On Friday, officials with Neon Desert announced their return to downtown El Paso for the ninth consecutive year and a special ticket promotion.
The two day music festival that has hosted hundreds of thousands of music fans from around the region and around the world, returns to Downtown El Paso May 25 and 26th. In 2018, over 30,000 fans attended the weekend festival.
To celebrate today’s announcement, the festival has released a limited number of discounted early-bird passes online at neondesert.com.
According to NDMF officials, the 2-Day GA passes start at just $99, with J&K VIP available for $250 and J&K Platinum VIP for $500.
The special ticket announcement comes just about one week ahead of Neon Desert announcing their much-anticipated musical line up. Officials say that announcement will be made on March 15th, at 10 a.m.
The reveal will include 2019 headliners and acts broken down by day. To view Herald Post’s previous coverage of NDMF, click here.
The 2018 Neon Desert Music Festival hosted rap artists such as Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Playboi Carti along with proven rock artists Third Eye Blind and local favorite, At The Drive In. Latin stars Cafe Tacvba, Farruko and Bomba Estereo also lit up the night.
The two-day festival took place this past Memorial Day weekend on May 26 and 27 covering over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso and encompassing two city parks, Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza.
Organizers say that this year’s festival played host to over 30,000 total attendees.
Video & Interviews by Daniel Ornelas, El Paso Herald-Post. Check out our full galleries from Day One and Day Two, thanks to El Paso Herald-Post Chief Photographer ‘Ace’ Acosta
The annual Neon Desert Music Festival returned to Downtown El Paso Saturday Evening, along with thousands of music fans from around the region. Our very own Daniel L. Ornelas and Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta were in attendance as well, not to perform, but to bring your their views of the festival.
Check out our first piece of coverage, thanks to Chief Photographer Ace Acosta below, and stay tuned for more coverage Sunday.
Friday morning, Neon Desert Music Festival officials unveiled their full music lineup for the eighth annual event, which will again take place across two days on Memorial Day weekend in the heart of downtown El Paso.
Via a news release, Neon Desert officials stated, “NDMF prides itself on being one of the first major US music festivals to emphasize booking not only mainstream American acts, but acclaimed international and Latin performers, as well.”
This year’s lineup continues that tradition with an eclectic mix of world-renowned headliners, like the El Paso-born rock icons At the Drive-In, who continue to perform in support of the band’s reunion last year after a long-awaited hiatus since 2001, and Dutch EDM superstar Martin Garrix, who is currently ranked the No. 1 DJ in the world on DJ Mag‘s annual Top 100 DJs Poll.
Other headliners include Atlanta trap rapper and New York Times best-selling author Gucci Mane, who is prepping for the release of his next project, The Evil Genius, this spring which will serve as a follow up to the four notable albums that he dropped in 2017, as well as the debut of Glacier Boyz, his rumored collaborative super-group project with Migos and Lil Yachty; and American DJ/producer Dillon Francis, who is best known for bringing the moombahton dance scene to the national spotlight and is currently prepping for the release of his next album which is said to heavily feature Latin and Spanish-language music.
Neon Desert will also bring to West Texas some of the biggest names in Latin music today, which include the rock group Café Tacvba, who hail from Ciudad Satélite, Mexico, and continue to perform in support of their recent album, Jei Beibi, released last May; the Puerto Rican-born reggaeton singer and songwriter Farruko; Bomba Estéreo, who are best known for their psychedelic-cumbia style of music and who just released their latest album, Ayo, last fall to praise from critics and fans alike; and Mexican singer and songwriter Caloncho. All of these performers have either been nominated for or have won a Grammy or Latin Grammy Award.
Additional performers include a highly curated mix of nationally recognized performers alongside exciting up-and-comers, like Bronx-born Cardi B, who continues to dominate the radio charts after debuting her No. 1 smash hit, “Bodak Yellow,” in late 2017, the song that made her the first woman rapper to score an unassisted No. 1 hit on the Billboard 100 charts since Lauryn Hill did the same nearly two decades ago.
Indie rock darlings Third Eye Blind, who are set to perform a variety of their greatest hits, including “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper”; rapper Playboi Carti, who continues to ride high from the success of last year’s debut mixtape that included the viral hit “Magnolia”; New York-based indie-pop band The Drums; electronic music duo GTA; and the mysterious masked DJ and producer Malaa, many fans of whom suspect is the collaborative secret project of Parisian producers DJ Snake, Tchami, and Mercer.
In addition to the music performances throughout the weekend, fans at the 2018 festival will experience a unique urban festival environment that literally transforms historic downtown El Paso into a festival playscape for attendees of all ages.
