Gramatik, Hippie Sabotage, G Jones lead lineup for scaled-back Finding Euphoria Fest

After four years of expansion, the EDM and jam band festival, Euphoria Fest at Carson Creek ranch has intentionally scaled back and restructured as Finding Euphoria. Instead of a three-day event, this year’s festival will  be a single-day music event with two days of camping.

Denis Jasarevic of Gramatik performs at the 2014 Austin City Limits music festival on Sun., Oct. 12, 2014 at Zilker Park in Austin, TX.
Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

Leading the fest’s lineup is Slovenian DJ and Producer Gramatik. EDM duo Hippie Sabotage, bass artist G Jones and dance artist K?d will also perform.

Other artists on the bill include Medasin, Boogie T, ATLiens and Squinto.

RELATED: EDM Jesus and 5 other things we saw at Euphoria Fest

Festival organizers say their aim is to evolve the concept from a three-day music festival into a “sustainable year-round community based around curiosity, creativity and, of course, great music.”  To complement the festival, they’ve created an ongoing event series. Camping for this year’s festival has been capped at 2,000, with workshops, music and special programming on Friday and Sunday for those who choose to attend.

Finding Euphoria takes place on May 11-13 at Carson Creek Ranch.  Tickets run $49, $79 with camping. Gates are at 2 p.m. on Saturday. 9507 Sherman Road. euphoriafest.com.

Dude, I’m not here to twerk for you

 

Friday night was one of those spectacular Texas spring evenings that seem almost unreal, temperate and golden. I made it to Euphoria Fest around 6 p.m. and Carson Creek Ranch was nothing short of glorious. I was collecting video clips and images for a sights and sounds scene report, and I wandered over to the Dragonfly Stage where Eric Dingus was performing.

Full disclosure: I’m not a huge fan of trap music. I appreciated the intensity of Dingus’ 2016 album “Stack or Starve,” but overall, it struck me as one note, monotonous. Sometimes it’s the live set that sells the sound, though, and I walked in with an open mind.

That particular corner of Carson Creek Ranch is a natural riverbank amphitheater, built into a hill with the stage set in front of the water. It’s one of the prettiest places to see music in town, and on that night it was positively idyllic. And there was Dingus doing his moody Percocet-at-the-strip-club beats while rapper Do Wrong walked around the stage chanting “Twerk, twerk, twerk.”

I’d say he was playing hype man, but there was nothing particularly hype going on. Just a bunch of folks chilling on the hill, blissed out in the setting sun, while old dude repeated the word “twerk.”

The contrast between the pastoral setting and the strip club vibe struck me as funny, so I moved in closer to line up a video clip with the river in the background. I was posting shots to the Austin360 Instagram and there was social media gold in there somewhere.

But as I stepped forward, the rapper addressed me from the stage. “You can’t come up here to take a picture unless you twerk,” he said.

I froze, dropped my camera phone and glared at him. Surely this fool wasn’t serious. Ignoring the fact that I clearly wasn’t game, he doubled down. “Twerk, twerk,” he chanted at me. Was he trying to get other people to chant, too? He thought it was hilarious.

Meanwhile, I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that this was actually happening. I’ve worked for the Statesman for 13 years and as a full time music writer for three and a half. I’m also a working mother. My days start very early and they tend to run long. At any given moment there are no less than 50 emails from local artists asking for coverage in my overstuffed inbox.

Exasperated, I threw a middle finger in the air and walked off. “Aw, give it up for the girl who didn’t twerk,” he laughed. A few people probably clapped. I don’t really remember.

My hands were shaking and my face felt hot as I walked away. It’s that kind of fury that’s hard to explain. Music writing is a field that’s dominated by men. Of course I have war stories about the men who tried to dismiss me, the ones who jacked my ideas and the ones who actively tried to take me down, but I’ve had way more triumphs than defeats, and that wasn’t what I was thinking about.

Two years ago, I covered J.Cole’s show at Austin360 Amphitheater. One of the openers was YG, a rapper who’s never impressed me. I showed up at the very end of his set.

“I want somebody to show me some titties,” he was saying from the stage when I walked in. No one took the bait, so he went in on the young women in the front row. “How you gonna come all the way up here to the front and not show your titties,” he said to them.

I was horrified. J. Cole is a sensitive dude who raps about his relationships with women in a way that’s much more evolved than a lot of rappers. He’s intelligent, lyrical and kind of dreamy. Consequently, he has a strong female fan base.

So here were these women, who probably staked out their front row spots early for J.Cole, because that’s music that actually means something to them, and this opening act was berating them because they didn’t want to take off their shirts. In an arena of 13,000 people. They probably had hundreds of hopeful dudes with camera phones pointed at them.

