Infrasound Equinox successfully returned to Harmony Park with an emphasis on sound system culture and a diverse neuro-bass lineup.
Infrasound Equinox Music Festival took place over the weekend of October 6-9 and was the first time the event was held since 2015. While their spring Infrasound Festival has been happening regularly for the last 11 years, the Equinox event is a smaller version which saw about 4,000 attendees pass throughout the gates this year. The word infrasound means “sounds below the normal human hearing range,” and the pervading sub-bass at this event did not fall short of the festival’s name.
Those attending the festival enjoyed a beautiful weekend at Harmony Park Music Garden outside Clarks Grove, Minnesota. The venue has been hosting events since the ’80s, and the experienced staff and well-organized event layout prove that this venue is no stranger to handling large groups of people. Sound System Culture was alive and well at Infrasound Equinox, with each stage featuring a different top-of-the-line rig. Between each of the various stages, festival attendees got to experience the sounds of their favorite artists through HSDs, Void Acoustics, and Element 5 rigs.
Accessing Harmony Park Music Garden by car was incredibly easy.
Located just minutes off Interstate 35, those driving to the event did not need to navigate back roads or confusing directions to enter the venue. For those flying in, the closest commercial airport is, unfortunately, MSP in Minneapolis – St. Paul, located about an hour and a half away. There was no shuttle for festival attendees to take from the airport, and they needed to coordinate their way there and back. Busses from the airport to the area were limited to a Greyhound running from Minneapolis to Albert Lea, making it hard for those flying in from out of state to make their way to the festival grounds.
Upon entering the venue, festival attendees go through the entry process with a light search of the vehicle, ticket/camping pass scan, and ID check. This was the first event I had ever seen 21+ wristbands being given out at entry, but it began to make more sense once I observed the security checks within the festival grounds. Security was posted at areas with restricted access, like backstage or other production spaces, while roaming security and local Sheriffs made laps around the festival to check in on attendees. Overall, their presence was not overbearing and was likely not noticed by many festival-goers.
Camping at Infrasound Equinox was organized and intimate.
Going from the camping areas into the festival grounds, there were no security checkpoints for wristbands, alcohol, or, frankly, anything else. Those who purchased Walk-In camping found themselves amid the chaos in the event, able to set up in the wooded areas between the three stages within the central festival grounds. Car Camping was set up just outside the main festival grounds, still nearby the 360º and Pyramid stages and only a short walk from the main stage and vending areas.
Infrasound Equinox operated using three outdoor stages, each featuring a different high-end sound system.
All three stages hosted sought-after acts over the weekend, and attendees could easily rotate between stages to catch all of the acts they wished to see. Even if some of your favorite artists were on at the same time, the convenient layout of the festival made the commute between them take only minutes. As attendees went from stage to stage, they were met with a uniquely curated vibe, with impressively no sound bleeding over from other sets. Although the Tree House stage was intended to be the “Main” stage of the three, packed and less packed crowds rotated between all three stages.
The Tree House acted as the main stage and hosted the headliner sets, the most consistent crowds throughout the weekend, and the central hub for food and accessory vendors.
As a tribute to one of the original Infrasound stages, which was set up in an actual tree house, this stage’s design was a tree house cut out set up on Harmony Park’s permanent stage structure. Those performing on the stage could be seen through the “window” of the tree house, while the surrounding tree and house were mapped out for visual projection.
The main headliner who played the Tree House stage was Detox Unit, who played a Head Nod set during the day on Saturday and a headlining set closing out the main Tree House Stage on the same day. The other two nights were headlined by KOAN Sound on Friday and Snakes & Stars on Thursday, whose sets both closed out the Tree House stage on their respective nights. Snakes & Stars made their debut in August of this year as a new project from Michael Travis, following the retirement of EOTO earlier this year.
While the visuals projected onto the Tree House Stage were different throughout the weekend, the most notable presentation was by Tenorless, who was booked to handle visuals for Detox Unit and other artists who played before him on Saturday. The Tree House Stage boasted the largest and most comprehensive sound system at the event, an HSD Haymaker Point Source and Subwoofer rig which had attendees truly feeling the sound environment created by the different artists that took the stage over the weekend.
