Article written by Haley Darbonne & Nathen Lane
Over the weekend, Trillvo had sent out four amazing creatives on assignment to cover and review Freaky Deaky in Houston, Texas. From a new venue location, to a diverse lineup and everything in between, stay tuned for our thoughts on this years Freaky Deaky Festival. Freaky Deaky took place at the Houston Raceway in Baytown, Texas; which had been a change from the previous location at the Sam Houston Race Track in Houston, Texas. With the location change, came a handful of variables that went with it; good and bad.
I’ll start off with the good things we had noticed about the festival this year. One of the things I noticed this year at the new location was the increase in grass throughout the festival grounds. Having the festival move to a grassier location is a big step up in my opinion. Nothing is worse than having the air around you completely hazed by the dust being kicked in the air from people dancing. I also noticed the different stage productions from previous years; with sound production that sounded crisp; even from afar. Powerful lasers that can be seen from miles and miles away from the festival, along with pyrotechnics that were on the Freaky Deaky main stage, along with The Crypt Stage.
There was a diverse lineup this year; with a big lineup in hardstyle/happy hardcore this year. With artists like Coone, Da Tweekaz, and Lil Texas, the Haunted Hollow stage was booming all weekend long. I got a chance to see Lil Texas play and I must say, I was quite intrigued. Everyone who saw Lil Texas was moving all over the place at roughly 200 BPM; one fist in the air, with a White Claw in the other hand. I liked how every stage was curated to a certain sub-genre of electronic music, so that you could walk around and experiment in a genre of EDM you hadn’t listened to before.
Martin Garrix dropped his own Sicko Mode edit that had the crowd going crazy at the Freaky Deaky stage. Blunts & Blondes dropped a remix to Fisher’s track, “Losing It,” at The Crypt Stage that had the audience raging with surprise for this unreleased remix. Rezz gave everyone a spooky surprise to end night 1 of Freaky Deaky with her collaboration with Malaa that left the crowd in awe; and not just from the song either. The collaboration had everyone shrieking in joy ( Collaboration out NOW on Confessions). Borgore played a gnarly set at The Crypt stage; blending the old with the new. Mixing metal-based mixdowns with dubstep really brought out the theme Freaky Deaky was going for; only to end it with his well-known track, “Decisions.” Ganja White Night closed out the festival at The Crypt stage, playing tracks off their new album, “The One.” I loved their set as it was a lot heavier than I’ve previously seen them perform, as their new album is more on the heavier side. Whomever is seeing their upcoming tour is in for a TREAT. The Big Top was a loving favorite of house heads. With iconic names like AC Slater, VNSSA, Tim Baresko, AMTRAC, YOTTO, Chris Lorenzo, Dombresky, and Lane 8, who also brought out a massive crowd to end the night, the entire tent was BUMPING with those fat beats and sexy rhythms.
I loved how the festival had a haunted house you could go in that brought along the spooky vibe, with Halloween being right around the corner. There were geo-domes set up around the venue grounds that had hammocks people could hang in to relax or catch up on the sleep they didn’t get the night before at the Getter afterparty at Cle Houston. Freaky Deaky was also very considerate with streaming the Houston Astros game to keep everyone up to speed with the game against the Washington Nationals.
The Rising stage was a stage that showcased locals from around the surrounding area. If you were from Houston, you made at least 1 or 2 stops at this stage. The ambition from these artists spews from their fingers. Arson, pictured above, has been bringing Hard Dance to the surface out here in Houston. Other artists that were showcased were Altruist, an Aggie by day and DJ by night, KNOTZ, a f*ck genres kinda dude with a stage presence like no other, Madhatter, who is ambitious as he is humble, PHON, your favorite DJ at the club, Matthew Dunn, EDM Houston’s biggest philanthropist, Athenz, the queen of nighttime radio and mashups, and Mashbit, the contest winner with an appetite for pizza! When looking for the next biggest thing, these people have it!
On top of all this, my absolute FAVORITE part of the festival all weekend was having Spicy Pie as a food vendor. Having a special feeling for Electric Forest where Spicy Pie was THE staple when it came to food vendors there (Sadly no more), Spicy Pie Pizza will always have a special, spicy place in my heart; so I was more than thrilled to see them make an appearance at the fest. Spicy Pie was the move all weekend with their signature ‘za. which contained Jalapeno Peppers, Spicy Red Peppers, and Pepperoni. Not only did Spicy Pie clear my sinuses, but it also soaked in all the White Claws that were consumed. Honorary mention goes to the Rockstar tent and employees that kept us energized through out the entire fest.
With all these positive remarks on Freaky Deaky Festival, comes negative connotations about the festival. One of the bigger cons of the weekend was the massive mud pits that were around the festival from previous storms that had rolled through earlier in the week. The staff tried containing the mud pits on day 2 but was only partially successful, as the Freaky Deaky stage was still very muddy at the end of the festival. With large areas of mud made some stages inhabitable. Along with mud pits, came sound bleeding. After reviewing the map of the venue, it quickly reminded me of Northcoast Festival; in which this area had stages in every direction yet all facing the center. If you stood farther back like I know many do at these larger festivals, there was massive sound bleeding; especially from The Crypt stage and the Freaky Deaky stage. With no actual structures (besides VIP) to block the sound from either of the two stages, I could hear a mixture of both house and dubstep clashing at the merch booth; which was not so great. Along with there being sound bleeding, there was a White Claw shortage at the festival. At one point the Artist Lounge started charging for White Claw’s because people were double-fisting Claws (including myself) to enjoy the festivities with your old and new friends.
The wifi that the festival said we could use to keep up to speed on the Astros game (along with any other life events) was either not working or super slow. That tends to happen with 20,000 people in a secluded area; but the signal wasn’t really available unless I was backstage at The Crypt stage. Leaving the festival was in itself a clusterf*ck. The end of night one took me 3 hours to leave the parking lot, yet the second day took under an hour. I’m assuming they realized how bad leaving the parking lot was and somehow figured it out the next day. Thank you Disco Donnie for coming up with a quick solution at 7am.
With traffic problems, led to those whom took rideshare to the festival; in shambles. Hearing peoples remarks of spending north of $250 to get a ride out of the festival, led many festival-goers walking through mud and along the narrow highways to get as far out as possible for a cheaper rate. Maybe a partnership with Lyft or Uber could help out with the ridesharing next year?
Overall, we believe Freaky Deaky 2019 was a success. With any festival, there are problems, but it’s about how they handle the situations that make them stand out. From incredible sets on all stages all weekend, to great food with great crowds, Freaky Deaky at Houston Raceway was one for the books!
We thank Disco Donnie and the entire team that put it together for another awesome festival!