Event Review: BassCON EDC Las Vegas
This year at EDC in Las Vegas marked the second edition of the BassCON stage, and the third year featuring a hardstyle stage at this major festival. When Q-Dance made their debut at EDC in 2012, most of the festival goers did not seem to know what hardstyle was. In all fairness, EDC is mostly a house and trance festival and that is what most people are attending for, but their did not even seem to be enough hardstyle fans in the US to make the trip out to EDC and fill up the stage. The crowd back then was insignificant compared to the massive Scrap King construct and the fully stacked lineup. At times one could feel sorry for the effort of Q-Dance going all out and getting seemingly nothing in return but a few intoxicated festival goers pumping their fists as they passed by the stage on their way to exit the speedway. But no matter how many people stayed in front of the stage or not, almost everyone at the festival had to pass by it when entering and exiting the speedway. Whether they liked it or not, knew what it was or not, Q-Dance left a lasting impression.
Now, two years after the flagship, BassCON carries the torch for the hardstyle team. And without a doubt they are keeping up. Insomniac does not disappoint when it comes to stage production. Holding true to the BassCON theme of a world torn apart by nuclear fallout, this industrial shipyard being torn apart by a massive spawn of radioactive mutation wrecking havoc to anything in its path, was a sight to behold. The DJ booth was placed right in the mouth of the monstrosity amidst the gnashing teeth, delivery kicks hard enough to make you believe that you were being crushed by the massive fangs themselves. Two years in a row, BassCON has had awe-inspiring stage designs and visuals. They have held nothing back, and could arguably have the most creative and well thought out stage within the festival, aside from Kinetic FIELD of course.
Hardstyle is clearly and without a doubt catching on, proven by the density of the crowd this year and how it has increased dramatically in just 3 years. At this rate, more space will be needed in front of the BassCON stage in the coming years to fit the rapidly increasing attendance. People from all over the world come for hardstyle at EDC. It is really a testament of how well Insomniac is doing with BassCON by seeing how international it is becoming. When more and more Dutch people (who have an abundance of the biggest and best hardstyle events and festivals in the world) are flying to the US for hardstyle, we must be doing something right.
The lineup this year may have been a bit odd, mixing hardstyle, hardcore, trap, and trance into the same stage without any transition. Seeing Andrew Rayel and Orjan Nilsen playing trance sets on this dark, violent, and chaotic stage design seemed out of place, but they sure pulled a large number of festival goers who may not have spent time at BassCON otherwise. The massive amount of people who had come to see Carnage's trap set could not get away in time before the hardcore act, Angerfist, began slaughtering everyone in sight with kicks at 170 BPM and above. Some ran in fear while others stayed in curiosity and open minds of this aggressive style of EDM they may have never heard before.
Although the hardstyle lineup may have been lesser than previous years, ending around 2-3am instead of the entire night, the sets that were play held nothing back. This year was notably more raw and intense than previous years, and the crowd did not dissipate due to harder music but actually grew. Sets from The Prophet, Tatanka, Brennan Heart, and surprisingly enough, DJ Caffeine and Alex Kidd, delivered some of the rawest hardstyle to date. Massive pyrotechnic flames towered into the night sky, as the music became rawer and rawer, with the heat giving the audience a tangible feeling of the intensity of the music.
With three successful years of hardstyle at EDC, unmatched production and stage design, and the massively increasing attendance, it will be exciting to see what Insomniac comes up with for BassCON next year. One thing is for certain, we will not be disappointed.