The thing that was striking was not the crudeness but the audacity. Somehow, this idiot didn’t think that it was on him to bring so much heat that women wanted to rip off their clothes. Instead, he felt that the fact that he was holding a microphone entitled him to see their stuff. Just like the dude at Euphoria who thought I should twerk on demand, when there was literally nothing about that set that would make a lady want to move.

Who promised y’all twerking and titties?

It’s up to you to earn that.

If you want people to shake their asses at your show, that’s on you. Remember when Andre said, “If you don’t move your feet then I don’t eat”? Meditate on that. Work on your energy. Turn up your own vibe. Learn to read your crowd. Go harder.

But don’t assume any women who strays too close to the front wants to be the prop that gives your boring stage show some life. Harassing a woman to get some booty shaking is just lame. And kind of pathetic. You’re, ahem, doing it wrong.

EDM Jesus and 5 other things we saw at Euphoria Fest

With mild temperatures and bright blue sky, the riverfront property of Carson Creek Ranch was positively idyllic for the first day of Euphoria Fest, the dance music festival that continues Saturday and Sunday. The crowd was young, the bass was mighty and the grooves were strong. Here are a few things we saw at the fest.

1. Fantastic use of color and light.

The stage design at Euphoria Fest is spectacular. There’s some next-level artistry at play. Colorful structures around the stages and above the crowds are designed to create beautiful light pictures after dark. The largest stage had giant circles on either stage with kaleidoscopic color wheels. The other big stage had a giant fox head with eyes that glowed at night. And at the Dragonfly stage, set in a natural amphitheater overlooking the river, lacy light patterns played across the woodland backdrop across the river after the sun went down.

A-LIST PHOTOS: Euphoria Fest, day three | Day two

2. That hoop life

Unsurprisingly, the Euphorian hoop game is strong.

And after dark it’s illuminating.

3. Euphoria Jesus

Rejoice sinners! Look who we found hanging out by the bar. He was actually begging off a young woman who was legitimately asking for personal salvation when we found him. He graciously diverted his trip to the bathroom (even the divine must relieve themselves, apparently) to bless us with a pic.

4. That hammock life

The Euphorian lounge game is also strong. There aren’t “chair people” crowding the outer edges of the stages at Euphoria Fest, although we did see a few air beds, but the fest has several built in chill zones including a few groves of trees that are strung with hammocks to help fest-goers recharge between sets.

 

 

5. Fairies, unicorns and assorted woodland creatures. There were plenty of fairies roaming the field, including Fairy Juju, who’s actually a professional fairy. (She also spreads magic at the Texas Renaissance Fest.) We also saw multiple unicorns, many women wearing bunny ears and at least two men roaming the field with fox tails tied around their waists for no apparent reason. Overall, there were significantly more mystical woodland creatures than you see at the average music festival.

6. Very progressive electronic music. The focus of Euphoria Fest is electronic music, dance bands with a healthy sampling of hip-hop added to the mix this year. But it’s not all thumping techno. Parisian artist French Kiwi Juice took the stage solo with a guitar, bass, saxophone, drum pad and two keyboards on stage. Sometimes he built the grooves live using loop pedals. At other points, he solo-ed over sound beds. Either way his forward-leaning mixture of jazz, R&B and house music was thoroughly enthralling.

 

Hip-hop heavier Euphoria Fest lineup includes Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa alongside Chromeo, Alesso

Lauren Klopfenstein (Caren West PR)

Bumping a few hip-hop artists up into headline spots this year, Euphoria Fest, the dance music fest that’s been steadily growing on the far east side of town has evolved into one of the region’s premiere youth culture fests. The lineup presents a diverse and well-curated selection of sounds to make you move and groove.

A few highlights:

FRIDAY

Pretty Lights live: Hip-hop oriented electronic artist crafts rich, sample-oriented compositions. For this tour, he’ll be fleshing the songs out with a live band. Midnight, Euphoria Stage.

 

FKJ: The self-titled debut from the Parisian house specialist French Kiwi Juice (FKJ) is a warm and lovely platter of soulful R&B fusion that’s not afraid to drop a slow jam in the dance club. 11 p.m., Dragonfly Amphitheater.

Sip Sip/Magna Carda/Eric Dingus: The afternoon acts in the Dragonfly Amphitheater showcase a broad selection of of the best of Austin music. Sip Sip brings big band antics, huge grooves and sharp rhymes. Former Austin360 Artists of the Month, Magna Carda have a live show that started 2016 very good and started this year straight fire. And Drake collaborator Eric Dingus is one of the scene’s rising stars. 3:25 p.m./4:50 p.m./6:05 p.m.

