Review: Global Dance Festival 2011

By Molly McCowan

Hope you remembered to pack your glowsticks – The annual electronic music extravaganza that is Global Dance Festival just rolled through town.

GDF 2011 was a three-day extravaganza of electronica that took place at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 14-16, and, like always, it brought out the big guns in overall production and line-up choices. In short, the crowd was wild, the outfits were out of this world, the glowsticks were flying, and the mountains nearby echoed galumphing bass and triumphant melodies til the break of dawn.

Empire of the Sun, LMFAO and Benny Benassi headlined each consecutive night, and many other major players in the electronica world made appearances as well, including Scrillex, Nero, Kid Cudi, Major Lazer, Dieselboy, Avicii, Morgan Page and a plethora of other talented acts.

Rain was intermittent, some days consistently soaking the crowd in 10-minute intervals, and other days clearing up in the late afternoon, giving dedicated dancers hours of dry skies. The weather played an integral role in creating truly breathtaking scenery however: Friday, crowds were treated to a lightning storm northeast of Denver, fantastically huge cloud systems drenched in late afternoon sun, and a harvest moon, strikingly gold against a darkening horizon.

But enough with the meteorology report; let’s cut to the chase.

The music did not disappoint, especially for those of you out there that go bonkers for dubstep. Friday in particular showed an excess of dubstep DJs – to the point that, even with three stages to choose from, the unlucky non-dubstep devotee was just plain out of luck for a few hours straight.

Saturday brought a bit more of a traditional house music flavor, and Benassi played a momentous closing set that is still ringing in audience members’ happily aching ears.

The light shows that accompanied the sets were ebullient, showing high energy and a high dollar value as far as the event production went.

My only criticism? Change things up a bit each night – there are three stages, so let’s see some more variation in how the DJs are scheduled. Got a dubstep-heavy dude on the main stage and you aren’t diggin’ it? Check out stage two for some house, stage three for an IDM flavor, etc. The more options at any point in time for the fans, the better. Don’t you agree?

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