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Nothing But Euphoric Connections at Euphoria Music Festival 2016 [Festival Review + Photo Gallery]

Euphoria Music Festival might be the most aptly named fest to date, because my experience cannot be recapped by any word except just that, euphoria. Happiness and excitement knows no bounds when surrounded by endless love, epic music and an exquisitely produced festival environment. In the last few years, Euphoria has grown from a small gathering of Texans and musically passionate humans to taking over the beautiful Carson Creek Ranch land to provide an amazing festival weekend for thousands of like minded individuals looking to escape for a weekend of dancing, making connections, discovering new music of all genres and especially, spreading those good vibes.

Photo from Euphoria Facebook Page by aLive Coverage

The production team strived to level up Euphoria in the festival game book and they definitely succeeded, with bonus points. There were interactive art installations throughout the grounds for attendees to enjoy, very thought out stage designs at the Dragonfly stage and the beautifully curated stage in the woods, wonderful vendors, a quaint but filled art gallery, visibly and conveniently placed water stations and much more to enhance the entire experience. Thursday night kicked the fest off most proper, with performances by Austin’s own Blunt Force, Denver’s Bass Physics and San Francisco’s Polish Ambassador. All three threw down in their own right and truly set the vibe for the rest of the fest. May we pause and appreciate the beauty that was the “disco ball” stage in the woods. Used for the New Moon Pre Party Thursday night, morning yoga seshes, mind expanding workshops throughout the day and most importantly, the magic that was the late night silent disco,  the “disco ball” stage might have been one of the coolest stages at a festival I have seen yet.

The Tree of Life, Photo by Sydney Paschall
The Tree of Life, Photo by Sydney Paschall

A plus about Euphoria this year was that campers were allowed to arrive Thursday to make the haul to set up camp, in order to be fully prepped for the pre-fest shenanigans and also the earlier sets on Friday. Although the camping trek was a little farther and more treacherous than expected, everyone was very supportive and gave words of encouragement and congratulations to you after you made it up the last hill to the campgrounds. WAY TO GO, campers

Friday started off with some electronic jammin’ from Cleveland’s Broccoli Samurai, a refreshing way to begin the day! With so much talent packed into just one day, I hurried over to catch some of Marvel Years set at the Dragonfly Stage. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate the amazingness that was the Dragonfly stage.

Marvel Years, Photo by Ryan McCoy

The Euphoria team truly set the bar high for stages with a view at a festival by collabing with the incredible Art Seen Alliance team to create third eye-opening map projected faces onto the trees across the bank to make for an even more visually pleasing experience. After soaking in a few Marvel Years tunes (with an extra special appearance by Jay Fresh!), we hopped over to the Elements stage to get our (second) daily dose of hip-hop from Dallas’ Jay Fresh backed by Will Good. Catching little bits and pieces of Space Jesus, Wave Racer and Digital Tape Machine afterwards, we headed back to the Euphoria stage ready to dance our butts off for a live organic house set from South Africa’s GoldfishHaving seen them at NNMF last summer and again at Fool’s Paradise this month, we knew it was a set not to miss. Although the lineup was fully stacked with heavy hitters G.JONES, Andrew Luce and Jai Wolf (who undoubtedly all killed it respectively), we decided to stay and catch our first live Tycho set.

Jay Fresh and Will Good, Photo by Ryan McCoy

The ambience set by Scott Hansen, Zac Brown, Rory O’Connor and band was truly unmatchable. It was a rebirth through the psychedelic realms of spiritual existence and looking around at the faces in the crowd, you could tell this set was causing the same experience through others, too–extremely beautiful and moving. Juicy J reminded us to always stay high and fly and gave us a lesson in booty poppin’ before STS9 and Dillon Francis closed out night 1. Both sets sent chills through my spine and reminded me of the reason I go to music festivals in the first place: love. Love of life, of music, of connection, of acceptance, of being.

Tycho Live Set, Photo by Ryan McCoy

Although Saturday’s lineup was solid as diamonds, I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the Euphoria stage much. Starting with Fort Collin’s Skydyed, the trio brought the progressive electronic rock to the main stage to begin the day proper. Catering to the bassheads already camped out for Bassnectar’s much anticipated set that night, Skydyed brought us a bass heavy set which really helped wake me up and get my dance moves in check for the rest of the fest. I got a chance to sit down with Skydyed too…check it out. Next was Break Science, a duo made up of drum extraordinaire Adam Deitch and key master Borahm Lee.

