Story by: Jacki Moon
Photos by: Mario Villeda
Euphoria Festival hit Austin, Texas early last month, where the city’s mantra “Keep Austin Weird” has been taken to heart. As a result, the word “weird” has become synonymous with “fuckin’ awesome.” The weirder it is, the more Austin falls in love with it. With Euphoria’s production level at an all time high and music lineup at its most eargasmic since the festival’s inception in 2012, we saw enough fuckin’ awesomely weird things at Euphoria Festival this year to inspire a list.
Ghostland Observatory, Austin and weird may as well be the holy trinity; the three things are truly a triad made in freak heaven. Through eccentric live performances and signature “electro-dance soul rock” sound, Ghostland has earned itself a cult-like following. Euphoria Festival was actually Thomas Turner and Aaron Behrens’ first show together since their recent long hiatus, and the two completely transformed the UnEarth Tent into a bizarre celebration of their reunion. Ghostland started with climatic “Glitter” and held the crowd’s attention with all of its classics until the last moment of the set.
Inflatable Marshmallow House
Euphoria Festival hosted two after-hours areas, the Jager Stage and the Lunar Lounge, throughout the weekend. The Lunar Lounge was a white inflatable infrastructure that looked like a gigantic marshmallow, complete with a neon light-up dance floor and bubble machine. The marshmallow party kept the bangers coming, bubbles flowing, and the crowd rowdy until 4am with some of Austin’s favorite local DJ’s. By the time the main festival grounds were closed, inhibitions were definitely down, allowing the Lunar Lounge to capture an expressively wild vibe into the early morning hours.
Intimate Pretty Lights Crowd
Pretty Lights is one of the first electronic acts to make himself a household name. Having sold out giant venues across the world, of late, it was a rare experience to catch Derek Vincent Smith in the intimate setting of Euphoria Music Festival. I haven’t had that much room to dance at a Pretty Lights show since 2010. Another noteworthy part of Derek’s performance is the fact that he played both soulful classics and newer material, leaving fans of all generations satisfied.
STS9, Front & Center with Enough Room to Dance
Much like it was for Pretty Lights, it was rare to have the opportunity to experience STS9 in a festival setting front and center with enough room to really get down.
Although there was quite a crowd at both performances, Caron Creek Ranch is spread out enough to hold many fans, but never feel over crowded. Tribe definitely adapted their style to fit the crowd, making it a little more on the untz than jam side; however, the respectable thing about the band is their ability to adapt to a crowd, yet stay true to their roots. STS9 was a great way to end the first night, and they definitely left the crowd wanting more.
Imaginarium Apothecary Brain & Sanctuary Installation
Last year was the first year that Euphoria Festival had a curated art gallery on grounds, which greatly added to the creative atmosphere. This year took it the next level with a few interactive installations. One of those, in particular, was the Imaginarium Apothecary Brain & Sanctuary Installation. The name is definitely as curious as that installation itself, which was a wooden trailer lined with royal-looking curtains and a large recliner chair. The person who sat in the chair was then instructed to pick a mood and given headphones and light up glasses to put on. The man running the booth would sync the headphone’s frequency, glasses’ light pattern, and massage of the chair itself to match the chosen mood and let it run its course for 20 minutes to an hour. I did this myself and left the installation feeling creative.
Freddy Todd’s Afternoon Set
Freddy Todd is without a doubt becoming the festival circuit’s favorite weirdo. Having created his own style of glitch hop, Freddy presents his unique sound to the crowd with a chill, yet badass demeanor. Freddy got the crowd movin’ and getting strange by late Saturday afternoon in the UnEarth tent, while rockin’ his 80’s steeze and futuristic elements.
Bluebonnet Patches Covering Campgrounds
This may seem simple and trivial, but it’s a great testament of how highly cared for the festival grounds of Euphoria and Carson Creek Ranch truly are. There’s something really strangely beautiful about seeing neon furies juxtaposed with the natural luminescence of the official flower of Texas. This also made for several wonderful photo opportunities on campgrounds.
There were plenty more delightfully weird things that went down at Euphoria Festival throughout the three day weekend, but you’ll just have to see for yourself and attend next year if you really want to understand!
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