The debut of Moonrise Festival did not disappoint, left us in awe, still mentally reliving it days later. Thousands of fans anticipated its arrival after suffering a huge disappointment twelve months prior, when the event was called off. Steez Promo and Glow more than made up for it this time around, with their meticulous planning and the two day festival went off without a hitch, combining eclectic world-class talent with outstanding attention paid towards the experience of their attendees.
Upon arrival, you could instantly feel a sense of camaraderie as everyone walked towards the legendary Pimlico Race Course. This venue is most famous for hosting the Preakness, and is no stranger to concerts and music events as well. The anticipation built as festival-goers went through extensive security searches, and then were ushered through a long tunnel which opened into the center of the madness – Moonrise. Finally.
Four stages, each with their own personality and feel, surrounded the track. The Solar Dance Tent and its shade was definitely a godsend during the abundant sunshine and the 85-degree heat. The grounds were expansive and there was something for everyone: a giant ferris wheel, body painting, tall tented structures offering shade, and the Vendor Village, selling everything from sunglasses to apparel to artwork. Every base was covered, and every detail was thought out.
The lineup was so stacked it was impossible to see every artist without making constant loops around the festival. Mental schedules were planned, decisions negotiated, and compromises made. Music aficionado’s split time between stages for two days straight, trying to soak it all in and lose themselves in the beats.
Every performer brought their own style, contributing to the amazing vibe. Digital Lab, although scheduled early in the day, brought musical bliss to the Solar Dance Tent, with an amazing set and flawless delivery.
Tritonal brought their A game as they always do, with an undeniable liveliness that is all their own. All you need is five minutes with them, and it’s clear to see why they have such massive support from their “Tritonians”. The passion and power they devote into each performance is simply an art, and it’s evident that they are in this industry because they truly love this music. It is hard not to respect the guys for that, and guaranteed you will never be disappointed with anything they have to offer. The Moonrise crowd agreed, and loved every second of them.
Anticipation was in the air as it was time for Kaskade, and it was everything you’d expect out of this giant force in the music industry that we love. He drove the Stellar Stage crowd to pure happiness with hit after hit, and proved yet again why he is as influential of an artist in today’s market. There’s just something about watching him perform that leaves you elated. Whether it’s the beginning or the end of his set, he brings such positivity throughout the whole thing, and this time was no different.
The dynamic duo that makes up Adventure Club was given the task of closing out the first day, and they drove the crowd for the last two hours with a variety of hits that we have come to know so well. Christian and Leighton threw out their signature tunes, including “Crave You” and “Lullabies”, and also offered the unexpected as well. The crowd especially loved when Yasmine Youself from Krewella took the stage with them for a surprise performance.
Tchami may not be a name that everyone has heard, but those that know, know. The house heads were thrilled as he took them on an orgasmic, musical journey that no one wanted to end. He delivered hit after hit and it was almost impossible to pull yourself away from that stage the entire time he was on.
Brillz hands down had one of the most ridiculous, energetic, mayhem-inducing sets of the whole festival. The crowd went insane the entire time they were on stage, and whether you are a Trap fan or not, you have to appreciate every ounce of passion they put into this. That tent was alive and losing their minds and it was one of the most epic things to witness.
Carnage. What can be said? You could tell he brought out the best of his best for a hometown show. With family there to watch his performance, he laid down one of the most energetic, crowd pleasing, memorable sets that no one will forget anytime soon. He engaged and included his audience so much and that is one of the qualities he possesses at as a performer. One of Carnage’s talents is his ability to command your attention and not allow you to look away until he is done with you. He completely killed it with a set that was eclectic and well thought out, and It would be no surprise if there was a crater indented in front of the stage from the intense dancing going on amongst the crowd.
Bassnectar is an incredible producer, and his live performances are some of the most impressive you’ll ever see. He played a mix of older classics as well as new. His loyal “Bass Heads” were there supporting him every step of the way, anxiously awaiting the family photo to be taken at the end of the set. He is one of those artists that you have to see for yourself to fully understand the power that drives his performances. It was beautiful, it was impressive, it was technically perfect, and gave the show a well-deserved, proper closing with an amazing artist.
Time flies when you’re having fun and before anyone knew it, reality was calling us back and our much-loved fest was coming to an end. Whether you're a Bass Head eating up every last second of ‘Nectar, or letting Carnage drive you into a frenzied state, not a single eye missed the pivotal and most ironic addition to the much anticipated festival – the beautiful super moon which graced us with its presence and shone overhead as the perfect accessory to an unforgettable weekend. Some people speculated whether there would be many similarities between this and the beloved Starscape, and the answer to that is no. Starscape was an experience in itself, and it’s a memory of the past that can never be replayed or replaced. We won’t ever forget those 6am sunrise sets, the beautiful Fort Armistead Park, or the loooong walk back to the car after it was all over. That’s ok though. Moonrise is the dawn of a new era for Baltimore, a new summer tradition that hopefully will leave a lasting legacy of coming together, despite our differences, for the love of music.