Walk down memory lane with the EDM Identity crew as the industry prepares for a fresh new year on the dancefloor!
Wow, what a year it has been on the dancefloor. The bass was booming, the bodies were moving, and the energy was palpable. 2023 welcomed an influx of viral beats, and we’ll never forget when Nelly Furtado made her triumphant return, joining Dom Dolla on “Eat Your Man.” On the broader spectrum, some genres, like melodic house and techno exploded in popularity, while a few, like trance, took an evolutionary path.
In addition, the community was gifted with fresh festivals and venues to explore, like EDSea, Apocalypse Zombieland, and DRUMSHEDS London. Some legendary performances came to fruition in the last 365 as well, including Four Tet b2b Fred again.. b2b Skrillex at Coachella, Fisher and Chris Lake shutting down Hollywood Blvd, and John Summit’s first-ever stadium show at BMO. But above all else, this was the year that Michael Bibi kicked cancer’s ass!
Related: Check out some of the best sets of 2023!
Among the iconic industry occurrences live the personal moments, uniquely special and unforgettable. Maybe you met your favorite DJ this year or fell in love Under The Electric Sky. Or, maybe you camped for the very first time, had a wild interaction on a sidequest, or finally made it to the rail. Whatever stands out, as the Earth completes its revolution around the sun, we convene to bask in the memories.
EDM Identity’s Favorite Moments of 2023
Maria – Coming HOME to Dreamstate SoCal.
When Dreamstate SoCal took over the NOS Event Center back in 2015, I was hooked. Trance was my be-all-end-all at the time and when I look back on my history in the scene, some of my most precious memories stem from this festival. My music life took a bit of a detour in the last half-decade, but I always felt the call to come back.
This was the year I returned home, albeit at a new location at The Queen Mary in Long Beach. The moment I stepped off the spooky ship and through the gates I felt ALIVE. It was a feeling that had been missing for so long. The punch of adrenaline and the lump in my throat were all the confirmation I needed.
I’ll never forget the journey I went on, surrounded by family and familiar faces, basking in each breathtaking melody. But, the moment most near and dear to my heart was when my new friend gifted me with a sprout clip. It was a gesture of PLUR that brought me back to my roots in the scene — when community was just as important as individuality.
Grant – Taking my sister to her first-ever Coachella.
Turn back the clock to 2012, and you’ll find me attending my first Coachella, which also marked my first camping festival experience. Over a decade has gone by since that edition; I’ve changed a lot, and so has the scene. But one thing that I’ve tried to do more of is show my family why I love this community and the festival experience. Electric Mile during the pandemic was a nice little glimpse, but up until this year, I had never attended an event with someone with my family.
After experiencing the first weekend of Coachella, a stroke of luck hit as Frank Ocean bailed on the second weekend. In his place were Blink 182 and Skrillex, Four Tet, and Fred again.., and I knew I needed to be there. Blink 182 has been a longtime favorite band for both my sister and me, and I was stoked when she said she’d send it to the festival with me last minute on Sunday. We set off with no passes and ended up having a blast, even if we didn’t get back to San Diego until 5am the next morning. It was so great to be able to show her one of my favorite festivals on the planet and see what she thought about it all—definitely a top memory in my life.
Jared – Falling in love with the bass community at The Brooklyn Mirage.
Catching Excision at The Brooklyn Mirage was the tipping point on my journey into bass music. I picked this show not only for the music but also knowing that the Excision team would use the Mirage video wall to the fullest. What I didn’t expect was the incredible crowd!
I guess I believed a lot of the bad stereotypes about bass heads, but all of those were shattered at this show. A long-time member of my rave fam accompanied me to the show and helped me perfect my wook look. We met so many kind and generous humans throughout the night. I’ve gravitated to more and more bass shows since then, and I expect to continue this trend in 2024!
Jacqueline – Making raving a family affair.
My favorite moment has to be seeing Marshmello b2b Svdden Death with my Dad and Sister at EDC Las Vegas. Being able to have these amazing memories and have them as a support system has helped shape me into the person I am today. I’m thankful to be able to share my love for music with not only my friends but with my family as well. Let’s make 2024 another amazing year filled with new experiences and different adventures!
Miguel – Experiencing Skrillex, Fred again.., and Four Tet at Coachella.
Skrillex, Fred again.., and Four Tet transformed one of the biggest stages in the world into an underground desert rave. This was a unique performance because there were so many delicate factors that made this set possible. In my eyes, it’s one of the most historic dance-music performances ever.
Sheila – Discovering the silver lining of Electric Zoo.