Photo by Ryan McCoy

These two bring an invigorating hybrid of immaculate production and instrumental expertise to create a sound that can only be deemed as well, Break Science. I never sleep on a chance to see these two tear it up. Next up was Vermont’s jamtastic Twiddle, who showed the crowd what they mean by deeming themselves “3-Dimensional” music. Afterwards I decided to wander over to the Dragonfly stage for a little recharging electro funk therapy with Arizona’s Spafford. I knew these guys could provide those healing vibrations after seeing them in February at Gem and Jam and boy, did they hit the spot! I immediately headed back to Euphoria to catch a Compose Yourself favorite, Lettuce. Let me tell you–after seeing them four times already this year, the Lettuce crew does not ever disappoint. Never holding back, Lettuce + Nigel Hall brought us back from our afternoon festival sleepiness and revived our souls with the soul medicine–that funk. Following Lettuce was sax master, GRiZ. Accompanied by Muzzy Bear, GRiZ threw down the Ranch. Playing his upbeat, dance inducing hits ‘Funk Party,’ ‘The Anthem,’ ‘Fine way to Die,’ and some epic covers of Earth Wind and Fire’s ‘September,’ and Van Morrion’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl,’ for a completely stacked set.

Bassnectar Family Photo from Euphoria Facebook by aLive Coverage

Thanks for the always saxxy time, Grant! Meanwhile, before festival favorite Bassnectar hit the stage, we caught the tail end of EDM legend Eric Prydz, who wow’d the crowd with his ear splitting performance. I wasn’t able to catch Autograf’s live set and was bummed, but I know those artistically inclined musicians are going to do nothing but blow up in 2016, so hopefully we get another chance! To close out the main festivities for night 2 was the nectar of the bass himself, Lorin Ashton. His set was beyond outrageous, disgustingly epic and produced the head bangingest front row I had ever laid eyes on…seriously though, the rail guard had to be physically reinforced after his set. I will forever be thoroughly impressed by the dedication the front row bassheads showed at this set.  

Silent Disco Late Nights, Photo by Jamie Seed Photography,

If you happened to catch any of the late night silent disco in the woods put on by HUSHconcerts, consider yourself blessed. With the disco ball shimmering gleams of happiness and light throughout the woods, the immaculate vibes of the beautiful crowd and the diverse DJ lineup and guest surprises throughout the weekend, the silent disco was where the party was if you were awake and around in those late night/early morning hours. Huge UPS to Euphoria and HUSH for providing such an eloquent and magical space for us all to rage throughout the late festie nights and to all the talented folks who played for us!

Lyle Divinsky of The Motet, Photo by Ryan McCoy

Sunday was sure to be a day for the books, and that it was. I started at the Euphoria stage with some reggae dub electro dance vibes from an always killer Lance Herbstrong. These dudes know how to throw a party and get those good vibes a-flowin’! Next up was The Motet, a 6 piece funk dance band that sure knows how to jam. Joined with a new vocalist, Lyle Divinsky and saxophonist, Drew Sayers, you would never know the 6 just started officially playing together (with the new members) in February. I had a chance to sit down and ask The Motet about the band additions and all the excitement happening for these talented dudes. Next, I left to catch Waka Flocka Flame go hard in the mofo’n paint. Boy, does he have an incredible stage presence and un-toppable head bang. Next was fellow Texan, Crizzly’s, crunk-tastic set, then it was time for church.  By church, I mean some Nahko and Medicine for the People. Nahko and crew never fail to bring peace, comfort and motivation to all that listen. It truly is a spiritual experience listening to Nahko flow and I personally, resonate with all the messages he spreads with his words. Once again, I found myself in a tough spot trying to choose what sets to catch, so naturally, I caught a little of them all. Loudpvck, Lil Dicky, Klingande (live!) and Big Wild each captured a little piece of my heart that weekend, all in their own ways. If you ever have a chance to see any of them, GO for it! I hightailed it over to catch a personal favorite for me, Cherub! Jason Huber and Jordan Kelley have been providing the soundtrack for my life the past 4 years and every time I see them, all boundaries fly out the window and my upmost fangirl comes shining through. Hands down, these two fuse electronic, pop, dance, funk and indie to create their blissfully perfect and real sound that is Cherub. Doses and mimosas, y’all! London legends Above & Beyond closed out the epic weekend, bringing humans of all colors, ages, shapes and music preferences together for a closing that was get this…EUPHORIC A.F.

Cherub, Photo by Ryan McCoy

To wrap it up, Euphoria was my favorite fest of the season so far. From dealing with getting my tickets, setting up camp, the production, resources for attendees, going to the bathroom and dancing my butt off, everything was exceptionally top notch. Yes, there were a few small issues that could have been worked out or made better, and a few more camping food vendors would have been wonderful, but that’s what makes Euphoria so special. Next year, those issues will surely be addressed and make for an even more euphoric festival experience. Thanks to everyone involved with this amazing production and to all the beautiful people I met…I LOVE YOU, keep on shining!

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