Dancegiving 2011 was one of those festivals. I’m not sure to blame the prolific line-up, the multitude of subcultures and tastes represented in the crowd, or the trippy nostalgia of seeing Ft. Lauderdale streets I grew up with shut down to make way for a raw electro festival, but there was something about the atmosphere that felt fresh and exciting.
Dancegiving is still a youngster, 2011 being it’s second year running, but bigger and better things are surely to be expected in years to come.
It was 14-hours of uber untz untz on five stages sprinkled around and all up in the Revolution Live property, all with their own themed-out names; Electric Turkey in the Revolution main room, Plymouth Colony in Green Room, Pilgrim’s Pit at America’s Backyard, Dubstep Base in the street (alright, not very Thanksgiving-oriented), and the Main Course in what is usually a parking lot.
Wet Paint got in just as doors opened at 3 p.m., an hour later than they should have. Our own music master, GPS, was playing an early set of fun electro meets thrashy earfuck mega jams. The perfect way to get the day started.
XKore threw down on the dubstep stage, serving track after track of unreleased goodies for the crowd who seemed to prove lunchtime is the perfect time for dubstep.
At that hour, most of the attendees were gathered around the main and dubstep stages. There were neon bros strutting in their tanks, hipster schmucks crowding around tables and curbs, dreaded hippies spinning in daylight, and of course, girls already zonked on party favors puking into various bushes and garbage cans. At least half these people had feathers on their heads; one of them had a turkey hat.
Cato K kept the crowd happy with some deep-booming house, followed by David Solano who got the crowd all riled up with some crunk-hop infused openers. I wandered into the Pilgrim’s Pit and got to catch a bit of Miami-boy One Raw. I’d say he’s one to look out for after hearing him tear up the decks, but soon it was time for the effing big guns.
By 6 p.m., Diplo was making the main stage his bitch. As soon as he started mixing, it was banger city, confetti showers and all the smoke and lasers you could ask for. Our favorite dancing vixens, the Tallahassee Painted Ladies, were done up in their technicolor finest repping for the king of Mad Decent.
In true Diplo fashion, he dropped everything from dubstep to hip-hop, from electro to dutchy, pop hits like We Found Love to festival staples like Skrillex’s Cinema remix. Interestingly, moombahton was underrepresented, a genre his sets rocked hard in Summer. I guess tastes change with the seasons.
He dropped one of the first instances of We Are Your Friends, a song that would be repeated countless times in the night. Other popular songs played ad nauseum were Levels, Niggas in Paris, We Found Love, Crush On You, with appearances by almost every Daft Punk hit imaginable.
As Diplo finished his set to make way for Porter Robinson, Tally’s Team Jaguar was getting funky on the Electric Turkey stage. Dj Mannes said he played a personal set that night, just going for all the jams and records he really wants to play and having fun with it, and that energy always relates.
Of course, boy wonder Porter Robinson brought the big guns, dropping Knife Party’s mega-hit Internet Friends and Zedd’s latest Shave It. Meanwhile, AK1200 fought to claim relevancy over at the dubstep stage. It’s always kind of strange to see DJs who’ve been around longer than I’ve been partying clinging to the new hip genres. Maybe I’m just mean.
I was sure to catch GTA‘s performance at the Electric Turkey stage. The hype-gathering newcomers looked like they were having a lot of fun as they took turns mixing for the crowd. They even had a live singer for when they played their original tracks, something unique for the festival.
Ajapai played a super evil set on the dubstep stage, dropping the ever-popular massive attack What Do You Hear?, followed by another oldie timer named Diesel Boy. When DB first hit the stage, it was like a damn Metallica concert, because Metallica was playing. He kept the metalstep flowing with some Black Sabbath remixes of War Pigs and Iron Man, and of course he brought the DnB.
