For the third consecutive year, Canadian duo Zeds Dead (comprised of Dylan Mamid and Zachary Rapp-Rovan aka DC and Hooks, respectively) brought their Fourth of July Backyard Jamboree to downtown Denver. After playing Red Rocks the two previous nights, the duo hosted a roster of artists affiliated with their Deadbeats label for a day of music, activities, food and much more.
Chaos struck when a surprise rainstorm forced the show to abruptly come to a stop. After a short delay and some restructuring of the venue, the festivities continued and Zeds Dead was able to play a final set until the planned event end time.
A Day at the Park
Located in downtown Denver with a scenic view of the Colorado State Capitol and other government buildings, Civic Center Park was the perfect location to for this Fourth of July celebration. With a capacity of 12,000 people, the park allowed guests to comfortably enjoy three different stages along with activities, vendors, and food trucks. The family-friendly event featured bounce castles, lawn games, and face painting. Additionally, a variety of local vendors sold accessories. In between all the music, there were plenty of things to do as people strolled around the venue.
A Stage for Every Taste
With three different stages of music, the event really captured the festival feeling. Each had a distinct theme and provided fans the opportunity to see an array of artists.
In a shady area between the trees was the Altered States stage. Named after Zeds Dead’s downtempo-focused label, this stage had a more relaxed vibe with artists playing sets oriented more towards the experimental facets of electronic music. Artists featured on this stage included Saul Gucci, Pacifix, Soki, Noises, and Mary Droppinz.
One of the coolest structures at Civic Center Park, the Greek Amphitheatre, was home to the Drum and Bass Stage. With exhilarating sets from Fury, Joel Cruz, Bensley, Blossom, Kumarion B2B Smoakland and Delta Heavy, this stage had the most consistently hyped crowds throughout the day.
Finally, the Deadbeats stage was located on the main portion of the site and featured the largest production. This stage featured an assortment of bass, dubstep, and trap artists, and the infamous jamboree hot dog eating contest. The music on this stage started with TWONSKi and was followed by sets from JAWNS, SuperAve. B2B Heyz, Black Carl! B2B Saka (aka Rush Hour), Blanke, and of course, Zeds Dead.
Zeds Dead Get Delayed
Around the time of the hot dog eating contest, screens flashed updated set times. Instead of playing the closing set, it was announced that Zeds Dead would be performing earlier in the evening. There were murmurs in the crowd that this was due to the looming threat of severe weather. They were correct.
Although earlier than planned, the Zeds Dead set started off as well as any of their diverse, multi-genre bass sets. For about an hour, the duo played their dubstep bangers mixed with classic rock songs, drum and bass, and every genre in between. Suddenly the music stopped and they announced that, due to severe weather, they had to stop the music. Almost immediately after, the torrential downpour began and chaos ensued as people began leave and run for shelter.
The Show Must Go On
In typical Colorado fashion, the storm hit downtown heavily and then cleared up almost as fast as it arrived. About an hour after the delay, the Zeds Dead team announced that they were preparing to resume the show. For this last segment of the event, only the Deadbeats Stage was up and running. As people started to fill up the lawn again, Mary Droppinz warmed the crowd up with a super upbeat set. With this fresh new start, the crowd was more energetic than ever.
Zeds Dead then triumphantly took the stage again. The set only ran 30 minutes due to curfew, but not a second was wasted by the duo. They started off in explosive fashion, playing collaborations with Subtronics, GRiZ, and Hamdi, then some of their own classic songs. With the cloudy night sky and full stage production, the ambiance was much different than it had been during their daytime set — it was now a full-blown dance party. The set then transitioned into a more house and dance-oriented style with remixes of artists like Sade. Not a single body in the crowd was still. After a long and turbulent day, the duo fittingly ended their set with a remix of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”
When attending an outdoor music event, there is always a risk that weather might cause some issues. When attending an outdoor music event in Colorado, especially these past few months, its almost a guarantee. Luckily the weather wasn’t enough to stop the 3rd Annual Deadbeats Jamboree. With the exception of the weather delay, the event was an exciting experience full of music and fun. We can’t wait until next year’s Fourth of July Weekend to see what the duo have in store for us.
Photos by Drew Bower