Written by Andrew Murillo
Photos by Andrew Murillo
Walking up to the entrance of Global Dance Festival, one cannot help but to feel dwarfed by the shadow of the massive Mile High Stadium with its bright white Bronco bucking into the skies adorned on top of the edifice. Upon entering you’re greeted with a large banner of the stages and set times, always an appreciated element, and there were actually 3 of these spread throughout the fest. Global made sure everyone stayed in the know. They also made sure everyone started on the right note, placing its hydration station right in front of the entrance.
To the immediate left of the entrance was the CRYSTAL CAVERN, or silent disco area. Placing the local talent right at the entrance for everyone to experience first. A very appreciated and great move for the lesser known talents. Here one was able to choose between channels and pick which ever set resonated best with their personal vibes. This area was also underground, so…IT HAD AC…making it the perfect cool off spot for those in need. A perfect showcase for the great local talent.
(picture courtesy of ColoradoCollegeWeb)
Emerging back into the fresh Denver mountain air from the enchantment of the underground disco, you’re greeted by the DRAGONFLY ART PARK. This area proved to be every crews perfect meetup spot. The WISH art installation was a welcoming surprise, with its ever-changing colored dandelions painting a rainbow in the night sky. Three giant LED-Dragonflys adorned the lawn area, providing perfect shade from the sun under their massive spanning wings. Seated at the head of the park was a giant disco ball, which would open up and shoot a tower of flames into the skies.
Walking straight past the lawn was the VIP VILLAGE. Those who spent the extra got their own entrance to the festival through this area, as well as their own food truck, bar, and air conditioned restrooms. The food truck was actually different each day, day one having a pizza truck and day 2 having sliders and tacos. A few cabanas were lined on either side of the private bar, offering shade and a place to grub down. On the lawn on either side of the bar was also a few couches, bean bags and two large raised couch/bed type of things.
To the immediate right of the village laid the TUNDRA STAGE. This stage EASILY had the best vibes of the entire festival. One could really get a sense of love and enjoyment sweep over their body here. Everyone in the crowd at this stage was a true fan of the DJs playing there and that was easily felt. One particular set that took me by surprise was an artist named SVYR, having never heard him before I quickly became a fan and definitely recommend everyone to check him out! Needless to say…if the vibes ever took a downturn all one had to do was stop by TUNDRA and the embrace for the music would easily pick anyone back up.
Leaving the Tundra you hear the screams of enjoyment coming from the Genesis carnival ride, as it swings fest goers in a circle of bliss. Everyone’s favorite festival lemonade stand stood at its base. These stands had a little twist though…for a little extra you could add one OR double up on a shot of vodka to be added in! Obviously one was purchased…for science.
The wubs of the NORTHRN LIGHTS stage drew fest goers in next. This was clearly the bass stage of the fest and where everyone came to break their fucking necks. Fans were going so hard on the rail the security was trying to counter the energy and anchor down the thing with all their might. The rail broke anyway. One particular moment that stood out was during Riot Ten’s set, where a mosh pit literally lasted for 15 minutes…and probably then some. That particular set EASILY had the most hype energy of the entire fest.
It was time to grub. Leaving the Northern Lights stage to the Food Truck park was a bit of a labyrinth, but along the way was the Vendors Village. Swisher Sweets was out doing the lord’s work hooking people up with free rillos and other swag, like t-shirts and stickers, just for making a social media post. The village also featured some fun rave clothing, flows toy tents and of course fest and artist merch. Always a blessing when some of the lesser touring artists bring some of their own hard to find merch to sell. The food truck park had an amazing variety to choose from. Wild game burgers, Mac n Cheese, Latin-Asian Fusion, Gyros and Real-Fruit Ice Cream. Breckenridge Brewery was also out in full force in their Bar Truck.
Seated at the front of the food trucks was the AMAZON STAGE. This stage clearly had the most put into the decorations and productions of any of the side stages. With a giant multi-colored lotus hanging in the center of the crowd and vines crawling up the support beams. The feel of the amazon was definitely felt. The tent was a literal carnival tent as well, setting it even further apart from the other side stages. A majority of the hip-hop acts took residence here. Juicy J especially brought the crowd alive and kept them HIGH-HI-HI-HI-HI with his Three-Six-Mafia throwbacks mixed in with his own solo work. At night the DJs took back control of the stage, with Bijou, Claptone and Destructo especially standing out.
