day 1) and Eddie Pitzul (Day 2). Their sets kept the crowd entertained all night long as they eagerly awaited in line for the ferris wheel, beverages, and bathrooms. With so many amazing sets during the weekend, these were a few of Trillvo’s top favorites…

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Day 1 – Bijou, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Zeds Dead B2B Jauz, Oliver Heldens, Rüfüs Du Sol, Zhu

Arizona local Bijou slayed the crowd with his dirty G-house beats while also mixing in crowd favorite tracks. Black Tiger Sex Machine took everyone to church for a few heavy gospel readings. The highly anticipated Zeds Dead b2b Jauz set was mind blowing, their unique styles blended harmoniously. They dropped their new upbeat song “When the Lights Go Down”, which started off slow then quickly built up to what sounded like a drum n’ bass track . Later Jauz and Zeds Dead slowed it down with their remix of “Strobe” from Deadmau5. 

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Credit: Rukes

The song turned out really awesome, and this is just one of a bunch of records we’ve been working on together. I wouldn’t rule out more music with the three of us in 2018. —Jauz

Oliver Heldens threw down an amazing house set filled with enough bass for your heart’s content. Zhu took the crowd on a melodic and funky journey, which was absolutely breathtaking. Rüfüs Du Sol caught the attention of many new festival goers. 

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Credit: Decadence

Day 2 – Crywolf (live), Armin Van Buuren, Zedd, K?D, Destructo, Boys Noize, Madeon, Justice (DJ set)

Crywolf was absolutely amazing, his live vocals and instruments melted the crowd as he took them through a melodic journey. At one point he stage dived into the crowd and floated on top of a sea of hands before being returned to the stage. Armin Van Buuren took everyone into a state of trance as he celebrated his Arizona festival debut at Decadence. Armin played a variety of his top hit trance tracks while also throwing in a little bit of psytrance, which everyone went ballistic over. Justice also celebrated their Arizona debut and threw down a fun throwback set featuring rock and electronic classics. 

Deca AZ - Armin (Phoenix New Times)
Credit: Phoenix New Times

Boys Noize and Deorro joined everyone as they said good-bye to 2017 and prepared to welcome the fresh beginnings of a new year with a NYE kiss. After the countdown for the ball drop, confetti, CO2 cannons, and big balloons serenaded the crowd as high energy music welcomed in the new year. Later on, Boys Noize brought out a birthday cake and celebrated Destructo’s birthday with him and all of his house fans. Snails kept the festivities going until the wee hours of the morning at the annual Afterglow dance party. Doors opened at 2:30 am and the music didn’t stop until 6am…..that’s over 15 hours of heartpounding music for Day 2!

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Credit: Decadence

The VIP experience from Relentless Beats and Global Dance set a new standard for festivals.

Upgrading to VIP is always a tough decision because you aren’t quite sure if it’s worth the added cost for a few extra bells and whistles. Most of the time you get a separate line for entry, some air conditioned bathrooms, special bars, and/or an elevated viewing deck for the main stage. While these amenities improve the festival experience, you still feel like there is still something missing. 

Deca AZ - BTSM (Phoenix New Times)

This year we are going beyond the world-class acts, to give our fans the most elaborate and immersive experience yet. Think of it as a ’Thank You’ for a great 2017 and a toast to an even bigger new year.  —Thomas Turner (Relentless Beats founder)

Relentless Beats and Global Dance put some careful thought into their VIP experience and really knocked it out of the park this year. As you entered security, there was a special line for VIP guests where you received a lanyard with the lineup. The entrance for VIP was located directly in-between the Sapphire Ballroom and Diamond Atrium stages. The placement of the VIP courtyard was brilliant because the stages were connect on the adjacent sides. Throughout the courtyard, there were patio heaters for keeping the hands cozy while waiting for drinks or the private bathrooms. The bathrooms themselves were inside heated trailers and featured flushing toilets with plenty of paper products. 

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There was a huge covered tent in the middle of the courtyard where the private bar was located along with some tables and chairs. The back back of the tent featured hors d’oeuvres as far as the eye could see and throughout the night VIP guests could snack on fresh meatballs, fine cheeses, savory meats, fresh fruit and veggies, and delectable desserts that melted your heart away. The festival took it one step further by having staff walk around the VIP viewing deck with desserts on serving trays for your enjoyment during the sets. The viewing deck got VIP guests up and close to the performing DJ’s for perfect squad photos. The addition of the fresh food and served desserts really elevated the VIP experience and set Decadence Arizona apart from other festivals. 

With another Decadence Arizona in the books, here is some food for thought on improvements for next year.

The free water station was awesome for staying hydrated, but the lines were quite long since there was only one station. Adding another station would be awesome.

The patio heaters throughout the festival grounds kept everyone cozy when standing outside the stage structures, more would be appreciated!

Sapphire Ballroom was such a badass stage; however, the dirt floors created a lot of dust. Adding some flooring could help a ton.

The regular bathrooms were well maintained, but the lines were long at times since there was only one cluster of bathrooms in the corner.

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The combination of local headliners, attention to detail, and mind-blowing production made for unforgettable weekend.

From the badass lineup to the killer VIP experience, this festival was the place to be for celebrating NYE in Arizona. After attending several years at Decadence Denver, it was truly amazing getting to see how the Arizona locals celebrate NYE in style. The sets were genuine and intimate, which invited everyone to come together and celebrate as one. We celebrated life as we danced and sang the night away while reflecting on our lives during 2017. 

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New Year’s at Decadence is something that always should be over-the-top. —Thomas Turner (Relentless Beats founder)

Special shoutout to Relentless Beats for setting up the Ranger Outpost, which was a cozy, safe area for guests to chill out, get help, and/or regroup with lost friends. The tent was amazing, it was filled with a ton of couches, snacks, free water bottles, and even cozy heaters. The Relentless Rangers manned the tent while also roaming the festival grounds to answer questions, keep guest safe, and spread positive vibes all night long.

Connect with Decadence AZ on Social Media

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Relentless Beats on Social Media

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Posted by:Mitch Tilley

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