Striking Gold at the First Ever Goldrush Festival

November 24, 2017 -

Fadi AbuZaineh

It's always an exciting time when you get to go to a brand new festival for its debut. This past weekend we were lucky enough to cover the first ever Goldrush Festival at the scenic Rawhide Events Center near Phoenix, Arizona. Besides the spectacular lineup that literally had attendees' jaws dropped to the floor, the scenery and wild west theme of the festival were exactly what has been missing in my festival career. I mean, where else can you groove out to techno and pan for gold 10 yards away?

The first day brought us performances from the likes of Gerry Gonza, Party Thieves, A-Trak b2b Baauer, and a whole Birdhouse stage hosted by Claude Vonstroke. My favorite sets of the day had to go to Sonny Fodera and Shiba San, those guys know how to consistently keep the energy at a high level.


Photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn

Although it was really really hard to leave The Hideout, it being right by the entrance and having my favorite music all weekend, there was plenty to do around the mini-town that was set up for the event. Activities included carnival rides, a rock climbing wall, a free photo booth and an actual gold panning station! One other thing I greatly enjoyed was the location of vendors and food being inside actual buildings, giving you the immersive wild west feeling, and sparing you from being in the Arizona sun for too long.


Photo by Jacob Tyler Dunn

After an exciting first day, we saddled up for round 2 and rode back to the festival. We were mostly excited to see heavy hitters Malaa and RL Grime tear it up, but most of the day beforehand was pretty open so we wandered around for a while. The first set we caught of the day was Barclay Crenshaw, the alter persona (or rather, actual persona) of Claude Vonstroke. His set contained a plethora of trippy bass beats, mixed with old school hip hop and a surprise edit of Bon Iver that left me tearing up.


Photo by Brandon Mendez

After that, we ended up spending most of our evening at The Hideout again, this time with the superb stylings of Nicole Moudaber and her Moodzone vibes. We were blown away by an artist that we discovered named HOSH, who played some very unique and vibey techno with a splash of house influence here and there. It served as the perfect warmup for what was to come...

Once the sun set, we were ready to experience the destruction that was RL Grime, followed right after by the don himself Malaa. We came to a packed main stage for RL's set, with fans anticipating blessings from the trap god himself. He opened up with his latest release Era, which I thought was a lot better when heard in a live setting. Other iconic moments included when he dropped Because of U, and a Lion King edit of his song Core (which you can easily imagine in your head) which all in all made his set very fun and a great time overall. But then it was time to get our ski masks on, and get down to the Pioneer Peak to experience a sermon from the real don Malaa. Needless to say, he never disappoints with his sets.


Photo by Tony Cottrell

The first ever Goldrush festival was a massive success. From the perfectly curated music lineup, to the amazing scenery and beautiful people attending it, it proved to be a wholesome experience for any and all music fans regardless of age. We'd like to extend a huge thank you to Relentless Beats for their hard work, and we look forward to seeing your events grow larger and larger in size. Cheers!

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