The WAV Awards: Favorite Events We Attended in 2022
From coast to coast (and over the pond to Europe and beyond), music fans worldwide were immersed in a variety of live events during 2022. After a tumultuous 2020 and 2021, many music event organizers worldwide came back stronger than ever to take on the new year in full force. Here are a few of our favorite events that dazzled fans and impressed audiences in 2022.
All Day I Dream Festival – May 12-15, Oakdale, CA
As music festivals have grown in popularity and scale over the last decade, the goal of creating intrapersonal experiences that leave you feeling rejuvenated on Monday—versus hungover and depleted—has been lost in the mix. Enter the inaugural All Day I Dream Festival, which proudly and ambitiously plotted a boutique event in 2022’s crowded and competitive festival climate.
Hosted in the idyllic surroundings of the Northern California Woodward Reservoir, ADID Festival hosted 1,000+ guests with an international lineup of label favorites (Öona Dahl, Lost Desert, Facundo Mohr), invigorating electronic acts (Layla Benitez, Sébastien Léger) and live performances from Little Dragon and Ry X.
Beyond the music, Lee Burridge’s first-ever festival offered a focus on wellness. Camped on a peninsula surrounded by a lake and distant mountains, fans were treated to a weekend’s worth of wellness programming, including yoga, meditation, saunas, massages and so much more. It also happened to coincide with the Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse, which added to the magic of the weekend.
For its first go, this festival was not only a success but offered something distinctly different and inspiring. While the stages, lights, and sounds are always going to be the runaway focuses, attention to the experience and wellness of guests is something that truly transcends an event into something people will remember for years to come.
Another World – Oct. 29-Oct 31, Broomfield, CO
GRiZ has a great reputation for providing a safe space and incredible production at his own curated events. From “GRiZmas in July,” held annually in Wilmington, North Carolina, to his inaugural “Tripple Rainbow” festival earlier this year, the dubstep giant and sax guru is quickly becoming a much bigger entity than your everyday producer. 2022’s “Another World” event was smaller in scale but had everything you could ever want in a special Halloween performance held right in GRiZ’s home base, Denver, Colorado.
A true 360 set, GRiZ took the stage in immaculate outfits on both nights of “Another World,” showcasing a complete spacesuit and astronaut helmet on night one, and a spicy pink cowboy get-up on night two. While GRiZ was certainly the star of the show, the event’s community-focused nature made the Another World experience so great.
Throughout the performance, GRiZ brought friends and collaborators on stage to play horns, rap, and sing their hearts out in their own special Halloween costumes while the stage spun around the room to give everyone in the audience an equal chance to experience the magic. Not to mention the incredible openers, ranging from two of the most exciting women in bass music, NotLö and Rossy, to MZG and Black Carl!.
From start to finish, GRiZ’s Another World event was safe, energetic, and immaculately produced, allowing the best parts of our beloved bass community to shine through in every way.
Deep Tropics Music, Art & Style Festival – Aug. 26-27, Nashville, TN
While most people wouldn’t think of Nashville as a premier destination for electronic music, one event has turned that notion on its head.
If you’ve never heard of Deep Tropics, allow us to introduce you to your new favorite festival. Deep Tropics Music, Art & Style Festival is a boutique festival that began in 2017 as a unique way to bring people together through music and art. This year’s event featured a diverse lineup of artists across three stages and many sub-genres. Whether you were craving the catchy future house grooves of Tchami or the relentless basslines of Tsuruda, Deep Tropics had something for all EDM lovers to enjoy.
Nashville’s Bicentennial Park provided the perfect setting for the event. There was adequate space to move around, yet still a sense of intimacy and community. Even though you were smack-dab in the middle of the city, you actually got the sense that you were on a private island, partying and shuffling your heart out as the sun sank below the tree line.
What truly sets Deep Tropics apart from other events is its commitment to sustainability. A “climate-positive” event, Deep Tropics is on a mission to be the greenest festival in the United States. Its zero waste initiative meant the absence of harmful materials like single-use plastics. For just $2, fans could purchase a reusable cup for all their beverage needs. Who says you can’t throw a dope party and save the earth?!
Through its dedication to climate consciousness and regenerative design, Deep Tropics has set a powerful (and green) example that music festivals of the future should follow.
Elrow Ibiza – Every Saturday from May 28-Oct. 1, Amnesia Nightclub, Ibiza, Spain
Elrow is one of those music festivals that need to be checked off your bucket list. An entertainment company that manages to hit almost every country around the world, they redefined the meaning of a “traveling party”. Ibiza was home for Elrow this past summer, as the entertainment company held a residency at one of the most iconic nightclubs in the world, Amnesia.
