The temperature was at its highest point of the August day, and the streets around the Pimlico Race Course were flooded. Thousands of eager festival-goers attended from across the world gathered to hear the sounds of their favorite artists at the Moonrise Festival, produced by Steez Promo. The two-day event kicked off in style with a slew of local artist setting the stages on fire. So grab onto your totem and tighten up your bandanna as we get ready to run through Pimlico to catch as many acts as possible!
First Up! We were in line early and able to snag some of Don DC Campbell’s set on Saturday, Aug. 11! The DMV native has been making appearances across the tri-state area. Don has been producing tracks in the rap and EDM genres so it’s no surprise that he brought that hip-house energy into his set. He set the tone for the day, and he brought some of his bass house sound to the Lunar Stage.
Check out some more of Don DC Campbell’s sound on SoundCloud:
The audience was loving it, and the crowd was drawn in as fans old and new gravitated towards the groove. This is definitely an upcoming act to tune into as he exhibited a great style of mixing alongside a great soundtrack. I am happy I was in attendance for this one.
Our next act hailed from the over the pond as I tuned into a set from the former UK hardcore DJ/producer of the year! Matt Lee, better known as Gammer, took over the solar tent and pumped bass through the speakers and the soul. It was impossible to resist bouncing with energy and excitement as Gammer dropped his hardcore/hardstyle sound featuring several pop remixes.
Check out one of my favorite songs from this set on SoundCloud:
This set left everyone in sight drenched in sweat as the dancing and chanting steamed up the solar tent — metaphorically speaking. Gammer showed his talents and arsenal with this set leaving the crowd happy.
The first back-to-back act that I would catch, Sullivan King and Dion Timmer had a great show with Dion Timmer doing a majority of the spinning on the decks as Sullivan served more as an MC. The duo brought their heavy drops and remixes to this set as they kept the Solar Tent bumping. Dion Timmer would featured some of his latest tracks bringing future house and trap music to a common ground as him and Sullivan King brought the TENT down with their energy…
Click to check out some music from Sullivan King and Dion Timmer on SoundCloud:
The day was underway and we had a two-time star guest of the festival that was unannounced and would SHUT IT DOWN!!!!!!……. literally. Yep, the rain made a surprise appearance again.
For the second year in a row, Moonrise Festival was put on hold as what we had feared from the start of the festival had started to dawn upon us. The forecast was originally called for 80 percent chance of rain, but as the festival fell closer the odds dropped to 20 percent for the entire weekend… Don’t tell Mother Nature that though. Thunderstorms would drop at the start of the evening. This would send several fans into the stands of Pimlico for an emergency evacuation for approximately 90 minutes.
Eventually the festival resumed with a modified lineup to showcase what could be salvaged after the storm. There were a few acts missed entirely while others were cut short. Nonetheless, there’s more in store as Moonrise still had a star-studded line up!
The day would restart with several artists returning to stage with adjusted set times. I went into the tunnel and into the festival looking for the next artist to watch — Diplo! Diplo was next on deck at the Stellar Stage with a shortened set time. The Grammy-nominated producer set the stage on fire, and he didn’t need much time to do so! The energy was through the roof, and the “Beats Knockin’ ” with hits, as Diplo brought a jam-packed session in his half hour set! This set definitely did not disappoint — I could only imagine what he would’ve done with more time.
Check out some of Diplo’s music on SoundCloud!
The following act was another dance music legend with Kaskade the next artist on deck to take over the Lunar Stage. House is usually on the menu when Kaskade steps onto the stage; however, this time he brought his high energy, hard-hitting big room beats USB’s to the festival as he saved the trance classics for the most part. The Chicago born artist brought hit hard with mainstage anthems and remixes together with a slew of his classics, blended into a majestic mix.
Check out more of Kaskade on SoundCloud:
Following this short set, we would take a trip across the grounds to over to the Celestial Garden, where we would catch a surprise set. House music in full effect with another act that could not be missed as Chris Lake took to the stage and shortly afterward made an announcement… That he would be doing a back-to-back set with a house music icon, Marc Kinchen!
The set began with Chris’s breakthrough remix of Calvin Harris’s “How Deep Is Your Love” to create the vibe followed by some of his gems from recent EPs to get the mayhem underway. The house music was flourishing as he and MK started to alternate behind the decks! MK would take his turn and it would seamlessly blend together with the message and song that was selected by his previous Grammy-nominated musical ally. MK came out the gate with a hit after hit as he shared the spotlight with Chris Lake! The American producer played one of his biggest hits of the moment and the crowd stopped and broke out into harmony momentarily.
Listen to 17 by Marc Kinchen on SoundCloud:
It was described by many as “House Heaven” by people in attendance, and for 90 minutes we were dancing on Cloud 9. This would wrap up the first day of Moonrise, sending us off with sore legs and smiles from the musical journey.
Rested, refueled, and ready for the final day of Moonrise on Sunday, Aug. 12, we headed out to Pimlico to pick up where we left off. The show starts off with bass bumping from every stage and potential rain delays. Eventually the storm came back for it’s encore appearance and sent the crowd running into the stands. Thunderstorm protocol was in full effect and we were used to the drill.
The crowd was still high in spirits while waiting in the race course throughout the process and the security was able to usher festival-goers back outside momentarily.
After heading out of the stands and back into the field, I went out to the Solar Tent to catch my next act from Los Angeles. DJ Mustard stepped up and spanned some trap-heavy beats, and the audience was twerking and headbanging to the Big Room hip-hop sound! Dijon, also known as DJ Mustard, made everyone in the solar tent forget about the rain delay.
Check out some of DJ Mustards work on SoundCloud:
Next up, ILLENIUM, DJ and producer from San Francisco, helped his listeners explore their deepest feelings while headbanging simultaneously. Illenium started the night off with a STELLAR slew of notable hits sending chills down spines and making the crowd shift in unison. The audience was singing at the highest decibel they were capable of track after track!
Check out the official soundcloud for Illenium on SoundCloud:
After that performance came the moment every festival-goer loathes: the final acts. Why must the day end?! I tried my best to divide my time equally throughout the last three performances!
First up was Marshmello! The EDM producer, known for wearing his infamous marshmallow-styled mask on stage and also known as Chris Comstock, was READY! The opening tracks from Marshmello were bangers, or high-energy hits, that tore the roof off. Everyone unanimously was jumping to the drops and banging heads as he brought the trap style to his set. I enjoyed myself and wished I could check out more, but you can!
Check out Marshmello on SoundCloud:
Next I was able to shuffle into the sounds of Lane 8 as he dropped some funky house music on the crowd. The San Francisco native was playing some of hits greatest deep house hits. The Celestial Garden was harvesting soul with the sounds from this Anjunadeep star. The middle of his set was all I could catch as time dwindled down on the festivities but WOW… hats off to Lane 8 as I head off to the next stage!!!
Here’s some more of Lane 8’s music on SoundCloud:
The rage from the stage was felt as I could see the crowd shifting from side to side, headbanging in unison… I knew I have arrived. Excision would be the final act to close my show. His bone-crushing sounds possessed the crowd as fans moved to the riddim (not a typo). Track after track was at the peak of energy, and the audience had their “X’s” up. Jeff Abel, better known as Excision, teased the crowd with a track off of his newly released album called APEX.
Check out more of Excision on SoundCloud:
The DJ’s brought their A+ game as the stages were flooded with fresh sounds. Moonrise Festival is definitely a festival for the books with several different genres of music. The festival has dealt with emergency situations in the past, and I felt they were able to handle this year’s rain better than the last. I can’t wait until next year!
See you on the DanceFloor