The two-day event, running September 27 – 28 features a diverse array of electronic and hip-hop acts, from Zomboy to Sheck Wes, Hermitude to Lil Texas, with tons in between. Tickets to Goldrush are on sale now, don’t sleep. See the full festival lineup below.
The immersive two-day festival will have four curated stages, taking place in Rawhide Western Town & Event Center—Arizona’s massive 1880s western-themed entertainment venue. The venue is home to other Relentless Beats festivals including CRUSH Arizona, Decadence, Phoenix Lights, and many others.
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!
Phoenix, Arizona is quickly becoming one of the nation’s hottest music festival destinations, drawing an increasing number of top-tier artists and events to the Valley of the Sun year after year. This year was perhaps Phoenix’s biggest yet, hosting events like the debut installment of Lost Lake Festival and Hundred Waters‘ annual FORM at Arcosanti, an artistic community about 30 minutes outside the city. But for ravers and hip-hop heads alike, one event’s talent roster may have stood head and shoulders above the rest, with Goldrush Festival also delivering its inaugural lineup, stacked with genre-hopping talent. Dillon Francis, Marshmello, Migos, Claude Vonstroke, REZZ, Lil Uzi Vert and a slew of the year’s most sought-after artists flocked to Arizona just as the state’s sweltering temperatures began to break, only to heat things back up again for two days of festival chaos wild west style. Here are Dancing Astronaut‘s top five takeaways from the inaugural Goldrush Festival.
Baauer and A-Trak’s highly anticipated b2b set
Lined up for only a handful of joint shows to close out 2017, Baauer and A-Trak finally joined forces for the back-to-back performance we all deserve, and boy did they deliver. With Baauer’s ever-variant track selections and A-Trak’s brilliant scratch routines, the pair put together a set that hit the crowd from every angle, complementing each other like they’ve been playing together for years. The chemistry was definitely there, it was like watching Carlos Santana and Slash trade solos for a full hour. The Fool’s Gold Records veteran and his LuckyMe counterpart delivered one of the best sets of the weekend and are hopefully planning to bless fans with additional back-to-backs in the very near future.
Once the representatives from Dirtybird Records touched down at Goldrush, the endless shuffling began, and the massive cloud of dust didn’t settle over the venue until well after the weekend’s final performance. Claude Vonstroke and his Dirtybird cohorts undoubtedly ruled the roost at Goldrush’s debut weekend. The band of (mostly) California-based house heroes including Walker and Royce, Christian Martin, and more descended upon the desert to deliver some of the weekend’s top highlights. From the label head’s double duty playing by both his Vonstroke and Barclay Crenshaw monikers to Shiba San‘s top-billed performance, Dirtybird Records took over the party with a commanding presence and the swelling Arizona crowds knew exactly what to do.
Curation and programming
For a new event concept in an emerging festival market, it can be difficult to rope together the perfect blend of talent for a debut lineup. Beyond that, there’s an additional set of difficulties in nailing the festival’s overall programming, though Goldrush navigated these challenges impressively well in its inaugural installment. The lineup included hip-hop and dance music’s top-tiered and newly emerging talents alike, pairing acts like RL Grime, Excision and San Holo with Rich Chigga, Lil Pump and G-Buck. The lineup showcased well-rounded bookings that spanned the spectrum, from Flatbush Zombies to Jeremy Olander, Öona Dahl to Justin Jay offering up a balanced blend of talent with a clearly electronic-leaning focus. Beyond the lineup’s composition, the rest of the event’s overall complexion was a highlight worth its own mention. While the wild west motif came off a kitschy at times, with fans panning for gold and old timey saloons selling neon shutter shades, it generally came off as well-intentioned, well-produced thematic appreciation for Arizona. The western town venue was spacious and open, and while stages experienced some clustering at times, the event’s layout generally held sway. Ahead of Decadence New Year’s festivities at the same venue, Goldrush tested the grounds and successfully delivered a wild west experience that comfortably accommodated thousands of attendees.
Plenty of music festivals opt for cashless alternatives, though few execute as smoothly as Goldrush did. Communication with attendees was thorough and clear, and assistance at the festival was prompt and efficient. The event was strictly cashless. Once an attendee’s personal payment information was secured, wristbands with magnetic tokens managed the sale of concessions, merchandise, and more. The event that was so heavily authentic to its wild west themed production, though Goldrush also directed the proper amount of time and resources at ensuring a safer and swifter experience between performances. It is easy to overlook the small details of such large-scale events, but Goldrush managed to nail down the little details that made the dusty main drag of the micro-western town replica venue an amusing open-air marketplace packed with buzzing ravers.
Los Angeles is undoubtedly the foremost incubator of electronic talent in the U.S., but only a few hundred miles east sits Phoenix, which has also been called home by some of today’s top-tier DJs. Goldrush did a credible job of including local Arizona talent on the lineup, but seeing heavy hitters like Mija, Drezo, and Ghastly come home and play before their hometown crowds made for some of the weekend’s most memorable moments. Longtime local fans will remember Mija’s resident sets at dance clubs downtown, while droves came out to support dark house protege Drezo as he continues to carve out his own brooding, club-rattling house fare. Goldrush ensured that Phoenix is on the map, and it brought strong representation along to promote the hottest new stop on the major festival circuit. Among waves of internationally touring talent, Arizona’s brightest exports came home to round out a successful event with some special, personalized touches.
DUBAI WAS LIIIIIIIIT! And so was GOLDRUSH Music Festival. If you didn’t follow along via your favorite artists social media’s have no fear! Bringing in over 25,000 die-hard fans this past November, the curators transformed Phoenix into a musical wonderland infused with style, tastes and energy. If you were out of range to attend the