Careening through dense fog under a full moon in the rural, mountainous region of Southeastern Minnesota had all the makings of a horror movie. Rough gravel roads and cornfields broken up only by a cemetery and dilapidated barns made the trip all the more nerve-wracking. Finally, a hairpin turn leading to a jaunt up an unpaved cliff side towards the Outback Ranch in Houston was enough to question whether this was a legitimate festival or a devious trap.
The natural stadium setting of a valley blocked the sound up until the entrance to the ranch. But turning that last corner was like entering a field of dubstep dreams. Out of nowhere, bass reverberated off the car while purple lights flooded the valley, illuminating the sparse but enthusiastic spectators. And so began the first ever Infrasound music festival, curated by Twin Cities Dubstep, Madtown Dubstep and Dark Horse Group.
These hard-hitting names in the Midwest EDM scene brought equally ecstatic DJs and artists to the desolate valley for a weekend of camping, echoing bass, dubstep and mud.
The first night featured the sub-bass grooves of Tipper under the full moon, with a second down-tempo set under the rising sun at 5AM, representing one of four U.S. appearances this year. According to Taylor Winum of TC Dubstep, the latter show of this nocturnal festival brought more revelers than the earlier one.
Friday brought the heat in more ways than one. At 90+ degrees, DJs like Bassn*gger attracted small but enthusiastic crowds to a smaller stage with unmatchable energy and mixes that had even the dizzy part of the crowd dancing. The duo of Audiodacity accompanied their friend on stage for hype and succeeded in the highest attendance of any daytime artist.
And the lesser-known artists were truly a highlight of the festival, whether the tent city masses saw them or not. Representing locations across the Midwest, artists like Bassn*gger and Audiodasity showed what the festival is all about – finding new artists as excited to perform as audiences are to watch.
As one member of Audiodasity said, “I’m a humble person, but really, our set tomorrow is gonna be the shit.” Added the other of the pair, “We’ve been working on this set for a long time, and it’s going to have everything. We can’t tell you what; you’ll just have to come and see it.”
After seeing it, their promises came to fruition in a high-octane set leaving the audience in awe of the mix they just witnessed, and hungry for more.
But let’s jump back a day to Eoto’s first of two sets, which followed the Crunchy Kids of Minneapolis’s hip hop performance, then Soap, then Zee, with audiences filing in from tents by the hour. When Eoto finally took the stage, the performance was nothing short of incredible. Complete with fire dancers on stage left and painters to stage right, it was truly a multiplicity of the senses.
Atop their Lotus stage, Eoto rocked crowds for two nights straight, through temperate climates and post-rain mud. And enthusiasm only increased with the mud.
The chemistry between the band and audience is always impeccable with Jason Hann and Michael Travis, who listen to the crowd as much as the crowd listens to them. In a heavier-than-normal set, they kept the crowd flowing in waves of jammy electro coupled with heavy dubstep drops.
One minute, everyone is nodding their heads, searching for the beat. Then fast-forward a few minutes later, and POW! Everyone, literally EVERYONE, is dancing in the same pattern, at least for a time.
Eoto’s improvisation plays to the crowd as much as the crowd responds to their music. The experience is unreal and infectious. While their loops, vocal and instrumental, get the crowd moving, their Lotus stage provided a model light show for an electronic act.
Following Eoto, artists like Downlink, Vaski, Koan Sound and Crizzly kept audiences moving with their respectively unique blends of dubstep and EDM into the early, and late, morning.
By the time everyone left, it felt less like a horror film and more like an adventure movie, with a majestic descent from the valley, through the rural fields and past the roadkill, back into mainstream Minnesota and onto distant homelands, after an intense weekend of dubstep in the picturesque valley.