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Concert Experience

Dylan Peake's Lights All Night festival experience

January 21, 2020

This winter break student radio gave me the opportunity to attend the 10th anniversary of Lights All Night so I could recount the tales of my adventure. For those who need some background information, Lights All Night is a two-day electronic dance music (EDM) festival in Dallas that has some of the biggest names in the EDM scene performing. I had no expectations and honestly no plan for the event besides how I was going to get to and from the venue. Being the responsible headass I am, I avoided driving and took the Dallas rail system from the suburbs into the inner city. At night. Alone. With a wallet full of cash. Genius right? I get off the train and navigate my way to the venue down a dirt sidewalk and through an underpass. I hear the humming of bass in the distance and know I am getting close. The first thing I notice as I get in line for the entrance is the festival attire, or more like lack-of. Apparently for ravers, if you’re wearing anything other than fishnets and neon, you’re doing it wrong. The entrance led to one of the main stage rooms called Supernova and right when I walked in the scent of fresh mint blasted me with cool air from above; honestly a nice touch from the festival designers. The Supernova stage had headliners such as Skrillex and Louis the Child mixing throughout the night and the sidelines were dotted with cocktail bars, fresh fruit juice stands and I’m pretty sure even a vape shop. The back had giant trendy L-A-N letters for those wanting to flex on their Instas and also a stage with dancers swinging on a hanging crescent moon twirling a flaming umbrella. This was only the first room so I decide to explore the rest of the venue. There’s a couple of smaller outdoor stages surrounded by food trucks and people laying on the ground staring at the sky most likely rolling. The main outdoor stage is called Planet Prime with DJs from a specific edm label performing all night. The whole scene makes me think that an angst-y teenage Buzz Lightyear was the creative engine behind this event. I stick around for a while and enjoy the mixing. After an hour of straight vibing and a google search later I learn that I’ve been listening to UK house music. I end the night at the Supernova stage and begin my journey home to rest up for day two. The second day starts out pretty much the same but add in heavy rainfall from hours before and a personal mission to do some crowd reconnaissance. Because of the rain most people were congregated to the inside stages. I remember the second day that there is a room adjacent to Supernova as spatially massive and with as many people. It felt like my world just doubled. I spend the majority of my night going back and forth between these stages to catch different sets. This time I was truly getting myself in the heat of the crowd both literally and figuratively. Those with any concert experience will know that mo people equals mo heat and at a rave everyone is shoulder to shoulder. That cool air they were blasting in the room is starting to make sense now. I was people watching the entire festival but it was here where the characters really started to pop. I learned during this experience of these people in the edm scene called “wooks”. Wooks are the hippie-esque individuals who are a bit too into raving where it’s kind of a problem for them but pure entertainment for the bystander. They stand on the outskirts of a crowd spinning yo-yos and batons with blinking LEDs as if they themselves were conducting the techno rhythm. Their other location will be in the heart of the crowd; this time donning gloves with blinking LEDs at the finger tips. These wooks will walk up to people as the DJ is performing and move their hands intricately and sporadically, but always to the beat of the music. Bystanders will crowd around the wook and just stare at the moving hands as if it were visuals to the actual show. I honestly had no idea what to make of it but I assumed it made sense if you were on the substances ravers are usually on. Head banging circles were another phenomenon of the crowd. It was a ritual part of the rave where the group would circle up facing each other and head bang in unison to the boom of the bass. If you join in I would recommend not thinking about what your loved ones would think of this and if this activity is what an adult should be doing with their free time. After a couple more hours of headliners and wacky interactions, I head home and conclude my adventure. My experience at Lights All Night was truly one of pure awe. I was thrown into a human zoo of neon, electronic rhythms, and laser lights and these collective aspects create an environment like no other. For those who want to escape to a cyber fantasy world with 35,000+ people every now and then, I see why they go.

Written by Dylan Peake

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