Electric Zoo was certainly a festival that will not go down in history as the most memorable one this year — Or maybe it will for less desirable reasons. Amidst the frustrations and unforeseen hurdles over the three days, tensions were high, and spirits were dampened. Yet the silver lining that deserves a moment of recognition is the profound sense of camaraderie.
It was heartening to see familiar faces and newfound friendships in those moments of shared adversity. It was a reminder that festivals are not just about the musical acts or elaborate stages but about the people who came together collectively to make the most out of their experience.
As I reflect on my special moments this year, I find myself having a deeper appreciation for the true magic of festivals and the moments of solidarity and unity beyond the dance floor.
Brandon – Working with the incredibly talented Editor-In-Chief and the EDMID team.
One moment that stands out was having my first Coachella cherry popped in six years. It was here that I watched Porter Robinson and Madeon do an acoustic version of “Shelter” on the main stage. Logan and his wife brought caviar, which might be the bougiest thing. Another was seeing one of four Spencer Brown Live Equanimity sets in LA. That was truly special. Also, a super last-minute adventure that stood out was Dave Dresden‘s Club Quarantine Techno event in Las Vegas. That might be my favorite set of 2023.
For some background, I’ve been to festivals on four different continents, 17 Coachella’s, 10 EDC’s, plus 40 Insomniac seasonals, in addition to ten CRSSD in San Diego, and so many other amazing memories made since 2008. The vast EDM space doesn’t leave much else to be conquered. That was until 2023.
It took almost four years for the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of EDM Identity to convince me to come to work with him. After numerous attempts over the years, EDMID had one of its most defining moments in late 2022, and I could no longer refuse his calling. This 2023 favorite moment collage is a collection of photos of Grant Gilmore (EDM Identity EIC) working in the wild. It’s a constant reminder of having the honor and privilege of working with him and his incredibly talented EDMID team.
Despite my best efforts at getting Grant to stop working — even when the music is playing and the vibes are flowing — his dedication to his craft, his perseverance in the face of enormous adversity, and his unwavering devotion to his friends are a constant reminder that we can always be better… that we can always do more.
Edward – Festival hopping and interacting with some of my favorite DJs.
This year was nothing short of amazing in terms of going to festivals for me. I had the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals from around the world and it’s always a treat to see them again and catch up, even if it’s only for a little while.
Being able to sing my heart out at every Subtronics set I went to this year and crying to “Into Pieces” or even vibing to “Be The One” by Eli Brown all summer long are big memories. But, I think my ultimate highlight is having the opportunity to interact and be appreciated by some of my favorite DJs like Jessica Audiffred and KAYZO, whether it’s for a graphic or videos I took of them. It’s been a delight to talk to them and thank them for all they do on and off stage.
Josue – Expanding my journalistic horizons at Rumble In The Jungle.
Rumble In The Jungle challenged me to become more creative in my content, which resulted in one of my favorite videos for EDM Identity. It gave me the itch to create more, apart from writing, and made me just a tad more comfortable being in front of the camera.
Apart from my creative growth, I got to see many close friends showcase their music in front of a dedicated crowd, inspiring and exciting me for their future projects and my own!
John – Ending up in the middle of an international news story.
As a journalist, not a lot excites me more than getting an inside scoop. Imagine my delight, then, when I ended up right in the epicenter of a story the entire world was following as unprecedented rainstorms swept over the Black Rock Desert during Burning Man.
After about 36 hours of sheltering in our tents, the wild rumors swirling around in the default world about what was happening on-site started to get back to us. COVID, cannibalism, National Guard deployment — you name it. I realized I had a great opportunity to set the record straight, so I put on my boots and rain jacket to hike out and interview people closer to the core of the event for my EDM Identity review of this year’s edition.
Melissa – Going to Dreamfields Mexico on a whim.
My boyfriend and I took the chance to attend a festival in Mexico, which we’d never done before, and Dreamfields turned out to be my favorite festival of the year! The food was top-tier; We had sliders with tater tots, Tostilocos, and Cantaritos. I also enjoyed discovering new favorite artists like Indira Paganotto, and I loved the accessibility of everything like entry, their cashless system, and the festival layout.
Zach – Taking photos for Crooked Colours at Red Rocks.
It’s difficult to narrow down all the wonderful music memories I made in 2023 to just one, but more than ODESZA at Electric Forest, special guest Lane 8 at CRSSD, and CloZee‘s Microworlds Tour in San Diego, one memory stands out among the rest — Crooked Colours at Red Rocks.
Crooked Colours has grown to become one of my favorite groups since I first saw them at a small local venue in San Diego called Soda Bar in 2018. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to interview them at Life is Beautiful 2019 and subsequently went on tour with them as their photographer to Okeechobee, M3F, and CRSSD.
