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Arizona’s general interest in dance music had been on the rise for quite some time, but it seemed to have needed a true place it could call home within the state — outside a number of select venues and events. Enter institutional brand Relentless Beats with their newest Goldrush endeavor. The shiny new Western-themed gathering, which, despite its short tenure on the circuit, has risen as a hub for mining the shiniest artistic nuggets that the industry has to offer. Goldrush carved out a niche in the Arizona sphere with ease for its inaugural 2017 edition, bringing a multitude of dance acts across the spectrum spanning from Migos, to Nicole Moudaber, to Barclay Crenshaw.
A festival of this nature would not be successful had it not been for the tenured organizers behind-the-scenes who perpetually have their ears to the ground, and a vision of success. Relentless Beats in particular has risen as the voice of dance music in the region, having created some of Arizona’s most sought-after events to date — like the New Year’s celebration Decadence, for example, or a number of club nights that bring in talent from across the country and world. Goldrush, however, is shaping up to be their largest venture yet, despite being in just its second year of production. Curious as to the mechanics behind throwing a festival that’s a guaranteed success among a saturated market in general, we sat down with one of the prime leaders of Goldrush and Relentless beats, Thomas Turner, to pick his brain on putting a gargantuan event together, hurdles they’ve faced, new additions to the festival, and more.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started in event promotion/organization?
I started producing underground electronic events in the 90s, after being influenced by European house music. Specifically progressive house.
How did the idea for Gold Rush come about, and what kicked its formation into action for you?
The western town we produce Goldrush in was a tourist destination North of Scottsdale, when i was growing up. When i saw it in its setting at Wild Horse Pass, many years after being relocated, i salivated at the idea of producing a western themed music event- it was just many years to soon and we needed to pick the right time for something so niche. I had a lot of time to think about the name and it finally felt right in 2017.
We’ve read your goal is to curate cutting-edge lineups. What is your methodology for finding acts that you feel haven’t been booked for an event of this nature before?
For us the process is long and detailed when it comes to breaking and sustaining an act’s brand in the market. We want the fans to get a great show as well as the act.
How was the process of getting Gold Rush off the ground last year? Any kinks you encountered while throwing its first edition that you’ve ironed out for this year?
Certainly the first year always encounters some hurdles and we are constantly looking to fine tune the experience, but the thing I like most is us getting our arms around hosting the best event in the space. And while it years to see our ultimate vision, we have made major strides this year.
What kinds of expansions or cool things can we expect for year 2 of Gold Rush, now that the festival is hitting its stride?
For one the mainstage is now on a new patch of grass called The Riverwalk, which we are very excited about. In addition, we have moved from 16+ to 18+ with later hours to better serve our core fan base.
What can you say about the AZ dance scene and how it’s grown over the years?
The Arizona dance scene is tremendous and i really can’t say enough good things about how strong the electronic music culture is here. We rival major markets in overall ticket volume, yet are a fraction of their size.
Who are you most excited about on the bill this year?
I’m personally most excited to see Vince Staples, Chris Lake, Loud Luxury, & of course my boy illenium
Any final words for Gold Rush attendees?
I can’t wait to see all the costumes & outfits and spend two amazing nights with everyone. Let’s ride AZ!