While many of you enjoyed Identity Festival at your local city stop, LessThan3 sent out Meshblorg and myself to get the full tour experience, stopping in 15 cities in just over four weeks. For a kid stuck in northern New Jersey most of his life, this didn’t sound like a bad way to spend a summer.
(Side Note: If this article is a bit lengthy for you, feel free to simply bang your heads to the included tunes by IDFest artists Le Castle Vania (free download here), Audrey Napoleon and Stephan Jacobs instead.)
I arrived in Cincinnati a few days prior to opening day and met the all-knowing, ultimate EDM appreciator you all know as Meshblorg as well as the Emazing Lights crew that we ‘d be sharing a vending tent with for the next month. After some awkward introductions and a bit of whiskey courtesy of the drive-thru liquor store, we hit the tour bus at 7am to kick off our first of many 16-hour days of gut-wrenching bass drops, brutal heat and reckless abandonment. (We managed to get some real work done too, in case you were wondering). Anyhow, Identity Festival had begun.
Our first day out was rough. It became abundantly clear that Mesh and I had no idea what we were in for; brutal manual labor (those tents at festivals don’t set themselves up) and a view that kept the main stage just out of site all kept the pace for a very mundane day. Thankfully, the next day in Detroit lifted our morale as we were placed right in front of the Rockstar Stage allowing us to rage out all day to some of the world’s biggest bass monsters, including Nero, Excision and Showtek.
Next came Canada, which half of our crew couldn’t get into due to passport issues, resulting in us shipping all the delinquents onto another bus to stay stateside for the night. Besides that, Canada was awesome. The people were super friendly and their currency had hockey players on it. After that came our East Coast run. Highlights include clam chowder and a Jonathan Davis (of Korn) sighting in Boston, watching The Gaslamp Killer in New York and seeing the first of many fights break out in Philly. We grubbed on chicken & waffles in Atlanta and got to see Porter Robinson grace the stage in Miami. After Miami came a day off in Panama City, where we bought Hawaiian shirts and road Vespas all night, and New Orleans, where we sipped hand grenades and made poor choices (one of which resulted in me nearly getting beaten by a police horse).
Following the East Coast came a two-day stint in Texas, which, besides the blaring heat, turned out to be some of the wildest dates on tour. After Dallas, we had five days off to get to Mountain View, CA, stopping in west Texas and New Mexico as well as Vegas, where 15 of us skipped the strip and headed 20 miles west to shoot shotguns and barbeque all day. Our California and Phoenix dates went relatively smoothly as Identity Fest wrapped up.
After finally arriving home, I’m greeted by friends and family, envious and curious about tour life. “The tour was just a non-stop party filled with sex, drugs and dubstep, right?”
Well, it was these things, but it was also much, much more. This tour was a ton of hard work filled with heated arguments, broken hearts and overdrawn bank accounts. The partying was all there and good but the bonds made from this trip were better. I rest easy knowing that I can consider every single person I traveled with for the last four weeks as family. An obnoxiously insane family where DJs, DudeBros, ravers and industry pros all ride together.
To see pictures from our journey, check out our Tumblr.
Pictured: Arty, San Diego.