Decadence: Bass, Balloons, & Everything We Loved About This Year's Festival

By: Benjamin Tillis

After several consecutive years of bringing dance music entertainment to Denver, Decadence has become an established music festival during New Year’s holiday season, and it shows. BolderBeat attended the first night of the two-day, EDM-focused event, and we were impressed to see clear improvements from previous years.

First, the lineup…

The first night of Decadence was clearly geared more to the “hard” EDM loving fans. With names like Zed’s Dead and Bassnectar, there were some big dubstep fans ready to get down. The lineup for New Year’s Eve was a little more dancey and mainstream, with names like Marshmello headlining.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Decadence. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

On January 30th, with two main stages and a smaller silent disco, Decadence had no choice but to stack the lineup with talent, and they did just that. The first notable names of the night were Above & Beyond and Alison Wonderland. Although these two acts are significantly different styles of EDM, this was clearly the attendees’ most difficult decision regarding which show to see. Bouncing around both stages, it was obvious that each show was its own party. But Alison Wonderland garnered a larger crowd, which made sense. The only DJs whose names were sported on fans’ clothing were Allison Wonderland and Bassnectar.

Which brings us to the most anticipated performance of the night. Bassnectar, a Colorado favorite, did what he does best: mixing new and old hip-hop with his hard hitting classics. This night’s set included a fun, sped-up remix of “Teach Me How to Dougie,” which of course got the whole crowd moving.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Silent Disco. Photo Credit: Jay Bird.

Meanwhile, if you wanted a break from the big stages, there were always enough headphones to go around at the “Silent Disco.” Always a fun battle of colors, there were constantly three different DJs competing to change the headphones to their own “channel.” It was surprisingly easy to be social at the Silent Disco though; you could take off your headphones and chat it up with your dancing neighbors!

Vegas favorite Skrillex closed the night with an hour-long 2AM set. He played the oldie “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites,” and also the entirety of his newer remixes of rap songs, both Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble“ and Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode.“ The fans were pleased; this set definitely had the most jumping and moving compared to the others.

Next, the logistics…

New Year’s is inevitably a hectic holiday, and when you pack thousands of partying people into one building, it is easy for things to get out of hand. But Decadence did a great job of controlling everything. Entering and exiting moved smoothly, although security was still diligent. And coat check, which can prove to be a huge time waster at events like this, ran efficiently, which was awesome to see. The only word of advice to those who don’t want to wait out the end of their night in the cold at Decadence is to leave 20 minutes before the last set ends to avoid waiting forever for an overpriced Uber/Lyft. Spoken from experience.

Lastly, the production…

The lights and lasers at the stages were impressive, but you didn’t need to see a show to experience cool visuals. Throughout the Denver Convention Center were different light fixtures and displays that had fans double-taking over and over again. Above the crowd were interesting inflated white balloons, and UFO-looking ships that lowered and raised to the music. It was a playground for adults and a really cool sight to see.

After a very successful weekend, it’s safe to say we’re even more excited now to see what Decadence has in store for ringing in 2020!

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Five Reasons to Ring in the New Year with Denver's Decadence

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The new year is quickly approaching, which means countless concert options for Colorodans on the 30th and 31st. One that continues to stand out is the two-night, multi-stage electronic music festival Decadence, and for good reason. Read below to see how Decadence never fails to bring EDM fans in Denver two nights that they won’t stop talking about until the next year...

The Venue and Location - The event takes place at The Colorado Convention Center. This venue is humongous, which means there is plenty of room to fit multiple large stages and for thousands of music lovers. The Convention Center is located in the heart of Downtown Denver on 14th Street, so once the show is over, you can still enjoy Denver’s bar scene and get the most of your night.

Two Days of Fun (if you choose) - Why limit your New Year celebration to one day? With Decadence, you have the option to go either the 30th, the 31st, or both nights! Each night has a unique, star-studded lineup that touches every facet of electronic dance music. You can choose which lineup looks best and go on that date, or if it all looks great, extend your NYE partying to two nights!

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The Full Experience - There’s a reason this event is called Decadence: it is over the top in all the best ways. Around the venue you will find performers on stilts, entertainers with never-before-seen outfits and lights, and incredible stage productions with each act. There is even a balloon drop at midnight, and you can guarantee there will be lasers and great light shows. Decadence does New Year’s Eve the right way!

