Paradiso Festival at the Gorge showcases electronic dance music
Paradiso, the first festival of electronic dance music (or EDM) produced in the Northwest, takes place Saturday, June 23, at the Gorge, in George, Grant County. Stars include Dutch-born DJ Afrojack, Avicii, Above & Beyond, Knife Party and Excision. EDM is the latest sensation in pop music. Its rise, says Afrojack, has similarities to the rise of rock in the '60s.
Special to The Seattle Times
Paradiso Festival2 p.m. Saturday at the Gorge, George, Grant County; $60-$250, must be 18 (800-745-3000 or www.paradisofestival.com).
In live performances, Dutch-born DJ and producer Afrojack feeds off the energy of his thousands of fans.
"The most important thing when I get out there is to make sure it's a big party, and usually that doesn't take a lot of preparation," he said in a phone interview from Florida.
"I just feel it. It's unexplainable."
Afrojack, whose real name is Nick van de Wall, is currently on his first major tour of North America. Among the stops on the "Jacked" tour (for which he designed the visuals and lighting) is the Paradiso Festival, a locally produced electronic-dance-music festival making its debut Saturday at the Gorge.
In addition to Afrojack, the 12-hour festival produced by Seattle's USC Events in collaboration with Live Nation Northwest, will feature such major acts as Avicii, Above & Beyond, Knife Party and Excision, as well as dozens of other electronic-music acts.
Afrojack, currently one of the top DJs in the world, is expecting a wildly enthusiastic crowd at the Gorge. His career got a huge boost when he released the song "Take Over Control," featuring Dutch singer Eva Simons. The 2010 song is a club anthem and is still receiving extensive airplay on dance-music stations such as Seattle's C-89 FM.
Afrojack won a Grammy Award in 2011 for his remix (with David Guetta) of Madonna's "Revolver," and collaborated on the 2011 hit single "Give Me Everything" with Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Nayer.
Afrojack's current hit is "Can't Stop Me" with Shermanology. In September, he'll release a new album on Wall Recordings.
The Dutch DJ compares the growth of electronic dance music, known as EDM, to the rise of rock in the late '60s, culminating with the Woodstock Festival. EDM promotes a similar kind of feel-good vibe for today's festivalgoers.
"They go because they want to enjoy the music and connect with all the people who have the same taste in music," he said.
"What I like about the whole scene is that people go to these festivals to literally dance the whole day or night away — and see their favorite acts and just hear the music on a loud level. That's what the festivals are all about."
In addition to music, Paradiso will feature a 96-foot-high lighted Ferris wheel — a beacon that will be visible throughout the area. From the top, festivalgoers will be able to see the main stage in the amphitheater below. Variety performers from San Francisco's Vau de Vire troupe will add to the carnivallike atmosphere.
To help ensure that Paradiso is safe, the promoters have announced a "zero tolerance" policy regarding illegal drugs. The venue has also banned dolls, stuffed animals, pacifiers and those pointy little glow sticks — anything that could be thrown or cause injury. Ticket holders must be at least 18.
Gene Stout: firstname.lastname@example.org