The Expert, the Virgin, and the Beau Do Something Wicked
Halloween makes you do the craziest things…or maybe that was just Something Wicked making it’s hellish comeback at Sam Houston Race Park. For the third year in a row, this particular Halloween themed festival has been constantly accumulating nationwide attention — with very good reason. As the festival makes it’s third appearance in Houston, TX, the audience has exponentially grown, but for some reason, this year it’s hit an all time high. Sensible Reason sent me to investigate why this Halloween fest is vastly becoming a sensation and rising on the level of other Halloween tests across the nation.
This was not my first time at Something Wicked. Last year I was able to photograph the event and had a blast with my basically twin sister dressed up as Mario and Luigi. The lineup was pretty great for a one day festival. This year though, Disco Donnie expanded the length and added on another day to keep the party going and the performers were solid as can be. Featuring Kaskade, Bassnectar, Martin Garrix, and Dillon Francis as headliners — the combination of artists added on to the hype that last year didn’t quite seem to have. After flying solo for the past few festivals and concerts, I decided to ask two people to join me: my friend who’s never been to an EDM festival, much less know anything about the scene with little to no knowledge of even the music, and a guy I’ve been on one date with who’s also never been to an EDM festival in his life, but does know some pretty top notch DJs. This was going to be interesting. A veteran, a newbie, and some dude I asked on a whim partying it up at Something Wicked.
Personally, I enjoy going to Halloween festivals at night because the atmosphere just seems more correct for the occasion but the doors did open up in the early afternoon. When my friend and I arrived at the festival, we headed up to the guest list booth. Strangely enough, unlike last year, they were functioning quite a bit slower than usual and the process was very different. Last year, there were quite a bit of photographers and media at the event; as far as I know only Rukes was one involved. This in my opinion was a big mistake — from miles away the excitement of this particular festival was deafening and the partygoers were ten times as wild as last year: it would’ve been a great time to get publications out there to experience and forward how amazing it was. This might’ve been the reason behind this year’s particular success, but, that’s just my opinion. After waiting in line for quite some time, I picked up a ticket and walked over to general admissions line with my friend. This year, security was awesome. Guest list might’ve been slow, but man did security get through the line fast. After getting patted down, and hanging my ticket so I can FINALLY get my wristband — it was time to see what this was all about.
Decorations and fog machine were more sparse than last year, but towers with schedules listed were on the grounds that made it very helpful. When we walked through the gates, my friend’s face lit up instantaneously. I don’t think he’s ever been to something like this in his entire life. What Something Wicked does really well in comparison with other outdoor festivals in a smaller location is the ability to space stages between each other so music doesn’t blend together even when walking in the space between. We could hear each stage as one versus a concoction of weirdness. I texted the guy I went on a date with who was in VIP. Incredibly enough, we were able to find each other underneath an orange lit tree. I don’t know if it was the good vibes, the thrill of the environment, or the heart racing music but even though I’ve only known this guy for a short while, I ran up to him while he held his arms wide open and I jumped into his embrace. After introductions were made between my friend and the guy I — guess what— am now currently dating, we headed up to the main stage.
Hands down one of the friendliest and laid back crowd I’ve ever come across having been to festivals across the globe. In the past, fighting through the crowd meant getting elbowed in the gut, unintentionally smacked in the face, and your feet get stomped on. None of that happened while my companions and I trekked towards the front. The main stage was the same as last years but they did enhance the visual and light show. There were two other stages that replaced the old stages from last year. The second big name stage was spectacular. A huge skeleton right in the middle with lasers for eyes and a gorgeous light show surrounding the form — it was absolutely brilliant for this event. On social media, it became a pretty big hit as it trended more attention in appearance than the others. The third stage was also much more dressed up than last year’s stage but was smaller than I expected. Disguised as a haunted house background, it lacked lights and appeal, but was a great place to breathe and encompass yourself in the night. Whichever stage you were at, there were no mosh pits, there were no fights breaking out, and people were not pushing. It was refreshing to see PLUR actually take place.
The music — unbelievable. From all tier performers. Bassnectar, that elusive DJ I’ve been hunting down to see for many years killed it. I will never forget dancing full force in the first fifteen minutes of his set. There’s a reason why he’s beloved by the dance music community: he delivers with every beat drop. Maybe it was me, having waited for years to see him, but the crowd agreed with me! Not only was his music making the ground stomp, he himself was performing his heart out — head banging, hair flowing ever so beautifully, and looking like he was also enjoying the people who came out to see him. There was a great connection with him and the audience he was in front of, it was a give and take. Another great act for the masses was Cedric Gervais. Normally, I’m not a fan of top 40 songs on a set’s playlist, but he seamlessly intertwines original beats with the remixes and it was absolutely dance worthy. Although I’ve heard of Cedric Gervais before, he’s not someone who’s particularly been on my radar…well, he is now. Another artist who demolished the stage was NERVO. A long time fan, I knew they’d nail their set. It’s nothing new, but if you were going to go see an artist who would make you dance, they’d be one you can expect to have some fun with. The last performer I’ve got to give massive credit to for opening my eyes and making my chest thump was Madeon. I’ve never heard of this guy before until Something Wicked but am now a fangirl. Even with Kaskade performing at the main stage, my partner in crime that weekend and I headed over to his set to see him and actually stayed the entered rest of the night. His composition and weaving of tunes was talent at its finest. This is why budding stars in the scene always impress me: they’re fresh, they’re new, they’re doing things veterans won’t and don’t. Mixing trap, house, electro-pop, and dubstep like it was one fluid track? He made it happen so effortlessly. There’s someone to watch out for and I see becoming a powerhouse in the future.
Something Wicked was an amazing festival. The DJs, the people, the vibes, and the production team put something together that I can honestly say has been one of my favorite festivals thus far. It was small, sure. It’s still budding, sure…but I see it growing to accommodate more and more festival-goers in the future. If Disco Donnie plays their cards right on this one, at the rate the hype has been building for it — Texas might become a new hot spot for EDM. A lot of friends I didn’t know were there and told me their experiences and conclusively it was all raving reviews. None of them could deny that it was an amazing time and that the experience has exceeded expectations. I asked my friend whose EDM festival cherry I popped what he thought — let’s just say, he’s already looking into the next festivals coming up. He said it wasn’t how media always depicted these types of events to be. There was more sense of community between people that he was astounded to be a part of. He was also shocked at which DJs he thought he’d enjoy and the ones he didn’t even know of that he enjoyed. His group of friends who originally told him to watch out — they were silenced in his mind because Something Wicked changed his whole perspective. The guy I told you I dated — well, his opinion is exactly the same. Being a heavy metal fan, he wasn’t sure if he was going to step into a teeny bopper scene where he’d feel awkward and not have a good time in. He was completely wrong and likewise with my friend: he’s headed to the next Disco Donnie event in Dallas with us: Lights All Night.
That weekend, I connected more with my friend. I fell head over heels for a guy I barely knew. I danced for six hours straight non-stop because my heart, my mind, and my body were elated. I finally saw a DJ I’ve been waiting a long time to see. It was unforgettable, and I cannot wait to see how this festival progresses in the future.