Everything You Need in One Place - New Year’s Eve can be a madhouse in a large city. Getting around town to grab dinner, drinks, and go to a party is hectic and expensive. Decadence, on the other hand, is the only stop you need to make all night. Besides providing the main event entertainment, you will be able to purchase food and drinks at The Convention Center, so your party never has to stop.

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Top-Notch Lineup - Every year, the Decadence lineup gets even better. Colorado is a state filled with EDM lovers, so large events like this know they need to provide a unique and stellar list of performers. Some notable acts playing the night on Sunday, December 30th include, Bassnectar, Skrillex, Zed’s Dead, Above & Beyond, and Alison Wonderland. DJs playing New Year’s Eve include Illenium, Griz, Big Wild, and Marshmello. While these are just some of the big names, there are many more acts playing throughout the night to keep you dancing too.

Treat yourself and go all out this New Year’s at Decadence! For more information on the night, lineup, and tickets, click here!

-Ben

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Every 2018 Red Rocks Show Announced So Far

If you've ever been to Red Rocks, you know there's nothing like it. From the natural beauty of the amphitheater, to the friendly crowd vibes, to the dancing security guards, a Red Rocks show is like its own mini-festival atmosphere. We spend a good part of our spring and summer at the Rocks, and below you'll see why. We've compiled every Red Rocks 2018 show announced so far this year, and we'll update this post every Friday. Start planning your season now and keep checking back for more new shows- 2018 is gonna be a good one. See you on the Rocks!

January

January 12- Red Rocks Local Set with Dynamic Distractions, Venture Still

January 26- Winter On the Rocks with Rick Ross, Jauz, Brother Ali

February

February 16- Red Rocks Local Set with Sugar Ridge Band

March

March 10- Red Rocks Local Set with Many Mountains, Miguel Dakota and The Differents

April

April 18- Camila Cabello

April 19- 311, Method Man, Redman, Collie Buddz, PROF, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Chali 2na

April 20- Flosstradamus, Kayzo, Famous Dex, Melvv, DUCKY

April 21- Opiuo, Sunsquabi

April 25- Kygo, Alan Walker

April 27- Vulfpeck, Kamasi Washington, KNOWER

May

May 2- Post Malone, 21 Savage, SOB x RBE

May 3- X Ambassadors, Misterwives, Allan Rayman

May 4- Twiddle and Stick Figure with The Hip Abduction

May 5- Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band with Leftover Salmon

May 6- Primus, Mastodon, All The Witches

May 10- The Purple Xperience

May 11- Tchami, Malaa

May 12- Global Dub Festival with Ganja White Night, Zomboy, Boogie T. b2b SQUNTO, EPTIC, AFK, Spock

May 13- Modest Mouse

May 14- Khalid

May 19- Above & Beyond

May 20- Elephant Revival with Blind Pilot

May 21- Phantogram, Tycho, Poolside

May 22- The Decemberists, Whitney

May 24- Louis the Child, Big Wild, Quinn XCII, Phantoms

May 25- Devil Makes Three with The Wood Brothers, Murder By Death

May 26- Emancipator Ensemble with Manic Focus, Wax Tailor, Kalya Scintilla & Eve Olution, Tor

May 27- The Disco Biscuits, Spafford, Organ Freeman

May 28- HAIM, Maggie Rogers, Lizzo

May 29- Five Finger Death Punch, Of Mice and Men

May 30- Vance Joy

May 31- Colorado Symphony: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2, Brett Mitchell, Natasha Paremski

June

June 1- Michael Franti & Spearhead, Xavier Rudd, Victoria Canal

June 2- The Motet, Boombox, The New Mastersounds

June 3- Marshmello

June 5- Ween

June 6- Ween

June 7- Brit Floyd

June 8- Lettuce, The Floozies, The Funk Hunters, Jaw Gems

June 9- Big Head Todd and the Monsters

June 10- John Butler Trio, Tash Sultana, Mama Kin Spender

June 12- Bryan Adams

June 13- Turnpike Troubadours with Randy Rogers Band, Old 97’s, Charley Crockett

June 14- Ryan Adams, First Aid Kit

June 15- Odesza -SOLD OUT-

June 16- Odesza -SOLD OUT-

June 17- Dispatch, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Raye Zaragoza

