After A Year Off, The Beloved Electronic Music Festival Lights All Night Made A Comeback And It Was A Blast — Though We Have A Few Notes.
The first Lights All Night back since 2019 was a highly anticipated New Year’s Eve event for Texan ravers and local live music lovers. With a stacked lineup and warmer-than-average weather, though, the conditions may have appeared better than the outcome.
LAN 2018 was the first EDM festival I ever attended and it holds a special place in my heart. My fondness for LAN also aids my analytical mind as I take note of the upgrades the festival provides every year. 2019 was unforgettable with the silent disco, amazing art installations, mechanical bull and new photo-op spots everywhere you turned. My group was discovering new hidden gems every lap we took. So … what happened in 2021?
For the first LAN back, festival goers were expecting a huge welcome that made 2019’s features seem like old news. On the contrary, however, the 2021 features fell subpar to its predecessor. Two neon sign installations, an animated projection and a light tunnel only a few feet long were the new wow-factors provided. I can’t help but wonder if the “elephant in the room” had a hand in these limitations but these special aspects provide that cherry-on-top detail to the festival experience. I will be thrilled if some of these special moments are added back in 2022.
This next part is a note to my fellow festival goers — I know some of you slept on the smaller stages. Planet Prime was THE SPOT. Both nights the crowd was scarce and the vibes were ecstatic. I’m looking at you, Eazybaked B2B Sumthin Sumthin. Of course I’m aware that the bigger names are on Supernova and Intergalactic but part of the fun is discovering a new DJ to add to your playlists, right? So take my advice in 2022 and adventure away from the mains and try something new!
Speaking of my festival goers, way to hang in there on Night 1. Can we chat really quick about the absolutely stacked lineup on Supernova? We’re all aware that Deadmau5, Slander, and Illenium are three massive headliners that were all smacked back to back to back, right? As stellar as this might sound at first, it became a problem as the night drew on. The crowd got too unruly for my group during Slander and Illenium and we had to ditch our spot to avoid the constant shoving and low-key rudeness. Some of you don’t PLUR and it shows.
If we’re comparing Night 2 to Night 1, though, they’re a totally different festival. Night 2 was significantly less crowded at the main stages, though ARMNHMR drew a bigger crowd than I anticipated. Love that for them. But next time, I’m bringing my hand fan. The surge of people and warm weather outside caused humidity and stuffiness inside the venue. Special thanks to every person who blessed me with a few breezes of your fan. You’re a real one.
It sounds like I’m nagging so let me clarify — Lights All Night 2021 was an outstanding time. From the unique acts like Blunts and Blondes and Loud Luxury to the helpful and attentive staff, LAN 2021 fed the good vibes to my previously festival-deprived soul. I think there were just a few details that could have made the festival an absolute knockout.
Thanks so much to everyone who put on LAN 2021 and the festies who attended! I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing some of you amazing people this year and I hope to rave again with you soon.
All photos by Katie Polansky.