Key features of the festival, which regularly covers over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso, include a dedicated stage for local artists in the San Jacinto Square, as well as a skate ramp, pro wrestling, numerous live art installations, and more.
Neon Desert will also curate a full slate of local merchants, food vendors, and live visual artists for the two-day event in a continued effort to provide ticket buyers with an authentic West Texas festival experience unlike any other.
Weekend passes are on sale now at www.neondesert.com. GA two-day tickets are priced at just $119, while J&K VIP tickets are $275, and J&K Platinum VIP tickets cost $550. J&K VIP ticket holders will receive a variety of perks, including re-entry to the festival, a dedicated VIP-only entrance and exit, complimentary drinks throughout the entirety of the festival, complimentary dinner each night, and official Neon Desert merch.
J&K Platinum VIP passes, which sold out in its debut last year, offer the most elevated experience available to ticket buyers. These lucky Platinum VIP attendees will receive all of the regular VIP perks in addition to exclusive access to a main stage viewing deck, special Platinum VIP area, and more.
Interested patrons are encouraged to act fast as these tickets are in short supply and will increase in price as the event date approaches.
Neon Desert is also once again offering a discount-priced two-day GA tickets for all US military members and local veterans at Fort Bliss. Weekend GA passes of Neon Desert Music Festival are available now for purchase for just $99 specifically at the LTS on East Bliss, BLDG 20732 and the Freedom Crossing LTS Kiosk. Interested ticket buyers must present an official military ID in order to purchase tickets to this event.
In total, more than 40 music performers from El Paso and across the globe are set to take the stage at Neon Desert Music Festival 2018, with the full lineup listed below:
Martin Garrix – At the Drive-In – Gucci Mane – Dillon Francis
The glory of the festival media pass is always unpredictable for the music journalist, but the adventure is always guaranteed.
For Neon Desert 2017, a sit-down with headlinining DJ Hardwell revealed less of how his new single with Austin Malone, “Creatures of the Night” related to my festival war cry and was more of discovering the humility of an EDM genius with a purpose to change the world with more than just beats.
Netherlands-born Robbert van de Corput, 29, has expedited the average life journey of success and reached the heights of the title as #1 DJ twice before the age of 25. The first major fist pump of his career presented itself as a record deal at the age of 14, only 2 years after first experimenting with electronic dance music.
Hardwell’s first decade of DJing proved his ability to consistently move mountains of crowds one beat drop at a time, boasting a festival resume that includes Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, Ultra, Coachella and countless others. As his career continues to peak, Hardwell’s influence now has a new burst of hands in the air that don’t belong to the average concert rager.
In December 2015, Hardwell’s project, United We Are, joined forces with GuestList4Good Enterprise to educate thousands of India’s youth by way of The World’s Biggest Guest List Festival (WBGLF).
“At a certain point in my career when I became more successful, it’s really something amazing to give something back to the world in general,” Hardwell said. “When I came to India for the first time I was heartbroken by seeing so many homeless kids. Doing a concert to get so many kids to school is an amazing feeling.”
In its first year, the “party-for- good” production in Mumbai was attended by 80,000 fans and live-streamed by more than 10 million others, with sponsors flocking to support the cause.
Festival proceeds translated into an educational currency that supported more than 18,000 Indian children via international non-profit organization, the Magic Bus Program. According to their website, Magic Bus moves children out of poverty by way of mentors and a sports-based curriculum that instills healthy habits in education, health, gender equity and leadership.
Close to 300,000 children benefit from the program, with over 70% graduating high school and entering college. In 2017, the organizers will target 100,000 more, and will continue to spread efforts all over the world.
The Hardwell dance vibe at Neon Desert felt like it was enough to split the asphalt on Mills and Mesa. Mid-jump, it dawned on me that the same intensity would carry through to WBGLF and create social earthquakes in the economic dichotomies of the countries served by the Magic Bus with the sorcery of music.
And like the second wind that soothes the aching feet and tired arms from pounding and flailing in my tiny bubble of EDM street bliss, Hardwell is going hard beyond his career in music, and now dancing into the minds that will influence the leaders, educators, musicians and cage rattlers of tomorrow.
In the past year, other musicians have steered in their own social media and fan base influence onto the road to education. In a March news conference, hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper donated $1M to the Chicago Public System to benefit the arts and enrichment programming.
The artist recently headlined JMBLYA in Dallas and Austin, a festival that partners with Neon Desert organizers through promotion network ScoreMore Shows.
A Twitter impulse in early May by hip hop singer/songwriter Nicki Minaj resulted in thousands of dollars in payment favors for tuition and loans for students around the U.S. Later, the model officially announced her intentions to launch a charity based founded on the spontaneous generosity.
