Another year, another Identity Festival in the books for New Yorkers. This past weekend, thousands of EDM enthusiasts from all over the tri-state area packed out the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach in Wantagh, New York, to capacity, for a full day and night of colorful neon clothing, dancing, raging, and of course the non-stop booming beats from some very talented EDM artists. This year, the festival had quickly sold out, making it a highly anticipated event for all those attending. The 2012 New York line-up was packed with some highly sought after talent including headliner Eric Prydz, Arty, Madeon, Showtek, Eva Simons, and Noisia, among a list of others.
Before delving into the musical madness that ensued on Saturday, let’s paint a picture of the scene, and if you were lucky enough to get tickets to attend Identity in New York this weekend, be prepared to be taken back. Nikon Theater at Jones Beach has been one of New York’s most fundamental venues, famous for its summer concerts, for years. The beautiful outdoor venue on the water can cater to 15,000 music lovers and another 5,000 on their general admission lawn. Not only was the theater filled with thousands of raging EDM fanatics at the iHome main stage, but the Rockstar Energy Drink stage, located directly outside the theater, was also occupied by a sea of glowstick-carrying Identity attendees.
While both stages entertained those who crowded around them, just beyond were a number of places to get food and drinks to keep everyone hydrated and full while they danced the day and night away. Also set up throughout the venue were a number of vendors selling rave apparel. Numerous festival-goers completed their creative outfits, topping them off with shirts that actually light up and glow in the dark, hats featuring various phrases, and miscellaneous rave items like light up gloves. If you felt like you were losing energy or wanted to shield yourself from the unfortunate rain shower that occurred, you could relax and hang out with what else, but a Rockstar Energy Drink, in the Rockstar Energy Drink tent, a small area designated outside the Rockstar Energy Drink stage. While walking past this tent several times it always seemed to be filled throughout the day.
As security was extremely tight at the iHome main stage, if you weren’t able to get back to where you were raging in the pit of madness, there was a small area set up right outside with several DJs throughout the day to keep everyone dancing. This was a nice surprise because it provided a nice open space for those who needed a break from the insanity of the crowd of the main stage, and more room to bust a move!
On to why the festival sold out so rapidly: the music. With each set the entire day and night at the main stage, everyone was out of their seats, mostly perching on top of them while they jumped up and down to their favorite EDM tracks. Paige, Stephan Jacobs, Audrey Napoleon, DVBBS, Le Castle Vania, The Gaslamp Killer, and Noisia had built the crowd up all throughout the day and into the night at both stages. The unbelievable energy was radiating throughout the entire venue.
Talk about being in the eye of the storm! DJ Eye, also known as Jamie Lovine, gave an energetic set, to match his personality to the enormous mass of people at the iHome main stage. He incorporated a few different genres of EDM into his performance, including electro and progressive house, dubstep, and even a little hip hop. The crowd had their hands up in the air for tracks like Swedish House Mafia’s “One”, Nari & Milani’s “Atom," Cedric Gervais’ “Molly," and Deadmau5’s “The Vedlt." Eye was very interactive with his crowd, and even sang along to a lot of the music he dished out, including “Breakin’ A Sweat” from Skrillex & The Doors. The lively DJ also rattled the main stage with the Bingo Players “Rattle," and finished up with a P. Diddy classic as he rapped along with the lyrics.
Meanwhile at the Rockstar Energy Drink stage, Static Revenger was making it rain, literally. As the rain drops began to fall, the crowd didn’t seem to care as they went into an EDM frenzy. Controlling the crowd in his signature headphones, the mob of people was really feeling the set as they vigorously rocked out everywhere. The sight gave new meaning to the term “Rockstar," perfect considering the name of the stage.
Back to the main stage, where everyone was preparing for Eva Simons to take over control, and take over control she did. The talented Mohawk-donning vocalist was exploding with energy on the stage as everyone jumped up and down, and sang along. As Simons moved all around the stage, she belted out her song with will.i.am “This Is Love," moving into the one of the songs that made her career explode, her collaboration with Afrojack “Takeover Control." As she was performing the song, the entire theater went mental. It’s impossible not to dance to this song, the only thing that could have made it better was if Afrojack himself was there as well, behind the decks. The dancing and skipping singer also performed her more dub-focused “Renegade," and most recent hit “I Don’t Like You," which as an ironic tune for the moment, since everyone seemed to be loving Eva.
It has been said “No Arty, No Party," which definitely held true for Identity in New York. The young and talented DJ/producer rocked the iHome main stage for the thousands of fans standing on top of their seats spanning all the way up to the upper levels. As Arty began to take Nikon Theater on his musical journey, he fed everyone some of his original tracks like “Around the World," a track that had everyone moving around, mashed up with the vocals of Nadia Ali’s “Rapture." Also heard in his set was Porter Robinson’s “Language," a huge track this year that has had massive support all over the industry, as well as the Tommy Trash remix of Deadmau5’s “The Veldt." A track popular in many sets throughout the entire festival, the Russian also dropped Zedd’s Spectrum. Keeping the crowd engaged, Arty unleashed more of his originals, like his collaboration with Mat Zo “Rebound”, as well has “Kate."
Keeping up the energy, Showtek showed New York exactly how they do with their brand new collaboration with Hardwell “How We Do” which had an immense crowd reaction. Things got maximal crazy when they dropped Tiesto’s banger, leading the raging EDM fiends to some more electro house tracks, moved by a thunderous bassline. Complimenting their music, Sjoerd engaged the crowd by spraying them with a smoke gun while hopping around to the music that was pouring out of the massive speakers, like Hard Rock Sofa’s “Quasar." Their set had progressed to one hardstyle song after the other, which the crowd was loving judging from the loud cheering and screaming, and of course the dancing.
Showtek had set the mood and had everyone amped for who was next; headliner, Eric Prydz. For many who came to the festival, this had been the moment they had all been waiting for. Pryda. After the release of his album this year, his set was highly and anxiously anticipated. Lucky for them Eric did not disappoint. Rocking a backwards baseball hat, Prydz set the mood as he began his set. The graphics on the main screen had transported everyone into an electro paradise. It was Prydz-sanity as he started off with “SW4." Other Prydz gems included “Pjanoo," “2Night," and his remix of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus." The special effects during this set were eye-catching to say the least, and created an almost “in the club” experience, only on the water, with not only the Pryda graphics on the screen, but the bountiful lazers that were shooting off in all different directions across the theater. This was definitely a divine sight to see if you were sitting at the very top looking down on the entire Nikon Theater. The crowd was loving Eric as they sang along to one of his more recent tracks “Allein." Also added to the mix were some unreleased tracks, keeping the set fresh for Pryda fans old and new. Prydz polished off Identity Festival with “We Are The Mirage”, a mashup of Empire of the Sun’s “We Are The People” and Prydz’s own “Mirage."
As Pryda madness was ensuing at the iHome main stage, Madeon was taking care of business at the Rockstar Energy Drink stage not too far away, under the night sky. Impressed by this very young DJ/producer, it was amazing to see the effect he had on the crowd, selecting music to make them really remember their Identity experience. Madeon dispensed many of the biggest tracks in EDM currently, like Hard Rock Sofa and Swanky Tune’s recent banger “Here We Go," Zedd’s “Spectrum," the Dirty South remix of Miike Snow’s “Devil’s Work," Calvin Harris and Example’s “We’ll Be Coming Back," Deadmau5’s “The Veldt” and “Raise Your Weapon," among plethora of others. The songs all seemed to flow seamlessly into one another has the heavy bass was booming through the mass of fans.
What an electrifying day. See you next year Identity Festival!