Hidden away in the Heartland lies the Emerald City – the bass haven and small-festival delight Dancefestopia. Next week, this EDM extravaganza brings fiery beats to Middle America with a raging roster that includes trap-master RL Grime, the space bass saga of Liquid Stranger and a takeover by his Wakaan label, the wobbly sub-driven wubs of Ganja White Night, the sax-a-riffic Big Gigantic and many more. This year’s lineup offers a hearty plate of heavy and trippy bass, dubstep, and trap – basically a more varied middle ground between Lost Lands and Wakaan Festival – but a whole bevy of elements outside of the music are what make DFT such a treasure.
The “Wizard of Oz” Theme
From 2012-2017, Dancefestopia took place along the Missouri River, just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Last year’s move over to the Kansas side and about an hour south of KC allowed the festival a prime rebranding opportunity to take advantage of the iconography and ubiquitous familiarity with “The Wizard of Oz”. And everyone ate it up. Having grown up in Kansas, it’s quite satisfying seeing this cultural staple refitted to the first staple in my music festival life. Cool statues and inflatables of the film’s main characters add to the environment’s sense of otherworldliness, although the giant head of the Wizard adorning the top of the Emerald main stage, eyes aglow, is the crown jewel.
The Small Stages
Wild times pop off at the Lollipop Stage until nearly 6 a.m., so expect second/third winds when Rusko, Golf Clap, SubDocta, Matroda, G-REX and Treasure Fingers throw down late at night. The Pyromid Stage features unique DJs playing inside of a dope pyramid with stunning projection mapping visuals on the outside – and judging by its new name, probably some sick pyrotechnics too. The most exciting addition this year, however, is the ReKinection stage experience, which will host workshops and meditative activities during daylight and DJ sets from artists with more world-sound influences at night, as well as enthralling aerial/fire/dance performances!
I’ve made awesome friends and met so many wonderfully kind people each year of DFT. Most attendees hail from the Midwest and the vibrational frequency is quite different from fests on the coasts – meaning more genuine, deeper connections, more down-to-earth personalities, and easily attracting your tribe with your vibe. But make no mistake, Midwesterners can party just as hard.
The best aspect of the current Dancefestopia venue is how nearly all the camping space is in a forest. This significantly lowers the temperature at camp because you’re shaded by all the trees, and you’re also free to explore the area and set up wherever you like with your crew. Lights are strung amid the branches to illuminate the trails at night, and there’s a sense of magic and creativity running through the campgrounds as a result of the open format in this natural landscape – instead of the more grid-like layout that most festivals adhere to. There’s also a treehouse in the forest and a new art “nook” with installations. The pond separating the campgrounds from the venue and traversing its bridge instill a palpable excitement every time you walk across it as well.
There’s also a pool, zip line, hot air balloon, rock wall and canoe float excursions on the pond you can purchase passes for to add some extra adventure and fun to your weekend. After taxes, a 3-day GA ticket is currently $228.59, a weekend camping pass is $98.28, and the Thursday Wakaan Takeover pre-party camping add-on is $48.34. See you in the Land of EDM Oz!