Global Dance Festival is probably one of the few events at Red Rocks where water sales tussle neck and neck with liquor sales. From day-glo teenyboppers to 40-somethings, people walked around the venue Saturday night with pupils like eight balls, dressed in garb that only makes sense there and on Halloween. Two screens stretched from the floor to the ceiling of the stage, pulsing with the music. DJs like Avicii, Gareth Emery and Benny Benassi finished off the last night of the festival, commanding the crowd from a strobing pulpit.
The night seemed to build to a cresting high when Grammy Award winner Benassi showed up. Benassi, the Italian Robert Downey Jr. look-a-like, who practically created the electro genre with his hit “Satisfaction,” headlined the last night and sent everyone home with an act that would leave a ringing in your ears for days. For a moment, he let an ambient beat play and walked toward the front of the stage with a camera, filming the crowd while they cheered and let go a sort of swan song howl. Then Benassi climbed back up behind the turntables and finished his set. The concert-goers fell back into their trance, seeming zombie-fied by personal glow-stick light shows and a bass beat that resonated in the pit of your stomach.
Photos, below, from Day 2.
Denver local promoter Ha Hau started Global Dance Festival in 2003. In its first year, 3,000 people showed up. He started the local production company, Triad Dragons, and the festival has evolved into a three days dance party that attracts international DJs and sold 17,000 tickets in 2010. This year, not a bench seemed to be empty of hopping revelers.
There are few things like house music and electro that bring so many different people together: Frat boys, panty ravers, long-skirted hippie types, disco-era parents and every sort of beat-junkie in between. There was a communal sense of harmony at the concert -– arguably not the hardest thing to accomplish when half the crowd seems dazed by the inside of their eyelids or is so caught up in dancing that tomorrow seems like a year away. But anyway you look at it, everyone got just what they came for: A night to dance, to be hypnotized by the lights and enjoy a night under the moon, free of rain.
Weston Phippen is a Denver Post intern and a new contributor to Reverb.
Ryan Dearth is a Denver-based photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.