Staff Report May 31, 2017NewsComments Off on Neon Desert Music Fest Draws 40k Music, Art Lovers to Downtown
Neon Desert Music Festival celebrated its seventh year in 2017 with its most successful event to date, which sold out across two days and featured a variety of acclaimed international hip-hop, EDM, Latin, and indie acts. The two-day festival took place this past Memorial Day weekend, May 27 and 28, in El Paso, Texas, and played host to over 40,000 total attendees.
Covering over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso and encompassing two city parks, Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza, Neon Desert Music Festival proudly welcomed headlining performances from some of the most in-demand acts in the world, including EDM heavyweights Hardwell and Alesso.
Hardwell’s high-energy performance on Sunday kept the party going all night long, along with internationally renowned DJ and producer Alesso, whose stellar performance on Saturday proved that he has earned his title as the forerunner of the next generation of EDM and house music.
Additional 2017 headliners included Colombian R&B singer and international sensation J Balvin, as well as rapper/producer and self-described “Young Sinatra” Logic, who performed in support of his recently released album, Everybody, which just this month hit number one on the Billboard 200 charts. Migos, one of the biggest hip-hop groups in the country, was also onsite over Memorial Day weekend. Their sophomore album, Culture, topped the Billboard 200 for several weeks this spring and was boosted in large part by the smash hit “Bad and Boujee.”
Other music performers at Neon Desert this weekend included Texas-based electro-funk duo Ghostland Observatory; Grammy-winner and beloved St. Louis rapper Nelly; electronic producer and creator of the viral smash hit “Harlem Shake” Baauer; tropical-house DJ Thomas Jack; genre-bending DJ Mija; and more than 30 other talented acts, including a variety of local music performers like El Paso’s own R&B sensation Khalid, whose return to El Paso was a homecoming of sorts for the rising star.
Neon Desert once again proved that it is truly unique to the national festival landscape as it not only showcased national headlining hip-hop, EDM, and indie talent, but it also paid tribute to the Latin heritage of host town El Paso and its diverse residents. For the 2017 event, the festival welcomed a variety of Latin and Mexican music performers from across the globe, including Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte, who proved to be a crowd favorite at the weekend event; Venezuelan-based disco-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles; Mexican rockers DLD; five-piece indie pop band and recent nominee for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys 2016 The Chamanas, and more.
In addition to the music performances throughout the weekend, fans at the 2017 festival experienced an expanded footprint in historic downtown El Paso, which included a new entrance near the Mills Plaza. Other key features at the festival included 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 also welcomed a full slate of local merchants, food vendors, and live visual artists at this year’s two-day event.
Now in its seventh year, Neon Desert has cumulatively hosted over 170,000 attendees, as well as a variety of world-renowned talent, with the likes of Tiësto, Future, J. Cole, Kaskade, Daddy Yankee, Passion Pit, Zoé, Ximena Sariñana, Mala Rodríquez, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, and Moby having previously played at the festival.
Neon Desert would like to thank their 2017 partners who helped make the event possible, including presenting sponsor Southwest University, as well as additional partners like Dos Equis, Whataburger, Malibu Rum, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Red Bull, Tidal, J&K, Electric Sky Wine, Hunt Companies, and El Paso’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Division (MCAD).
To view Herald-Post’s coverage of the event, click Day One or Day Two, to check out the art of Los Visionaries, click HERE; and to read our feature story about Hardwell, click here.
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.
Staff Report February 28, 2017NewsComments Off on Lineup, New Ticket Options Announced for 7th Annual Neon Desert Music Festival
Neon Desert Music Festival Organizers announced the full music lineup for the seventh annual event Tuesday Morning, which is slated to return to downtown El Paso on Memorial Day weekend, May 27 and 28.
Neon Desert is also pleased to announce a new multi-year partnership with Southwest University. Southwest University will be the presenting sponsor of Neon Desert, and is excited to help enhance the festival experience for the fans.
