MAGAZINE

Could Moonrise Festival Be the Next Big Thing?

Photo by: Ty Reamer
by Alexa Smith Tue August 19, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Over the weekend of August 9-10,  Baltimore had the pleasure of welcoming the Moonrise Festival to the area for its inaugural event at Pimlico Racetrack. Thousands of happy festival goers filled the venue, where they were greeted with four stages and an impressive first-year lineup. With a successful first festival under its belt, Moonrise is primed to continue to expand, undoubtedly evolving into something even bigger and better, year-on-year.

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Originally scheduled to have its inaugural festival last summer, Moonrise was abruptly cancelled two weeks before showtime due to promoters failing to obtain the final permit. Tickets were refunded but ticket holders were outraged, as many had been looking forward to Moonrise as their only festival of the season.

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This year, ticket holders crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. Not only did Moonrise go off with out a hitch, it far surpassed everyone's expectations.

The lineup was enough to draw in major crowds from the capital region and beyond. Comprised almost entirely of headline-level acts, the roster included Kaskade, Bassnectar, Morgan Page, Excision, Bro Safari, Tritonal, Infected Mushroom, Lotus, DJ Snake, Tommy Trash, Adventure Club, Zeds Dead, Sander van Doorn, Audien, Rebecca & Fiona, and even Waka Flocka Flame and ASAP Ferg.

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The main stage was a decent size for a first-year festival, and featured five triangular LED screens displayed in a unique design. The Lunar stage was almost as large as the main stage, and was furnished with instruments for full band access for acts such as STS9. The Solar Dance Tent was impressive, easily competing with similar tents at well-established festivals. The sound quality of Moonrise far exceeded the crowd's expectations, with the bass seemingly cranked all the way to 100, which is very important to a sea of dance fans who came specifically for the trap.

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The festival was filled with EDM addicts of all different walks of life, drawing in crowds for trap, dubstep, deep house, and chill dance bands. Walking through the festival grounds, you could find modern day hippies sitting on the grass in groups, girls doing tricks with their hula hoops, glovers, and ravers in full uniform. If you were lucky you could even catch one of the festi-celebs that make the trek to Moonrise, such as Lady Casa, who was there to promote her PLUR Warriors movement at the merch booths.

The main event, however, was Bassnectar’s closing set Sunday. A large majority of the crowd bought last minute tickets for the festival solely to see Bassnectar after the Hudson Project (aptly nicknamed the “Mudson Project”) was cancelled last month due to major storms. Almost the entire festival gathered to close out the event together while watching their favorite DJ.

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The festival undoubtedly left a lasting impression in everyone’s minds, and on Sunday the happy crowd exited the festival fully satisfied. With plenty of room to grow at Pimlico Racetrack, our guess is we'll see bigger stages and larger crowds at Moonrise in 2015. We'll be first in line to enter the gates!

All photos by Ty Reamer.