In a world where it seems like every time that you log onto your Facebook or Instagram and a new festival lineup has dropped, it is easy to get lost in which one is really worth your hard earned cash. With so many events out there with prices that continue to creep upwards year over year, you start to wonder if the festival is really even there for your experience anymore, or just for a small group to turn a huge profit. Then events like Euphoria Fest come along that are founded by festival lovers, run by groups of friends, and sustained by a communal love of music and desire to better oneself through sensational experiences, and you remember why we are all so drawn to this lifestyle.
Euphoria just wrapped up its 6th year and it was nothing short of a success. Founder, Mitch Morales, and his team continue to set the bar higher for themselves and it doesn’t appear that “good enough” really exists to them. There is always room for something new and no idea or genre of music is every going to be out of the question. With big names like Pretty Lights, Moby, Wiz Khalifa, Alesso, The Disco Biscuits, Chromeo, Zeds Dead, and Knife Party, to hometown favorites like Capyac, Blunt Force, Brede, Happy Happy James, Henry and The Invisibles and Psymbionic, the diversity at Euphoria is always something you can count on.
Time and again, they have proven that they know how to grow and always strive for improvement better than any other festival in their wheelhouse. There were a few hiccups in 2016 that they overcame with vigorous success in 2017. For example, the 2016 camping set up was pretty rough. The trek from where you parked to where you set up camp, included a steep incline, up and downhills, for a walk that capped out at around half a mile each way. With all your camping gear, it was quite exhausting. Between 2016 to 2017, the Euphoria team sent out surveys straight to the previous year’s attendees to ask how they should change in 2017 and made immediate, tangible improvements. They changed the layout of the camping and parking so that the walk from car to campsite was very manageable and the staff was incredibly helpful with transporting gear.
While improvements were made to the GA camp set up, there were major improvements to the luxury camping grounds as well. The walk from the parking lot to the VIP camping was pretty much nonexistent and the showers and actual restrooms rarely had large lines and were always stocked. You could even rent tents that were already set up upon your arrival with full beds and pillows if bunking it on the ground didn’t sound appealing. VIP within the festival got star treatment as well, obviously. Because let’s face it, nothing is worse than going to the VIP section or lounge of an event and then sit there wondering to yourself, “Why did I pay extra for this?” There was plenty of space for people to lounge in comfortable chairs and sofas rather than just picnic tables, charge phones, use actual restrooms, great viewing areas for the shows, and most importantly: bomb happy hour drinks!
Most people probably have never experienced festival-ception (newly defined as a festival within a festival), but this was another unique feature of Euphoria 2017. As many Austinites are aware, Art Outside was another beloved immersive music and art festival outside of Austin that has been a hometown favorite for many years. However, after Art Outside 2015 was crushed by heavy rains and funding washed away with it, so we were not graced with one of our favorite events in 2016. Euphoria came to the rescue and provided a space in Carson Creek Ranch called the Art Outside Village so that some of our favorite aspects of Art Outside could be reintegrated into a festival home! The Art Outside producers teamed up with Euphoria producers to bring art installations, workshops, and more diverse musicians and performers to Euphoria.
Sometimes you hear the word “workshop” at a festival and probably think, “Man I work all damn week, I don’t want to do anything this weekend but party.” Maybe not all of you, but that thought has certainly inhabited my brain in the past at shows. They always sound like a great idea in theory, but I’m usually not interested when I wake up in my hungover daze from the night before. However, this year I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and actually attend some workshops. I mainly relied on yoga to revitalize me in the mornings. I know that sometimes when you first wake up from a long night of partying, moving in any way sounds like it might actually kill you. But I would also bet good money that there has never been a person that walked away from a morning yoga session in the shade on a gorgeous, sunny 70 degree day and said to themselves, “Yeah, I’m going to go crawl back in my tent and die now.” I had never felt so ready to take on the day and see what else there was to get into. The other workshops varied across the spectrum from environmental protection and water conservation, perma-culture strategies, introductory classes to Ableton for aspiring producers, marijuana reform and community activism discussions, partner hooping, stilt walking, discussions on the connection between sexuality and spirituality, and they hosted creek cleanups.
Euphoria Fest sits along the banks of the Colorado River. While many festivals catch major flack for poisoning the water and land in which their event inhabit the festival grounds for a weekend, Euphoria has the exact opposite stigma around their event. Their sustainability projects were of utmost priority and crews of volunteers could be seen cleaning all throughout the festival. Euphoria has always been the cleanest festival I attend each year. More inspiring is that the mentality of festival attendees seems to finally be evolving to be more mindful of picking up after themselves and it showed all throughout the camp grounds and the festival itself.
If there was ever a reason to keep a festival clean, keeping trash out of someone’s engagement photos should be at the top of the list! Festival engagements are on the rise and Euphoria decided to be one step ahead of the game and not only be the place where you decide to spend the rest of your life with your significant other, but actually be the place where the journey begins! There is an actual altar and seating area for the ceremony to take place. They also provide photographers, hair and makeup and even a reception to finish out the experience. The Euphoria Fest founder himself, Mitch Morales, actually got engaged to his long time girlfriend at Euphoria during Above & Beyond’s set in 2016! This idea really gives a whole new meaning to spreading the love at a festival.
We could sit here and try to guess what Euphoria will have up their sleeve by next year, but we would probably be wrong. Til next year Euphoria!
Festpop Staff Writer: Lindsay Shearon
Festpop Photographer: Martha Wells