In comparison to all other entertainment companies, the Spaniard entertainment company stands out. Immersing their crowd into a colorful dimension, Elrow includes endless artistic elements such as lively confetti, idiosyncratic costumes, over-the-top inflatables, and decorations with colorful props being thrown in the air. Their dancers are always dressed according to the whimsical theme they have chosen that week — which encourages attendees to match the vibe. Their themed parties will incorporate acrobatic performances, jugglers, magical stilt walkers, and funky characters that interact with the crowd. The venue is exploding with color and stimulating designs that provide an unforgettable and magical experience.
Firefly Music Festival – Sept. 22-25, Dover, DE
Pulling from a stacked barrel of genres ranging from electropop, rap, techno, house, and solid pop crooners, Firefly Music Festival introduced seasoned festival-goers and newer festival fliers to the eccentric, yet beautifully crafted world of music festivals. The weekend kicked off with some 10 am yoga before the gates opened to the masses for a shortened Thursday night bundled with headline talent like VNSSA, Jamie XX, 100 GECS, and San Holo. The eclectic variety allowed festival-goers to browse familiar avenues and take a peak at talent they might not have heard before.
What makes Firefly so distinct is the community aspect of the event. Without a single dominant genre directing the energy, any music lover can find a home in the Woodlands. With five diverging stages, Wreckno rocked The Nest, a scenic backdrop nestled in a comfortable nook of the forest, Porter Robinson’s AVANNA captivated the ceaseless crowds gathered together on the lawn for the Backyard stage, quite nearly replicating a comfortable neighborhood gathering, and Charli XCX lit up the stage with her opening number “Lightning” after a quite literal lightning warning postponed the fest for a few moments.
Aside from sonic entertainment Firefly offered an idiosyncratic market bolstering sales from local vendors, a serendipitous silent disco, drag bingo and brunch, a Pride parade, a booth filled with sober festival-goers, addiction helplines, a foster animal agency, and so much more.
Gem & Jam Festival – Feb. 4-6, Tucson, AZ
Sitting amongst a scenic desert landscape an electric stratosphere of art and celebration lights up the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson Arizona. Tucson’s desert fairgrounds annually host the creative showcase and well-renowned art and music festival, Gem & Jam. Celebrating its 15th year in 2023, Gem and Jam is an all-encompassing visual and creative experience. Welcoming international and nationally touring names to the stage, the grounds are filled with high-end art gallery installations, gem and mineral displays, performance artists, and featured workshop events.
The Tucson gem, mineral, and fossil showcase is held each year on the same week as the festival, making it an exceptional week for the music and art, and gem community. In the spirit of Gem & Jam, the stages are uniquely designed to the festival’s gem and mineral theme.
The Jam within the Gem & Jam featured an immaculate lineup in 2022, featuring an eccentric mix of production artists and instrumental and jam groups. Performing on the Emerald stage held sets by headlining producers and electronic artists Liquid Stranger, Claude Vonstroke, Opiuo, and Lab Group—tributing their set to the recent loss of Lab Group’s creator, Charlesthefirst. The Onyx stage, located within an intimate indoor arena, electronic artists Wreckno, Tripp St., Daily Bread, and NotLö rocked the walls with high-energy performances and late-night sets.
Headlining acts featuring Instrumental and electronica groups STS9, Sunsquabi, TAUK, and Shpongle and performing sets by Rising Appalachia and Melvin Seals & JGB embodied the festival’s genre-blending lineup all-inclusive atmosphere promoted by the festival.
Gem & Jam is truly a gem amongst the festival community and a treasure trove for art and music lovers alike.
Kendrick Lamar – Nov. 7-9, O2 Arena, London
There’s only one rapper who can take hip-hop, storytelling, and mental health advocacy, mash it together, and create an indestructible, Grammy-nominated album and tour — and that is Kendrick Lamar.
Early November, thousands of fans queued up at London’s O2 Arena to witness Lamar’s return for his “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” tour, with opening artists Tanna Leone and Baby Keem. The performance resulted in an intricately woven musical therapy session that nobody knew they needed, but was grateful they received.
Lamar kept it simple, but immaculately effective, featuring the voice of actor Helen Mirren to play his therapist and guide the show, using thought-provoking visuals and explosive surprises in between. But the mouth-dropping moment was when a massive, transparent cube “quarantined” Lamar while dancers in hazmat suits “administered” him a COVID test as flashlights lit the arena for “Alright.”
