Paradiso Festival of electronic dance music a throbbing success
The Paradiso Festival, the Northwest's first locally-produced major festival of electronic dance music (EDM), drew 19,000 enthusiastic dancers to The Gorge, in George, Grant County Saturday. Headliners included Avicii, Afrojack, Dillon Francis, R3HAB, Excision, Knife Party and Above & Beyond.
Special to the Seattle Times
Concert Review |
A 96-foot-tall Ferris wheel, a Cliff Hanger thrill ride and three stages of pounding electronic dance music (EDM) greeted ticket holders at Saturday's inaugural Paradiso Festival at The Gorge, in George, Grant County.
With a slogan of "Digital Meets Nature," the 12-hour, three-stage outdoor dance party was like a 21st century version of the 1968 Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter Than Air Fair near Sultan — without the hippies, mud and counterculture.
From the campgrounds and parking lots, festivalgoers tramped through the grass by the thousands to begin lining up before the official opening at 2 p.m.
The highlight of the evening at the main stage was Swedish DJ Avicii's two-hour set featuring such songs as the addictively melodic "Levels" and his hit remix of Nadia Ali's "Rapture," a soaring, digital dreamscape. Avicii augmented his orchestrations with Sonar pings, Theremin and other incidental sounds, as women on the stage in white costumes resembling Mardi Gras dancers gyrated to snapping rhythms.
The main stage boasted 88 subwoofers, producing a throbbing, deep-bass rumble that kept the tightly packed crowd in the lower bowl in perpetual motion, with hands in the air and feet barely on the ground. Massive panels of LED lights, as well as giant metal ribbons of additional LED lights resembling the rings of Saturn, encircled the performers perched on raised platforms. Some fans wore rainbow-colored headbands, fuzzy boas, multicolored boxer shorts, furry leggings, even Darth Vader masks.
Multiple styles of EDM — from trance to dubstep — were represented by other headliners such as Dillon Francis, R3HAB, Excision, Knife Party, Above & Beyond and Dutch DJ Afrojack, who brought the festival to a close with an explosive set in the wee hours of the morning, while other stages rocked to a finish with Donald Glaude and Wheelz.
Performance artists from San Francisco's Vau de Vire Society as well as performers from Seattle and Los Angeles circulated through the crowd and often accompanied artists on the main stage. Richard Dalton, of L.A.'s Stilt Circus, stood more than eight feet tall in his brocade emperor's costume.
The festival ran smoothly, with few apparent problems or visits to the first aid tents. The weather improved as the day went by, with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s by late afternoon.
Paradiso was the largest EDM event to date at The Gorge, with advance ticket sales estimated at more than 19,000 by USC Events, which co-promoted the festival with Live Nation. USC Events is already making plans for 2013. A large, lighted sign greeted festivalgoers as they left the venue: "Paradiso Festival: See You Next Year!"
Gene Stout: firstname.lastname@example.org