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For the first time, Decadence Arizona New Years’ Eve 2019 featured a unique experience for attendees. Weird and Wonderful is the incredible performance art show and festival space inspired and created to stimulate the mind and the heart. This special event was a fantastic foray into the Electronic Dance Music experience and enhanced Decadence in ways unimaginable.
In an ongoing effort to create an exceptional experience for Decadence AZ NYE attendees, Relentless Beats created the Weird and Wonderful Performance Art Concept. It featured a new three-station silent disco held in the Playhouse Stage area. While the Playhouse Stage was meant to provide a setting for attendees to have unique and immersive experiences with performers, it also encouraged attendees to get involved in an uninhibited and creative way. This new and alternative space, along with the performers that would inhabit it, was developed in collaboration with creative director Bri Lueder.
Acknowledging the role that performance art can play in the overall feel of a festival, Decadence introduced this idea of the Playhouse Stage, which would hold the key to making the concept work and add so much more to the Decadence experience. What set the Playhouse apart was the concept of inclusion, self-expression, safety, and responsibility. Festival attendees were, upon entering the space, greeted with giant mushrooms and a lovely arch introducing them to what would be a unique experience. In addition to vendors and interactive kiosks, attendees had enough space to dance, sing, sit, walk, talk, and do whatever they felt like in the Playhouse. At the center of the Playhouse Stage were the DJ decks with even more lights and closer to the attendees which gave it a more personal feel.
Here, one gained access to the premier of Decadence’s Silent Disco with three unique channels. I found myself impressed with how many local favorite DJs the silent disco featured in just one night with over 30 different DJs! Choosing from so many DJs made me feel privileged, and I knew Relentless Beats were creating an immersive experience for all. I danced and sang out loud without knowing I was performing a duet with another person! The silent disco provided an opportunity to sit and relax or continue to dance. I found myself looking at the DJ I was listening to more often than usual. I felt a desire to connect with them somehow, thinking I would let them know I heard their set. Being so close to the DJs and others on the same frequency made me feel like I had a unique connection to the EDM community. When I wanted a change, I switched channels and jammed along. When I chose green, red, or blue on my headphones, I listened to Bass, House, or Techno, respectively. As the night progressed, the Playhouse area was packed, and there was a long line of attendees waiting to get into the Silent Disco area.
With much fanfare and jolliness, the Weird and Wonderful circus presented themselves. Featuring over a dozen performers with unique talents, it was hard to focus on all of them at the same time. Exuberant costumes and graceful moves came from the “Fire Fairy,” “Nancy Druid,” and the “Wizard of Weird.” Pole twirling, baton tossers, hoop artists, and contact jugglers filled the room. The artists stepped into a performance space to the left of the DJ decks and kept the festival flow running. The “Ringmaster” performed on a Cyr wheel showing his incredible acrobatic abilities. A selection of festival dancers added their performances to the mix.
One performer caught my eye. It was a shuffler, “Gallant Gribbz,” whose moves seemed familiar. I recognized him from his Instagram posts with his dance crew and realized we had seen a performance from one of the best shufflers out there.
As the night sped on, the entertainers made their way to the main dance floor. They continued to perform amidst the attendees and made all of us part of the show. Dance Crew “ELEKTRO,” streamlined their way in and gifted us with a Liquid dance show that rocked the house, but it was their tag team performance that truly dazzled the crowd.
I found myself dancing and moving with the performers who encouraged my participation as well as that of other ravers. I realized how much more I enjoyed myself due to the connections I felt with everyone at the Playhouse Stage and the Weird & Wonderful circus. The festival experience is different for everyone. Having a space for attendees and performers to express their joy together makes it even better. It provides a way to make unexpected connections for some attendees, like me for example, who tends to go solo. We can all benefit from performance art because it inspires us to live in the moment.
*Featured Image of Weird and Wonderful Stage Via RiMo*