Taking place over 15 city blocks in the heart of downtown El Paso, and encompassing two city parks – Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza – Neon Desert Music Festival will proudly welcome headlining performances from EDM heavyweight and one of the most in demand DJ’s in the world, Hardwell.
Hardwell’s high-energy performance is sure to keep the party going all weekend long, along with the Grammy-nominated indie pop band Foster the People, who are currently working on the highly anticipated follow up to their critically-acclaimed 2014 album, Supermodel.
Additional 2017 headliners include Colombian R&B singer J Balvin, whose single “Ginza” off of his 2016 album, Energía, broke the record for most views of any Latin music video in the first 24 hours; and 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, who will bring his signature brand of introspective, thoughtful rap to the weekend-long bash.
Some of the biggest hip-hop artists in the country will also be onsite throughout Memorial Day weekend, including Migos, whose sophomore album,
Culture, recently topped the Billboard 200 for several weeks and was boosted in large part by the smash hit “Bad and Boujee.” One of today’s most exciting breakout hip-hop artists, Lil Uzi Vert, whose recent collaboration on Migo’s hit single “Bad and Boujee” resulted in his first number one single this January on the US Billboard Hot 100, is also set to perform; as is Grammy-winner and rapper Nelly.
Additional music performers include Texas-based electro-funk duo Ghostland Observatory; electronic producer and creator of the smash hit “Harlem Shake”, Baauer; tropical-house DJ Thomas Jack; genre-bending DJ Mija; and more than 30 other talented acts, including a variety of local music performers like El Paso’s own rising R&B sensation Khalid.
Neon Desert is truly unique in that it not only showcases national headlining hip-hop, EDM, and indie talent, but it also plays a real tribute to the Latin heritage of the host town El Paso and its diverse residents.
For the 2017 event, the festival will welcome a variety of Latin and Mexican music performers from across the globe, including Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte; Venezuelan-based disco-funk band Los Amigos Invisibles; Mexican rockers DLD; five-piece indie pop band and recent nominee for Best New Artist at the Latin Grammys 2016 The Chamanas, who hail from Mexico; and more.
Migos / Ghostland Observatory / Nelly / Lil Uzi Vert / Mon Laferte
Baauer / Thomas Jack / Khalid / Mija / Los Amigos Invisibles
DLD / Porter / Ty Segall / Marc E. Bassy / Snow Tha Product / Trae Tha Truth
The Chamanas / Tennyson / Medasin / Michael Christmas / Bogan Via
Frontera Bugalú / J^HIR / Sorrytown / Stan Z / Ribo Flavin / Rare Individuals
The Other Half / Kilo and the Dew / Our Friend The Mountain / Miijas / Acid Pie
Dayluta Means Kindness / Yung Jung / Eddy Boy / Trost House / Frythm / Mikey Cloud
Polaroids / If We Were Turtles / Flamél / Volta / Rose.Golden / Brandon Bailey Johnson
*Denotes music festival headliners
Weekend passes now on sale at www.neondesertmusicfestival.com. Passes to the two-day event are only $119 while J&K VIP passes cost just $250. 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, as well as complimentary dinner daily at 6 p.m.
Neon Desert is also excited to announce the debut of the festival’s newest ticket option, J&K Platinum VIP passes, which are available now for just $550. These Platinum VIP tickets offer attendees the most elevated experience available to ticket buyers.
These lucky attendees 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 fast in purchasing J&K Platinum VIP passes, as supply is very limited.
The seventh annual 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 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, Kaskade, Daddy Yankee, 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 make this year’s event better than ever with a wide variety of incredible 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.
Neon Desert would like to thank their 2017 partners, including presenting sponsor Southwest University as well as the additional partners who help make the festival possible including Dos Equis, Whataburger, Malibu Rum, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Red Bull, Jim Beam, J&K, Electric Sky Wine, Hunt Companies, and El Paso’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Division (MCAD).