Behind the beauty of the Amazon stage laid the rest of the carnival rides. Here you could swing in a circle hundreds of feet in the sky, get all topsy-turvy on the FREAK OUT, free fall from a tower or spin till your body couldn’t take it anymore. Lines for the rides were pretty hefty, though they did appear to be moving moderately quick. A bridge, adorned with giant inflatable tentacles coming from below, connected this area over to the next.
The radiant behemoth that’s was the SUMMIT stage met fest goers on the other side of the bridge. On the left and right of the stage were raised cabanas, if you wanted a good view and bottle to boot. In front of these cabanas were large rectangular LED screens that also had a live stream of the artist on stage, so you could always get a clear glimpse of the headlining acts. Towards the front of the crowd was a very fine line separating the GA crowd from the VIP viewing area. Usually to the sides or on a raised deck, the VIP viewing area at GLOBAL was the entirety of the front of the stage, definitely making it a lot of BANG for your buck.
GUCCI MANE – A living icon in the rap game. Came out with hit after hit and kept the energy 100 the entire time. BURRRRR
DEADMAU5 – Another living legend. Surprised everyone and brought out the Cube2.1, which he live triggers his own visuals for WHILE DJing. Intricate set transitioned perfectly throughout. Lived up to and blew past the expectations.
JUNKIE KID – Ever thought you could be in the feels and being going hard AF at the same time? Well that’s Junkie Kid, the Hardstyle Mariachi. Couldn’t have ended the fest with a better set.
RIOT TEN – As stated earlier EASILY had his crowd the most hype of anyone all weekend. I’m sure the local hospital ran out of neck braces.
JUICY J – Classic on classics. Came out in the swagged out pink and made everyone weak. Crowd was singing along to almost every song.
SVYR – Most surprising set, amazing energy even early in the day.
DECADON – WOW. Opened the day and easily could have been the one closing it dude went so hard. Played out some new tracks and played along with his electronic guitar LIVE. Def one to look out for!
Machine Gun Kelly – Never knew he had such a great singing voice. Put on an AMAZING performance backed up by a live band. Rockstar vibes.
RICH THE KID – Commanded the crowd. VERY high energy. Pleasant surprise.
TROY BOI – Not sure if he was just having an off day or what. Long time fan of the music, but he had very low energy and it was defiantly felt. His set time also conflicted with Bijou, who was absolutely OWNING his set. Leaving that for Troy Boi’s lower energy was not the wisest choice.
Water stations: Though they were VERY welcomed, the placement could have been a bit better. The one at the entrance was GREAT but the other was sort of buried behind carnival rides and restroom lines. Maybe putting one in the pathway to main stage would be a great idea.
VIP Entrance: Having a separate entrance is great, however that’s just what it was. It was not express entry it was just a different entrance. Maybe offering express entry could help next year, as I saw the VIP line taking just as long to enter as the GA line.
Side Stages: Would like to see all the sides stages be treated with the same decoration/production level as the AMAZON stage. Really the only one you could feel the theme of it at.
Media Tent: Though this is more for the industry side of things, it would be nice to offer a backstage media area. The media tent was also the meet and greet tent so there wasn’t really a quiet place for industry folks to network or take a break. It’s always nice to have an area for the people working to grab a water at.
All in all Global is an AMAZING festival. The new location works perfectly for the feel of the fest and has plenty of space for all the carnival rides and other festivities. The DRAGONFLY ART PARK presents the perfect cool down spot and meet up area for when a break is needed. The plethora of food was a MAJOR plus, making it tough to decide what to eat every day! The VIP VILLAGE and main stage access should make it an EASY choice for anyone considering it in the future IT IS WORTH THE EXTRA. Plus can never go wrong with FREE carnival rides! The variety of music was a HUGE plus. Having that level of talent from EDM and Hip-Hop was a very welcomed addition! If you live in Denver, have never been to the city, or just love GREAT music and even BETTER VIBES, GLOBAL DANCE FESTIVAL is a MUST!