As the sun was setting over the beautiful hills of Gilford, New Hampshire last Friday, the entire town buzzed with that cosmic energy the Pretty Lights Family tends to carry with them everywhere they travel. Electricity was in the air night one as the event kicked off full force with the doors opening at 4 pm to get the party started early with some local support. The atmosphere was contagious, with employees, police, and patron’s alike spreading laughs, smiles, kind gestures, and positive vibrations.
A mini stage dubbed “The Magic Hat Stage,” hosted various artists from the north east region, before and after the event each night. A major highlight being Rhode Island’s own, Dark City Agent, who took the stage day two with their spacey, experimental jam-tronica sound, a must see. In addition, Boston’s Uncle Bob gave the crowd a nice taste of dub at this groovy event with multiple sets throughout the weekend. . Illuminators scattered across the venue, handing out USB’s filled with music, providing water and a warm smile to all the people in attendance. These people have such a love and passion for the culture that they dedicated their time this weekend to the safety and well-being of their peers, and that is to be commended.
The mainstage is tucked underneath a beautifully built pavilion against the mountainous back drop of New Hampshire. The set up provided phenomenal sound from anywhere in the venue. The large grass area at the very top was perfect for capturing the entire scope of those oh so pretty lights. The structure of the venue sloped upwards in a way that assured no one in the house was having their view blocked, something many people long for at these types of events.
The divine Maddy O’Neal opened up night one, followed by rising glitch hop star Jade Cicada who crosses a wide array of experimental organic sounds. Finally, Ganja White Night set the stage for the band, providing the crowd with a much needed bass therapy session before they got a little soulful with the PL Crew. Night two took a different approach to the opening artists, which gave each night its own independent vibe. To start, Exmag took the crowd on a sensual ride into the future. After that, Opiuo brought his signature sound that is too obscure to put into words, just check out for yourself and you will not be disappointed.
Directly supporting the band is a Vermont favorite, Twiddle. These guys have been on a hot streak the past few years, selling out shows and jumping venue sizes consistently. There is a lot of buzz about them having the stuff of legends as they continue to tour more nationally, but only time will tell that. For now, they set the stage beautifully, with their inspiring lyrics and lively sound that remains upbeat but has the ability to go deep. I’ve heard many good responses to the Pretty Lights crew having bands as well as electronic artists open. This allows for a broader platform of fans to attend, leaving something for everywhere, and opening people minds to new things. I applaud the team for their efforts in this.
The production the Pretty Lights team showed up with was nothing short of spectacular, visually and audibly. The band popped things off night one immediately with an old favorite, Keep em Bouncin’, this swung the crowd into motion immediately and the momentum didn’t stop until it was over. The broad range of lights used in this performance kept the audience guessing, each song had a completely unique combination of lights that assured the audience would never get bored; as well as incredible visuals and smoke that actually blended the entire production together into a work of art.
Night two was just as crazy, however this night the boys started a little slower and covered some deeply psychedelic areas. Derek even addressed the vibrations in the venue at one point. Amidst of one of his freestyles fans are growing to love he spoke of the undeniable energy that was culminating. It is not often you hear artists directly address the patterns of frequencies occurring in that very moment, so it was interesting and monumental to hear it said while it’s happening.
He spoke of the power music has to bring people together, and allow for deeper connection and understanding with those around us. This is especially true when the music is paired visual stimulations that get the mind moving as well as sound systems that allow us to physically feel the vibrations we are omitting. Empathy is a huge virtue expressed in these kinds of experiences, when we become one with the music, we become one with another, and that’s a powerful thing.
What was your favorite memory from Pretty Lights New Hampshire? Let me know in the comments below!
© All images courtesy of B.a.D. Photography