We recently got back from HiJinx, a new two-day festival on December 28 and 29 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, that had a largely bass music lineup. Delivering a successful first year festival is not an easy task because festival attendees have no frame of reference, personal experiences from previous attendees, or other motivators. Thanks to the quality lineup, HiJinx brought a solid crowd that had the venue packed even when doors opened at 5pm, which was great to see. HiJinx attendees were graced with the explosive performance by Denzel Curry but unfortunately not Flatbush Zombies, as they cancelled last minute.
For those that love bass music or head-banging, this was probably the festival for you. Electronic music such as house, techno, future bass, or slower electronic music were not to be heard, even from Griz or Big Gigantic, where they incorporated a lot of heavier bass into their sets. The lights and lasers were fantastic and filled the space of the convention hall with vibrant colors and energy at every drop.
The crowd was noticeably different from when Bassnectar played the first night on Friday to when Odesza closed things out Saturday, where everyone around us was having a fun time and dancing throughout their performance. Despite the wildly different crowds, people were nice and got hyped amongst their squads to see their favorite acts. It was great seeing bassheads enjoying Odesza and fans of Odesza bumping to harder genres because in the end, HiJinx did a full send to end on a high note.
There is definitely room for improvement if the festival comes back in 2019. On the first night, the sound was too loud even with ear plugs, resulting in much of the music that had lyrics sounding inaudible or muddy. As soon as Bassnectar took the stage, the volume increased to a level where taking out my earplugs for a moment became uncomfortable but thankfully was fixed by the second night. While the festival space was large and never felt overcrowded, once you walked through the HiJinx Bazaar area, it felt empty and a little disappointing. Placement could have been better for more organic traffic. The bars could have been set up in a more elegant way, and people we spoke to reported waiting an hour for drinks. This is not the fault of the bartender's, but on the organizers as they should have staffed the bars accordingly to handle the insane traffic. The VIP experience, although convenient with complimentary coatcheck, faster entry, dedicated bar and bathroom, we didn't feel it would be worth the price. The VIP viewing deck was a simple raised platform that was too far from the crowd and stage to feel as intimate an experience.
Entry and festival security seemed lax yet thorough and efficient enough to get fans through the gates safely and quickly. Water stations and bathrooms were easily accessible thanks to being held in a solid convention center. Exiting the festival was not nearly as daunting as we thought it would be and made for smooth re-entry on day two.
Overall, despite the negatives, attendees had a great time seeing their favorite artists live before the end of 2018. We believe if feedback is acted on and issues are worked out, that HiJinx could come back for a second and even more successful year. Indoor festivals are harder to get right and achieve the same experience as an outdoor one, so we're looking forward to what HiJinx potentially has in store for 2019. Check out the festival recap video below and photo recaps for Friday and Saturday.