At a time when budget cut proposals threaten an already unsound federal education system, there’s a newfound delight in the sweet sounds of those charging up the masses through the religion of beats, rhythm and soul.
The 2017 edition of Neon Desert Music Festival has come and gone, with El Paso’s Khalid giving the most memorable performance on the Franklin Mountain Stage, in front of a herd of fans that spanned over two blocks in the heart of the city.
As the music played and the fans moved across the venue from stage to stage, there was another form of artistic talent on display. Since 2011, the two-day festival has hosted dozens of artists who showcase their graffiti art, body paint and other forms of abstract art.
“We’ve always been participating since the first year, we’ve always attended as guests and had a lot of fun. Off that same idea and doing some street art we would actually be part of Neon Desert on our own,” Los Visionaries Collective artist Victor Soto said. “We would hit up the neighborhood where Neon Desert happens prior to the festival, so we were kind of unofficially part of it…we finally got invited to be part of the official lineup.”
This type of artwork takes time, as it unfolds throughout the duration of the festival. The hours spent finishing the piece often go unnoticed by fans in attendance, but it’s the finished product that gets the praise.
Along with local talent, he artists group included members from Austin, San Diego, and Juarez.
“We plan it in advance…I think the challenge part of being a collective is being able to incorporate so many people with different traits into one project,” Soto said. “Finding a way where it’s all balanced and where nothing overpowers the other, everything’s strong on its own.”
Soto did say that the group meets to plan their projects for the show and the goal is to improve on previous work, but once they reach a halfway point on an original idea, they begin to “improvise.”
He adds that the goal behind these projects is to give those in attendance a different form of entertainment. The main attraction will always be the musicians, but between the acts and while folks grab a bite, there is plenty of time to appreciate the visual arts.
“Everyone’s out here to have fun, to see something live. To see either their favorite band or people that they really like live, a performance,” Soto said. “That’s what we’re trying to bring as well as far as art goes, performance arts.”
To view some of their art, check out the gallery below, to check out the entire NDMF click Day One or Day Two.
Neon Desert Music Festival is excited to announce the set times and full performance schedule for the seventh annual event, which will return to downtown El Paso this Memorial Day weekend, May 27 and 28.
Both single-day and two-day passes are available for purchase online, as well as in store at several local businesses, including Happy House, Headstand, and both the east and west locations of Phit Phuel..
The 2017 full performance schedule is listed below by day and stage. Festival gates open at 3:00 p.m. (MT) daily with all sets subject to change.
To view the complete schedule, including this year’s Silent Disco stage, please click HERE. To view galleries from last year’s event click Day One or Day Two
SATURDAY, MAY 27
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STAGE
11:15pm – 12:30am Logic
9:00pm – 10:00pm Nelly
7:00pm – 8:00pm Lil Uzi Vert
5:00pm – 6:00pm Tennyson
3:30pm – 4:15pm Michael Christmas
RIO BRAVO STAGE – PRESENTED BY DOS EQUIS
12:30am – Close Alesso
10:00pm – 11:00pm J Balvin
8:00pm – 9:00pm Thomas Jack
6:00pm – 7:00pm Mija
4:15pm – 5:00pm Trae Tha Truth
PASO DEL NORTE STAGE – PRESENTED BY TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA
10:30pm – 11:30pm Los Amigos Invisibles
8:30pm – 9:30pm Marc E. Bassy
6:30pm – 7:30pm DLD
4:45pm – 5:30pm Bogan Via
3:15pm – 4:00pm Sorrytown
HOMEGROWN LIVE STAGE
8:15pm – 8:40pm Nico & The Silent Films
7:40pm – 8:05pm Ribo Flavin
7:05pm – 7:30pm The Other Half
6:30pm – 6:55pm Frythm
5:55pm – 6:20pm Yung Jung
5:20pm – 5:45pm Eddy Boy
4:45pm – 5:10pm Migas
4:10pm – 4:35pm If We Were Turtles
3:35pm – 4:00pm Our Friend The Mountain
3:00pm – 3:25pm Volta
SUNDAY, MAY 28
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STAGE
11:15pm – 12:30am Foster The People
9:00pm – 10:00pm Ghostland Observatory
7:00pm – 8:00pm Khalid
5:00pm – 6:00pm Medasin
3:30pm – 4:15pm Frontera Bugalu
RIO BRAVO STAGE – PRESENTED BY DOS EQUIS
12:30am – Close Hardwell
10:00pm – 11:00pm Migos
8:00pm – 9:00pm Baauer
6:00pm – 7:00pm Snow Tha Product
4:15pm – 5:00pm J^Hir
PASO DEL NORTE STAGE – PRESENTED BY TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA
10:30pm – 11:30pm Mon Laferte
8:30pm – 9:30pm Porter
6:30pm – 7:30pm Ty Segall
4:45pm – 5:30pm The Chamanas
3:15pm – 4:00pm Stan Z
HOMEGROWN LIVE STAGE
8:15pm – 8:40pm Rare Individuals
7:40pm – 8:05pm Dayluta Means Kindness
7:05pm – 7:30pm Trost House
6:30pm – 6:55pm Kilo and the Dew
5:55pm – 6:20pm Rose.Golden
5:20pm – 5:45pm Polaroids
4:45pm – 5:10pm Mikey Cloud
4:10pm – 4:35pm Flamel
3:35pm – 4:00pm Acid Pie
3:00pm – 3:25pm Brandon Bailey Johnson
Additionally, Neon Desert is excited to announce a full slate of local merchants, food vendors, and live visual artists set to participate at this year’s two-day event. Local merchants and shops at the fest will include V&X Boutique, Stela Rose Boutique, Le Trendy, Desert People Co., Zia Imports, Henna by Lue and Fresh Vitola.
