For the second year in a row, Jones Beach opened its doors to IDentity Festival. As the first ever touring electronic music festival in the US, IDentity serves as a great, one-day alternative for people just getting into the electronic dance music scene, or those who can’t swing a destination event such as Ultra or Coachella. The festival featured 2 main stages and a smaller stage in the middle of the concessions. Unfortunately, highly anticipated artists such as Porter Robinson, Wolfgang Gartner, Hardwell, and Nero weren’t at this particular tour stop, but big names like Eric Prydz, Madeon, and Showtek kept neon-clad, sun-glassed fans in attendance for a day of beach-side partying. Although the weather wasn’t ideal (some mid-day showers crept up for about an hour), it was a relief from the deluge we experienced during The Disco Biscuits set last year and provided a nice cool down during an intensely humid day.

The first act caught was over at the Rockstar Stage, with L.A. based Audrey Napoleon, known for her lively, almost maniacal stage presence. While she is a relatively new DJ, her track “#Mysunrise” is featured in a popular Heineken commercial that she herself appears in. For an early set time, this girl knew exactly what to bring to the table in order to get everyone into rage mode. Her drops just kept coming while she spun out hits like Kaskade’s “Dynasty (Dada Life remix)” and Melleefresh & Deadmau5’s “Hey Baby”. It needs to be pointed out that she was absolutely ROCKING out. As if her beats weren’t enough to keep everyone going, her stage presence gave an additional incentive to help you get loose.

Next up over at the main stage was L.A. based, The Eye. Upon reaching the area, the first thing that could be noticed was the graphics playing behind the DJ. They were trippy and awesome, flowing perfectly with the music. However, the set list seemed a bit like a top ten playlist. Don’t get me wrong, the transitions were smooth and drops were abundant but it was a bit difficult to get a good feel for this DJ’s individual sound. A particular highlight of The Eye’s set was hearing Swedish House Mafia’s “Greyhound” mixed with Azealia Banks’ “212”, a badass track to say the least and an homage to our very own concrete jungle. I hope to see more of this DJ, but maybe at a venue rather than a festival.

The one DJ on this day that was a must-see was Le Castle Vania out of Atlanta. Having seen him a couple of times now, all I have to say is that this guy BRINGS it every single time. His set was at the Rockstar stage, which worked out perfectly, because it had more of an intimate vibe than the main stage had to offer—not to mention, the sound was blasting and everyone was free to beat up the parking lot without the constraints of seats in their way. His set included hits like “Turn It Down” by Kaskade feat. Rebecca and Fiona, “WARP” by The Bloody Beetroots feat. Steve Aoki, and “Internet Friends” by Knife Party. However, the peak of Le Castle Vania’s performance was the unveiling of a brand new, self-proclaimed “Monster Banger”, called “Playloud”.

After Le Castle Vania’s banging set, it was difficult to keep expectations high, as this very well could have been the highlight of the night. But little did I know that Showtek, the “Hardstyle” brother duo from the Netherlands, was gearing up for a continuation of madness over at the main stage. One word to describe the scene from Showtek is INTERACTIVE. The act consisted of one brother spinning and another as the front man running back and forth across stage, screaming, and spraying a mist gun into the crowd. The combination was sick and offered something memorable and special, seeing as every other set was just a DJ behind their laptop, with little to no crowd interaction. Among some of the tracks were “We Found Love” by Rihanna, and Showtek singles “Colours of Hardstyle” and “Here We F**king Go!”. For being relatively unfamiliar with this duo, they made their presence known by opening my eyes and invading my ears with their signature hard style beats. It’s safe to say that anyone who witnessed their set will not be forgetting them any time soon!

As the sun was setting on Long Island, Eric Prydz, a DJ out of Sweden and producer based in London, England, began closing out IDentity fest on the main stage with a two hour set. To see this DJ live was like a dream come true, as it is a known fact that Prydz has a fear of flying. Off the bat, I have to tell you that I was all the way in the front for this and the sound and bass was so dominating that I felt my insides vibrating- clear indication that this set was going to rule. To be honest, I can’t name most of the tracks he played because, not surprisingly, Prydz takes you to a different realm with his original house and you’re left wondering how much time has passed since you last had a thought. Among a couple of the tracks that I do remember are “Allein” and “Pjano” both originals by Prydz. “Pjano” was a definite crowd favorite as it is fairly recognizable, even to someone who isn’t familiar with the DJ.

Overall, the talent with the Jones Beach IDentity lineup was impressive, despite the lack of “big names” on the lineup card. Although the organization at the event wasn’t exactly ideal, it remained tolerable. And, in hindsight, it was good to have some of the highly anticipated acts not present, because it gave everyone a sneak preview to some artists who will most certainly be blowing up within the next year.

-Michelle Meyer (@MichelleMeyer_)

** Some of the other acts on the bill:
Madeon – producer out of France who hit it big with a remix of Pendulum’s “The Island”
Arty – a Russian DJ and producer who was featured on legend Armin Van Buuren’s “A State of Trance” in 2010
Eva Simons – who exploded after being featured in Afrojack’s “Take Over Control”
and Paige – a fellow New Yorker, gaining recognition as an opener for Avicii (he is also playing at Pacha August 17th!).

Photos From Identity