There are few places in the world that compare to the beauty that is the Gorge Amphitheater. The picturesque landscape that breaks way behind the main stage is nothing short of absolutely magnificent. Which is why it only makes sense that Above & Beyond wanted to create their very own Anjunabeats/Anjunadeep festival at one of their favorite places on Earth. We were there to take it all in, and here are some of our thoughts about this overwhelmingly positive event.
Everything from the mainstage lighting to the parasol that greeted you on the way in was in a word…perfect. That sounds a bit cliché, we know, but it is actually pretty hard for a festival of that magnitude to go off without any major hitches. With so many art installations to stop and admire, including the ribbon adorned tent and giant Anjuna sign, A&B really immersed us in the spirit of the weekend itself.
There were a few hiccups along the way
If you were in attendance for ABGT250, you know how fast the merch tent sold out of product. This time around was no different. One would assume that there was some consideration to this problem, but it seems like a lot of people went home empty-handed. Hopefully, for the next time, they will put into production enough stock to fill all Anjuna lover’s backpacks rather than just the lucky ones who happened to snag the ever-elusive Weekender throw blanket and newly introduced Above and Beyond jersey.
It was also sad to hear that Eli and Fur couldn’t make it to the show. Fur fell ill with unknown health issues and was not able to attend. That, of course, is nothing to complain about. We wish him nothing but the best, and a fast recovery.
We don’t know how many people noticed (probably everyone), but there was something pretty big missing from the Above & Beyond set. Did you notice that Paavo wasn’t on stage until the very end? There hasn’t been a firm explanation as to why, so your guess is as good as our. Though overall, the set was still filled with sparkling moments such as the premiere of their new collab, See the End, with Seven Lions joining them for what arguably was the highlight of the entire set, their set did feel a bit disjointed without all three of our favorite trio on stage.
One of the best crowds anyone could ask for
The spirit of Anjuna Family was alive and well at this event, as it always is, and this community yet again proved that they are hands down the best people to rave with. From friends losing both their phones and wallets and having them turned into lost and found within hours of the actual loss of the item, the generosity, and kindness of others was truly evident throughout the event.
Even friends who traveled to this event who never would typically attend an Anjuna-themed festival were all in awe of the level of positive vibes and vibrant love shown to them again and again. That is something that can’t really be recreated outside of this wonderous culture that Paavo, Tony, and Jono have cultivated.
Everyone seemed to be pretty safe throughout the weekend
From a harm-reduction standpoint, this weekend was shaping up to be difficult. With extremely high temperatures early in the weekend, it seemed as if this event was a recipe for a possible medical disaster. Much to our delight, everyone we encountered was taking the proper precautions and hydrating consistently.
Ground Control also played a huge role in contributing to keeping the Anjunafam safe, but it is important to bring to light the fact that their dark purple shirts are extremely difficult to find in an eclectic crowd. This could really contribute to problems when there is actually a medical emergency in locating those who can help when needed. That being said, we may be critical of their choice of shirt color, but they do contribute a great deal to the safety of the crowd and do a truly outstanding job.
Our small moments
If you were blessed enough to arrive early to the silent disco, you probably got to catch the Brothers Grant at the silent disco. James had an amazing set, so we’re told, but we personally could barely change off of Jono’s channel. It was like hearing an A&B set but set free. There were no restrictions on a setlist or what kind of music could be played. It was almost a more pure, back to the basics jam session.
The Anjunabeats day featured literally stunning sets from Andrew Bayer (our personal surprise favorite of the weekend as he literally blew us away), Jason Ross, and Ilan Bluestone who tore up the stage with their massive hits like Ocean and Mama Africa and other captivating tunes that had the whole crowd jumping along in happiness and unity. We couldn’t help but fall in love with Ilan more, and his ability to make tears stream down our face is a true testament to the emotional trance powerhouse that he has become.
Day 2 brought some seriously groovy, down-tempo vibes from Anjunadeep. The day kicked off with Above & Beyond playing a special yoga set with Elena Brower, which tugged at our heartstrings. From there, we were truly blown away by Ben Bohmer’s vibey tunes and James Grant & Jody Wisternoff’s B2B set that absolutely refused to let any festival-goer not join in the sun-soaked party. The day finished with Seattle’s own Luttrell who was amazing as always, followed by Yotto absolutely annihilating the crowd dropping tracks like North and his remix of Finally — Kings of Tomorrow ft. Julie Mcknight that electrified the dance floor.
Looking to the Future
There were so many wonderful things about this event that made it truly special. From meet and greets with basically every artist, daily workshops that allowed a more personal aspect of the event to shine through, and taco truck B2B sets with the likes of Dimibo, Seven Lions, and Jason Ross all playing one right after the other in the GA campgrounds, this was an event that stands alone in its uniqueness and accessibility.
And perhaps what made it even sweeter is the announcement immediately following Yotto’s closing track from Above and Beyond sharing their feelings about the success of the event and that they will be returning yet again for another Weekender in 2021. We here at DMNW couldn’t be more excited to return once more and experience the magic all over again.
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