The first year of Sacred Acre music festival brought a musical experience unlike any other to the small town of Ninilchik, Alaska. Acts from around the world and those from surrounding areas in Alaska came together to give festivalgoers an experience they will never forget.
Clint Samples is a DJ currently residing in Anchorage, Alaska. He has over 20 years of experience and has a true passion for electronic music. During his multiple sets at Sacred Acre music festival, he played a wide array of different genres, smoothly blending sounds and keeping the energy going all weekend. Party Guru Press got the opportunity to have a conversation with Clint Samples about his history in the electronic music world, as well as his thoughts on the first year of Sacred Acre. Check out our conversation below:
Party Guru Press:
We’re here with Clint Samples at Sacred Acre music festival and are very excited to be here. So first off, is there any meaning behind the name Clint Samples?
So it’s kind of like a meta-joke on thievery, sampling, and music. It was actually a painter’s name. There was a touring exhibit at the museum in Anchorage one time. A good friend and I were walking through, and like, I’d kind of grown tired of my 1999 DJ name, DJ Paradox – I started when I was 15, and time-space stuff was big on my mind then- I found this incredible watercolor exhibit, and we were reading the guy’s name, Clint samples, and I was like there it is! I’m gonna steal the guy’s name. That’s about stealing. That’s the story.
Party Guru Press:
Sampling the name Clint Samples, that’s awesome! Can I also ask, what actually got you into the electronic music world?
Man, that goes back. Honestly, like there are some early films, and then there’s my dad. He exposed me to the orb, and the Crystal Method, and, like, a lot of really early electronic music. Then when I was 14, I went to a party that was supposedly a laser show. So this is what got me into Raving. So my buddy and I get brought to his brother’s “laser show”, and we have no idea what we’re in for. We get up to this balcony, and his brother says, “You cannot leave this balcony”. We’re 14, and he thought, you know, it’d be responsible to just unleash these children up on the balcony and tell them they can’t go anywhere else. That didn’t work. And it was like I walked into a place that I didn’t know existed. I was like, there’s a concert for electronic music? There are concerts for electronic music?! Like what is this? I didn’t even know what the word rave was at the time. The following years that was like the rest of my life. I dove in really hard. At 15, I started playing records, and I’m 37 now.
Party Guru Press:
Wow, so you’ve played a few shows, then.
(Laughs) Ya, just a couple.
Party Guru Press:
Are you living in Alaska now?
Yeah, I live in Anchorage.
Party Guru Press:
Very cool. Is it exciting to see this level of production for electronic music out here, where it’s not usually that common?
Absolutely. I think it might be the first time anyone in this state has even heard a 21-inch subwoofer. It is a real pleasure to play on that Void system. The production quality of this event is absolutely raising the bar, and I think it’s incredibly important to showcase the state for what it is and for people like yourself to get to see and experience it.
Party Guru Press:
We just saw your first set of the festival, and it was fantastic! I see on the schedule that you’re also playing a late-night set tomorrow. Do you tailor your sets differently if they are daytime sets or late-night sets? Do you try to create a different feeling depending on when you play?
Most definitely. Whether the stage’s size or the time of day, the intention is super important. The late night one is going to be deeper, it’s going to be prettier, and it’s gonna carry people through that dark part of the night where things can get a little heavy.
Party Guru Press:
Speaking of the different stages, we are currently outside of the Abyss stage, which I’ve personally watched you construct over the past two days. Does it feel more rewarding, and do you feel more connected to the crowd in an area that you’ve personally created?
Absolutely! It definitely feels more like home. Being a part of the production, from rolling up the truck to building the stage in any form. I’ve done it at other places, other stages, other domes, and other more standard style stages, and really being in it from day one is a really good feeling. I like to be a part of every aspect of it.
Getting to speak to Clint Samples was a great experience for Party Guru Press. Even after 20 years of performing, Clint Samples has a genuine passion for the electronic music community. He cares about each and every person who comes to watch him perform. From building stages, to curating sets, to making people feel included and happy in the darkest times, Clint Samples is a genuine person and an exemplary DJ.
Three and a half hours southwest of Anchorage is the small town of Ninilchik, Alaska. This town made history on the weekend of September 9-11th with the help of music fans from around the Kenai Peninsula. Sacred Acre was the first Electronic Music Festival in Alaska and they went all out making sure festival attendees had the best experience possible!
Seeing History Unfold
Before the festival started, Party Guru Press (PGP) had the opportunity to explore the grounds and get a feel for the outdoor stages. The main stage was an amphitheater that opened to a meadow of trees and lush grass. The immense VOID speaker stacks promised that the weekend’s sound quality would be amazing. We asked keyboard artist Jason Leech what he thought of the speakers at Sacred Acre
“I haven’t played on a Void sound system before, but I was blown away by the fullness of the sound. I loved how you could hear such a well-balanced mix, all while feeling that deep sub. They are probably the coolest looking speakers I’ve ever seen apart from the sound!”.
The second stage, which would later hold some of the after-hour festivities, was a geodesic dome that members of Party Guru Press had the pleasure of helping build from start to finish. Witnessing this stage come together made it all the more special to listen to fantastic local Alaskan artists later in the weekend. From the second Party Guru Press showed up on-site to the production area, they saw that this team had a fierce love for electronic music and that they were dedicated to making this festival special for all the attendees.