Festival-goers will also have the opportunity to taste a wide variety of delicious bites from across the city. The 2017 participating food vendors include Drunchy’s, Eves Sinfully Good Sandwiches, 915 Corn Stars, Wonderscoops, Nona’s, Desert Smoke, Tacos Chinampa, Clasico, Crave, Crave Tacos, J&K, Mac’s Place, Nosh, The Tap on Wheels and Delicious.
Neon Desert will also welcome an eclectic group of acclaimed live visual artists to participate in this year’s event including artists such as Celeste Byers (@celestialterrestrial), EXIST1981 (@exist1981), Federico Archuleta (@el_federico), MrDvice (@mrdvice) and many more.
Single-day GA passes are still available for $79 at www.neondesertmusicfestival.com. Additionally, GA weekend passes are still available for $119, as well as J&K VIP weekend passes and J&K Platinum weekend VIP Passes, which are on sale now for $250 and $550, respectively.
J&K VIP ticket holders will receive a variety of perks including re-entry to the festival, complimentary drinks, as well as complimentary dinner daily at 6:00 p.m.; while J&K Platinum VIP ticket holders will be offered all of the regular VIP perks, in addition to exclusive access to a main stage viewing deck, complimentary drinks and meals throughout each day of the festival, and more.
Festival attendees are encouraged to avoid the lines by exchanging their GA ticket for a wristband early by visiting the below locations this Wednesday to Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
*Lowbrow Palace — 111 E. Robinson, Ave. El Paso, TX 79902
*The Fountains at Farah — Fountains Pavilion — 8889 Gateway Blvd W. El Paso, TX 79925
Over the past six years, Neon Desert has hosted over 130,000 attendees, as well as a variety of internationally renowned talent, with the likes of Tiësto, Future, J. Cole, Daddy Yankee, Kaskade, Passion Pit, Zoé, Ximena Sariñana, Mala Rodríquez, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, and Moby having previously played at the festival.
Neon Desert looks to take this year’s event to new heights with a wide variety of stellar music acts set to perform over three stages, along with a silent disco stage, multiple live art installations, and a highly-curated mix of local food vendors and merchants.
Officials with the Neon Desert Music Festival unveiled the daily music lineup for the annual event, set to return to Downtown El Paso on May 27 and 28.
Promoters also announced the availability of single-day, general admission passes for $79; festival attendees can purchase those at Neon Desert’s website.
Additionally, GA weekend passes to the two-day event are still available for $119, along with J&K weekend VIP passes for $250 and J&K Platinum weekend VIP passes for $550. J&K VIP ticket holders will receive a variety of perks including re-entry to the festival, complimentary drinks, as well as complimentary dinner daily at 6:00 p.m.
J&K Platinum VIP ticket holders will be offered all of the regular VIP perks, in addition to exclusive access to a main stage viewing deck, complimentary drinks and meals throughout each day of the festival, and more.
Interested patrons are encouraged to act soon as supply of the J&K VIP and Platinum VIP passes is very limited.
Taking place over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso encompassing two city parks, Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza, Neon Desert Music Festival proudly welcomes headlining performances on Saturday, May 27 from Colombian R&B singer J Balvin, whose single “Ginza” off of his 2016 album, Energía, broke the record for most views on YouTube of any Latin music video in the first 24 hours.
Internationally renowned DJ and producer, Alesso, who has been heralded as the forerunner of the next generation of house music; as well as rapper/producer and self described “Young Sinatra,” Logic, whose latest album, Everybody has been received with much praise from fans and critics alike.
Headlining Sunday’s performances will include EDM heavyweight and one of the most in demand DJ’s in the world, Hardwell, whose performance is sure to bring high-energy to the festival until the very end of the weekend-long celebration in downtown El Paso; the Grammy-nominated indie-pop band Foster the People, who are currently working on their highly anticipated follow up to the band’s acclaimed 2014 album, Supermodel; and Migos, whose sophomore album, Culture, recently topped the Billboard 200 for several weeks this spring and was boosted in large part by the No. 1 hit “Bad and Boujee.”
The headlining performances on Saturday will be supported with performances by former Grammy winner and rapper Nelly; as well as one of today’s most exciting breakout hip-hop artists, Lil Uzi Vert, whose recent collaboration on Migos’ hit single “Bad and Boujee” resulted in his first number one single this January on the US Billboard Hot 100; tropical-house pioneer and DJ Thomas Jack; Venezuelan-based disco-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles; Mexican rockers DLD; and more.
Sunday’s schedule is also set to include performances by Texas-based electro-funk duo Ghostland Observatory; Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte; electronic producer and creator of the smash hit, “Harlem Shake”, Baauer; rising R&B sensation and El Paso’s own Khalid; five-piece indie pop band and nominee for Best New Artist at the 2016 Latin Grammys, The Chamanas; and more.
NEON DESERT MUSIC FESTIVAL 2017 – DAILY LINEUP:
SATURDAY, MAY 27
J BALVIN – ALESSO – LOGIC
NELLY – LIL UZI VERT – THOMAS JACK – MIJA – TRAE THA TRUTH
LOS AMIGOS INVISIBLES – DLD – MARC E. BASSY – TENNYSON
MICHAEL CHRISTMAS – BOGAN VIA – SORRYTOWN – RIBO FLAVIN
NICO AND THE SILENT FILMS – THE OTHER HALF – OUR FRIEND THE MOUNTAIN – MIIJAS
FRYTHM – YUNG JUNG – EDDY BOY – IF WE WERE TURTLES – VOLTA
Over the past six years, Neon Desert has hosted over 130,000 attendees, as well as a variety of internationally renowned talent, with the likes of Tiësto, Future, J. Cole, Daddy Yankee, Kaskade, Passion Pit, Zoé, Ximena Sariñana, Mala Rodríquez, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, and Moby having previously played at the festival. Neon Desert looks to take this year’s event to new heights with a wide variety of stellar music acts set to perform over three stages, along with a silent disco stage, multiple live art installations, and a variety of local food vendors and merchants.
Neon Desert Music Festival would like to thank Southwest University, who is the new presenting partner in 2017, in addition to sponsors Heineken USA and Glazers Distributors, who are part of a continuation of multi-year partnerships that began in 2016. Dos Equis, the official beer of Neon Desert, will help in keeping fans’ thirsts quenched for years to come. Neon Desert would also like to thank additional sponsors and partners who helped make the festival possible including Whataburger, Malibu Rum, Coke, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Red Bull, El Paso Electric, J&K, Electric Sky Wine, Hospitals Of Providence, Hunt Companies, El Paso’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Division (MCAD), and Sun City Pride.
The Texas Trost Society has worked for the past four years to educate our community about the historic, cultural, and economic value of the many buildings designed by the Trost & Trost architectural firm in the early part of the 20th century.
As part of this year’s May Preservation Month, the Trost Society has created an interactive, artistic installation that will take place during Neon Desert Music Festival, a weekend that will reach over 40,000 El Pasoans.
Officials with the project say the installation has two purposes, “to engage as many people of all ages to interact with the physical characteristics of our built environment, and to promote the Texas Trost Society and our sponsors to a young audience demographic.”
While many sponsors participate in Neon Desert Music Festival each year, the Texas Trost Society envisions a unique sponsor experience that harmonizes with the musical and artistic nature of the festival, and one that capitalizes on the festival’s location in the heart of downtown.
The Texas Trost Society will light up the Martin Building with images of iconic downtown buildings – including images of the Blue Flame Building – illustrated and colorized by local artists, as well as display different artistic renderings of our local history and historic architecture.
Come nightfall, concert-goers will have the opportunity to see the images projected 100 feet high, as well as watch live feeds of people participating in activities at our booth.
The Trost Society’s pop-up installation will include a space for participants to color images of the coloring book and see their images on the projection, and we will have the opportunity to give your employees a special tour of the installation and festival should they choose to join us. We believe the engagement experience for this particular installation will have lasting impact on participants, as they will have many points of impact throughout the duration of the festival.
