It was my first time back since Phoenix Lights, and I was more than excited for BOO! Arizona last weekend!
Just as we had last spring, my friends and I arrived shortly after gates opened, making our way to the lines of will call to pick up our passes. From there we shuffled into the first check point, IDs. The line moved quickly and before we knew it we were in line for security check. The search at BOO! Arizona was thorough but moved quickly and we were getting our tickets scanned in a record time of 20 minutes since we had arrived. As we passed the final barricades we entered into a grassy clearing, and groups that had been separated in security were rapidly re-assembling. To our right were all the restrooms and on the opposite side, all the vendors, while ahead of us laid the warehouse and the stage.
The amount of vendors at the event was perfect, and overall the production definitely felt well-organized.
I started by making my way around the booths counter-clockwise. The first two vendors I ran into were selling light toys, such as orbits and staffs, and festival hoods which have also been growing in popularity as of late. We passed a lollipop booth which was when we came across the food vendors. It was your typical american festival fare with chicken strips, fries, and burgers, but the notable part was the lack of lines. After the food we found 4 booths, each split in 3 lines, dedicated to serving drinks for the night. Accepting credit cards for drink purchases isn’t necessarily the most common thing at events, but it was a great addition. The lines never took long either, and several times our group was able to get drinks and return in just a few minutes. Their menu selection had drinks ranging from 8 to 15 dollars, which is fairly average by event pricing. Another bar was at the very back of the warehouse, between the lost and found. This one doubled as a merchandise booth and the Relentless Rangers home base. If you didn’t know, by the way, the Relentless Rangers are akin to Insomniac’s Ground Control team, looking to keep people safe at events! On the other side closest to the stage was the water station, which was free and where Relentless Rangers were serving all night long.
The stage was both creative and beautiful, the detail was fantastic.
As you faced the stage the most noticeable feature was the giant skull in the center. It was mesmerizing as it could wholly change colors and the eyes seemed to light up independently from the sculpture as a whole. On either side of the skull were a number of large screens that would display visuals for each artist. Cob webs covered the exposed scaffolding, which was extremely fitting for all the giant spiders hanging down from the ceiling too. Located on the left side of the crowd was the elevated platform for VIP, with plenty of people dancing on it. Honestly, as a photographer, my favorite part about this stage was that it was not overly elevated. Many times when you are in the photo pit you can barely see the artist other than their head, but this was one of the few times that the deck was not that much higher than the VIP viewing area. This gave me a very clear view of the artists and what they were doing behind the decks, I absolutely loved it!
The music and vibes were electric, it definitely had a unique feel!
The nice things about single stage events is that you don’t have too many decisions or sacrifices, you know exactly where you’re going to be aside from breaks to grab a drink, some water, or hit the bathrooms. The other portion of festivals that people always seem to forget is the actual interaction you have with fellow attendees. Earlier in the night, I had walked past the ticket scanners waiting for the rest of my crew when I ran into a rave family with the totem, “Crave 2 Rave.” I thought that the totem was cool, so I went over to snap a photo and chat with them as well. One of the girls had traveled all the way from Minnesota to surprise one of her best friends that night. They were definitely excited to see NGHTMRE, Ghastly, and Excision that night. As we spoke more, she opened up, telling me that she had thought of moving out to Arizona, but it was still a work in progress so an impromptu trip would have to suffice for now.
Throughout the night I met quite a few more friendly people too. I re-united with Grant, a friend I made at Phoenix Lights earlier in the year, and was excited to see him. The common thing that brought everyone together was the bass heavy lineup, and if the artists I mentioned earlier weren’t favorites of them names like Wuki, G. Jones, Snails, and Knife Party were. Let me also say that this is not your typical, overcrowded festival either. I was initially afraid that when my group settled in the dead center of the crowd, I would have a difficult time getting back to them, but that never seemed to be the case. Everyone was extremely kind and understanding, and no point did I feel like my personal space was being invaded. The event was definitely packed, but not in a way that made me uncomfortable.
I consider BOO! Arizona to be a success, and I can’t wait to go back!
In my first year attending the single-day event, I thought BOO! Arizona was pretty incredible. The community growth for this scene in Arizona is definitely on the upswing over the past year. The friendliness of the crowd alone was worth the drive out, perhaps it was because it was near Halloween and costumes make people more emboldened, but I’m hoping that this is just the status quo here. I really got a sense of the electronic music scene that Relentless Beats is tying to create in Phoenix, and I am even more excited to be checking out future events like Global Dance Festival AZ and Decadence AZ in the future!
Looking for more pictures from the event? Click HERE for our full album on Facebook!