SATURDAY

Young Thug: Swedish EDM artist Alesso is the big name, who closes the night on the Euphoria Stage but gender-bending trap romantic Young Thug is also a big draw. Last year, he dropped a breakneck 40 minutes of soaring — commercially booming — Atlanta rap music, salvaging an otherwise soggy day at the inaugural SOS Fest. 12:45 a.m. Elements stage.

 Capyac: Saturday’s bill also mixes in Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens and rapper Post Malone, but we recommend showing up early to sweat it out with the glitzy electrofunk of Austin/L.A.-based duo Capyac. 4;30 p.m. Euphoria Stage.

SUNDAY

Wiz Khalifa. The blunted rapper whose anthemic track “Young, Wild & Free” might as well be our city’s theme song, closes the fest out on the big stage. Incidentally, Wiz appears on a new Young Thug song that just dropped last week which does not necessarily mean we can expect a surprise appearance, but it also doesn’t preclude it. 10:30 p.m., Euphoria Stage.

Chromeo: Say what you will, these dudes ran a clinic on how to throw a dance party at Austin City Limits Festival a few years back. And if Canadian electro duos are your thing, you can slide over to the Elements Stage when their set ends to catch Zeds Dead. 8:15 p.m. Euphoria Stage.

Chronixx & Zinc Fence Redemption. Afternoon irie vibes from a reggae superstar? Yes, please. 6:15 p.m. Euphoria Stage.

 

If you go: $79 daily, $199 3-day (advance). Camping passes and VIP options are available. Gates at 2 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday-Sunday. Parking is $20 daily, cash only. Various shuttle options are available. See euphoriafest.com for more details.

Euphoria Fest adds Chromeo, Knife Party, Moby (DJ set) to 2017 lineup

 

David Macklovitch of Chromeo performs at the 2014 Austin City Limits Festival. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman
David Macklovitch of Chromeo performs at the 2014 Austin City Limits Festival. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

Festival organizers announced have announced the third and final round of artists for next year’s Euphoria Fest lineup. Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo, Australian electro-duo Knife Party and rap upstart Post Malone will all perform at the festival next year. Early electronic music innovator Moby will put in a DJ set as will Dutch DJ Oliver Heldens. A few local artists including hip-hop producer/occasional OVO collaborator Eric Dingus and live band hip-hop act Magna Carda will perform.

The new artists join a bill that was already stacked with a variety of solid selections including headliners Wiz Khalifa, Pretty Lights and Alesso, red hot rapper Young Thug and avant jazz outfit Badbadnotgood.

 

While many smaller festivals in Central Texas struggled or folded this year, electronic music and dance festival Euphoria Fest continued to steadily grow. Currently, the fest has over 70 artists on the roster for next year’s event that takes place on April 6-9 at Carson Creek Ranch. Three-day passes start at $149. More info.

Alesso, Pretty Lights, Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa to play Euphoria Fest 2017

Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman
Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman

Euphoria Fest, the electronic music and dance festival that has been steadily growing at Carson Creek Ranch over the last several years, has revealed the first 50 artists for next year’s event. Swedish DJ Alesso leads a lineup that also includes electronic composer Pretty Lights, electro-jam act the Disco Biscuits and popular Canadian electro duo Zeds Dead. Rapper Wiz Khalifa and Young Thug, who recently thrilled an audience of SOS Festers, will also perform at the 2017 festival, scheduled to go down from April 6-9, 2017.

Other artists playing the fest include Vancouver duo Bob Moses, Jamaican reggae artist Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption and avant jazz outfit Badbadnotgood.

Three day passes to the festival are $149 (plus tax and fees) and camping passes are available. More information.

Euphoria Fest to return to Carson Creek Ranch in 2017; Tickets on sale Friday

Waka Flocka Flame performs during Euphoria Music Festival at Carson Creek Ranch. Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman.
Waka Flocka Flame performs during Euphoria Music Festival at Carson Creek Ranch. Kyser Lough/For American-Statesman.

Electronic music and jam band extravaganza, Euphoria Fest, plans to return to Carson Creek Ranch in Eastern Travis County for the fourth year in 2017. The festival has been steadily growing for the last several years and topped 50,000 in three-day attendance this year, promoters say.

» RELATED: A-List: Euphoria Fest, 4.10.16

The 2017 festival is set to take place from  April 6-9, 2017. After adding early bird programming for campers only on Thursday this year, the 2017 festival will offer a limited number of “early entry” passes that allow fans to enter the campground on Wednesday. Festival organizers also promise more direct shuttles to the campground and shuttle service from the parking lot to the campground to help fest-goers load in.

The festival has also expanded on a two-year partnership with Keep Austin Beautiful to create a new green initiative they’re calling “Ecophoria.”

Limited presale begins at 10 a.m., Friday, August 12. Early bird tickets are $119 for a 3-Day festival pass and $199 for a 3-day festival pass with camping. More info and tickets.