Written By: RayTrill Harvey
Having festival withdraws? We want to tell you about one of our favorites from September. Our team experienced over 5 different festivals last month but Dancefestopia really stood out to us for quite a few reasons. If you’re considering going to the Emerald city next year to check it out, read our honest review and see if the festival is right for you and your squad.
The 3 day festival reminded me of one thing in particular, a ‘catered to adults’ YMCA camp. The venue had tons of log cabins and a volunteer told me that the venue actually is used as a kids camp during the Summer. Situated on a LARGE beautiful lake with hills and trees surrounding, the atmosphere really made you feel connected to nature.
The day before the festival officially opened hosted an EPIC pre-party with a massive circus records b2b from Flux Pavillion, Doctor P, Cookie Monsta & Funtcase. The music went on for hours and gave a preview of how amazing the sets to come would be. I’d say this add on was worth the additional money to be able to come early.
Brief words from one of the owners, Doug Bordegon
On our first day we were lucky enough to run into one of the owners/founders, Doug. We chatted with him a bit and loved what he had to say about the evolution of the festival.
We learned from Doug that this was the 7th year of the festival which sparked the question, ‘What has been one of the biggest struggles the festival has faced over the years?’ He let us know that weather has been the biggest struggle and it was apparent as we were actually dealing with some heavy rain that day and we could see the stress it brought the organizers. Doug told us that the festival started with about only 1,700 people in attendance and has grown to a whopping 50,000; a success to be celebrated. This isn’t the first venue DFT has thrown the festival at either, it’s the 3rd, but Doug seemed incredibly happy with calling this venue home and bragged about the many dimensions and the forest aspect that fulfilled their vision.
“Our vision initially included Hip Hop acts on the Lineup, we even had Mac Miller one year, but as the festival grew we decided to poll and ask attendees every year wha they wanted… what we have now is our vision mixed with the vision of the fans.”
On the first official day of the festival, we chose to enter 30 minutes before doors opened to check out the grounds. There was talk of impending rain and we worried it would greatly effect the festival. When you first enter the festival, you must walk down a steep dirt road to a amphitheater resembling hill that overlooks the main stage. It was quite a beautiful sight to take in. It seems a great deal of money and consideration went into the construction of the main stage and it was greatly appreciated.
Facing the main stage, you would take a sharp left and walk around trees and behind vendors to find the hidden Lollipop stage. This was actually my favorite stage at the festival but was very difficult to find the first day. An LED wall and stage faced the forest away from the main stage and a large white tent covered the crowd, keeping the sound enclosed. This stage actually didn’t open until the mainstage closed around 12ish and the stage ran until 5am every night. A dope spot to party all evening before returning to camp.
The final stage, The pyramid stage, I wasn’t a fan of at all. It seemed almost unfair to ask locals to play this stage. Maybe it seemed worse than it was due to the weather which made the path to get to it a muddy slip and slide, but I didn’t like the stage itself. It was a giant pyramid that hid the DJ’s from sight, taking away from the stage energy a DJ can bring and making it a little more difficult to vibe. The stage itself was in an awkward location behind a lake and was hard to find. I did enjoy the 3D image mapping on it though.
A vendor village to the left of main stage was definitely one of the dopest I’ve seen at a festival, It was mostly all heady gear and trippy art catered to the crowd that frequented the festival but had so many things that would appeal to the masses.
One of the shops that really stood out to us was the Cornerstone Creations wooden cabin. The owners actually lived close to the area and made most of their merchandise from wood found around the location they live. They built the cabin that housed their merch in 4 weeks!
A few of the other shops that stood out to us were Moon Men Creations, Cosmolic Calicos, The Pinstop Shop, Elemental Flow Co. & Nomadic Movement.
The food and drink the festival had to offer was INCREDIBLE. We were blown away by the selection and the dope hangout pavilion that was there for people to chill and eat/drink. It was completely covered too so it protected from the rain when it got too bad. We tried some corn dogs and a fruit smoothie that brought me back to life at one point.
The festival was sponsored by Monaco alcohol, a local company that sells delicious mixed drinks and sets up a dope lounges with stage viewing areas. We also saw them at Lost Lands! We hope to see them at other festivals as well.
The camping area was insanely cool, but for all its pros it definitely had cons as well. One of the dope things about it was the entire campgrounds was in a forest on a hiking trail. You could set up wherever and however you wanted inside the forest and people constructed really inventive networks of towns with their tents. The shade was really nice and kept the campgrounds cold during the festival and the entire campgrounds were lit up with Christmas lights and decorations. There was also a dope school bus that had been converted into a stage to keep the music going late into the night.
A few of the cons of the campgrounds was the taxing hike up the hill, it wasnt suitable at all for anyone out of shape BUT they made up for it by providing rides on golfcarts that could handle the terrain at all hours. The rain, which wasnt the festivals fault, made the path down very slippery in certain areas but the festival tried to cope with mulch that helped a bit. The portapotties in the campgrounds were pretty disgusting every time we tried to use them, they could definitely be better maintained.
The festival had some super dope amenities starting with the “Rekinecting area”. This area was hard to find at night but if you found the trail, a path took you to an open field opening up on a lake with a bonfire on one end and a dome of lights on the other with an insane crystal shop. It was such a cool spot to find if you were lucky enough.
There was some beautiful art that was erected over night where festival goers could go and drop words of inspiration to whoever needed them. we thought those positive vibes were a loving touch to a festival that really seemed to care. Canoes ran on the days it didn’t rain and allowed people to get lost on the lake and relax their worries away.
Typically the festival has hot air balloon rides and helicopter rides but unfortunately the rain forced the festival to cancel along with rendering the pool basically useless. 😥
I’d also like to recommend the VIP upgrades because the VIP upgrades allowed you into a really dope vip cabin chill spot with free food and dry AC. Also if you purchased ‘Super VIP’ you could actually go up and hang out on the main stage… that’s pretty boss.
As far as the artist performances go, it was bass heavy festival but threw in acts like Illenium and Said The Sky to satisfy any audience. Performances from Zeds Dead, Midnight T, YOOKiE, ATLiens and more blew our minds and it seemed every artist brought their best stuff to the decks this weekend. We couldn’t get enough and never wanted the music to stop. The selection was a bass lovers dream come true and really served to keep anyone happy who wouldn’t be making it to Lost Lands the following weekend.
We had a great weekend at Dancefestopia and despite the struggle with weather we thought the festival was executed incredibly well and seemed to basically run itself with on point staff and a very well kept venue. The campgrounds were vibey and unique while the main hidden paths and places to explore made it a fun adventure where you could easily gets lost in your own experience no matter what your liking might be.
The festival will be back next year, we’re sure of it. Grab early bird tickets by following them on their socials and waiting for the next announcement.