Had I not gone out to Ybor City last Thursday night you wouldn’t be reading this. Nor would I have I heard of, much less be going and covering the upcoming Asteria Arts and Music Festival. I had no plans at all when I was at Crowbar, sat outside, on a barrell, smoking with Devon (bass, Bangarang, Flow Sisters) and Alexa (vocals, Flow Sisters). All of a sudden we meet Travis Ferkich. We got talking about this and that, I don’t remember very clearly, but at some point I was presented with an opportunity to write a short piece for him. He had explained what he does at My Festival Friends, told me what he wanted, said his goodbyes and I haven’t seen him since. After reading what I submitted three days later, he asked if I would accompany him to the event and contribute on the article. An opportunity had come by chance and I felt like it might be something I should do. It’s my first EDM event in the USA. I’ve been to my fair share of them in Europe, most of them taking place in England “way back when”. Way back when I was 18 and 19, driving my mates Mitch and Lee, and occasionally another Lee, in my tiny red Ford Fiesta to towns that I doubt you’ll ever look for on a map. Towns like Taunton, Coalville, Bognor Regis, Ainsdale, Milton Keynes and Shepton Mallet. I’m not uncomfortable around the blissed out, tingling mass of ravers, throwing shapes and reaching for the lazers. I’ve accidentally rubbed up against the big shirtless sweaty guy, gotten a face full of armpit, had the dude who took too much whatever clumsily knock my beer to the floor, regretted how I behaved, forgotten how I behaved, learned of how I behaved and then regretted it, and still maintain that it was some of the best parties I ever went to. My first ever night out to an EDM club at 17 years old was another chance that came unexpectedly, and on that occasion as well as the one last week at the Crowbar, I’m glad to say I jumped. I was underage and bouncer stopped me back outside the Dance Academy in Plymouth, but in front of my 3 or 4 friends I asked him if he thought I was dumb enough to drive 3 hours when I was underage. Although I don’t really have a clear memory of this exchange, Gwills, who was present, has since confirmed its accuracy. He was my chaperone on my third night, when we decided I should join the chemical generation. I ended up overdoing it and puked over myself on the bus ride home. I don’t have many clear memories of that night, but that last one is photographic.
You always remember your first time, be it sex, drugs or EDM. How many of you are popping your respective cherries this weekend? I spent a few hours getting familiar with the artists that will be descending onto the Asteria Fields for the weekend, and I’ll admit that it was the first time I’d heard most of it. The headliner, Joker, is from Bristol in the UK. Bristol has a deep seated underground culture and is somewhat of a mecca for EDM heads from all over the British Isles. It’s a port town, and port towns are where plethora of different folks and rhythms assimilate and invariably, create a new sound or scene. In the early 80s, racial tension and economic difficulties left a certain community called St Paul’s with empty buildings and less police presence. This lead to an incubation period for many artists and DJs to do and mix exactly what they wanted, without stopping, until morning, producing a ubiquitous feel to the town’s sound. Banksy is from Bristol. When it comes to underground art and music, the ancient town has a legacy and culture unmatched.
The other headliner is Sullivan King. Any bass and metalheads out there? This L.A. based producer delivers both, with generous helpings, brutal drops and 7-string guitars! We’ll be catching him at the end of a month long tour, meaning that this show is going to be tighter than a drum. Metal is my other great musical love, I’m personally very excited to hear what this will bring, mosh pitting is something that I don’t do often enough.
Another one to look out for this weekend is Nitti Gritti. He gained a lot of focus after releasing his original track “Dirty Dancing” last summer. He’s been busy as hell since, turning all the freaks loose on dance floors across the state. Including a scorching set at the recent Okeechobee fest. His beats are infectious, his basslines melt your face. It’s not a set you’ll want to miss.
On the brink of huge things is DJ Smgglr. A Sarasota native he’s been warming up crowds for some big names up and down Florida for a number of years. This guy will hurt you with his mix, but please, allow him. The list of names of artists he’s shared the bill with include; 4B, 3LAU, Ricky Remedy, TROIBOI, Cash Cash, Henry Fong, Milo & Otis, Zomboy.
So with all this in mind, will you be there? At the first Asteria Arts and Music Festival? With all the talent turning up and the number of times you can read the words “sold out” on the ticket page of the official website, a great big yes to a lot of you. A brand new festival! Just think, you’ll be festival pioneers, the first time this exact musical grouping with this exact group of ravers. Let’s seize this opportunity, make it our own, make it something unique, something absolutely brand new. Learn people’s names, remember them, because this time next week you’ll have a brand new family. That’s just the kind of thing that will happen if you allow it to, and there is no time like this weekend. This weekend is always the best one, because of the anticipation in the build up. We, right now, in the hours before we clean the coolers and get the camping gear out are just about to hear the drop. In this case the drop happens on 21-22 of August at the Sunshine Ranch.
Tickets available here: https://asteria.ticketleap.com/asteria/