Lucky 2018
Photo Credit: Parallax

Good vibes and music made St. Patrick’s Day even better at USC Event’s Lucky 2018.

Upon seeing the lineup for Lucky this year, I was excited as ever to experience St. Patrick’s Day at the Tacoma Dome. There was no shortage of good music that was set to be played at the event, which even included trance brand Bliss taking over the End of the Rainbow stage with a stacked list of names as well.

While I was excited to be attending, the logistics of the venue proved to be a bit difficult for some compared to other festivals hosted by USC Events. The traditionally used WaMu Theater is a convenient drive to downtown Seattle, but the Tacoma Dome is about 30 miles south. Public transportation isn’t as readily available, as the light rail only reaches the airport, which proved to make things difficult for some to arrive at the venue.

Since it is so far away from the city, many friends opted to splurge on a hotel for the night so they wouldn’t need to worry about having a designated driver for the party. Hopefully next year USC Events might provide an option for shuttles to get them to the venue and back safely.

Entering the venue itself was a slight headache.

There was signage that had indicated that one of the many long lines through security was VIP. After waiting 15 minutes in lines and asking multiple guards, I finally found the correct line thanks to a friend who was working Conscious Crew.

Along with the confusion, there were other inconsistencies, as well. During the first hour of entry, flow toys were being allowed, but for some reason, there was a decision to not allow any additional flow toys in the venue which seemed abrupt. Consistency in rule enforcement is much more important than whether they allow flow toys in or not.

Lucky 2018
Photo Credit: Parallax

From the moment I walked through the doors, I was met by performers dressed in fairy costumes greeting everyone and creating a welcoming atmosphere.

It wasn’t just the artists playing Lucky this year that made the evening amazing, but the people who helped make the St. Patrick’s Day-themed event extra special. Throughout the night, I would end up hanging out with old friends, making new friends, and excitedly running into others who I hadn’t seen in a while.

Once we had arrived at the venue and got ourselves situated with the layout, we headed directly to the End of the Rainbow stage. This stage was the one which had me most excited for the event, and I couldn’t wait to be surrounded by other trance family members.

Lucky 2018 Bliss Stage
Photo Credit: Drew Utterback

The End of the Rainbow Stage presented by Bliss was the trance haven we deserved.

It was disappointing to hear that Bliss was no longer a standalone event and that it was being consolidated into Lucky. However, USC Events went all out on the trance stage hosted by Bliss. The massive stage featured LED walls high up in the air, the sound packed a punch, and there was plenty of room to dance. The only thing that might have made it better would have been adding some lasers to the mix.

Seattle’s own Digital Ascension was opening the Bliss stage with his kind and expressive nature. It was his first time playing a festival, but he commanded the dance floor with tracks like Tiesto’s “Just Be” and his very own delicious mash-up of “Take Me Away” with “Clear Blue Moon” titled “Clear Blue Away”. Of course, the Seattle Trance Family was there to welcome everyone and it was great to feel the warmth of the community present at the beloved stage.

Next up was Robert Nickson, who is definitely a trance producer to keep your eyes on with his exciting upcoming collaborations and live sets. He played his bootleg remix of the ’80s classic “Take On Me” by A-ha that brought the whole room into a nostalgic state of trance.

I noticed both a Seattle Trance Family flag and Black Tiger Sex Machine flag being proudly displayed in the crowd while Robert Nickson played. It was a symbolic display that even though some in the scene stayed at the Bliss stage for the entire night, there was a crossover of fans who enjoy good music no matter the genre.

Lucky 2018 Black Tiger Sex Machine
Photo Credit: Black Tiger Sex Machine

The Leprechaun’s Lair hosted some of the best bass acts in the scene but faced some serious audio issues during the night.

After briefly stopping by the Leprechaun’s Lair stage to meet up with a friend during Spag Heddy‘s set, there was a brief pause in audio due to some production issues. The audio cutting out ended up happening throughout the night, including cutting Rusko‘s set in half.

Each performer seemed to handle the issue quite well, including Black Tiger Sex Machine, who brought their entire new album for their set and rocked me to the core. In addition, the vibes that Andy C and Wasted Penguinz brought to the stage were intense, and a breath of fresh air that gave some variation at the Leprechaun’s Lair.