June 19- Barenaked Ladies, Better Than Ezra, KT Tunstall

June 20- Kaleo, Anderson East

June 22- Widespread Panic

June 23- Widespread Panic

June 24- Widespread Panic

June 27- Dirty Heads, Iration, The Movement, Pacific Dub

June 27- Third Day

June 28- Funk on the Rocks with Chromeo, The Glitch Mob, Elohim, KITTENS

June 29- Avett Brothers with David Crosby & Friends -SOLD OUT-

June 30- Avett Brothers with Mandolin Orange -SOLD OUT-

July

July 1- Avett Brothers with Special Guest

July 2- Zeds Dead, Ekali

July 3- Zeds Dead, Ekali

July 4- Blues Traveler, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Wailers

July 5- Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus

July 6- Umphrey’s McGee

July 7- Umphrey’s McGee

July 8- Dark Star Orchestra with Keller Williams

July 10- Ray LaMontagne, Neko Case

July 12- moe.

July 13- GRiZ (live band)

July 14- GRiZ

July 15- Seal with the Colorado Symphony, Corinne Bailey Rae

July 16- Imagine Dragons, Grace VanderWaal

July 17- Jackson Browne

July 18- Sylvan Esso

July 19- Trampled By Turtles, The Oh Hellos, Dead Horses

July 20- The String Cheese Incident with JJ Grey and Mofro

July 21- The String Cheese Incident with The Main Squeeze

July 22- The String Cheese Incident with Rising Appalachia

July 24- Paramore

July 25- Killer Queen

July 26- Sarah McLachlin with The Colorado Symphony

July 27- Beats Antique, CloZee, Polish Ambassador, The Diplomatic Scandal

July 28- Tedeschi Trucks Band with Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band

July 29- Tedeschi Trucks Band, Drive-By Truckers, Marcus King Band

July 30- Halsey

July 31- Nas, Black Star, Push T, Brother Ali, The Reminders

August

August 2- HARD Red Rocks with DJ Snake, Virtual Self, Mija, GG Magree, Hekler

August 3- Lucero, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls

August 4- Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters

August 5- Joe Bonamassa

August 6- Steve Martin, Martin Short, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Jeff Babko

August 8- Portugal. the Man, Thee Oh Sees

August 9- Leon Bridges

August 10- Pretty Lights

August 11- Pretty Lights

August 12- Brandi Carlile with Shovels & Rope

August 14- LSD TOUR: Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam

August 15- Father John Misty, TV On the Radio

August 16- Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

August 17- Old Crow Medicine Show, I’m With Her, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aiofe O’Donovan

August 18- Railroad Earth, Fruition

August 19- THE CULT, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush

August 20- Niall Horan, Maren Morris

August 22- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Tank and the Bangas -SOLD OUT-

August 23- Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club

August 24- 1964 The Tribute

August 27- David Byrne -SOLD OUT-

August 28- David Byrne -SOLD OUT-

August 29- Illenium -ALMOST SOLD OUT-

August 30- Shakey Graves, Jose Gonzalez & The Brite Lites, Twin Peaks

August 31- Atmosphere

September

September 1- Gramatik

September 2- Jason Mraz, Brett Dennen

September 3- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit with Aimee Mann and Amanda Shires

September 4- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Margo Price

September 5- Gary Clark Jr.

September 6- Lake Street Dive, Josh Ritter

September 7- STS9, What So Not, DJ Z-Trip

September 8- STS9, TAUK, Cut Chemist

September 9- O.A.R., Matt Nathanson

September 10- Mac DeMarco

September 11-  Rascal Flatts, Trent Harmon

September 12- NEEDTOBREATHE, JOHNNYSWIM, Forest Blakk

September 13- The Revivalists, Houndmouth, J. Roddy Walston and The Business

September 14- Gov’t Mule, Dark Side of the Mule, Warren Haynes Acoustic

September 16- NGHTMRE with Slander and JOYRYDE

September 17- Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch

September 18- Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tobacco

September 19- Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tobacco

September 20- Little Big Town

September 21- Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, New Breed Brass Band, Cyril Neville, Walter Wolfman Washington, Kermit Ruffins

