Photos by: Amanda J. Cain
Story by: Gregory Crocker
Moonrise, one of the premier electronic music festivals on the east coast, taking place in scenic(ish) Baltimore, Maryland not 15 minutes from the Chesapeake Bay, held its third annual event August 6th and 7th. The creation of Steez Promo, and the rebranding/expansion of the 18-hour bass-fueled musical mayhem that was Starscape, it has rapidly grown into one of the best collections of dance music in the country.
Boasting big names such as Bassnectar, Tiësto, Zedd, Claude VonStroke, R3HAB, and heavy bass mainstays Caspa & Rusko, Excision, Flosstradamus, Flux Pavilion and numerous others, it was quite a weekend.
Caspa and Rusko put on a full-on clinic in old-school dub and UK grime, with a set full of throwback classics and newschool riddims that could reinvigorate any dubsteppers love of the genre. Flux Pavilion also played a surprisingly heavy set, half being reminiscent of his old ways and the other half his newer sound, yet all quality. Even Flosstradamus managed to not ruin their set as much as usual with their incessant yelling over their own sets.
As you can tell so far I personally am a lover of heavy bass, so it was mostly what I attended all weekend. Newcomers to the big time NGHTMRE, JAUZ and Ghastly all put on incredible sets as well, with a plethora of different genres being utilized be each, which is a welcome change in a scene that’s been ravaged by a trend of single-tempo trap sets in the past few years. GRiZ played an incredibly funky set as well, as always, while Gramatik shied more away from his usual sound playing more of a trap/electro type of set.
But music festivals aren’t only about the music. This year’s Moonrise exemplified, in my personal experience, what the essence of the dance music scene is. Other than the unfortunate instances of security strong-arming, and the inevitable douchebaggery and petty crime that comes with being in a group of tens of thousands of people.
Very few other places on earth can you see the vast difference in lifestyle and culture come together in one place for a singular purpose. The camaraderie and unity in people of all different ages, races, ethnicities, religious creeds, walks of life for the same thing: The thunderous, indefatigable reverberation of bass, to dance until your legs are weak, to laugh with strangers, to be made so happy at the ebbs and flows that the collective exultation of the crowd is louder than the deafeningly loud music. There are few things more gratifying than being part of that. It’s why we spend the exorbitant amounts of money. It’s why we travel the long miles. It’s why we dance.
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