Nick Chavez

On The Road: Gold Rush Festival Amazes With Inaugural Year [Review]

Chandler, Arizona was packed for 48 hours with excited festival goers in the second to last weekend of November. Relentless Beats, Arizona’s main dance music promoter, gave birth to Gold Rush music festival.

The festival took place on November 18-19 at the Rawhide event center in Chandler, Arizona. Gold Rush had variety of EDM artists in addition to hip-hop artists. The event center was decorated with a complete western theme; you felt like you were in the actual gold rush era. Dance Music Northwest had the opportunity to attend the festival and we are here to break it down for you and convince you to attend next year’s festivities.

Travel and Transportation

If you are traveling from out of state to GR, the main Phoenix airport is only a 20-minute drive. A short 2-3 hour flight from the PNW will get you right where you need to be. Once in Arizona, the event center is close to major cities. A car service will get you to the venue at a cheap cost if splitting it between your crew. In addition, there are lots of parking spots at the venue itself for $10-20. There are also shuttles available for pick up and drop off. However, we have to warn you, once the festival is over, the traffic is not pretty and finding a taxi is a little tough in the midst of thousands of tired ravers.

Hotel and Stay

For out-of-towners, the event center is in a populated area with a lot of hotels to choose from. Many attendees stayed at the Sheraton which is walking distance from the venue. If you want to save some money, there are motels, hotels and Air BnB in nearby cities such as Phoenix and Mesa.

Entry and Ticketing

We arrived both days at the start of the festival, which is at noon. There were no lines at the ticketing and check-in area at all. However, the later it got, the line became busier and busier. Security was very strict at GR, a blessing in disguise many would call it. Once into the venue, there were ticket “top off” areas where you can add money to your wristband. Gold Rush is a cashless festival, therefore you need to add money to your wristband in order to buy food, drinks or merch. For credit cards, once you connect it to your wristband, you are good to go for the 2 days, with cash, it is paid as you spend. Having our wristbands as our money for the weekend was dangerous, we spent way more than we wanted to. But, you have to “treat yo self” at a festival right?

Photo: Nick Chavez

Food and Drinks

If you were hungry, you could get food in your hands in less than 5 minutes. There were vendors everywhere throughout the venue, from your typical festival chicken tenders to lobster mac and cheese to even teriyaki burgers. There were so many foods and drinks tents that you didn’t have to wait in line at all, which was pretty great if you ask us.

Vendors

The main strip of the festival was filled with vendors. From Gold Rush merchandise to rave toys, everything was there in one place. There were a wide variety of vendors for you to walk around and enjoy.

Stage Setup

Gold Rush was divided up into four stages. The Wagon, Hideout, Pioneer Peak and Golden Gorge. The Hideout was located near the entrance of the festival, Pioneer Peak in the middle and Golden Gorge at the very end of it being the main stage. The Wagon, on the other hand, was outside of the entrance, so the partying was there before and after you are at the festival. The visuals and sound at the stages were great. However, the Golden Gorge and the Pioneer Peak had some noise conflicts. During Dillon Francis’ set, we noticed you could hear $uicideboy$’ set as well. Something that could easily be fixed for the following years.

Performers

You can view the full lineup here. Sets started around 12:30 pm every day and ended at midnight. Rezz, Excision and Dillon Francis started the party on day 1.  Day 2 was packed with EDM talents from Fransis Derelle, Mija, Malaa, Ghastly, San Holo, RL Grime and Marshmello. In addition, there were multiple hip-hop performances as well, Migos, Lil Uzi and more. If you are looking to go to a festival with more than only EDM, consider putting Gold Rush on your list.

Overall

Dance Music Northwest would love to come back for year 2 of Gold Rush and we want to bring everyone from the Pacific Northwest with us. Two days of fun at a reasonable price, great food, unique theme, talented artists and more. What more can you ask for?

Will you be attending Gold Rush next year? Let us know in the comments below!

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