September 22- Greenky Bluegrass with California Honeydrops

September 23- Greenky Bluegrass with Turkuaz

September 24- Beck, Jenny Lewis

September 25- Beck, Jenny Lewis

September 26- Ms. Lauryn Hill

September 27- Get The Led Out

September 28- Big Gigantic

September 29- Big Gigantic

September 29- 3LAU, Louis Futon, Party Pupils

September 30- Gregory Alan Isakov, Patty Griffin

October

October 1- Ben Howard

October 5- Snails

October 9- The National, Sharon Van Etten

October 11- Seven Lions

October 13- Rezz

October 20- Excision, SKisM b2b Trampa, Barely Alive b2b PhaseOne b2b Virtual Roit, Dion Timmer, Subtronics, Wooli

October 22- A Perfect Circle

October 28- ZHU

*All available tickets here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Bonnaroo’s Sweet Sixteen: Amish Donuts, Twerkin' with Freedia, Mayor Chance The Rapper, & More

By: Julia Ordog

In case you missed it: Big changes and festival highlights from Bonnaroo 2017. 

It's important to use both hands.

It's important to use both hands.

This year, 65,000 people made the annual pilgrimage to Manchester TN to help Bonnaroo celebrate its birthday with Amish donuts, high fives, spontaneous art, and, of course, a sweet lineup. After 16 years, it’s safe to say that the majority of attendees are a new generation than those that originally formed the first festival in 2002, and the producers have not let this slide by unnoticed. While last year brought a few changes to The Farm that were mostly unremarkable (with the exception of permanent bathrooms, and Live Nation’s first full year at the helm), this year, Bonnaroo got an impressive facelift to keep up with the crowd and meet the younger Bonnaroovians more on their turf.

 "The Other” 2.0

The Other Stage.

The Other Stage.

Throughout the years, it’s been entirely common for stages to come and go and be renamed (Sonic, Who, Kalliope, etc), though the two main stages and three side tents have remained untouched since 2003. This year, EDM fans were given the gift of a remodeled stage in the form of the brand new "The Other.” Previously a tent, The Other had its top blown off and was injected with the spirit of Kalliope (the EDM stage from the last two years known for raging late into the night with the massive VW bug next to it). Now sort of like Which’s electronic little sister, The Other welcomed Big Gigantic, Cherub’s Jason Huber, Marshmello, and many more DJs to the stage this year.

Bacardi Beach 

Bacard's Oasis.

Bacard's Oasis.

In the area Kalliope used to call home, new sponsor Bacardi made its debut with the Bacardi beach- a sandbar complete with fake palm trees, hammocks, a cocktail bar, and plenty of lights to transport festival-goers off The Farm and to spring break. The beach was bumping with DJ sets throughout the weekend, and offered an excellent vantage point to watch shows at The Other without delving into the throng of ragey fans.

Scrims

The new scrims on The Which Stage.

The new scrims on The Which Stage.

All of the bigger stages with the exception of What also got a makeover. This, That, and The Other were all decked out with brightly-colored scrims, adding some decoration to the previously unadorned sets. Anyone who has been to Roo before would have noticed the more controversial absence of the distinct question mark that normally revolves at the top of Which, also replaced by abstract, pastel signage. I myself mourned the loss of the curtains and rotating question mark, and found the stage art to be a bit more cookie cutter than the vibe Bonnaroo is known for, but perhaps (likely) I’m just a sucker for tradition. 

The Weeknd 

The Sunday night slot of Bonnaroo is always saved for the biggest headliner, traditionally a well-entrenched, rock or jam band. Switching it up this year, the spot was given to The Weeknd, a younger R&B/pop star. The rumor mill offered suggestions that the switch was merely due to Bono’s schedule, as U2’s clout far exceeds that of The Weeknd’s, but it seems more likely that Bonnaroo was attempting to reach the younger crowd that normally dips out Sunday morning. The move certainly seemed to have paid off based on the strong crowd attendance Sunday night.

Chance

It would be hard to write about the festival this year without mentioning Chance the Rapper, the reigning “Mayor of Bonnaroo.” For the last few years, whether booked or not, Chance has made numerous appearances on collaborators’ stages across the festival. This year he appeared for Francis and the Lights, led a song at the super jam, and rocked his own set on What, a big upgrade from his last full-set performance in 2014, which was in a tent. The main venue was absolutely packed as Chance made his entrance on a mini-motorcycle, backlit by pillars of fire, and the crowd sang every word as he played hits off Coloring Book, a few favorites from Acid Rap, and other hits. 

