The Green Elephant in Dallas was turned into a psychedelic music festival, just for one night. Los Angeles-based record label ILLUZYN coordinated a two-stage rabbit hole adventure called ESCAPISM, that ran as smooth as some major music festivals.
ILLUZYN representative Vladimir Calise says that he and his partners wanted to create an event based on what they love to do.
“We brought our friends and other talented individuals from across the U.S. along for the journey,” he says.
Labeled as “the biggest psychedelic summer party in DFW,” the show brought bands, rappers and singers — more than 25 acts in all — to two stages on Aug. 2. The acts all belong to different genres of music, from soul, R&B to trip-hop and hip-hop, but what tied them all together were the distinct airy psychedelic sounds that could also be called “high tunes,” music meant to create a feeling of euphoria. It was the first event held by ILLUZYN, and the crowd at the Green Elephant was very close to its max capacity of about 500 people.
Dallas artist Samsonyte and Oakland rapper Mayzin were just a couple of the standout underground performers that set vibes for the evening. The venue's “moon stage” was set up inside and the “sun stage” was located in an outside backyard-like area.
Samsonyte performed outside in almost complete darkness. With the only light reflecting from a screen behind, the DJ displayed one of those cool, trippy videos by Windows Media Player.
Outside lighting didn’t affect the psychedelic sounds that seeped through the speakers and into the ears of fans looking to get psyched. It added a mystical energy. There were several CBD vendors, along with food and unique artists selling their clothes, paintings and lighters with unique digital art.
Most of the Dallas artists that made the set list have a cult-like following on their Spotify accounts. LeRoyce, for one, is a Dallas artist with over 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. He stepped onstage right before Samsonyte, who has 50,000 monthly listeners and over 1.5 million streams alone on his song “Lucy.” Aso Y Vega hit the sun stage early, as the sun crept behind the trees. Their single “Star Crossed” has amassed over 50,000 streams.
Dallas has star power, and getting these artists to show up helped get their introverted followers out of the house and brought like-minded people together in one place. There was a Cannabis Cup type of atmosphere, except there were no constant streams of THC-filled smoke filling the air. CBD flower was allowed after a double-check with management but hey, who can really smell the difference anyway?
When people think of music festivals, maybe liquor, Ecstasy and cocaine-filled ragers come to mind. ESCAPISM created the opposite: A chill hippie atmosphere where lyricism and beats were appreciated. Fans bobbed their heads with their eyes closed like they were listening to the music while hot-boxing a parked car.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
It's hard enough to get friends to all meet for lunch at the same time, and independently organizing a mini music festival is no small feat. There were no fights or confrontations, and nobody passed out, all of which we've come to expect at modern music festivals.
Tickets were affordable, which is also a rare case, and it allowed for fans from all races and backgrounds to come enjoy their favorite underground artists and still have some money left over to pitch in on a sack.
ILLUZYN hopes to build on the traction they were able to gain in Dallas with their first event and help expand the range of some of our prominent underground artists, like Samsonyte, LeRoyce and Aso Y Vega. They plan to build a tour covering Texas, California, Florida and more states.
“We wanted to give upcoming artists some spotlight that’s usually not there for them," Calise says. "And anyone can (organize) an event, but not everyone can make a truly enjoyable experience for both artists and audience. It (was) ILLUZYN’s first event but definitely not the last.”