It was always a dream of mine to work alongside a band I truly admire. Traveling with them and capturing moments from their shows, as well as life on the road, was an incredible experience. They’re so kind. They welcomed me into their crew with open arms, and maybe even more importantly, they believed in and supported the work I was so passionate about.
This year, Crooked Colours opened for Alison Wonderland at Red Rocks for her Temple of Wonderland show. I was elated when their manager reached out to me about taking photos of this monumental event.
Seeing them go from playing small local venues in my hometown to larger scale festivals like Life is Beautiful, to playing one of the most prestigious venues in the world made me so happy. Their music speaks volumes in the way it raises the energy of a space and moves people. When I checked in with them earlier in the day, it was so special to catch up with them and be part of the entire experience.
Then, when the show started, it was unreal to see the whole Red Rocks venue moving, dancing, and smiling to their performance. Capturing moments of their set, the size of the crowd, and the iconic rocks reaching for the night sky is something I’ll never forget!
David – Attending my first-ever UK Garage show, speed.star.
Encapsulating the year in one quote, I’d have to look no further than a classic from Lady Gaga, “No sleep, bus, club, another club, another club…” 2023 was my premiere year of events. Although not attending any festivals, I found myself out and about at least once, upwards of four times, 42 out of 52 weeks this year.
I’m tired, yet incredibly fulfilled. I’ve made so many friends, seen many of my DJ friends throw down, and seen many producer friends get played out on some of the biggest stages in North America.
My favorite set of 2023 has to go to Jamie Jones b2b Seth Troxler at Paradise In The Park Los Angeles. These two performed a masterclass, guiding dancefloor sonics in a manner I’ve never experienced before. Attending this show solo, I completely lost myself to the music — four hours filled with peaks, valleys, tunes known, and tunes unknown.
Pictured here is a photo taken of me attending my favorite, and first-ever, UK Garage show, speed.star. The lineup was next level, featuring headliners Swami Sound and 74.97. I couldn’t stop bopping, skipping, and stepping. What’s incredibly unique about Speedstar is its branding, “where Y2K meets Garage.”
Upon arriving, each headliner had a custom video game sprite created in their likeness on a massive display. Visuals cycled game footage of Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, and the music perfectly suited these atmospheres. Speed.star is the first event I’ve attended that successfully bridged the gap between video games and electronic music. As a new fan of UK Garage and a long-time gamer, I was in heaven.
Destinee – My festie bestie’s Birthday weekend.
The EDM community has always been a place where I could truly be myself, and the unmatched energy from the sets I’ve seen has been incredible. It’s been amazing to be surrounded by people at events and to learn how to enjoy solo missions as well.
My best moment this year was when I went to San Diego for my festie bestie’s birthday weekend. The experience was unbelievable — celebrating, feeling overrun with happiness, and witnessing sensational shows. The weekend was filled with laughter, and we danced each night away at the prime EDM hubs: NOVA, BLOOM, and Petco Park.
The music was top-notch, and the late-night food runs involved chatting about the best songs in EDM history and discussing life in general. It was a full-circle moment for me to be there and enjoy the adventure with my friends — all because we met at a music festival. I couldn’t have had this moment without our love for EDM bringing us together.
Erik – Witnessing Michael Bibi return to the decks.
Michael Bibi made a surprise appearance at his closing party for Solid Grooves in Ibiza after months of intensive cancer treatment. This singular show — his only performance since starting treatment in May — unfolded at the famed DC10, a venue that witnessed an outpouring of emotions like never before. Thousands, both in person and through a live Instagram stream, were captivated as Bibi took to the decks.
The atmosphere was charged with an indescribable mix of joy, relief, and admiration. Each track he spun was not just a testament to his skill as a DJ but a triumphant declaration of his journey, resonating deeply with every beat.
This moment gained even more significance when, a few months later, the news broke that Michael Bibi had been declared cancer-free. The resilience and strength he displayed, mirrored in his music and performance, became a source of inspiration and a symbol of hope within the dance music community.
Sarah – Going on a Zelda sidequest at Shambhala.
Fellow Zelda nerd here! At Shambhala, I had found a Korok Seed in the garden which had a riddle on the back to find the Hestu dancing in the crowd and return it to them. I searched all night for a giant tree person with maracas. I almost gave up until my friends were screaming at me, “THE HESTU… IT’S RIGHT THERE!!”
I saw the giant totem dancing to the Stickybuds set at Fractal Forest! I had never been so happy in my entire life. I ran up to the Hestu totem and returned the seed to this kind individual. I was gifted the best vegan candy I’ve ever had!
That’s a wrap for 2023! We’ll catch you on the dancefloor next year!