Insomniac’s flagship Halloween festival in Seattle, BOO, officially checked off its third year running in 2023. Held over Halloween weekend, each year of the festival has been a blast and continues to exceed our expectations. This year’s lineup featured Armin van Buuren, Zeds Dead, SVDDEN Death, and more across two days and three stages.
Check out the full DMNW review below.
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Stage production and layout
The stages this year at BOO outdid what we’ve seen in the past from a production standpoint. The main Dark Forest stage hosted big crowd favorites, and had huge triangles for light panels and large laser setups. With plenty of room towards the back and the sides, it felt easy enough to navigate through the crowd. Two full carnival rides set up shop towards the back of the venue with plenty of decorations around.
Over on the other ground floor stage was the Den of Darkness, which hosted many of the heavy bass acts. In years prior, the bass stage was upstairs in the garage, which offered less space for attendees. Since the PNW has an affliction for bass, it made a ton of sense to relocate downstairs for easier crowd flow.
The third Lighthouse stage upstairs hosted some the house and techno acts this year. It might have been a bit breezier up there in the garage, but it was honestly a pretty nice break for some air, and the crowd danced enough to generate heat without the cold becoming an issue.
Every time we attend shows with multiple stages at an indoor venue like WaMu, it surprises us that sound bleed isn’t an issue. But with thoughtful layout and stage design, it was once again a non-issue.
Festivals at the WaMu Theater seem to be running full steam ahead lately, and BOO is no exception. It might have been packed with attendees among a nearly-sold-out show, but lines for security and bathrooms always kept moving. Even a line of 50+ attendees for bathrooms still got through under 20 minutes, which is pretty impressive by all standards.
Free water stations were placed at several locations, a big win for this year as hydropacks were on the approved item list for security. This, along with multiple water and beverage vendors throughout, made for easily accessible water options. There were the regular food options we’d expect to see at WaMu with festival food like burgers and chicken strips, and there’s nothing quite like a post-festival hot dog from the street vendors just outside the venue.
For attendees looking for an alcoholic beverage, the bars at the stages were popping. Although the lines at times were long, it kept the bars from becoming too crowded, a big plus for those who wanted a Tito’s and soda with room to dance.
Day 1 lineup
The lineup for the first night kicked off with a bang. We always love hearing Trivecta rock out on guitar during his sets, and his blends of dubstep, psytrance, and folk bass just hit. He also brought out Wooli for their new song featuring Seven Lions. Afterwards, most of the bassheads migrated over to the Den of Darkness for a packed bass lineup featuring HOL!, Eptic, Wooli, and Adventure Club.
At the main stage the rest of the night featured progressive house superstars Alok, Steve Aoki, trance maestro Armin van Buuren, followed by an amazing ending set from Zedd. Zedd’s Pikachu costume and intro set the climate for a fun set filled with Zedd’s top 40 hits like I Want You To Know and, of course, Clarity.
Eptic is a DMNW favorite, and each time he performs live, he proves why. When he hopped on the mic at the beginning to say, “My name is Eptic, I’ve had four beers and I’m feeling like a DEMON,” we knew we were in for it. For the next hour, Eptic killed it with his hits, plenty of IDs and tracks from his Masterhand project with fellow titans SVDDEN DEATH and Space Laces. In a word…a blast.
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Day 2 lineup
Zeds Dead is another DMNW favorite, and also for good reason. They threw a crazy midtempo set, packed with remixes and artists features from their deep Deadbeats label roster. Although some of the ZD vets cried at not hearing their iconic Eyes on Fire remix or Coffee Break, we can definitely say no two sets are alike and that is impressive.
The lineup from Day 2 was much more diverse, with dubstep stars Zomboy and Kayzo headlining the main stage, and drum n bass DJs Wilkinson and Reaper tearing up the bass stage. We were not disappointed with Alesso’s closing set, where he made sure to play his hit songs Heroes and Calling (Lose My Mind). Alesso’s visuals, especially of the couple kissing in the shape of a heart, were spectacular and mesmerizing, leaving us in awe as the festival came to a close.
Patiently waiting for BOO 2024
The third year of BOO Seattle was so impressive, it’s hard to imagine how Insomniac could top it. We loved all of the wonderful costumes and spooky totems that reminded us it was Halloween! Some of our favorite DJ costumes from the weekend included Trivecta as Spiderman, Claude VonStroke as the Grim Reaper, and Alesso as Anakin Skywalker.
Although October 2024 feels like a lifetime away, it’ll be here before we know it with hopefully another BOO festival to ring in Halloween with our favorite artists. In the meantime, we’re excited for Together As One, Insomniac’s throwback New Years Eve festival hosted in Tacoma for the first time since the early 2000s. Check out our event preview for TAO here!
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