For Moonrise Festival, the second time was a charm.  Despite last year’s unfortunate cancellation, Steez Promo and Glow DC came back with a bang, bringing Baltimore, Maryland two solid days of seamless production and great music.

An expected 30,000 attendees filled the Pimlico Race Course, where sounds of heavy bass and groovy melodies replaced the usual vibrations of horse galloping and crowd revelers.  The energy of festival attendees was immediately felt as we approached the grounds.  After all, Baltimore has been waiting on its festival fix since the end of Starscape’s 14-year run in 2012.

Over 90 acts took over four stages; and while conflicts were inevitable we found it extremely easy to bounce from one stage to another to catch parts of different sets.  The Stellar Stage played host to big-name acts in the dance music scene, including Dzeko & Torres, Sander Van Doorn, Kaskade, Adventure Club and the hometown favourite, Carnage, who hails from Maryland.  The Lunar Stage was packed and closed out by Bassnectar, but also brought names like Robert Delong, Paper Diamond and Tokimonsta earlier in the day.  Our favourite was the Solar Dance Tent not only for its shade from the sun, but because of the mixture of talent that graced it, including:  Digital Lab, Gladiator, Brillz, Clockwork, Excision, and Michael Brun.  The smallest of the four, the Celestial Garden stage, seemed to bring the most groove – with names like Kennedy Jones, Tchami, Amtrac and Djemba Djemba.

Here are my five notable things about Moonrise 2014:


1.  Everyone in Baltimore (and respectively, its surrounding areas) loves kandi and perler beads.  There was definitely no shortage of creativity and P.L.U.R. here, as friends and strangers alike traded and shared stories about their kandi; ranging from a plethora of video game characters to all-out bikinis made of the beads.


2.  Moonrise Festival attendees can dance.  There were many moments where I just stood practically mesmerized by the shuffling and unique house dancing of festival attendees and staff alike (watch this video).  I also have to mention the abundance of hoopers and glovers I encountered.  They lit up the environment in sync with every beat.

10606614_609924109127912_649734782387413821_n3.  The Moonrise “Star Team” is stellar.  They ran around, danced and provided water to the crowds, ensuring everyone was well-hydrated and having a good time.  Kudos to you! 10523140_609924832461173_8388195201017350510_n4.  Baltimore is full of positive vibes.  In comparison to shows and festivals I have attended in other states/countries, the majority of the crowd was there to enjoy the music and dance – rather than push their way through to the front.  I received a ton of “excuse me’s” and “woops sorry’s” when people thought they were in the way of me taking photos.  You are all far too kind.  Except during that mosh pit that erupted as Dzeko and Torres dropped Galantis’ “You” at the Stellar Stage.  That was very unexpected (and scary!)


5.  There was so much talent present over the weekend.  And to bring some inception to this list, here are my top five acts in no particular order:

Tokimonsta’s mix of electronica and hip-hop brings such feel-good, mellow vibes.  She delivered a smooth set of synth-driven songs and instrumentals – one of my favourites being when Kaytranada’s remix of Janet Jackson’s “If.”


Audien played to a packed Solar Dance Tent, bringing the crowd through a journey of his signature sound of echoey chords and melodies.  We were excited to hear his latest, a remix of Michael Jackson’s “Slave to the Rhythm,” as well as his hits, “Leaving You,” “Hindsight,” and “Iris,” – all of which had us singing and floating on some sort of Audien wavelength.

Having seen Tommy Trash twice in the previous week, his Moonrise set resonated with me the most.  The light, sound and (seriously, such dope) graphic production all under the Solar Dance Tent brought us a spectacle in which the dancing never stopped.  Mixing in the well-known “Reload,” “Cascade,” and his remix of Deadmau5’s “The Veldt,” amongst bouncy hits like TJR’s “What’s up Suckaz” – he had me loving every minute of his set.  Pretty sure I heard some Justice vs. Simian Mobile Disco in there too – “We Are Your Friends”.  Definitely looking forward to his upcoming Trashed Tour!


Anna Lunoe is the forever Woman-Crush-Wednesday of Electric Sloth.  And with extremely good reason.  Bringing the summertime vibes “all out,” she seamlessly mixed together deep tunes that had the crowd loving every minute of her set.  Lunoe threw in some Cylsound & The Drill – “Get Drill and Work,” as well as a bit of Kelis’ “Milkshake,” both of which were mixed to match her sound.  Her genuine crowd interaction and cute dance moves bring truth to the infamous line of her song “Bass Drum Dealer (B.D.D.),” “…and I always deliver.”

Shiba San has been on our radar and should definitely be on yours too.  The Dirtybird player brought together a crowd that couldn’t stop grooving, shuffling and “ohhhh”-ing with every song that was dropped.  G-house took over the Celestial Garden Stage, with huge crowd reception to his remix of Sirus Hood’s “Bad Boy,” and of an extended play of his hit “Okay” (his set was definitely more than just that).

Additional notable favourites of the weekend include the UK’s very own Lets be Friends, Tritonal, Tchami, Adventure Club, DJ Snake, and the bass god himself, Bassnectar.

This is only the beginning of a successful run for Moonrise Festival; as it seems the promoters have gotten a good hold of what it takes to run this two-day party.  The only thing that was missing?  The Supermoon.  It looked fairly standard-sized to me; but maybe that was because Bassnectar’s lightshow was taking over the night sky.


Until next year, Moonrise!

Photos: me 🙂

Find our photos from Moonrise:  Here on Facebook

Connect with Moonrise Festival:  Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter