Seismic Dance Event returned to Austin, Texas for their fifth anniversary this past weekend. By establishing itself as a leading name in the global underground dance movement and continuing to further cement its legacy, Seismic Dance Event 5.0 is a special festival for lovers of house and techno. The boutique festival hosted exceptional talent, an intimate environment, and a warm-hearted crowd.
The world-class artist lineup was filled with some of the best names in house, techno, and live electronic music. Sets including UK mainstage originator Fatboy Slim, Techno queen Charlotte de Witte, progressive house sensation Miss Monique, enigmatic producer/DJ and Disco Inferno label owner I Hate Models, and breakout star ACRAZE were a few fan favorites. Most sets were 1.5 to 2 hours. Along with the headlining artists, local & regional artists also crushed their performances.
The majority of genres played were minimal techno, bass house, deep/garage house, big room, and tech house. I really enjoyed the hard trance/hard techno acts and personally, I wish I heard more future, festival and electro house. Regardless of my personal preferences, attendees enjoyed the variety of sounds as there was something skillfully assembled for everyone to find pleasure in.
Held at a new state-of-the-art venue in South Austin, The Concourse Project was a great location to host Seismic. The event took over not only the inside of the venue, but spread throughout 10 acres of land. The stages were relatively small compared to stages I’ve seen at other festivals, however, they each had their own distinct production and curation of sounds while suiting the theme they were assigned, which I thought was really neat. Inside you could find mainstage, Volcano. The dome-like structure was filled with energy as red lasers beamed amongst the crowd and triangular visuals radiated on stage. Tsunami, one of the outdoor stages, was well crafted to bring a feeling of vibration with blue visual waves. Tsunami was definitely the more ‘chill” stage compared to the rest, but the bass was so heavy, you could feel it washing over your body from the ground up. The second outdoor stage, Frequency, was tucked away in the back of the venue. With a glowing disco ball and star-like fractals reflecting across the area, this stage was probably my favorite. It had a fun, upbeat ambience and there was plenty of space to move around.
As far as the setup went, the distance from one stage to another was perfect. They were each within a short walking distance, without an echo of sound emerging into each other’s set. There were some fun activities at the glowing “playground” including seesawing, walking through electric pillars, or hammocking. I wish there were more photo opportunities, but they did have a couple beautifully painted walls as well as a light-up tunnel which was popular for snapping pics.
The community at Seismic consisted of mostly older people (I’d say 23 years and older). There were ravers that have been in the scene for a minute and for some, their first rave. I met locals from Austin, house fanatics from Denver, and festival-goers from Canada. The diversity of locations surprised me, but it made sense considering Seismic is the only house & techno event of the Southern US.
I usually see a lot more flow art & toys at festivals, but at Seismic, shuffling was the move. Several platform boxes were placed throughout the venue and people danced, shuffled, and cheered one another on. Everyone was friendly, including the vendors, one of which was giving out free massages! Although the weather was windy and chilly, people were still warming one another up and made room at the electric heaters for anyone that wanted to join.