This past Saturday, Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey was a destination not just for little kids dressed in super hero capes riding rides, but also for slightly older kids wearing neon and dancing all over the giant theme park. At first glance, it seemed like an average Saturday at the park – however deep inside the gates was a small amphitheater, packed with a souped up sound system and hovering LED screens, and patrons participating in nearly twelve hours of nonstop dancing.
You can feel a lot of influences of a theme park within the modern music festival – think Ferris Wheels, food, art work – allowing this marriage of two worlds to be a perfect fit. If you wanted to step outside the amphitheater at any point, there was still essentially a party with music coming from every direction, huge rides with lights atop them, blinking games and ringing bells. It was a really unique experience unlike anything else in North America.
Musically, Area Event put together an extremely solid line-up that appealed to a wide spectrum of music fans. There was something for everyone – Dada Life and Excision are two of the hottest acts in their genres, electro house and dubstep, respectively. Super Mash Brothers provided a mainstream sing-a-long break in the middle of the day. Arty, Lazy Rich, and Danny Avila provided the more traditional trance and house sounds earlier in the day. It was a really well thought out schedule.
It should also be noted that Dada Life and Excision both got essentially two full sets as co-headliners, which really justified the ticket price alone, not including the extra fun of the theme park that was included. Dada Life expertly weaved through their sea of hits, getting a huge reactions from tracks from their upcoming album The Rules of Dada with their recent hit ‘Rolling Stones T-Shirt’. It was clear that a majority of the crowd was here for the two Swedish producers by the amount of people rocking banana themed attire.
Excision was not to be overshadowed though, as he has one of the most devoted fan bases in the EDM scene today. As the lights went down and he took the stage, his thundering bass lines nearly took over the park. Excision’s music has a very unique electronic and mechanical sound, which was enhanced by the looping rollercoasters that could be seen around the amphitheater. His set weaved deeper dub cuts with Excision classics and some modern hits from other artists.
It’s hard for everything to go right on a first try, but Electric Adventure more than exceeded my expectations. It seems like in an event’s inaugural year, something always seems to go wrong – but I couldn’t find any faults. The sound system was up to par, the sets flowed perfectly, and the line-up was top notch. Overall, an excellent experience, and hopefully one that expands next year to more dates and other cities.