As Texas has established itself as a major player in the national festival scene, few festivals have built a following quite like Euphoria. After arriving here in Austin, it's one of the first events that people bring up when breaking down the need to know music intel. The picturesque Carson Creek Ranch serves as the perfect landscape on which three stages offer up their own unique sights and sounds. Only after probing a little deeper, however, do you find out that some of the craziest times to be had are in the camping grounds before and after the GA festivities.
This year's line-up is an eye popper and features an impressively wide array of sound whose only defining characteristic, in the absence of any applicable genre, is the guarantee that each artist booked is uniquely their own. Ahead of this year's festival, taking place April 7-9th here in Austin, TX, we got a chance to sit down with the founder and CEO of Euphoria, Mitch Morales, who talked us through some of what exactly makes Euphoria so magical.
How did the idea for Euphoria come about?
Mitch: The idea behind Euphoria was born out of my years of travel around the globe and seeing the sense of community that comes about when a festival is thrown. I wanted to bring that feeling of community back to Austin and create something that would grow.
Are there any “watershed moments” in particular where you began to realize what Euphoria might become?
Mitch: A couple years back we were “blessed” with a couple of rainy days to start off the festival. It was this kind of rain where you don’t think it is ever going to end, but the Euphoria family made the most of it. You saw fans coming out to see some music and they had smiles on their faces. By the time the sun came out, I knew that there was nothing that was going to be able to stop us.
What skill-sets were you bringing to the table when you were working at founding Euphoria?
Mitch: Passion. I had thrown some events around Austin, but nothing on the level of a music festival. And I do not think there is anything you can do to prepare yourself. So I tapped into that passion to make Euphoria a reality, partnered with some pretty great people within the industry and 6 years later we are on Top Festivals lists all over.
How has your role evolved as the festival has grown over the last 6 years? As an extension, are there any skills that you’ve developed that you are most proud of?
Mitch: I enjoy being a part of it all. So, while my role has not changed much the size of the festival has, which requires my constant attention.
Are there any themed stages that you’re thinking about adding over the next few years? As an extension, are there any far-reaching genres that you would like to try and curate a stage for?
Mitch: I feel like Euphoria is all about the evolution of music and the collaboration between artists from varying genres. We started out very much an EDM festival. Over the years we have infused hip hop, live band electronica, rock, house… the list goes on. As we grow we have to be open to new ideas, new sounds and new philosophies. Right now we are not ruling anything out.
Are there any bookings in particular over the years that you are most proud of/have the coolest story?
Mitch: Above & Beyond comes to mind. Last year they closed out the festival, which I think was special for a lot of our fans- me included. I was able to ask my longtime girlfriend to marry me, using their LED screen during the set. She said yes, fireworks went off and the rest is history.
Which performance will you definitely be backstage for this year?
Mitch: Probably Moby. He’s an originator and someone that many of today’s artists should be crediting for their careers. I still love his music and am excited to hear what he brings to Euphoria.
What is one of the more exciting non-musical additions to the festival this go around?
Mitch: The weddings will be a nice part to Euphoria this year. We have gotten a bunch of requests over the years that we started to make a plan, so that it could be done right. A lot of important relationships have been forged at Euphoria, enough so that these people want to get married at the place where they met. It should be great.
What does Euphoria offer to festival goers that allows it to stand out among similarly programmed events in the region?
Mitch: I will sneak out to watch the campers enter on the first couple days and I keep seeing a lot of familiar faces. Where it was 2-3 people to a group a couple years ago, it is now 5-10 in that same group now. While Euphoria has grown considerably we still have managed to keep that same vibe that drew people out in the first place and share the experience with friends the following year. Euphoria does not just toss some music on a stage, turn on lasers and let you camp for a few days. We take steps to make sure we are creating a community, which fans will want to come back to year after year.
Check out the line-up below and if you're anywhere within driving range you should seriously consider making the trip out to Carson Creek Ranch!