By Alyssa Garza
The 50-degree weather did not prevent the thousands of participants from showing up in their festive costumes to see their favorite artists perform at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, October 28 and again, on Sunday, October 29.The 2-day festival, Something Wicked, is Houston’s first Halloween Electronic Dance Music (EDM) massive debuting in 2012 and held every year in October since, bringing EDM fans together in Houston for a wicked celebration. However, this year’s festival had an additional focus.
As Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey, one of the most powerful storms to hit the state in decades, Something Wicked Music Festival announced a large-scale charitable initiative totaling over $165,000 to aid recovery efforts. This initiative includes “significant donations” from headliners Above & Beyond, Tiësto, and Marshmello. Above and Beyond artists, Jono Grant and Tony McGuinness, commented on how their music has influenced their fans during this time of recovery.
“People seek refuge in music and all forms of art and if we can be a part of that by proxy somehow, it is a beautiful thing isn’t it,” Grant said.
Grant and McGuiness stressed the devotion they have to their Texan fan base, which has always been loyal according to McGuinness. Grant adds that their music has served as an escape for many fans and a way to bring people together to get lost in the music.
“We try and write on a very personal basis and I think the messages of the songs are personal,” McGuinness said. “Of course, one of the things we have been really trying to nurture ever since we started is a sense of community among our fans which goes beyond the music really.”
The festival’s performances began at 3 p.m. and the stages were filled with music into the night. The attendees flooded in throughout the afternoon, some prepared for the weather wearing fuzzy pajama onesies and blankets.
A few Rick and Morty duos floated around the crowd of people wearing leotards and bikinis drenched in paint and glitter holding flags and props, arms filled with multicolored beaded bracelets to be exchanged with strangers throughout the night.
Catering to the diverse crowd in attendance, there were three stages featuring the Mainstage, Shadowlands, Bass Crypt and Mystic Meadows. Each stage played different genres along the realm of EDM such as trance, future bass, house, trap, dubstep and more.
Saturday’s crowd brought a multitude of fans wearing Marshmello heads as a tribute to the artist. Once the artist went on stage the fans turned on their LED Marshmello costumes and forced their way through the crowds to get a closer view. The set had a blissful, upbeat tone, with the beat in synch with the C02 jets, flamethrowers and lights.
The artist performed his latest release Silence feat. Khalid giving off more mellow vibes than the rest of the set and appeared to be a crowd favorite with nearly the entire audience singing and dancing along to the melody.
Above and Beyond ended the night on Saturday creating a more intimate atmosphere with a set that sent an inspiring message to the audience without to say a word. They opened the show with their on-screen visuals being a live reflective view of the crowd.
They began playing a harmonizing track that brought member of the audience to tears while they raised their hands in praise. On the screen, they projected the words “Good Evening Houston, it’s good to be back.” The artists continued to play an uplifting and serene set accompanied by slow fireworks and on screen visuals with a representation of life and balance.
Zeds Dead gave a compelling performance, and as the music played, attendees simultaneously started to head bang to the beat. Flames and flashing lights illuminated the stage as the crowd began to stretch a giant cotton cobweb on top of each other tangling the audience together. The on-screen visuals for this set were in synch with the melody.
Tiësto ended the show on Sunday with an hour and half set. To play off the theme of this year’s festival, Asylum, dancers dressed at deranged doctors descended from the stage to the front of the audience adding an eerie element to the performance. The artist himself seemed to be engrossed with his set, as he danced, banged his head and threw his headphones on and off. Tiësto’s performance closed with a firework show leaving the venue with nothing but smoke in the air, empty stages, and the memories of the night.