The Pyramid Stage was tucked away in the woods, located away from the main traffic areas, and gave a more intimate setting.
The original construction of this stage dates back to the OG Infrasound days and has been well maintained for years of use. It was an actual wooden pyramid with a cutout window for artists to see the crowd and vice versa. There were no visual projections on the stage, but the visceral art painted onto the wood of the stage itself was enough for festival attendees to have for visual stimulus. The stage featured a Void Acoustic Sound System.
This stage was curated for two different label takeovers, Renraku and Upscale. During the Renraku takeover, artists Aleph and Little Snake were joined by Bastard and Vhsceral for a four-hour takeover early in the day. Alexander Panos opened up the Upscale Label Takeover with his debut performance of the freshly released Nascent Album, giving some reprieve to festival goers of the driving bass sounds of other artists at Infrasound Equinox with his lighter, melodic, vocal-forward music from the freshly released album, Nascent. Followed up by Hudson Lee, Frequent, and O-Prime Delta, the Upscale Takeover was one of the unique time slots of the weekend.
Those who made their way over to the 360º Stage enjoyed one of the most unique setups that festival attendees had likely ever seen.
Inside a repurposed airplane hanger-type structure, the stage was set up barely above ground level in the center of the room, which was open on both sides. The Element 5 sound system towered over one end of the crowd, allowing those performing to get the full sound experience, while the other end of the room was access to get in and out of the space.
The 360º name referred to the DJ setup and was reminiscent of a DEF or Boiler Room set. Visuals were projected using four high-quality projectors onto the curved ceiling of the hanger-style space, covering nearly 180º from end to end, making those on the dance floor feel fully encompassed in the vibe curated for the stage.
Eylxr and Lita Lotus opened up the 360º Stage for the weekend with high energy as attendees made their way into the festival grounds. This stage was the first that everyone would see and hear during their entry and projected sound into the car camping area. After Necromancer & Friends played their set from 3pm – 4pm, the energy on this stage rarely dropped throughout the weekend. Necromancer himself was among the most high-energy performers of the weekend, holding down his position as MC for the stage during multiple sets over the three days. Some of the most unforgettable sets that went down on the 360º were Sicaria Sound, Visuks, Chef Boyarbeatz, and the Silent Disco Open Decks that took place every night.
Each night of the weekend, the Silent Disco at the 360º Stage held Open Decks for acts from the lineup, and there was great support between artists the entire time.
Typically a Silent Disco may not be among the most high-energy experiences at a festival. It provides music to those still going strong after noise ordinances have silenced the main stages. The Silent Disco Open Decks hosted on the 360º breaks the mold – it was the most amped up late night many of us had probably ever seen!
During the multiple-channel Silent Disco, Jack from Ternion Sound even told his channel that one of the others was playing a hot track to switch over. On the last night of the festival, three CDJs were operating on the three different channels of the headphones with an epic back-to-back, including members of Ternion Sound, Eazybaked, Necromancer, and other appearances. In contrast, Detox Unit, Resonant Language, and other artists kept the hype levels high, all partying in the center of the 360º set up through the night.
Infrasound Equinox succeeded in providing an intimate fall festival that gave everyone a bass music home in the midwest.
This festival proved that the bass music and dub communities can come together and throw a party and that they are getting better at it as a whole. Transitions were seamless throughout the weekend, the energy on stage remained supportive, and attendees maintained extreme positivity even in the cold. The crowd was also incredibly supportive of each other, as everyone at the small event was welcoming. Many Infrasound veterans would notice many people from different parts of the country, but there was no regional tension. As crazy as things may have gotten, the medical tent’s common issues pertained to minor cuts and scrapes, and there were no reported injuries or overdoses at the event.
Infrasound Equinox should surely return after meeting great success in 2022 and keep its emphasis on bass music and high-fidelity sound. If this is the kind of event you have been looking for, add both the spring and fall festivals to your list for 2023!