Unicorn onesies. Gloves with flashing fingertips. Ribbon leg wraps. Mesh everything.
Seven years in, the annual 2017 Lights All Night Festival brought together some of the loudest costumes and free-spirited partiers in the area. Thousands of EDM fans, mostly teenagers and 20-somethings, spent their New Year's Eve weekend wearing everything from tutus and unitards to light-up head gear and masks, jumping and dancing to the diverse group of DJs on this year's bill. Headliners included Marshmello, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson and Seven Lions -- an eclectic mix of electronic artists who sample everything from pop to hip hop and add in their own heavy bass lines, colorful riffs, textured layers and cuts as signature elements.
The two-day event was held in Dallas Market Hall, a giant warehouse split into two stages: Satellite and Supernova. Bars, vendors and small art installments lined the venue, entrancing concertgoers with flashing, sensory-induced visuals as they moved between stages. Massive screens towering behind the Supernova stage became an optical storyteller, flashing psychedelic illustrations and abstract imagery for the wide-eyed fans.
Even if the frenetic world of EDM is not for you, LAN proved there are multiple facets to the DJ-driven genre. Orbital and fluid trance music is the foundation for Seven Lions, a California-based producer who discovered a love for remixes ten years ago and has since released five EPs. Ookay Live's brand of layered auto tune and combinations of buzzing trap beats, crackling riffs and even a sassy saxophone make his style as unpredictable as the fans themselves.
Then there's Smokepurpp, aka Omar Pineiro, the talented rapper who initially planned to produce records instead of create them but turned to rapping over his own beats when nothing else panned out. He released his debut mix tape, Deadstar, earlier this year with appearances by Lil Pump, Travis Scott and DRAM.
Despite the fact that many attendees were intoxicated in one way or another, the mood was as bright and cheerful as the array of costumes throughout the space. While the artists changed periodically, the exuberant and sometimes serene celebrations were a constant. Fans eccentrically danced and jumped to the booming bass drops and explosive builds from Marshmello and Porter Robinson and bounced to the cerebral and organic compositions from TOKiMONSTA. These partiers were open to just about anything as long as they could move to it.
Aside from the outdoor bathrooms and a couple of food trucks, the wintery weather was thankfully avoidable. Organizers did a good job of controlling and supporting the crowds and maintaining the bars placed throughout the venue. If you didn't want to rub elbows with others, you didn't have to (which is a precious privilege at other festivals around the country).
If fans needed a break or some other stimulant, they could jump on the glimmering mechanical shark near the Satellite stage or make their way through the vendor community at the back of the venue.
However they chose to spend their time, the energized audience remained resilient as both evenings went well beyond the midnight hour. Fans were on their feet, shuffling and bobbing to the eccentric tracks. Many fans wore imitator Marshmello helmets, showing their dedication to the unidentified global sensation that wears the signature white helmet onstage.
Those who arrived early caught some of the best performances of the festival: TOKiMONSTA, Vincent and Ookay Live showcased their own electronic identities and created the hype these festivals are known for without the headlining titles.
Whether you're a fan of EDM or not, put this festival down on your bucket list as a one-time adventure. And don't forget your glow sticks.