It’s common for electronic music fans to experience heightened inspiration after a festival. Some leave Lollapalooza Chicago and imagine themselves a world famous DJ like those they saw on the main stage. Others may pull out of Bonnaroo in Tennessee and think, “I’d like to create something like this.”
That passion is what Dallas native and Lights All Night founder Scott Osburn, pondered more than a decade ago — this year’s edition is the music festival's 10th anniversary. And while Osburn’s revelation was spurred by some of the world’s largest festivals, his multisensory boutique festival has forged its own niche. Lights All Night is fond of technology and art; this year’s installation with gaming convention giant DreamHack is the first of its kind. The DreamHack experience is part of the burgeoning dance music and gaming integration movement.
Lights All Night will take place at the Dallas Market Hall on Friday, Dec. 27 and Saturday, Dec. 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. on both nights and the music stops at 2 a.m. sharp. Osburn has tweaked the festival through the years, even adding a Mexico City date in 2013 and one in El Paso in 2016, but now, it’s a Dallas-only experience.
"The DJs played Dallas and then we flew them to El Paso and it was good, but we didn’t get as many people from Juarez as expected," Osburn says of the attempt to go global. "We learned that more people stay home in Juarez around New Year's. And why would kids from Mexico leave when they can drink over there at 18? We’re all in on Dallas now and then we do a few one-off shows around Texas throughout the year.”
Lights All Night is focused on offering unique LED experiences, quality lineups and safety. On brand with the show’s cosmic theme, this year's event will feature a starry night room. Also present is an art installation with massive palm trees and 15,000 balloons. The bass-centric lineup presents Skrillex, Virtual Self, AC Slater, Bassnectar, Louis the Child, San Halo and another 30 artists who will perform on four stages. Virtual Self is the talented Porter Robinson’s alter ego, who plays sets to honor music from the turn of the century. And joining the lineup from down the road in Austin, Tritonal will make their debut at Lights All Night on Friday.
“I like the gaming aspect at Lights All Night. That’s very cool,” Chad Cisneros, one-half of Tritonal, tells the Observer. “I played video games when I was a student at UT Austin, but not anymore. With the family, label, touring and Vegas residency — I spend all my time on music. And I love sports too. Vince Young was at UT when I was there and we won a national championship, but I hardly have time to watch a game anymore either.”
Early Tritonal music makes Cisneros cringe. And while a lot of those tracks sound good to fans, the production quality doesn’t meet Tritonal’s evolved standard. Their third album, U & Me, was released in June 2019. It’s the result of working with different musicians and various genres.
“David [Reed] and I come from underground trance, and we’re returning to that sound with our next single, ‘Long Way Home,’" Cisneros says. “But we’ve learned so much from so many different people. We’ve learned to weave in character development and storytelling from country music people in Nashville, and we’ve learned new techniques from rock people in LA. For us though, one thing that remains important is the importance of anxiety and tension.”
Tritonal’s anxiety and tension go opposite Skrillex on the Intergalactic stage. Their fans, known as "Tritonians" are in for a treat — because Cisneros has made them a promise. “We’re gonna heal their souls,” he adds with a laugh.
Osburn has scanned the globe for inspiration. Ideas are inspired by trips to California, Miami, Amsterdam and Belgium. But Lights All Night is sold out and continues to grow because it’s unlike any other festival. It's distinctively Dallas, born ’n’ raised.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.