“The Cube” was the other main stage dedicated to techno, minimal, and the darker side of house. This was where I spent most of my time overall, and where Wavefront really stood out lineup wise. Danny Tenaglia was one of the DJs I was most excited to see since he was my first exposure to techno when I was a wee little lad. A surprise favorite was Audion, who played some dark, dirty techno. Scuba put on an amazing set as well, but it was Hot Natured who I was really looking forward to with a live set. Unfortunately, the live set didn't happen because of equipment issues, but they did play a DJ set which hasn't happened in more than a year.
My favorite sets have to go to Proxy and Crookers. Proxy has been on my top list of DJs to see for years, and he didn't disappoint. His set was all his own material, and contained old and new tracks such as “Raven” and “Indian Film”. I found it ironic that Wavefront choose his set to introduce the go-go dancers because Proxy’s music is about as un-go-go friendly as it gets. Seeing girls dressed as birds awkwardly dancing to the menacing saw synths of “Who Are You?” was cringe worthy. Proxy definitely didn't give a shit.
Crookers played a set that started off very similar to his recent set at EDC Las Vegas, and very different from his free set in Austin a few weeks back. It was filled with electro that was not of the cheesy variety, global bass, a smattering of hip hop, and plenty of tracks I had trouble identifying which is always a pleasant surprise. Despite the somewhat awkward computer voiced intro, the crowd responded to the plethora genre changes with ecstasy. Lots of it.
As with any good festival, there was some drama and near death experiences. Diplo played a somewhat unexciting set at The Wave stage, and at the end he called a bunch of girls onto the stage to twerk to “Express Yourself”. Ideally, he said he wanted them to find some object and twerk upside down. One woman who was working as a model at a photo booth took this to the extreme and climbed the metal scaffolding on the side of the stage. She was wearing stilettos. When she arrived to the top of the scaffolding she didn’t stop there, but proceeded to swing over the stage monkey bar style, and hang by her feet looking down over the DJ booth. I think the entire crowd was certain she was going to fall to her death and squish Diplo below. Thoughts like “I’m going to see someone die today” floated through my head. I’m not sure what was floating through hers. Anyways, she somehow managed to swing back to the side scaffolding and climb down, where angry stage personnel met her and walked her off. I think everyone in the crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief. One of the first examples I've seen of expressing yourself going too far.
On Sunday the “All Day I Dream” stage which was supposed to feature Lee Burridge and friends was completely cancelled. The was one of the small stages I mentioned earlier that you'd pass when searching for cheeseburgers. No explanation was given, but my theory is that Burridge saw how puny and ill-conceived stage was and said no way. The stage was an insult. I wish I had a picture of the stage, but it never crossed my mind to take a picture of something that seemed so irrelevant. Sorry you had to see that Lee Burridge.
As I mentioned earlier, and as the name of the festival implies, Wavefront is on a beach. If a concert is on a beach one would think that there would be water. This is not the case. There is giant blue fence surrounding the entire festival so you don’t even have a glimpse of the lake. Bottom line is this is stupid. There has to be a way to allow at least some access to water, or at the least provide a view of it. Instead we get the worst part about the beach. Sand all up in your business. I figure the reason for not allowing people in the water is liability for drowing. That, or they're afraid people will swim in to gain free entrance. BPM festival manages to do it though, so if they can I think Wavefront could. Considering the festival is all about waves, water should be more involved.
Every night featured a slew of fireworks during the last 15 to 20 minutes. I love fireworks. I find their loud explosions and bring lights absolutely fascinating. On the Fourth of July I usually spend the entire day blowing up everything in sight. But, the fireworks were a bit much at Wavefront. They were nice at first, but after a while it distracted from the music that was going on, and I’m pretty sure artists such as Hot Natured were pretty annoyed by them. If there were 2 to 5 minutes of fireworks after the sets ended that would have been lovely. Instead they went on for an awkwardly long time with several peaks and lulls. It’s hurts me to say it, but cut back on the explosives Wavefront.
One more rant. Bathrooms. Not enough of them. Get more. When people get in verbal altercations due to cutting, celebratory dances occur when someone goes quickly, and dudes start urinating in public it’s time to up the number of bathrooms. Please and thanks.
Some recommendations if you decide to go next year. Ride a bike. Traffic is horrendous and parking is $$$$. Have an extra key for your bike lock because someone will probably lose theirs. That happened. The extra key did not. Bring a camelback or large water bottle. Pro level cameras didn’t seem to be a problem to get in from my experience, but bring at your own risk. Wear barefoot shoes such as Keens if available; they’re sand friendly and easy to dance in. Don’t bother wearing swim trunks, you won’t be getting wet. Take lots of vitamins and electrolytes, you’ll need your immune system to be in top notch condition for this dancing marathon.
After Wavefront ends at 10pm go clean up then catch an after party. A lot of the DJs from Wavefront play after parties and you can catch them in a more intimate setting. Dubfire had a free food truck social dubbed “MENU by Dubfire” before Wavefront. I managed to catch TJR, Pleasurekraft, and a surprise set from Green Velvet at Sound Bar on Saturday, and Seth Troxler with Visionquest at a warehouse party.
Overall the experience was enjoyable, and I was entertained the entire time. Bravo Wavefront for throwing a one of a kind dance party in North America. I plan on returning, and I hope next year brings the same caliber of talent and great vibes I experienced this year. With a few changes Wavefront could truly be one of the best electronic festivals this side of the globe.
See also: Wavefront Photos