On Saturday Nov 2nd, EDM fans in the DC/Baltimore and surrounding areas had over 30 DJs to choose from at Nightmare Festival courtesy of Badass Raves and Steez Promo. Music representing of an extremely diverse genre pool began at 5pm and continued until 6am the following morning. Now in its fourth year, the formerly named ‘Psychedelic Nightmare’ got an upgrade to festival status as it moved outdoors and changed venues from what is now club Echostage in DC to Ramblewood Estates in Darlington, MD – former home of the 90’s Bassrush parties. This venue change allowed for the addition of camping and a haunted walk between stages, as well as increased attendance. General Admission ranged from $50-$75, based on whether you were camping. VIP cabins started at $650 For those who were a little wary of camping in November. Sleeping anywhere from 7-11, cabins were outfitted with running water and electricity and they included the price of admission for each bed spot .
Steez Promo and Badass Raves know their audience well, they did a wonderful job of making sure there was something for everyone by booking artists covering a wide array of genres; house, trap, techno, electro, and drum and bass were all represented on the three themed, covered stages that were decorated with help from decorators Slow Kids and NephelNine. One of our favorite elements to the decorations were the neon and patterned spandex ‘cut ups’ that were used to give shape and color to the DJ booths and stages, especially in the Alien Invasion barn where the decorations were quite immersive. The Spider Warehouse was very impressive; dancers, hanging performers and smoke machines supplemented lasers and rotating lights that came from not only the stage, but from the sides and rear of the crowd as well.
We arrived around 8pm and were quickly moved through security and parking by helpful, courteous staff and security supplemented by a few local police. We didn’t have any issues, and found everyone we had to go through to be quite pleasant. We were parked literally feet from the main festival area located directly outside of the Spider Warehouse, and we could hear TJR’s ‘What’s up Suckas’ pounding clearly from the stage as we walked to check in and get our wristbands. There was no line, and we quickly moved on to setting up our tent in the centrally located camping area with some help from a very kind person who held a lantern for us as we erected our tent in the darkness. Once we had set up camp and deposited our bags in our tent, we went back over to the Spider Warehouse to catch Adam F. It’s been a minute since we’ve been able to go hard to some good Drum and Bass, and we were having a blast- suddenly, he dropped everything out and we heard the now all-too-familiar chords of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’ ringing out over the crowd. Adam let it play out just long enough to watch us squirm, then yelled out over the crowd, “’Everybody say, ‘FUCK THIS SHIT!!!’” Needless to say the crowd went wild, and he broke it back down into hard Drum and Bass injected with a little electro. Afterwards, we wandered through the vendors, haunted walkways and outdoor performance areas, ending up at the Bass Pavilion where Mord Fustang was in full swing. As usual, Mord was busy throwing down some seriously weird electro, and we had a great time keeping warm at the front of the crowd where we found a nice pocket of room to rage. Unfortunately for the flow of the set, a mishap owing to the pressing crowd and a loose connection caused the controller to come unplugged and an abrupt silence interrupted what should have been a great drop. Mord recovered well enough, starting back up with a different, funkier feeling and keeping us warm for the rest of the set.
We wandered back up to the main festival area to catch Myon and Shane 54 and Tritonal who both kept the Spider Warehouse packed and bumping with relentless electro-house sets. Tritonal played 3 new tracks over the course of their time onstage, and all three were very well received by the crowd. As the evening progressed, we relocated to the Alien Invasion Barn for some Techno, leading off with Claude VonStroke; an artist we hadn’t seen live yet and were excited to finally catch. Claude kept us moving for the entire hour, bumping a hard progressive set that had new and seasoned ravers guessing on track selection(-something we can REALLY appreciate.) For the final hour of our night, Rutch Dudder really wowed us; a name we weren’t familiar with but who we will certainly be watching for now. Rutch blew us away with the driving sounds of big name progressive house artists like Jerome Isma-Ae and Weekend Heroes, and finished up for the evening with some funky, soulful house. Afterwards, a surprise set by Elemental closed down the barn with an hour of filthy psytrance that kept the crowd going hard until 6am.
There is something truly special about being able to take a break from reality and completely immerse yourself in the fantasy and production that these events are well known for all over the world; and there is no better place to do so than at a festival. Badass and Steez know that fantasy has no age limit; looking around, we saw old school ravers partying in UFO’s next to kandi kids in their late teens. This may also have been our first festival experience in quite some time where we didn’t have a single ‘brosperience’; PLUR is alive and well here, from the courteous crowd to helpful passers-by in the campsite. All in all, we were impressed by everything Nightmare Festival had to offer. As fairly seasoned festival goers who travel nationwide for events, we really appreciated being able to get our fix with a little mini-festival right in our own backyard. We will definitely be keeping an eye on their upcoming events; namely their New Years Eve party, ‘Laser Disco’ as well as their spring edition festival, ‘Dreamscape’. If you are interested in more information on these artists, promoters, or their upcoming events, please check out the additional info below the gallery!
Curious about what you missed? Check out this great recap video posted by Solelab Media!