For sure though, one of the best performances of the night was from Chuckie on the main stage. He played an unforgettable set, perfectly tailored for the ADD generation. A bit of everything you want to hear at a festival; old school hip-hop classics like Jump Around, a decent drop of Adele, Big Bad Wolf, Animal Rights mixed with Around The World, more DP, All The lights, the obvious tracks like Babylon and Hello, and of course, Who Is Ready To Jump?
Basically, he had the crowd eating out of his hand, then he totally mindfucked us when he stopped right before the drop of One (Your Name) to go into the beat of Seven Nation Army. He laid on top of that the lyrics of Show Me Love and won the prize for best festival mash-up ever, then went ahead and finished with the Swedish House Mafia drop like that magic moment never happened.
They didn’t even bother to announce when Chuckie made way for Wolfgang Gartner, another heavy hitter worth seeing every time. He would be the last person to stand on the main stage (because the last five hours of the festival all happened inside), and that’s a good thing because no one could have followed.
“Let me see those hands,” he yelled as he made sweet love to the decks, i.e. fucked the brains out of the effects. Big LED monster men hyped up the crowd as Wolfgang proved why he deserves Grammy noms.
Meanwhile, the edge of the crowd started to look like a damn concentration camp as everyone inside was kicked out and barricaded from getting back in for the “Late Night Snack” after-hours sets. Once Wolfgang ended, the three inside stages came back to life, but it would end up taking two to three hours for almost everyone to get back in. Some kids left, went to other clubs and came back hours later to avoid standing around and drowning in stranger sweat.
I’m not sure if the problem was overselling tickets, a bad entrance set-up or what, but next year something should be done very differently.
Those of us lucky enough to have media passes were in no problem, and the party was bumpin’ from start to finish. Because the entire crowd was now shoved inside the three-stage area, I kept close to the Electric Turkey stage to avoid swimming the mad sea of party-people. There, Crespo brought the party to life with funky gems in tune with the night, including a remix of personal favorite oldie Pump The Jams.
Next was shaping up to be an insane set from Brass Knuckles, who are now my new favorite party DJs. They’re not the most artistic or experimental DJs, but they do bring the fucking ruckus and have a sexy sax man on board. It’s like arena-electro, complete with sports anthem drops, free t-shirts and songs for every taste in the crowd. I can’t wait to see them do their thing on their own show sometime.
I did traverse the crowd to see Harvard Bass work it for a few minutes. Hours in the sun, caked on dirt and sweat, and tired feet weren’t enough to stop the dancers from having their fun. In a few hours, Felix Cartal and Congorock would take turns blowing minds on this stage for those looking for something a little less generic than the MSTRKRFT set.
North Florida favorites Hot Pink Delorean were up next back at Electric Turkey, doing they’re thing like they always do, MC running around like a maniac. These guys always bring the fun, and with a name like HPD, who could expect anything less.
Bart BMore kept the party going into the wee hours. By 2 a.m., it was a miracle people could even stand anymore, let alone rage onward, but BMore’s soundtrack of electro classics and bangers were enough to keep the party going, even if sometimes the front row kids looked like they were holding on to the barricade for strength.
By 2:30, MSTRKRFT was 15 minutes late for their closing set, and BMore kept the energy up with a little MGMT. Ten minutes later, the ciggarette-smoking men of the hour finally showed their scruffy faces, and after a strange lull in energy as they switched over, the first drop hit and confetti went flying everywhere.
It was kind of a strange set for the guys, they didn’t play any of their own songs except for a bit of Heartbreaker near the end, instead playing hits like Munchi’s Firepower and Nero’s Crush On You. Still, no one seemed to care as they worked their way through the last hour of an incredibly eventful evening.
What felt like the longest music festival in the history of ever was finally coming to a close, and not without it’s note of sadness. I’m pretty sure the crowd could have kept going, but it’s probably best for everyone’s health to head home (even if that’s not exactly where they went).
Dancegiving 2011, you were a fucking time and a half. Can’t wait for next year.