While the majority of the show allowed fans to release what must have been years of pent-up anxiety from lockdown and socio-political injustices, this moment felt different. Hope washed through the arena as Lamar and fans jumped in unison, not just chanting, but persevering, “We gon’ be alright!”
Lamar was not only entertaining, but he was also honest, fragile, and raw. His willingness to invite fans into personal journeys and struggles — pre-fame and post — is what makes him such a gravitating artist. If Lamar is hip-hop’s new therapist, then the “Mr. Morale” tour was his breakthrough session.
THE ØFFLINE PROJECT – Oct. 7-9, Atlanta, GA
The setting is a dark warehouse on the west side of Atlanta. Gritty industrial features deck the walls as colorful, illuminated paths clear the way from each stage area at The ØFFLINE PROJECT, an experimental two-day music and arts event from the minds behind Define Everything Future, known by fans worldwide as DEF.
Harkening to the raver paradises of decades past, the ambiance is nostalgic but brought into the 21st century. Art installations made of shopping carts, projection mapping, ambient lighting, and forward-thinking dance music were on full display. No matter which genre or sounds you gravitate toward, DEF had something to offer for nearly anyone whose ear favors electronic music.
Two stages, designed with a 360 perspective in mind — a staple format for DEF shows — give the audience a unique, immersive viewing experience. An LED DJ table and cyclical lighting arrow lit up the Factory stage, while a Funktion-One sound system and dazzling laser displays took the Warehouse Stage to the next level.
If you could channel raw energy like honey, you’d have enough at this event to fill an infinite amount of mason jars. From the hard-hitting club beats of girl_irl, the dynamic trap of Troyboi and Baauer, bass music icons It Hz (Chee and Jon Casey), TRUTH, and one of the final X&G sets, to the drum and bass-leanings of Chase & Status and Nitepunk, The ØFFLINE PROJECT represents a celebration of dance music at its most authentic core.
With their unapologetic focus on art and passion for the music, the legacy that DEF is building is noteworthy enough for praise, but their first multi-day, multi-stage event was one for the history books.
Sound Haven – July 28-31, Jamestown, TN
If you’re a bass music fan who dreams of getting lost in the woods for four days of non-stop music and art, then Sound Haven is your place. The camping festival returned to a new location this year at the beautiful Catoosa Event Center located in Jamestown, TN, which provided a much-needed change from its previous home of Jaceland.
The venue change isn’t the only note-worthy aspect of this year. Everything production-wise was something that not many small festivals are able to pull off; from the spaceship build that artists were encapsulated in at the main stage, all the way to the pastel lasers and detailed projection mapping which had attendees in a state of pure psychedelic bliss throughout the weekend.
With there being plenty of bass-heavy festivals to choose from in recent years, Sound Haven sticks out for multiple reasons. The festival consistently brings a stacked lineup featuring standout names that can be hard to come by, with this year’s main highlights being Jade Cicada and Detox Unit. At the same time, they showcase a huge undercard of bass music’s rising talent, label takeovers, a variety-filled VJ lineup, and top-tier sound systems, all of which are aspects that appeal to any die-hard fan of the genre.
Sound Haven blew all expectations out of the water this year and did so while staying true to the culture, which is why it’s starting to become a staple in many bass lovers’ festival calendars.
Tipper and Friends “Homecoming” – April 1-3, Live Oak, FL
Every year, fans from all over the world anticipate the announcement of where the famous “Tipper and Friends” event will take place. Electronic music legend Tipper is not only a pioneer of sound but a creative genius that carefully crafts a weekend full of wonky tunes like no other.
With previous T&F events held at unique locations such as the Saenger Theater in New Orleans, LA, or Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO, Mr. Dave Tipper always finds his way back to Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL.
This year’s event was titled, “Homecoming” and consisted of three days of experimental bass, UK breakbeat, trip-hop, drum and bass and so much more. The carefully curated lineup included renowned artists such as Detox Unit, Resonant Language, LTJ Bukem, and many others that created a perfect flow of sound throughout the weekend.
Seeing which artists have been selected to perform at these events is just half of the excitement for fans. The visual lineup this year was incredibly stacked from top to bottom as well with wildly talented artists like Datagramma, Jonathan Singer, and Fractaled Visions.
Lastly, the stage design at the festival is one of the most magnificent parts. Because there is only one stage throughout the weekend, the design and detail are carefully hand-crafted by a team to create an unforgettable experience. This year’s design represented two snake-like heads intertwining themselves, creating a perfect display for visuals and lasers to wow the crowd.
The combination of music, visual accompaniment, and unique handmade stages create an experience that is sure to knock you off your feet every time.