Social media impressions and additional press coverage during the festival will increase the number of views of the installation and our sponsors beyond those present during Neon Desert.
For artists who have artwork featuring Trost & Trost Buildings and would like to be featured, please send an email to email@example.com with a high-res image of your work, your name, the title of the piece, and your preferred social media handle.
For those with no Trost artwork, officials are also asking artists to color pages of our Trost in the Borderlands coloring book. Click the following link (YouTubeWatch) to watch the example and email organizers at the address above to participate.
Officials with the Neon Desert Music Festival unveiled initial details surrounding the 2017 event, which will again take place on Memorial Day weekend.
The seventh installment of the beloved Texas festival will happen over two-days, Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28in the heart of downtown El Paso.
Early-bird GA weekend tickets cost $99, while early-bird two-day VIP tickets are available for $250. Both of these specially priced tickets are available for purchase now at www.neondesertmusicfestival.com. Interested patrons are encouraged to act fast as these tickets are in short supply and will increase in price as the event date approaches.
Neon Desert will be announcing the initial music lineup, along with additional Festival details in the upcoming months.
Now in its seventh year, Neon Desert has cumulatively hosted over 130,000 attendees, with over 32,000 music-fans partaking in last year’s two-day celebration. Since its inception in 2011, the event has offered attendees an eclectic mix of mainstream American performers alongside acclaimed international acts, with past performers including J. Cole, Kaskade, Passion Pit, Zoé, Ximena Sariñana, Mala Rodriguez, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, Capital Cities, Carla Morrison, and Moby.
The 2016 festival proudly welcomed performances from a wide variety of acclaimed acts, including Deftones, Tiësto, Future, Daddy Yankee, Carnage, Ludacris, Tyler, The Creator; A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez, Natalia Lafourcade, Duke Dumont, Wolfgang Gartner, MUTEMATH, STRFKR, Cults, AlunaGeorge, Mark Farina, and Niykee Heaton, along with more than 40 other talented performers.
In addition to the music performances throughout the weekend, fans at the 2016 Neon Desert Music Festival experienced an expanded footprint in historic downtown El Paso, which included a dedicated stage for local artists in the newly renovated San Jacinto Square. Other new additions to the festival included a skate ramp, pro wrestling, numerous live art installations, and more.
Neon Desert will continue to be produced in partnership with Texas-based ScoreMore Shows, and will feature a diverse mix of nationally acclaimed and up-and-coming music acts, as well as local food vendors and merchants. ScoreMore now routes tours through nine markets in the Southwest United States, including Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, San Marcos, and more, producing more than 150 club shows per year, not including its festival properties: JMBLYA in both Dallas and Austin, and the new Mala Luna Music Festival in San Antonio.
ScoreMore also helped to bring about one of the most successful and sought-after events in SXSW history, The ILLMORE, which concluded in 2016. The Austin-based group now regularly books shows with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and more who have grown from playing shows at 100-person bars to 10,000+ arenas.
Neon Desert would like to thank their 2017 partners, Heineken USA and Glazers Distributors, both of whom entered into a new multi-year partnership with the festival. Dos Equis, the official beer of Neon Desert, also helped to keep fans’ thirsts quenched throughout the 2016 festival weekend and will continue to do so for years to come.
Neon Desert would also like to thank returning sponsor Red Bull for their continued support.
The bass boomed in the distance, as a swarm of high-waisted cut off shorts raced against the Franklin traffic light timer.
The sun was gentle, the breeze faint, and the vibes of thousands of dancing souls in the distance emanated through the halls of downtown El Paso. It was a ripe time for festival junkies.
In my decade of festival hopping, I’ve never embarked on the multiple-day dance journey without my Road Dogs. We look out for each other, share funnel cake calories, bump hips and head bang in unison, split cab rides and shuttles and pass out at the end of the night as one.
For the first time in dance party history though, I did it alone. It wasn’t the plan, to go against the festival habit, nor did the Neon Desert journey begin that way.
As synchronicity would have it, two of the original roadies from my first-time Coachella days crossed my path on Day 1.
The universe’s equation evoked the souls of our early 20’s, and as a trio, we floated to the beats of Mark Farina, swayed to the Chuco Soul Project, wrestled with the bass of Wolfgang Gartner, and laid on our backs on recycled pallets contemplating life with Deftones rumbling in the distance.
Day 1 glowed magically, and the laughs and beers and observations were shared amongst our stage-hopping, crowd-dodging, art-loving crew.