U2

It seemed like everyone on The Farm was excited for U2’s second-ever festival performance; the band is currently on tour playing their entire Joshua Tree album front to back. Bono brought his own stage with him complete with gigantic screens and a wild light show, punctuated by the typical headliner fireworks that did not disappoint.

Big Freedia

A New Orleans legend known for her work in “bounce music,” Big Freedia and her team took over the Solar Stage to break down various twerk moves for those of us less fluid with our hips and bodies. During twerk class every morning, I watched the liberation of hundreds of people as Freedia taught them to to “mix it up,” “Peter Pan,” and “toot it up.” The brave were given the opportunity to show off their moves in a giant twerk circle where three people at a time were given the spotlight as Freedia and her crew yelled encouragement in the form of “overdrive” and “ass everywhere, ass, ass, everywhere!” If there’s one thing I learned from Bonnaroo this year, it’s that if you get the chance to go see Big Freedia, DO IT. 

Francis and the Lights

For someone who performed almost entirely by himself on a stage with no background graphics, Francis Farewell Starlite was truly captivating. His mesmerizing synths and big sound were matched by his uncontainable energy and erratic dance moves. Chance the Rapper joined Francis for their iconic choreography of “May I Have This Dance” to extreme fan stoke. And, as if the performance wasn’t already memorable enough, Francis jumped off the stage to run around in the crowd for a bit, and ended his set by doing a back handspring into a backflip that he landed in a split. Mic drop.

Beyond the Music 

In terms of activities, Bonnaroo is offering a lot more to do these days besides going to music. Out in tent city, a few of the pods have been decked out in various themes, offering places to hang out and things to do outside of Centeroo or your campsite. The coffee house and vinyl shop at Pod 7 (The Grind) were in peak form this year, as was the mystical hammock forest out behind it (The Grove). Other holistic programming met a broader audience than usual with record turnouts for things like morning yoga and the 5K run Saturday morning, demonstrating that Bonnaroo has definitely become a more accessible partner that doesn’t require a total departure from one’s daily routines. Activist-central Planet Roo also offers plenty to do and learn, in full-force this year as usual with booths for registering as a bone marrow donor, learning about sustainability, and making your voice heard on various issues.  

Mild weather!

Traditionally on The Farm, temps have left festival-goers feeling like they were melting into a pool of their own sweat that they very well might drown in. While last year brought temperatures that topped 100 (not to mention a thunderstorm evacuation), this year, was all moderate temps and clear skies with a festival high of 89. While at the end of the day, people were hardly less zapped for energy, some of the days were downright pleasant- words I have never used in the past to describe summer in Coffee County. 

Cage The Elephant.

Cage The Elephant.

As usual I lost count of how many bands mentioned it being a dream to play the festival, and of how many artists went right down to their fans and jumped into the crowd, whether it was Dave Bayley from Glass Animals crowd-surfing with a 200-foot microphone cord tether, Cage the Elephant frontman, Matt Shultz, diving into his fans, or Diplo rolling around in a giant hamster ball. The superjam was jammy and super and brought the funk. Fans stormed the venue at two o’clock on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to sprint as fast as they could across the field to get to the front rail for the headliners. The line for Amish donuts was insanely long, people walked around shouting “Happy Roo” to each other the same way people wish each other a Merry Christmas, and people covered themselves in just as much glitter as they did sunscreen. 

Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo.

There may be details that change from year to year as this festival grows and evolves, but throughout my five trips to The Farm, I’ve noticed that the most important thing stays the same: the vibes. In the utopian world of The Farm, a land that is governed on the principles of good vibes and radiating positivity, and whose name literally means “only the good stuff,” there is no room for racism, travel bans, homophobia, or any of the other damaging ideals that we run into everywhere in the world “out there.” Without straying into the quicksand that is politics these days, I will say that this year was no exception to the typical blissful reprieve that Bonnaroo offers from the negativity and aggression associated with the news and watchful Big Brother’s eye- a reprieve that allows people to tune out the drone of society and to instead truly listen to their hearts. The world of Bonnaroo is a beautiful one, where people are free to truly express themselves and where strangers not only acknowledge strangers, but embrace them, help them, and share with them, always looking for common ground instead of reasons to fight.

As usual, by Sunday, I was ready for a real night of sleep and a break from the sun, but as also usual, I can’t wait to go back. Until next year, radiate positivity and stay true Roo. And as always: See you on The Farm! 

See the full Bonnaroo 2017 photo gallery here!

-Julia

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.