Colorado’s largest summer music festival made its glorious return this past weekend in the heart of Denver. Global Dance Festival took place in the parking lot of the Broncos stadium, Empower Field at Mile High. After skipping a year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the electronic music festival came back in full force this year. Four stages, a silent disco, countless artists, a Food Truck Marketplace, Vendor Village, carnival rides, and more played a role in this massive two-day event. Each day, gates were open from 3:00PM to 11:00PM.

Originally, Global Dance Festival was held at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. In 2017, the multi-day festival made the decision to greatly expand and move to Empower Field at Mile High. Keep reading to learn more about the festival itself as well as some highlights from day two.

The Global Experience

This completely immersive event is all-ages, allowing anyone to get to participate in the weekend’s festivities. For those that are eighteen years of age and older, a VIP ticket option is offered. This includes perks such as a separate, expedited entrance, a VIP Village complete with its own lounge areas, bars, food trucks, and upgraded air-conditioned bathroom trailers. Furthermore, VIP ticket holders get access to a separate viewing area at the front of the main stage.

For all attendees, there are two free water stations placed at opposite ends of the festival grounds. These work perfectly for filling up Camelbacks or reusable water bottles. Plus, they also provided cups for anyone that didn’t bring in their own containers. In the center of the festival grounds is the Food Truck Marketplace. A handful of Denver’s finest food trucks were available for attendees to choose from along with a seating area perfect for taking a break from the event to refuel. Of course, bars were also scattered around the event for those twenty-one years of age and older to enjoy.

Another cool feature that the festival provided was lockers with universal charging cables inside. This way, ticket-holders could keep their important items secure all weekend as well as charge their phones. These lockers also acted as a great meeting place for groups, as they were central to the festival grounds and adjacent to the Vendor Village. Here, signature festival merch and artist merch were for sale. There were even some more unique shops like one that provided festival-themed temporary tattoos.

Meet N Greets, Carnival Rides, and More

On both Friday and Saturday, official free Meet N Greets took place at a booth in Vendor Village. Festival-goers could hug and take pictures with Brondo and Decadon, Last Heroes, and Spencer Brown on Saturday. The schedule for these free Meet N Greets is released around the same time as set times. If you decide to try and meet one of your favorite artists next year, we suggest getting there before the listed time as people usually line up early.

Global Dance Festival also has a handful of carnival rides on site! These are included with everyone’s tickets and are a fun way to boost your adrenaline between sets. This year, they had a ferris wheel along with a mechanical bull and a few other spinning rides.

To add to the immersive experience throughout the weekend, Team EZ performers took over the entire venue and really made everyone feel like they were in another world. Their costumes were truly beautiful and they roamed the event taking pictures with attendees and dancing through the crowds. Some performers were on stilts, some were doing aerial work in Dragonfly Art Park, and some were on stage as well.

In addition to the art displays in Dragonfly Art Park, various sculptures were placed all around the venue near stages and along walking paths. Some of these were used at previous installations of the festival while others have been used at other Global Dance events. As the sun set each night, some art displays lit up with neon colors while others came alive with bursts of fire. Lasers and visuals were even projected along the outside of the stadium.

Day Two: A Saturday For The Books

Day two of Global Dance Festival brought yet another hard-hitting lineup. The Crystal Cavern Silent Disco Stage was home to some of Denver’s finest including NJOY, Chocolate Drop, Sektah, and Wessyde. This stage was underneath Empower Field and the only indoor stage. Three DJs played at once, and attendees could choose which DJ to listen to through headphones that they received on their way to the stage.

Artists that graced the Tundra Stage were overall more experimental with their subgenres and style of music. Some names that took the stage on Saturday were Yheti, Khiva, Opalyte, and Smoakland, who absolutely stole the show in our opinion. This stage was fairly simple with multiple LED screens and overhead lights that shined into the crowd. Additionally, holographic teal and purple geometric shapes were hanging from the ceiling.

The Amazon Stage was house music heaven. Long, leafy vines covered the poles holding up the tent as well as wrapped around the stage. Huge, multi-colored tropical flowers hung from the ceiling and larger branches also extended from the stage. A large LED wall backed the DJ booth which was elevated. For those that ventured into this Amazonian escape, they saw the likes of BORN DIRTY, Green Velvet, Claptone, and more.

The Northern Lights and Summit Stages

The second-largest stage at the festival was called the Northern Lights stage. Throughout the weekend, this tended to be the bass stage with the heaviest beats and dirtiest drops. The tent for this stage was much longer than the others and therefore allowed for a bigger audience. Along the ceiling, LED light bars ran up and down both the sides and center of the tent. In fact, some moved up and down or hung like twinkling icicles. Last Heroes, Decadon, Midnight Tyrannosaurus, and Gryffin, to name a few, all played amazing sets at this stage on Saturday.

Finally, the main stage, or Summit Stage, attracted an insane amount of attendees all weekend. On Saturday, internationally renowned artists took to this stage and kept the energy high all day and night. Carnage, Deorro, Tiësto, and Excision all played crowd-favorites as well as tested out new tracks. This stage along with the production was enormous. Gigantic LED walls were both in front of and behind the DJ booth, and the sparkling LEDs continued out on both sides of the stage itself to widen it even more. Pyrotechnics in the form of sparks and fire were used here along with beautiful fireworks.

Until Next Year

Overall, Global Dance Festival holds up to the hype. It’s no wonder that it’s been around for so long and only continues to grow and expand. Music lovers of all ages can gather in the heart of the city and come together to experience music, art, and amazing local food.

The stage production as well as DJs and performers make for a memorable experience, and there are plenty of different subgenres presented which allows for every attendee to find something that they like. Furthermore, the sheer amount of stages and artists gives everyone an opportunity to discover something new.

If you haven’t yet been to Global Dance Festival, we can highly recommend it. Denver, Colorado is the bass capital after all! For those that plan on traveling in from out of town, check out their website next summer for travel information.

Photos by Dru Cook

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