A new sense of awareness however, was literally knocked into me on Day 2, and I have the shiner to prove it. I had taken on the day with no plans but to wander aimlessly, meeting friends along the way to catch the bands on my list.
I was mid-text just about three feet from the entrance when I felt a rough shove, and turned just in time for a man’s fist to introduce itself to my cheek, missing the intended target, now sprinting the opposite direction. My disorientation took about 20 seconds to subside as I tried to make sense of the sudden blow and loud ringing in my ear.
The fast action of guards and EMTs had me on ice within three minutes. No blood, no broken bones, but bruising was inevitable. It was a rough start to Day 2, but I was rolling solo, so all I could do was put on my big girl panties and power through it.
Text messages were delayed with my phone service for some reason, so I gave up on my phone for the moment.
After about 15 minutes of icing, I was able to walk straight and [cautiously] wander Neon Desert on my own with a more elevated, lets-not-get-punched-in-the-face-again awareness.
It was slightly awkward at first – to not have a specific destination. I’m a detailed planner, with lists and timelines and missions. Taking the direction of the wind and following the music completely alone was new to me, and the discomfort of solitude in a crowd of thousands took a little time to diminish.
It was then I realized I had skipped some sections of art on Day 1.
The second time walking down Franklin toward the Paso del Norte stage, at my own pace, with no distractions or missions, I felt a surge of awe.
It was more than wood panels and painted inflatables.
I saw the souls of the artists in the details, the imagination of an inner child in the composition, and love absorbed me as I stood back and my sense of vision connected with the heart of another human’s passion.
Solitude, once the cousin to my enemy of loneliness, was suddenly my best friend, and Downtown became my own little world.
Downtown El Paso was my new Road Dog.
In between familiar faces and brief small talk and toasts to life, I continued my observational journey.
Smiles were contagious, and for the first time I noticed the children basking in the festival vibes with hula hoops and painted faces. Hipster hats and shades on teeny tiny bodies never looked so adorable. Families were rocking out and it was beautiful to watch the diversity in ages share a common ground in my hometown.
I stared at the genius of the Lucha Libre ring and reminisced my childhood days of static television and wiggling the rabbit ears to get the best picture of the Luchadores in my family’s tiny apartment living room on St. John’s in central.
Here I was, 25 years later, watching it live, becoming hoarse from cheering them on.
The skate ramp, a genius integration of an underground culture, was breathtaking. I literally Googled prices for skateboards and longboards, as I recalled the excitement of my first days on a skateboard in Downtown El Paso.
The festival was inspiring me on a new level. The exhilaration was booming from my chest, and I hadn’t even had my first beer or band yet!
My dirty Converse made their way to all the stages, with a mind still oblivious to schedules and cell phone screens. There was no such thing as dancing alone in the family tree of music as we shared the blasts from the speakers and moved in harmony.
Hope Riot warmed up the toes as I got a dose of some good rock and roll, and I eventually danced my way to the musicless cheering at the Silent Disco stage.
To stand and actually SEE, not HEAR the beat drop from an outsider’s view is hilariously entertaining and stimulating.
Aimless wandering eventually guided me to friends, some old Road Dogs from festivals past, and relatives.
As much as I reveled in their company, I always found it a relief to be able to walk away at the first sound of someone “having to pee” or “let’s get some food” or “wait in line for beer.”
‘I’ll catch you all on the flip side!’ was my new coined phrase as I gracefully exited the temporary party. And off I went, back on the solo journey, chasing the music that called out the loudest.
Duke Dumont, Daddy Yankee, Ludacris, System A, Tiesto and Emily Davis were among my Sunday pit stops and my only regret was that there weren’t three more of me to get the full complete coverage of Neon Desert Music Festival.
But the life-changer here was the lesson of embracing solitude in crowds, detachment from phones and going with the flow.
And I can tell you in the history of NDMF, Downtown El Paso, the Road Dogs of all Road Dogs, had her best year yet in 2016.
The music, the footprint, the number of people, the food, the execution was commendable.
Congrats to Neon Desert on their incredible and evolving success, congrats to the City of El Paso for continued growth and support for recreational events, and more than anything, CONGRATS TO THE CITIZENS OF EL PASO for taking advantage of annual opportunities to absorb the magic of Downtown with the Neon Desert Music Festival. As for me, I’m just glad I was able to roll with the punches.
Neon Desert Music Festival is excited to announce the set times and full performance schedule for the sixth annual event, which is slated to return to downtown El Paso on Memorial Day weekend, May 28 and 29.
