Sep 25, 2012 07:08 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Morgantown Hosts the Best New Electronic Dance Music
Call it a renaissance. Call it a golden age. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying that electronic dance music (EDM) is the defining sound of 2012. For proof, look no further than GLOWfest, an all-day festival that features already well-known and up-and-coming practitioners of the genre. The festival has been tearing its way across U.S. college campuses, and this Friday, West Virginia University will become the latest host—just in time for homecoming.
GLOWfest promises to be an all-thrills, no-pretense celebration of dance music and culture. I recently had a chance to speak with co-founders Deuce Thevenow and Jack Shannon, as well as GLOWfest coordinator Chris Kennedy, about the rising popularity of EDM and the challenge of putting on a festival of this magnitude.
Aaron Rote: GLOWfest seems like a good opportunity to bring electronic music to areas that don’t have a big dance music scene already in place. What has the reaction been like so far?
Jack Shannon: Absolutely. We’ve found that, although many of the destinations we bring the tour to don’t have a big dance music scene, the genre has been explosive on college campuses. From firsthand interactions with students across the country, we carefully chose our tour spots to provide a truly epic night of college life for students. Students have been pumped to see such a stacked lineup of performers, and many have jumped on the chance to get involved with us in promoting the show.
AR: What can someone who is new to electronic music expect to see at the show? What will make this different from a “normal” concert?
Chris Kennedy: People really go all out for EDM concerts. It doesn’t have the pretentiousness of many genres, and a lot of the machismo of grittier music is left at home. People show up to have a great time and have their hearts rattled by irreverent bass under stage lighting that rivals a July 4th fireworks display.
The lineup for this festival also differentiates GLOWfest from a normal concert. Each of the main acts, Porter Robinson, Zedd, Krewella, Bingo Players, and Paper Diamond, have been referred to as prodigies of the genre, and have reached enough acclaim to headline a show at most typical venues. It’s going to be a spectacle seeing them share the stage for a night.
But I would also say what truly differentiates GLOWfest from a normal concert is the effort we put into connecting with the community. We strive to make the students an integral part of each festival we plan. We provide unique windows into the inner workings of a massive music festival through firsthand involvement in marketing and logistical aspects of the event. Furthermore, we engage with the communities we host festivals in through philanthropic efforts. Recently, we have teamed up with WVU’s Greek system to organize a charity event for Jessi’s Pals, an organization that provides stuffed animals and gifts for the West Virginia University Children’s Hospital. We’ve got a pretty cool video detailing these efforts.
AR: Usually a festival is a once a year event that takes a ton of planning, but you guys are able to recreate this experience multiple times a year in different places. What has that process been like?
Deuce Thevenow: We’re constantly traveling and attending shows across the country to keep a finger on the pulse of college campuses and the most exhilarating artists of today. From there, we network with universities to show them the types of opportunities GLOWfest can provide for their school. Recently, we announced a new aspect to our music festivals: GLOWfest Village, a hybrid between an alternative career fair and a startup exhibition.
After we book the artists for the festival, we work to build a team of students who are interested in learning about the music industry and getting involved with the event.
After graduating from college, we kind of rebelled against the idea of working a 9 to 5, but we’ve found ourselves working considerably more than eight-hour days. But no need to cry for us. We love doing this.
AR: Who is the big up-and-coming act that we should be getting the most excited about?
CK: Personally, I’m not going to want to miss a minute of any of these sets. But I’ll say this: if you haven’t heard the name Krewella much recently, they have been exploding in popularity recently, and you can expect to hear people talking about them more and more for months to come.
GLOWfest drops its first beat at 1 p.m. at Mylan Park. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Shuttles will run from Towers dorms and the Mountainlair and shuttle tickets cost $7. For more information, visit glowfesttour.com.
Dance to the beat:
2 – 2:45 p.m., Twin Syndrome
3 – 4 p.m., Fletcher’s Grove
4:30 – 5:15 p.m., Ground Up
5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Paper Diamond
7 – 8 p.m., Krewella
8:20 – 9:20 p.m., Bingo Players
9:30 – 11:30 p.m., Porter/Zedd
1– 1:30 p.m., Clintonics
1:30 – 2 p.m., Mongo
2:45 – 3 p.m., Boogie Boyzzz
4 – 4:30 p.m., DJake Lysic
5:15 -5:30 p.m., Anomoly
6:30 – 7 p.m., 808 Circus
8 – 8:20 p.m., Kellee Maiz