A Big Boo! To You: Halloween Haunts Phoenix Early [Review]

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written by Andrea Hnatievych

photos by Jacob Fischer for Festival Squad

At a Glance

Insomniac began the Halloween extravaganza in Brooklyn, New York in 2014 and in success, had expanded to the cities of Dallas, San Francisco, and Phoenix for 2016. With the creation of a partnership with the local Relentless Beats, Phoenix was gifted the most blood-chilling, heaviest lineup for the tour including Knife Party, Excision, Snails, Nightmre, Ghastly, G Jones, and Wuki. Under the magnificence and mystery of the glowing full moon, attendees were taken hostage by the gratifying sounds of bass at Rawhide Event Center. As night fell, the ghoulish creatures came out to play and dance the night away.

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Music genre: Dubstep, Hardstyle, Electro House, Drumstep

Camping: N/A

Capacity: Small (under 6k)

Crowd type:  Family, Ravers, Costumed

Water stations: Yes, Relentless Beats always has you covered with little to no line and great conversation.


How to Get There 

The Event Center is off of exit 162 on Interstate 10 near Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, AZ. From there on out, just follow the signs for Rawhide. Carpool and save on parking ($10)!

Where to Stay

Arizona Grand Resort and Spa, located 10 minutes away, was partnered with the festival and provided transportation to and from the venue included in the room rate. Other nearby options include Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, and Best Western Plus Chandler Hotel & Suites.

Food 

Food was available and easily accessible at the event, providing classic event foods such as pizza, burgers, and gourmet mac & cheese. The Pop Icon also sold unique, customizable lollipops that contain various vitamins to keep you energized all night long.

Production

The festival had one stage, an ominous glowing skull set in the middle as the focus. The stage really shaped the mood of the experience with its mind-bending lights, lasers, and confetti blasters. The sound was extremely clear and the indoor location of the show allowed for a feeling of being surrounded and kidnapped by the deep and dirty sounds of bass that ensued.

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Things to Do

If you were looking for a break from the epic madness inside, there were various vendors and live art to check out. Vendors included The Spinsterz (for all your flow toy needs) and Freedom Rave Wear. Sketchy Letters (Anthony Isaac) created gorgeous visual art graffiti not too far from the exits.

What makes the festival different?

The festival was a glorious excuse to celebrate Halloween early, and boy did the crowd celebrate. Two weeks out from the holiday, the bulk of attendees showed up in their best, craziest, and spookiest attires. One of my personal favorites was the group of attendees dressed as elderly, balding and walkers included. And head-banging at a maximum. The costumed characteristic of the event allowed for endless creativity in getting ready for the experience and endless fun in observing what others had came up with, creating a truly unique festival experience. Costumes ranged from hilarious to grotesque, both ends of the spectrum incredible to witness in such a thrilling setting.

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Overall Experience

Boo! Arizona was absolutely amazing and lived up to it’s Halloween theme perfectly, providing attendees an escape into a night of devilish fun. The lineup was flawless for the spooktacular occasion, leaving many attendees absolutely speechless after some the drops. Artists such as Excision, Knife Party and Snails even through in some metal remixes, executed smoothly and flawlessly for the holiday coming up. The production was jaw-dropping and gave me goose bumps at times with its eerie display and synchronicity with the music. All in all, I would definitely return to fulfill my darkest desires at the festival next fall.

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