The 2016 performance schedule is listed below by day and stage. Festival gates open at 3:00 p.m. (MT) daily with all sets subject to change. To view the complete schedule, including the lineup for the Silent Disco Stage Presented By GECU, please visit www.neondesertmusicfestival.com
Neon Desert will once again offer an eclectic mix of mainstream American performers alongside acclaimed international acts at this year’s event.
Over the past five years, Neon Desert has hosted over 100,000 attendees, but now looks to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever with a wide variety of stellar music acts set to perform over three stages, along with a silent disco stage, multiple live art installations, and numerous local food vendors and merchants.
Single-day general admission passes to the festival cost just $79, and are available online.
Additionally, GA weekend passes are still available for $119 as well as J&K VIP weekend passes, which are on sale now for $250.
Both GA and VIP two-day weekend passes are available for sale online, as well as at all El Paso and Las Cruces Mattress Firm locations.
VIP perks include complimentary beverages, exclusive lounge area, private catering by Taco Tote and The Pizza Joint each night, a separate VIP entrance with re-entry access, and additional amenities
SATURDAY, MAY 28
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STAGE PRESENTED BY MATTRESS FIRM
11:00pm – 12:15am Deftones
9:00pm – 10:00pm Tyler, The Creator
7:30pm – 8:00pm Niykee Heaton
5:00pm – 6:00pm Tolidos
3:30pm – 4:15pm Good Field
RIO BRAVO STAGE PRESENTED BY DOS EQUIS
12:15am – 2:00am Carnage with special guests
10:00pm – 11:00pm Future
8:00pm – 9:00pm Wolfgang Gartner
6:00pm – 7:00pm Louis The Child
4:15pm – 5:00pm New Paso
PASO DEL NORTE STAGE
10:30pm – 11:30pm Mutemath
8:30pm – 9:30pm Cults
6:30pm – 7:30pm Mark Farina
4:45pm – 5:30pm River Tiber
3:15pm – 4:00pm Nalgadas
HOMEGROWN LIVE STAGE
9:25pm – 10:00pm Varsity Alumni
8:50pm – 9:15pm Ribo Flavin
8:15pm – 8:40pm The DA
7:45pm – 8:05pm Chuco Soul Project
7:05pm – 7:30pm LFDC
6:30pm – 6:55pm Great Shapes
5:55pm – 6:20pm Alabama Deathwalk
5:20pm – 5:45pm Dayluta Means Kindness
5:45pm – 5:10pm Villian’s Kiss
4:10pm – 4:35pm Stan Z
3:35pm – 4:00pm Call For Candor
3:00pm – 3:25pm Trost House
SUNDAY, MAY 29
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STAGE PRESENTED BY MATTRESS FIRM
11:00pm – 12:15am Ludacris
9:00pm – 10:00pm A$AP Ferg & Tory Lanez
7:00pm – 8:00pm Natalia Lafourcade
5:00pm – 6:00pm Hayden James
3:45pm – 4:15pm Divine Kegel
RIO BRAVO STAGE PRESENTED BY DOS EQUIS
12:15am – 2:00am Tiësto
10:00pm – 11:00pm Daddy Yankee
8:00pm – 9:00pm Duke Dumont
6:00pm – 7:00pm AlunaGeorge
4:15pm – 5:00pm Trill Sammy & Dice Soho
PASO DEL NORTE STAGE
10:30pm – 11:30pm STRFKR
8:30pm – 9:30pm Whilk and Misky
6:30pm – 7:30pm Wrestlers
4:45pm – 5:30pm Mesa Inn
3:15pm – 4:00pm Kilo and the Dew
HOMEGROWN LIVE STAGE
9:25pm – 10:00pm Rare Individuals
8:50pm – 9:15pm Emily Davis
8:15pm – 8:40pm The Other Half
7:45pm – 8:05pm Animalsoul
7:05pm – 7:30pm Acid Pie
6:30pm – 6:55pm Frythm
5:55pm – 6:20pm Miss Gulch
5:20pm – 5:45pm Hope Riot
5:45pm – 5:10pm Mr. Crazy
4:10pm – 4:35pm If We Were Turtles
3:35pm – 4:00pm Sluur
3:00pm – 3:25pm Miijas
For the 2016 event, Neon Desert is also excited to announce a new multi-year partnership with sponsors Heineken USA and Glazers Distributors. Dos Equis, the official beer of Neon Desert, will help in keeping fan’s thirsts quenched for years to come.
Neon Desert would also like to thank additional sponsors and partners who help make the festival possible, including Whataburger, Mattress Firm, GECU, El Paso Electric, Red Bull, Jarritos, Hunt Companies, J&K, Barefoot Wine, El Paso Water Utilities and the City of El Paso.