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2021 Recap: Hitting the Ground Running

Kate Nelson, writer/editor

This past festival season was an absolute whirlwind for me! 8 of the 9 major festivals/shows I attended all were within an 8 week period- and this was after attending almost every Rawhide event in Arizona with the Moonlvnding crew. It was so much fun- but holy moly I’m tired! My festival experience this year was unique, as about half the fests I went to were for fun with my friends, and the other half I attended with my boyfriend, who’s a bass music producer. I feel super lucky getting to experience both sides, going as an attendee and getting to be on the artist side with him. It was totally cool to see multiple festivals from different perspectives in one season.

Diving in headfirst, we kicked things off at Beyond Wonderland SoCal. We decided to do VIP, and it was SO worth it. The festival was a little packed, and so VIP gave us the breathing room we needed, with fantastic stage views all weekend. The VIP areas were awesome with so much to do, and really made our weekend fantastic. Every artist brought their A game, and there was not a single disappointing set all weekend. SIDEPIECE at Beyond takes the cake as my favorite set of the year.

Myself, and friends Maria and Sara cheesin' like the Cheshire Cat at Beyond SoCal

After having a wicked weekend of non-stop laughter, hilarious mishaps, and inside jokes, I jetted off to meet my boyfriend, Josh, in New York City for Electric Zoo. It was my first time in New York, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We had some great friends show us around the day before, and spent the whole next day at EZoo. The amenities were fantastic, the energy was palpable, and everyone was in a great mood.

Backstage hangs while Josh killed his set at Electric Zoo

It was another quick cross country turnaround as we flew to Vegas the next day for the first ever Lost In Dreams festival. All the homies from Arizona came out and had a blast; and I even got to meet up with the Friendzone guys, who I had done some coverage for on their music earlier in the year. To be able to finally connect in person with so many old friends and new friends after a year of uncertainty was a blessing. Everywhere we went, you could just tell how happy everyone was for the opportunity to be back together, enjoying the passion that links us all.

The whole crew getting Lost in Dreams

I had the privilege of visiting two of the most iconic venues in the country back to back. My best friend Maria and I, despite already having a mountain of festival plans, decided at the last minute to take a girls trip to Chronicles III at The Gorge. We packed our carry-ons, checked a bag with our tent, and arrived in Seattle the morning of. The Columbia River Valley is one of the most stunning places in the country, and it was an incredible night of music. Abraxis blew our minds, and the string quartet Seven Lions opened and closed his set with was undeniably a work of art. The next morning, we packed up, spent some time in Seattle, and flew back home to Arizona. I’m so fortunate to have a best friend who’s always on the same wavelength of crazy sends and endless adventures.

Highly suggest sending it to The Gorge with your best friend

Two days later we were back on a plane; heading to Denver this time for Temple of Wonderland at Red Rocks. We had a whole squad this time, and there’s nothing better than being in a beautiful place with great people, singing our hearts out all night long. Alison Wonderland’s music has long held a special place for me, so to say the night was on a spiritual level is an understatement. I will definitely be returning to Red Rocks for many shows to come.

Maria, Sara, and I back with our signature pic at Red Rocks

However, my favorite weekend this year had to be my birthday weekend. My birthday fell on the first night of Goldrush, and we weren’t even planning on going, but a series of mishaps led to us pretty much ending up there by chance. After a wicked night, my boyfriend and I had to hop on a flight early Saturday to head to Lost Lands, where he would be playing Sunday! It was a crazy weekend, but my friends and boyfriend seriously made it the best birthday I’ve ever had. Dancing my way into 25 in the post below, taken by my friend Syd!

I rounded out my year with my two favorite festivals: EDC Las Vegas and Dreamstate. I consider EDCLV my home, and definitely cried walking back in over those bleachers. We packed two RVs and a tent full at camp, so we truly had a mega squad. After a short break from the craziness, I capped it off at Dreamstate in trance heaven. They really stepped up the production at Dreamstate from previous years, and had by far my favorite stages of the year.

My longtime friend Dylan and I loving life at Camp EDC

I’m so lucky for the ability to travel, attend these festivals, and most importantly, for the people that make my life complete. I’m already itching for festival season 2022. Cheers!