Of all the events taking place this weekend, Lights All Night, which goes down tonight (Friday) and Saturday at the Dallas Convention Center, seems to be dominating the sphere with an astounding 35 electronic music acts. Last year's inaugural Lights All Night took place at the Plaza of the Americas with headlining duo Ghostland Observatory, and drew about 6,000 people. Highland Entertainment's Scott Osburn, one of the show's producers, estimates they're looking at 30,000 attendees this weekend, and that staggering jump begs the question of how they'll handle the volume, especially after the events of this summer's Electric Daisy Carnival.
"We're working hand-in-hand with the Convention Center, the chief of police," Osburn states. "We brought in specialists in production, site operations, flow. We'll have medical and police and staff on site, and brought in the core teams that run Coachella and Bonnaroo."
The fatality this summer is just one of many that's occurred at "rave"-themed events over the past few years, as high school and college-aged kids have embraced DJ culture as their own version of punk rock, and genres like dubstep have become increasingly mainstream, with marketing aimed at youth culture.
"After the summer there was concern from everyone, and the need to prepare ourselves," Osburn admits. "Our event isn't about the rave culture; the music we're bringing in is more upscale, and we're more than prepared." Indeed, the fest's site includes a laundry list of things you can't bring (pets, glowsticks, laser pointers, painting supplies) and stresses a "zero tolerance" drug policy. He adds they've implemented pat-downs and "recharge stations" with water and Red Bull.
The amount of talent has certainly increased, too, with three separate "halls" for your dance, bass or groove listening pleasure, including sets from Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, Diplo, RJD2 and Neon Indian. "There's a fine line between rave and DJ culture," he says, "but the base we've created is for a cool DJ event, not something as intense as some of the rave events that happen here."
Check back after the weekend for reports and photos from Lights All Night.