It’s been a long time since Arizona has seen an EDM festival of this magnitude. The most recent event resembling something on this scale was Decadence NYE 2019. But, unfortunately, we all have had to endure seeing the world turn upside down and living through unprecedented and uncertain times since then. Thankfully, the sun always shines after the rain, and that sun finally shined brightly (literally and metaphorically) this past weekend at Rawhide Event Center.
For the first time, Goldrush Music Festival took over Arizona’s premier event center for three days from September 24-26th, 2021. Goldrush packed the house with top-notch stage production and dedicated EDM fans from all over the country. The festival’s creators would make this the most unique and Arizonan event in the Southwest. It was complete in a Wild West town that will make you feel like you’ve turned back the clock to the 1800s. Also included were a circus and rollerskating rink.
There was something for everyone, with artists ranging from experimental bass like Clozee on one end to techno legend Seth Troxler on the other. With three main stages, a local talent stage, a silent disco area, and an art car, the bass was pounding from every corner of the festival grounds as the party continued through the night.
The festival’s first night featured Illenium, who inspired the crowd to raise their hands in solidarity for Nightlight and sing along to one of his most popular songs, Crawl Out Of Love. Earlier, Jauz and Kayzo took the stage. Jauz and Kayzo were tearing up the crowd with filthy sets of house, dubstep, and a dash of hardstyle.
Pioneer’s Peak, directly across from the Megastructure, was packed with bassheads headbanging and breaking rails to Tynan, Virtual Riot, and Svdden Death. However, for those that felt like the heavy bass wasn’t their cup of tea, just steps away was The Hideout, where Technasia and Camelphat graced the stage. It was the spot where househeads could enjoy the hi-hats and snare drums.
Although the festival officially ended at 2 a.m., some festival-goers wanted to continue dancing into the early hours. Instead, they were greeted with an after-party in the Rawhide warehouse. Which featured an extraordinary b2b set with Kayzo and Cray that lasted until 5 a.m.
Night two brought near-perfect weather and a plethora of fire from all directions. Some consider Wax Motif b2b Chris Lorenzo to be the night’s first main attraction. Which was a rare set propelled by North America’s massive tech-house movement. But, following shortly after was a familiar sight for regular AZ festival attendees as Troyboi took the stage. He performed his third consecutive Goldrush with a refreshed set, with the crowd vibing the entire time.
At Pioneer’s Peak, Kill The Noise and Getter brought window-shattering bass to the dance floor. While The Hideout crowd was grooving to French house sounds sponsored by Dombresky. Megastar Zedd closed the night at The Golden Gorge. He performed some of his most iconic and sensational hits like The Middle and Clarity. For those who thought Zedd wouldn’t be able to satisfy their bass needs, Nghtmre at Pioneer Peak was dishing out some filthy dubstep that fans adored.
Although, Sunday commenced with unusual rainy and dreary conditions for September weather in Arizona. Fortunately, the rain ceased as the doors opened, and the puddles vanished as quickly as they appeared. Starting off the night at the main stage was Dabin. Dabin is an award-nominated music producer and instrumentalist hailing from Toronto. He is known for his melancholy “sad boi” songs and beautiful live performances. Shortly after was one of the most anticipated weekend sets by Zeds Dead b2b Griz. The trio went all out with a breathtaking and legendary set. A set that fans will never forget, accompanied by lasers and pyrotechnics.
Pioneer’s Peak was packed with a freeform bass roster, including Inzo, LSDream, and Clozee. Over at the house stage, Dirtybird stars Walker & Royce and legend Green Velvet kept the vibes immaculate to close out the weekend. Finally, Diplo, a nearly 20-year veteran of the electronic music industry, closed out a spectacular weekend on the main stage. Despite some rain causing technical issues initially, Mad Decent put on a fantastic tech house-influenced set.
In the opinion of many Arizonan festivalgoers, Relentless Beats presented the best conceivable festival to return to in a post-covid era. After 14 months of cancellations and despair, Relentless Beats made a point of returning with a statement that would result in one of the best-produced large-scale events the Grand Canyon State has seen in recent years. According to Jason Euler, an experience creator behind Goldrush and other AZ events, “No one will be sleeping on AZ by the end of this year.”
Til’ next time, Rawhide!
Photos by Alexander Peet
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