The stage setup was breathtakingly wide with its LED panels spread across the width of the room, but due to its oddly shaped rectangular strips combined with their placement, artists who utilize visuals during their sets were hindered. USC Events would have been better off borrowing LED walls from the Bliss stage and trading off a laser or two to make the stage feel more complete.

Lucky 2018 Black Tiger Sex Machine
Photo Credit: Black Tiger Sex Machine

The Lucky Arena was the perfect place to catch the biggest names in EDM.

The stage contained an LED wall behind the DJ deck, but there was an interesting LED design suspended in the air on each side that resembled a chandelier. There was plenty of space on the floor, there were no pillars blocking the view like I have experienced at WaMu Theater before, and best of all was the stadium seating.

After meeting up with a couple friends from Portland who stopped into town, we made our way into the stadium seating to experience Morgan Page, who I hadn’t seen live before. He proceeded to play some of his famous vocal hits, including some off his new EP and went through quite a few genres. Overall, it was great to be able to take a slight break from dancing to take in the breathtaking view of the crowd and the massive stage.

Lucky 2018 Chill Zone
Photo Credit: Drew Utterback

USC Events shined with their Artist Meet & Greet areas and their spring-themed chill zone.

After being blown away by their performance, I knew I wanted to meet Black Tiger Sex Machine, so I set aside some time to experience that. Previous locations of the Meet & Greet booth have been lackluster but this wasn’t the case at Lucky, as it was located in the back right of the Bliss stage. This made the short wait even better, and I even made some new friends while waiting in line who shared my love for BTSM.

Another area where USC Events shined with Lucky was a chill zone called the Clover Park, which was a spring-themed wonderland. Clover Park was perfectly placed between the Lucky Arena and The End of the Rainbow stage, reducing the sound bleed between the stages and provided a relaxing area in a convenient location. This was also the perfect place to use the venue’s fast, free WiFi.

There were also plenty of Conscious Crew members there to make sure attendees were resting safely, and they are always a welcomed part of the festival scene.

Lucky 2018
Photo Credit: Parallax

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that encourages excessive drinking, but the majority of people remained friendly at Lucky.

During the final hours of the event, I was leading my friend through the crowd to get us from the Lucky Arena to the Bliss stage. Someone had bumped into me as I made our way through the high traffic area next to the merchandise booth. Immediately, I apologized to the man and he had as well at the same time. He pulled me aside and had noted I was the first person that night to respond to him by apologizing.

Without another word, I had raised my hand to initiate a kandi trade, and traded him my wildly appropriate Owen Wilson-inspired piece that said “OH WOW!” Perhaps it is due to my Midwestern upbringing, or just my frequent Canada visits, but saying sorry is like second nature when moving through a crowd at a festival.

Another moment that stood out to me was meeting one of the Tacoma Dome security guards during their break.

We sat in a quiet area of the festival and discussed why she loves working raves more than any other music events. She said that the dance community leaves their attitudes at home and respect the rules of the venue.

While she was familiar with the concept, I explained PLUR culture and traded her first piece of kandi. It didn’t matter that she didn’t have any to trade back because the kind nature and friendliness she radiated was far more valuable.

Lucky 2018
Photo Credit: Parallax

During the final few moments of Lucky, I remembered why I love the rave scene.

I decided to sit in the bleachers overlooking the Bliss stage, Clover Park, and Lucky Arena with my newly made friends from the BTSM meet and greet at the end of the night. There were three completely different vibes going on at the same time, each with their own beauty and charm that made them special. There was a live set being played by Giuseppe Ottaviani bringing the trance family together, people were relaxing in the lush chill zone, and Flux Pavillion was destroying the crowd with his signature classic “I Can’t Stop”.

I had to stop at one point and just take in the awe of how people in our scene can unite under one roof to share our love for electronic music. It was at this moment that I started to get even more excited for “the next one” and I can’t wait to see you all there!

Follow Lucky on Social Media:

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Music is an integral part of Drew’s life, whether it’s listening to trance or house while working or at a festival. He’s always out to discover new and exciting sounds. When video games RollerCoaster Tycoon and Unreal Tournament were the hot new games, one of his friends that he knew through the community forums introduced him to trance on Digitally Imported and he soon fell in love with trance, happy hardcore, hardstyle and other fast BPM (beats per minute) genres.

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