Hope at Hideaway 2020 festival emerged victorious last weekend just down the street from where Bassnectar 808: Be Interactive was originally slotted at the beginning of the 2020 festival season. Hundreds gathered at the massive campgrounds to experience music, art, expression, and the immersive vibes found only at live EDM music gatherings. Dozens of local and regional DJs and producers performed across three stages for two jam-packed nights of solid tunes. The campgrounds were ‘YUGE, and attendees could very easily space themselves out from one another while camping and while at the stages themselves. Money earned from ticket sales and other optional activities throughout the weekend was donated to local charities in efforts to bring hope to so many suffering this year. The theme of hope radiated throughout the weekend, from hope for the DJs who finally got to share their art with others again, to hope in the attendees that outdoor, socially distanced, smaller music festivals may be able to happen safely in the covid-era.
Hope at Hideaway 2020 offered a little something for everyone, with a variety of Bass, Dubstep, House, Techno, and even Trance sets speckled throughout the stages. The totem and kandi-making stations offered a memorial keepsake for attendees to take home from the weekend. The Dunk the DJ station was placed prominently at the edge of the art-making area, tempting those with the proper charitable vindictiveness to donate money for a throw. The campsites themselves were huge and could fit way more than the suggested six individuals per campsite, unlike the squished regulated areas we’re used to at large festivals. We also had fire pits at our campsites, and we were able to keep our fire going all night long without complaint. Hope at Hideaway guests could also take part in the Tube the River segment of the campground, which added to the myriad of activities available throughout the weekend.
The festival energy coursed strongly through all of us by nightfall, when the lights came up and the music commenced. The three stages were well spread out, and attendees had plenty of space at each to dance, flow, and social distance. Magnificant hoopers, twirling poi, and even a fire spinner could be seen flowing to the music along the edges of the light crowds. Some of the trees in the distance were lit up near the main stage, bringing back those forest vibes we all have grown to love, and a few fun art installations were sprinkled in throughout the grounds. A massive HOPE installation in the center of the campgrounds guided Hope at Hideaway attendees between two of the open-air stages. Most festival-goers were wearing fun masks, and the freedom of being able to run around in fun festival gear once was absolutely liberating. Overall, the weekend was fun, free, and full of laughter. We didn’t realize how much we missed it all until the energy came flowing back to us throughout the weekend.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be doing the recap justice without sharing the ugly truth clouding the Hope at Hideaway 2020 experience. The organization revolving around entering the festival was a challenge. The Facebook event led ticket buyers to the Apple River tubing website with little instruction. This led many to purchase a campsite without realizing they also needed to purchase a separate ticket. Many of us didn’t realize the entire campsite was reserved for the festival for the weekend, and some people showed up to the event not even knowing there would be live EDM music at all. Very little was announced until the week of the festival and only then did we realize we needed to dig through the website to find a filter box in order to find the ticket for purchase. Covid-19 precautions and ticket details were eventually shared the week of the fest, but at this point, many had already purchased a campsite, and with no refunds, some people who were just planning on camping at the river felt forced into forking over more money for a festival that they didn’t even want to attend. One of our neighbors was there for a relaxing birthday party at the river, and the group never left their camp to desperately avoid the live EDM music blasting from all edges around them. Moving forward, we hope that some of these loose ends are tied up to avoid the confusion and even frustration felt by many unsuspecting campers over the weekend.
Hope at Hideaway 2020 succeeded at being a communal, socially distanced, positive live EDM music experience in a time where the opportunity is few and far between. The shadows cast by COVID-19 have been far-reaching and have impacted many in different ways throughout what some are calling, The Lost Year. Overall, we had a chance to shine a light through the darkness of 2020, and we walked away with smiles, Bass-filled hearts, and positive memories of the fun times we had together raging under the stars. We’ve certainly taken the organizational skills of large festivals for granted over the years– who knew having bathrooms with doors in them was such a luxury? But for a hideaway-style experience, SIMshows did a good job bringing together so many people who needed hope in a time of darkness.
*Featured image via /\bz Groove Machine*