Dallas-area fans of electronic dance music get a post-Christmas present with Lights All Night 2012, a three-day music festival converging on Fair Park December 29 through New Year's Eve. The event features performances by more than 75 DJs and musical artists, headlined by Tiesto, Avicci, Calvin Harris and Axwell.
Electronic dance music (EDM) events are a popular format for New Year's Eve, but Lights All Night (LAN) is unique in that it extends for three days. The only other similar New Year's Eve festival is the SnowGlobe Music Festival in Lake Tahoe, which also runs December 29-31.
LAN started out in 2010 as a single-night New Year's Eve event with a crowd of 6,000; this year the festival moves to Fair Park and should draw 50,000.
LAN started out in 2010 as a single-night New Year's Eve event on the ice rink at the Plaza of the Americas in downtown Dallas, where it drew a crowd of 6,000 — respectable for an inaugural event but no match for this year, which is expected to attract an estimated 50,000 attendees.
2012 also marks a move to the more pedestrian-friendly Fair Park, where parking and staging options are more plentiful. Fair Park is no stranger to EDM: It was the site for the Electric Daisy Carnival in 2010 and 2011, which ended after a fatality.
Dallas has a well-established reputation as a dance-music center; in the past year, we've seen a series of highly visible EDM events, including the Meltdown Music Festival in June, the national Identify Festival tour in August, and not one but two dates on the global Day Glow “Life in Color” tour in September.
Lights All Night comes from Scott Osburn and Hank Keller, two thirtysomething entrepreneurs who cut their teeth in the business back in college by promoting acts such as the Indigo Girls. They partnered with MCP Presents in Denver to produce the 2011 festival. That partnership continues in 2012.
There are four stages: Main, Hangar, Fountain and Club Lights All Night. Major mainstream and commercial acts perform on the Main stage during "prime time" hours, including Tiesto, Avicci, Calvin Harris and Axwell.
See top trance, dubstep and electro house talent like Gareth Emery, Markus Schulz, 12th Planet, Alesso and Flux Pavilion at the Hanger stage.
Club Lights All Night showcases a variety of big room, dance floor sounds ranging from hip hop, dubstep, progressive house and funk from artists like Archnemesis, Tritonal, White Panda and Mord Fustang.
The Fountain is for local acts such as Billy the Kid, Joe Vega, Wish FM, Redeye and Exceed.
With more than 75 DJs and musical artists, there's a lot to see. And with the event's earlier hours — starting at 4 pm and ending at midnight daily — you'll have to plan accordingly. If you're like me, you're used to headliners performing at 12:30 am.
Saturday's top picks include electro house DJ Zedd, trance artist Markus Schulz and dubstep DJ Flux Pavilion. If you prefer a more commercial EDM sound, then Avicci and Tiesto are your best bets.
On Sunday, there are two DJ duos worth seeing: the electro house Bingo Players and Zed’s Dead, who play a mix of bass, electro and dubstep. Also performing on Saturday is my favorite trance artist Gareth Emery and freestyler Bassnectar. If you’re a fan of the Rihanna hit “We Found Love,” then you need to add Calvin Harris to your artist list for Sunday.
Monday is heaven for those who love dubstep and drum n bass, with appearances by Krewella, 12th Planet, 3LAU and Archnemesis. If dubstep/drum n bass is not your thing, seek out progressive house DJs Sander van Doorn and Axwell of Swedish House Mafia fame. And if you haven’t carved out any time for local DJs, Sunday has two of Dallas’ best: Redeye and Wish FM.
No matter your favorite flavor of EDM, Lights All Night has it. Get ready to dance your way into the New Year, but remember to pace yourself. It is three days, after all.