5 Things That Made Secret Dreams a Music and Art Lover’s Paradise

Secret Dreams Music & Arts Festival 2023

If you pay much attention to the festival world, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Secret Dreams Music & Arts Festival. Though it just started last year, Secret Dreams has already become a favorite gathering for many and has grown immensely from its inaugural event. Let’s take a closer look inside this artistic wonderland and what makes it such a special place.

This year’s Secret Dreams took place from August 17th-19th at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. Many music lovers might recognize this venue as the location of Lost Lands Festival. We can assure you that Secret Dreams is a much different and more intimate experience, though.

This year, Secret Dreams had three official stages: the Lucid Stage, the Portal Stage, and the Woods Stage. The Lucid Stage was the largest, located in the most central part of the festival, and offering tons of popular jam bands and good vibes all weekend. The Portal Stage had incredible visual and sound production; it hosted many of our favorite bass and electronic artists throughout the festival. The Woods Stage was tucked away into the forest and served as a secluded escape with unique sets.

So what makes this festival such a special place for music and art lovers? Here are our top five reasons why Secret Dreams should be on everyone’s festival bucket list.

1. The Carefully Curated Lineup

One thing we loved about both years of Secret Dreams was the diversity of the lineup, and how it represented so many different genres. This year featured some of our favorite returning artists as well as lots of new names.

On Wednesday night, those who purchased early arrival passes were able to come and enjoy a few unique sets and access the festival before the majority of the patrons arrived. 5AM Trio, lespecial, and Lab Group all played on the Lucid Stage on Wednesday, setting the bar high for the rest of the weekend.

On Thursday, everyone else arrived and the festival officially began. Last year, the incredibly talented up-and-coming bass producer Cool Customer made his festival debut at Secret Dreams. Fans were wildly excited to see him back for round two this year. His afternoon appearance on the Portal Stage was everything we dreamed of and more! It started raining during his set, but Cool Customer didn’t let a little weather stop him. Staff covered his equipment and set up a pop-up to allow him to continue throwing down for the entire hour. Other favorite artists on Thursday were GRiZ, Papadosio, and Somatoast.

Friday started off with more relaxing vibes, with artists like pheel., Thought Process, and Parkbreezy on the Portal Stage. Later on, STS9, Daily Bread, Detox Unit, and many others treated us to a night full of dynamic music.

For those who stayed up late, Of The Trees treated attendees to a special sunrise set going into Saturday morning. This set offered mesmerizing music, ambient visuals, and just the right amount of lasers to pierce through the morning fog. In the afternoon on Saturday, many gathered for a special “fashion show” at the Woods Stage hosted by Wreckno and Futexture. In addition to showcasing fashion and flow art, this event delivered what could be called the filthiest sets of the weekend.

Many attendees were extremely excited to see Tipper on this year’s lineup once again, and he did not disappoint. His Saturday night set was a perfect way to close out Secret Dreams! Tipper’s originals combined with a killer sound system and a high-energy crowd made this another favorite set of the weekend.

2. Art Around Every Corner

Secret Dreams is truly both a music and arts festival. Everywhere you looked, there were signs of creativity and beauty. There was artistry around every corner: the intricate string art at the Woods Stage, the dancers on stilts with big personalities and elaborate costumes, the massive astronaut structure at the Lucid Stage, the alien selenite art installation, and so much more. Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of this festival were the many murals and live painters all over the grounds. These artists brought unique styles from all over the map. Many began at the start of the festival and could be found working at all hours of the day and night on their masterpieces.

3. The Late-Night Stages

Next on this list, the after-hours sets were definitely one of the highlights of Secret Dreams this year. There were two main renegade stages: the Subsanctuary and the Debussy Bus. Both of these stages were tucked carefully inside the campgrounds. They required just the right amount of effort to find but were well worth the adventure. The Subsanctuary occupied a geodesic dome, and Debussy was a bus featuring a large projection structure.

Both stages had incredible artists and production that kept the late-nighters raging until the sun came up. Those of us who kept the party going were blessed to see artists like EOS, Sheesh, Crawdad Sniper, Ternion Sound, and K.L.O. There were even local Denver favorites all the way out in Ohio like AppelMusic and natgirlsclub! All of these artists had a special opportunity to showcase their unique styles. Their passion and energy fueled the crowd to keep raging throughout the night.

4. The Activities that Entertained Us All Weekend

Though the music was more than enough to keep us entertained, Secret Dreams also gave patrons fun options to participate in the magic of the festival.

As always, Frick Frack Blackjack was a huge hit. This unique blackjack experience gives its participants an opportunity to bet with literally anything — except money. The table was open until the wee hours every night, allowing dedicated Frackers the chance to win the most coveted of prizes.

The Mycelium Tea House, located near the Woods Stage, was a peaceful, decorated structure where people could drink tea and attend specific events of their choosing. From sober events to massage healing, the Tea House was a great place to unwind and reset throughout the festival.

5. The Top-Notch Staff and Facilities

While this feature seems like it should be a given, it’s not always guaranteed that a festival will have both a high-quality team and clean, safe grounds for all attendees to enjoy. Secret Dreams had a helpful, dedicated staff everywhere you turned. From security to ground control to medical staff, everyone was there to keep the crowd safe — and enjoyed doing so! All in attendance consistently encouraged each other to clean up after themselves, Porta-Potties stayed clean, and everything felt safe and well organized.

It would be easy to go on about all the highlights of Secret Dreams. The whole weekend went so seamlessly, it didn’t even feel like this was only the festival’s second year. If you missed out this time around, don’t worry! It will be exciting to see how this festival continues to evolve and grow throughout the years. We will definitely keep our eyes peeled for any announcements regarding next year!

In the meantime, keep up with Secret Dreams here.