This year’s 3rd annual Euphoria Music + Camping Festival turned out to be all its name encompassed and so much more! The two day festival certainly lived up to the hype, with beautiful scenic views of downtown Austin, gorgeous campgrounds and stages, and of course, some of the world’s best talents that the electronic scene has to offer. The fact that Euphoria is still in its early stages certainly makes for a homey vibe – one of the treasures small festivals possess that larger events often find themselves struggling with.
Having been to several festivals and concerts in my day, but having this as my first that would be spent camping, Euphoria felt like a great place to start. Being a Texas native, I was accustomed to the climate, wacky weather changes and also had a ton of friends to camp with. Offering an array of onsite art, workshops and yoga, I delved into Euphoria antics like a toddler let loose in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The greatness of the stages themselves could be likened to those of the chocolate waterfall itself, with an impressive abundance of lights, lasers and special effects.
As per usual with awesome festies, there were more shenanigans, misadventures, and downright badass moments at Euphoria than even we could keep up with. Here’s our insanely memorable moments of what went on at your favorite festival, in addition to epic highlights and photos.
As the main attraction, Euphoria Stage provided ample space to accommodate the masses, boasting a surplus of aesthetically pleasing treasures. Acts on this stage included heavy hitters Beats Antique, Lotus, and the Crystal Method. Slightly more hidden, yet alluring all the same, were the Silent Disco tent and late night campground lounge/the Music Bus, which featured an assortment of sets into the morning hours from several artists. SunSquabi, our favorite Boulder based live-funk band, was definitely a highlight from the weekend’s late night sets, as well as electro-dubstep duo DJ Plasticine and Jonny Tsunami, whose awesome acquaintances were made literally upon hitting the press tent.
The unEarth stage was a vibing oasis during the day’s hot temps, with its enclosed tent giving shade and also maintaining warmth for the crowd as night fell. It was in this tent that I danced in a trance for the entire length of BoomBox’s set. Situated on a lush hill within a peaceful setting, I found that the Dragonfly Amphitheater was the perfect pace for me with artists gracing the stage such as Sheer Khan and the Space Case, MiTiS, and Blunt Force.
The Euphoric Spirit
Upon entering the gates, we were met with wide smiles and pleasant festie mates, and the contagious nature of cheer continued all weekend. It might have to do with the fact that Austin is one of the most charming cities in the world, but never the less, the wonderful spirit of Euphoria was abundant. The crowds in particular were non-frightening (I could move through without anyone threatening me or being condescending – is this real life?) and the campgrounds were just as hospitable, where strangers turned saints offered up cooking utensils, supplies and other necessities (like food) to those of us who were new to the sustaining-yourself-all-weekend experience. It wasn’t uncommon to be offered colorful kandi bracelets and to be embraced by randoms holding ‘Free Hugs!’ signs. The vibe was certifiably thick, and it was a BEAUTIFUL thing.
Third Coast Visions
An artist collective consisting of nearly 30 creators, Third Coast Visions is based in the Austin,TX area and aims to support and promote the growth of its independent artists. Hosting their own gallery and doing live painting throughout the festival, TCV played a vital part in making the cultural vibrance of Austin felt all weekend, giving us out of towners another reason to fall in love with ATX and the artistic elements it’s known for. TCV’s art Director, Chance Roberts says their ultimate goal is to ‘Make Austin a hub for the live art scene that is emerging all over the country, and to give artists a place to come and connect here in Texas that they might not otherwise have, and plug into the existing dankness this city has to offer.’
[Watch the building of the gallery here]
In no way unfamiliar to the type of raucous crowd which stood before them at Euphoria, Zeds Dead’s DC and Hooks wasted no time in springing out banger after banger. Their flawless sound design and ability to completely re-work classic songs make their live shows one of the best to be seen. Possessing a knack for knowing just what the crowd wants, Zeds Dead never gives less than a top notch performance, slaying each set that comes their way. Finishing off their set by taking a signature ‘selfie’ with the crowd, Euphoria goers made sure to make it one of the best yet.
Hailing from Bristol, Jim Bastow and Will Weeks have been creating some of the most dynamically idiosyncratic glitch hop productions of the last two years, most notably their latest, 7th Dynasty, was released through renowned label OWSLA. Euphoria being their only Texas date on their highly anticipated North American tour, the crowd’s enthusiasm was all too welcoming, bursting into applause and shouts of joy with each track.
The Motet play Jamiroquai
The heartfelt acid jazz rhythms of Jamiroquai have long been adored, as their music goes over surprisingly well with a variety of genres across the spectrum. Covering the band’s tracks as part of a tribute set, the Motet infused their own signature funk flair into the classic sensuality Jamiroquai is known for, making it all the more fulfilling. Playing on the massive main stage, the entire crowd rejoiced in the rare and euphonious cover set, many marking it as their favorite highlight of the weekend.
An incessant dance party that refused to let up until the late night. Giving the most loving and vibing set of Friday night, Boombox had everyone on their feet in unified celebration. Each song flowed into the next, setting a beautiful and chilling aura that was so cathartic many of the crowd danced with their eyes closed, hands above their heads and hips lazily swaying from left to right. Their uplifting tracks of rhythmic grooves brought Friday night to a nice and easy close, while still aiding to the overall feel-good atmosphere.
Never failing to bring the party, Zoe Jakes, Sidecar Tommy and David Satori are continuously upping the ante with every performance they give, and have yet to pause for a single breath. No doubt feeding off the abundance of energy provided by the crowd, Beats Antique delivered with a vibe worthy of their name. A unique sound formed by a range of instruments, from banjo, viola, lap steel guitar, and organ, always leaves audiences with a sense of awe. This performance was no different. Not only does Beats Antique have an unmistakable sound but the visual display is something to be admired. Music accompanied by projections of dinosaurs, inflatable animals, elaborate masks, and of course the hypnotic belly dancing of Ms Zoe Jakes makes their performances second to none.
Words by Rey Munson and Tai Carpenter