A Day Meant To Be
As the first day started, the weather was a crisp 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny. DJ Fractal Theory threw down some heavy bass beats that had the crowd dancing hard for the beginning of the festival. Next was Clint Samples. In addition to enjoying his music, Party Guru Press got to sit down with him and interview him about DJing in Alaska and the geodesic dome PGP got to work with earlier. Following Clint Samples was Voss and Things, out of California, who set a house vibe perfect for the afternoon. Jenny Voss had a voice that reached every blade of grass in the meadow, making the performance a pleasure. The night continued with Dredlok, Megan Hamilton, Defunk, Opiuo, and ended with Clozee’s first magical set of the festival.
Special Sets From Artists on Day Two
When day two started, camping attendees could sleep peacefully past the early hours of the morning because the sun did not start baking people inside their tents. The lowest temperature for the weekend was 40 degrees, which for festival-goers who rented gear from Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental, was never too chilly because all the gear they had was top-notch. This is just one of the perks of camping in the land of the midnight sun. The music lineup for day two was filled with funk and bass that kept people dancing all day and night. The day started special for PGP because a Denver local DJ Grim started the day off heavy with some very recognizable bass-heavy favorites, ending his set with “Eskimo” by Colorado’s own SoDown. PGP wanted to catch up with DJ Grim and get his impression of the first-year festival:
“I’m so thankful I got to not only DJ but attend the first ever Sacred Acre. It was an amazing event with amazing vibes and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. In three days, a family was built. The feeling of community, positive energy, and the willingness of the festival goers to help each other out was beautiful. Not to mention Sacred Acre is in one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever seen. Alaska is so vast and majestic. A place of endless exploration and beauty. This was my first time in Alaska, and it will be a place I will visit for the rest of my life. I am very grateful to everyone who was a part of this first-year festival. Major thanks to my boys, Chris Miller and Sterling Skodack. You created something magical. I’m definitely looking forward to Sacred Acre 2023!”
Sacred Acre continued with a funky afternoon of music starring McWacy, Megan Hamilton and Balkan Bump. Each artist had the perfect mix of vocals, live instruments and djing that led to unique performances. Another artist that played later in the evening was Defunk. He also had a great impression of Sacred Acre’s inaugural year:
“I really didn’t know what to expect for a first-year festival out in Alaska, but it exceeded all of my expectations. It was well organized, everything was on time, the hospitality was great and very welcoming, and the stage and sound were incredible. I was blown away by a first-year festival running so smoothly, and every other artist I talked to said the same thing. Being at such a remote location in Alaska, you had this feeling like you were at the edge of the world, yet it still felt like such a warm space with great energy, great staff, and wonderful production.”
The night was far from over. Opiuo stepped on the stage and announced he was going to play a rare throwback set full of music that was made decades ago! Party Guru Press got to speak to Opiuo briefly after his set about his experience at Sacred Acre, and of course, about his favorite pair of sneakers:
“The festival has been amazing! Amazing people all around. That’s the standout. Lovely hospitality and everyone just wants the best for each other. It was magic! Currently, my favorite pair of sneakers are the purple pumas I got from a store in New York!”
After the throwback set of the ages, LSDream led festival goers through a magical hour of good vibes and reminded us of how we all deserve self-love. Clozee’s set, which closed out night two, was one of the most ephemeral experiences of the weekend. Not only did she play her collab with Griz, “Color of your Soul”, she also had LSDream come out on stage to play an unreleased song together. This all happened in what seemed like a mystical, sparkling rain controlled by Clozee herself. The main stage may have been over for the day, but Sacred Acre offered two after-hours options that went until 5 AM.
Surprise on Day Three
After two incredible days, Sacred Acre still had more special experiences in store. LSDream started Sunday morning with a special indoor LIGHTCODE set. Attendees sat on the ground with LSDream as he played sounds that sent healing, soothing sounds throughout the room. At one point, viewers had the chance to lay down and feel the music through their whole body. After the sound bath, the third day of music continued out at the main stage with KONGLO and Jason Leech. As they started setting up Jason Leech’s keyboards on the DJ table, it instantly felt like an intimate performance for attendees was about to happen. His ability to remix classic songs of all genres had the crowd movin’ and groovin’ on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. We also got to ask him what he thought about his first time in Alaska and being at Alaska’s first EDM festival,
“I’m glad it was in a remote part of Alaska. I wanted to go deep into the state so I could adventure around and see some of the natural beauty. I’ll come back next year. It was an unforgettable experience. I’d also like to add that the hospitality from Sacred Acre was one of the best I’ve had at a festival. The chefs served us wild Salmon and Halibut, and the mixologist made me some of the best drinks I’ve had. I loved the time spent in the green room with those guys!“
Balkan Bump and Antennae ended the weekend with their second sets of the festival. Throughout the weekend, the artists playing two sets brought out something unique for each one.
That’s a Wrap
As the first year of Sacred Acre finished up, it imparted a lasting impression on attendees and performers alike. The opinions of those people could not have been higher, which is very important for an event wanting to come back for many years. Party Guru Press asked those very people what impressed them over the weekend, and answers like a great artist lineup, huge production (including lasers, screens, and VOID sound), clean facilities, enough drinking water, and great camping grounds were said many times. With an event that asked people to come to such a unique area, it was important they made it convenient. Between shuttles to and from camping sites, camping gear rental, and clear answers to any questions festival goers had, they succeeded on all fronts . Another aspect that impressed people were the Tranquility and Sanctuary tents. There you could attend workshops of all kinds and find refuge in a warm, comfy place without judgment.
The Cosmic Ayre production team did a great job with the first Sacred Acre and all the other teams that came together to make this happen!