Many have tried, but few have succeeded in bringing a truly successful, long-reigning music festival to Dallas. Thanks to the rich DFW electronic scene, Lights All Night has been able to sustain a decade-long perennial party, celebrating a 10th anniversary this past weekend. In true trap-style fashion, it exceeded all expectations.
With a dreamscape of vibrant colors and patterns illuminated by colored lights, on Friday and Saturday, Dallas Market Center was transformed into a planet unlike anything we’ve seen in this galaxy. Alien-like ravers decked out in wild colors and light displays hoisted glowing machines, gloves and hula-hoops, which they twisted and tossed in the air as they shuffled, moving like art forms through the event’s maze-like setup of stages and art installations.
Body contortionists, stilt walkers and fire-throwing beauties provided by Lady L Entertainment rose high above the crowd at points in the venue, and their 15-plus dancers sported wigs, astronaut and disco ball helmets, and tossed hula-hoops as they danced like robot gypsies at the front of the artist performances.
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At the Supernova main stage — where cone-shaped light displays seemed to explode from the ground and light-up spheres and an oversized metal moon topped with acrobat dancers hung from the ceiling — concertgoers posed and climbed on a 20-foot-tall LAN letter sign near the event’s entrance, sending the event into a social media free-for-all.
From the main stage, attendees made their way through eclectic vendors to the Galaxy Disco silent disco, where crowds gathered in headphones to dance around a disco ball-lit room that reflected white lights, creating the illusion they had blasted off into a cluster of stars.
A first-time LAN-goer, Alexis Schmille, shined bright in a silver, jewel-crested two-piece crop-top and cheeky bottoms that couldn’t be missed among the oncoming lasers. Schmille praised the event’s uniqueness.
“I was invited by a group I met at another festival who kind of became my Dallas festival family," she said. "This is my first festival that’s been indoors, and it’s a totally different vibe from being outside. It really gives it that homey feel that we love about these festivals, but having access to stages outside as well keeps it on the spectrum for those who really like outdoor festivals.”
The two outdoor stages were unique in their themes. Planet Prime looked like a white forest of tulle and drooping vines that held an enchanting dance floor in its pits, while Space Station blasted outrageous bass levels into the open air outside the tent.
In the second concert hall indoors, Intergalactic (a massive bubble display that resembled somewhere between a nebula and cloud of cotton candy), hung from the ceiling as resting onlookers lounged about and took selfies below. From there, thousands of raging shufflers, head bangers and other incongruous dancers commenced ahead.
As the longest-running year-end EDM music festival in the country, the anniversary was a two-day event that was bigger and better than ever. The event sold out weeks in advance, bringing 35,000 people from across North Texas and around the globe to celebrate this annual dance-fest in a union of love and support.
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Some of the OG bass lords were there to celebrate with their worshippers, with headliners representing some of the biggest names in EDM: Bassnectar, Skrillex, Porter Robinson, under his alter ego stage name Virtual Self, Louis the Child and more. Perhaps the most well-curated feature of the festival was the design of the artists' schedule, which kept a general theme each night. The first night, which included artists such as Slushii, Kayzo, Triptonic, Herobust and concluded with Virtual Self, Tritonal and Skrillex, kept an overall glitch theme of dirty, scratched dubstep that had attendees two-stepping and shuffling more so than headbanging.
Night 2 was more on the side of hardcore bass, with artists like San Holo, Liquid Stranger, Zomboy, Louis the Child, 3LAU and Bassnectar, who had the crowd rocking so hard during his set that they nearly toppled over the front barrier to the stage. Bassnectar’s presence gave a mind-blowing finale for LAN. Last year, Bassnectar was banned from his longtime New Year's gig at Red Rocks in Colorado for having bass so loud that it shuffled the park’s rocks; so, you can assume, faces were melted.
The unique vibe offered each night could be seen in the different crowds the two nights attracted. Collin Yerian and his girlfriend Katie Mazza were one group who decided to attend the festival for the second night only, saying, “The reason why we came tonight is because it hits a lot harder than last night and, of course, it’s Bassnectar, so we want to break things!” And break things they did; all we can hope is that eardrums stayed intact.