Global Dance Festival 2012: A Decade in the Making
The Global Dance Festival celebrated its 10 year anniversary in July 2012 with three nights of shows (July 20th-22nd) in Morrison, Colorado at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Upon arriving at Red Rock, parking, and walking towards the amphitheater, sounds echo from all around, hiding from inside the mountains. The venue itself has been carved out of the mountains, with two large, red colored rocks protruding high into the sky on either side of the amphitheater.
We’ll break each night of the event down below with a massive photo gallery at the end.
When the doors opened on Friday there were no long lines of people waiting to get inside. Those who were on-hand however were enthusiastic and dressed in minimal clothing.
The event featured three stages: Main Stage, Global Bass Stage, and Project Aspect Stage.
Things really began to pick up on the first evening at 830pm when Ecotek took the stage and the crowd really started to go wild.
The Red Rocks staff was great at keeping people moving, without being overly pushy. The venue staff seemed to really dig the show, some had colored mo-hawks, while other older staff members wore Katy Perry like colored wigs and ferry princess wings. The fact that it was not packed to the brim made it easy to walk around from stage to stage, helped groups stay together, and made it possible to not have to rub up on sweaty people constantly (a big plus).
At 830pm, a moment of silence was held for the victims of the Colorado shooting in the Batman movie. Fifteen minutes later, the bottom half of the amphitheater was filled.
At 930pm, Krewella took to the Global Bass Stage. This was the most packed that the Global Dance Stage got all night… and for good reason. Krewella threw down an amazing set that had the crowd go absolutely nuts.
While Krewella was on the Global Bass Stage, Hardwell was playing on the Main Stage. As expected, he rocked a great set, but the prize of the hour had to go to Krewella, who managed to get the majority of attendees to walk all the way up the theater steps to the top platform to reach the Global Bass Stage (5 minute uphill walk which is no easy task).
Krewella ended at 10:30, and Harvard Bass took over. He did a great job of following up Krewella, however, the majority of the audience left the area immediately following Krewella to either catch the end of Hardwell’s set or to get a good seat for the next act, the much talked about Knife Party.
Knife Party came on the Main Stage at 11pm forcing a lot of fans to miss a great set by Harvard Bass…but its hard competing with Knife Party. Knife Party did not disappoint, dropping a forceful set on the crowd.
At 1130pm, 3Lau took over on the Global Bass Stage, and did an admirable job. The crowd at the top of the hill started to regain strength following the exodus to the main stage for Knife party. Felix Cartel was up next and kept things going with a great set of his own.
The night ended on the main stage with Steve Angello from the one and only Swedish House Mafia who actually introduced himself as “Steve Angello from The Swedish House Mafia”. He then went right into playing music with his signature backwards hat and European swag. His set featured several of his own tracks as wells as many offerings from SHM. The crowd was treated to loads of confetti shot from the stage throughout his act.
At the end of Steve Angello’s set, the crowd cheered “Encore! Encore!” and “One More Song!” but it was no to avail, Steve Angello left the crowd begging for more, and did not reappear. The host of the festival then made his way out to the stage, and said that day one had just wrapped up, but “who is ready for 2 more days??!!”
We were left a little puzzled by the machine like planning of the end of the evening. With fans chanting for one more song, why not give them what they want?
Saturday was the only sold out day of Global Dance Festival. Fans could buy 3 day pass or individual days. Saturday was certainly the most crowded (and sold out from the start).
Since the venue is in a national forest/park, there was plenty of space in adjoining parking lots for people to park and pre-game before entering the amphitheater, which they did in droves.
Security was very strict on Saturday, fans were not permitted to bring open packs of gum or cigarettes inside.
From the start of Day 2, Red Rocks was more crowded than the previous day. The weather was colder and more windy than on Friday, especially at the 2nd stage which was located at the top level of the amphitheater.
Triad Dragons played on the Main stage and went over their time slot. Because of this, the Main stage shifted straight into Nadia Ali, skipping Mord Fustang’s set which was supposed to occur between her and Triad Dragons.
Triad Dragons were good, and had a much bigger crowd than the artists that performed at the same time the day before.
When Nadia Ali walked out onto the Main stage, she had a surreal moment. She took a look at the jam packed crowd (830pm at this point) and said into the microphone, “Oh my god!”. Ali and two dancers then performed for only 30 minutes (but kept everyone in the crowd energized).
After Ali, Manufactured Superstars took over Main stage wearing their signature NASA astronaut jumpsuits (with dancers in matching astronaut outfits). Manufactured Superstars absolutely rocked the festival! They handed out about 300 blow-up astronaut dolls to the crowd. Both members of the group were equipped with cryo guns that they systematically shot into the air and the crowd during their set. By the end of their set the crowd was left begging for more.
Despite their pleas, the crowd heard no more from Manufactured Superstars. However, they were spoiled with the rest of the lineup: Morgan Page, followed by Wolfgang Gartner, and last but not least, trance kings Above & Beyond.
Morgan Page and Wolfgang Gartner both had longer set times than Manufactured Superstars, with Above & Beyond having the longest set time of the day.
There was nothing that really set Morgan page and Wolfgang Gartner’s sets out from any set that We’d heard from them before. Not to say that they were not absolutely great sets, they were, it’s just they did not engage the crowd the way that Manufactured Superstars did (and the way the Above & Beyond did at the end). Manufactured Superstars stepped out of the DJ booth and shot their guns into crowd, also gave out toys that people threw into air during their set. Above & Beyond had their signature text behind them on digital screens saying things like “This is group therapy Red Rocks“ to catch crowd’s attention.
Once again on Day 2, there was a moment of silence for the victims of the Batman movie shootings.
In our opinion the final three acts were built up nicely. Morgan page was great, Wolfgang Gartner was better, and Above & Beyond was the best.
Sunday, the 3rd and final day, was not as crowded as the sold out second day. There was certainly no drop off in the talent level on the decks however.
The opening two acts on Main stage, Fury + MC Dozha and Ishe, did not have the same luxury as the artists the day before (playing to an almost sold out arena from the start of the show) but they did a great job at getting the crowd ready for the night.
The third Main stage act, Figure, had an awesome set that was even infused with a song or two from the nightmare before Christmas.
By 8pm the arena was packed. This was due in part to Kill the Noise and 12th Planet getting ready to perform back to back sets on the Global Bass stage.
Kill the Noise had an absolutely amazing set. It was so good that it brought a large amount of people from the Main stage over to the Global Bass stage. This vibe continued when 12th Planet came on stage. 12th Planet did an awesome job too, and even managed to pull out a massive joint from his pocket on stage, light it up, take a few puffs, run down to the audience, hand it to someone in front row, and then rush back up to the DJ booth to switch the song before the beat dropped. And they say pot-heads are lazy…
Both 12th Planet and Kill the Noise dropped a Fresh Prince of Bel Air remix, which was awesome to hear (as we hail from Philly).
The Main stage was not to be outdone at this time. While Kill the Noise and 12th Planet played on the Global Bass stage, Adventure Club and Dillon Francis played on main stage. Adventure club was great and Dillon Francis was even better. When Francis came out on stage, he apologized for not having his hair slicked back because the T.S.A. had confiscated his hair gel at the airport. He then started the chant “FUCK TSA! FUCK TSA!”
After Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead with Omar Linx took over on the Main stage. Sadly, this was the last act we would see at Global Dance Festival because we had a flight to catch. Zeds Dead put on a stellar set. It was a shame we were unable to stay for the grand finale with Excision because he always manages to throw down.
Sadly, due to a technical error, our Day 3 photos were lost.
[photo credit: Steve Garfinkel]
You can view a full photo gallery below: