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Vote: The best major PNW EDM festival lineup of 2010-2019

Shambhala 2018 AMPitheatre
Photo Credit: Banana Cam Photo ((https://www.bananacamphoto.com)

We miss festival season. This year we were teased, as lineup after lineup was announced just before COVID-19 put festival season rightly on the back-burner. The scene adjusted, taking to live-streams, drive-in raves, and more. Alas, nothing will be like the first festival back.

Until then, we’ve been enjoying going down memory lane, and reminiscing over past festival seasons. Lineups like Shambhala 2015 and FreakNight 2013 stand-out, but the Northwest has been treated to fantastic festivals for years now. A lot of them.

Everyone has their past favorites, for various valid reasons. But going through dozens of major PNW dance music festival lineups got us thinking: which one is the best?

So, we decided to try and have some fun while figuring out the answer. We narrowed the search to major PNW festivals that featured EDM heavily, and took place in either Washington or British Columbia between 2010 and 2019.

From there, we selected more than two-dozen lineups that stood out from the crowd. Then, thanks in part to a staff vote, we broke that group into two halves of a randomly drawn 16-lineup bracket. On one side, eight lineups from Washington. On the other side, eight lineups from British Columbia.

The Best Major PNW EDM Festival Lineup 2010-2019 Bracket

“The Best Major PNW EDM Festival Lineup 2010-2019” bracket

Of course, there are great lineups that didn’t make the cut. With the quantity of high quality lineups at our disposal, there were bound to be some tough decisions. (Also, please remember, this is for fun. We’re well aware that the enjoyment of music and festivals is subjective, as is retroactive lineup analysis.)

Now, we need your help.

How it’ll work

Each week we’ll be hosting public polls for each matchup via Twitter. Voting will be open Monday through Friday of each week. The results of the previous week’s matchups and previews of the upcoming week’s matchups will be out in article form each Monday.

The lineup with the most votes moves on to the next round, until we’ve crowned “The Best Major PNW EDM Festival Lineup of 2010-2019”.

Round One Matchups

Shambhala 2015 vs. FVDED in the Park 2015

Surprisingly only getting one lineup in the tournament, Shambhala is represented well with their 2015 lineup. Full of big names, up and comers, and unique acts, Shambhala 2015 had it all. Don’t sleep on FVDED in the Park’s 2015 offering, though. While likely the underdog in this matchup, the well-rounded group of Northwest favorites gives FVDED a better shot than most.

Contact 2018 vs. Seasons 2015

In a bracket full of great lineups, this matchup has the potential to be among the closest in round one. Both festivals feature top-notch headliners, and have more depth than most. When you’re going up against the likes of Eric Prydz and Diplo on the same lineup, having stars like Skrillex, The Chainsmokers, Galantis, and more helps your case.

Pemberton 2014 vs. Seasons 2016

If there were Vegas odds on which lineup would win this tournament, Pemberton 2014 would be a solid bet. While not explicitly a dance music festival, the group of EDM artists on the lineup is more than enough to make this list. Unfortunately for Pemby, they have one of the tournament’s best lineups in their first matchup: Seasons 2016. With Porter Robinson (live), Odesza, and Knife Party leading the way, don’t be surprised if Seasons 2016 makes a run at the title.

FVDED in the Park 2016 vs. Contact 2013

The last of our Canadian matchups pits some artists that know each other well. Because, they’re each other. Over at FVDED 2016, Jack Ü was the talk of the lineup. While a few years before at Contact 2013, Skrillex and Diplo performed on the same day of the two-day festival. Each time the duo were joined by more than a few outstanding acts, but it’s hard to say which lineup has the initial advantage in this matchup.

FreakNight 2013 vs. Bumbershoot 2015

Another festival that surprisingly only has one lineup in the tournament, but brings the heat with that lineup, is FreakNight. An undenaible all-time great, FreakNight 2013 featured unique performances from Destroid and New World Punx, while giving our local bass and trance scenes everything they could handle.

Bumbershoot had some major names in 2015, too, like Zedd and Bassnectar. But the real reason Bumbershoot 2015 is in the tourney, is the surprising depth of EDM talent on each day of the festival.

Paradiso 2014 vs. Group Therapy Weekender 2019

The Northwest loves its trance. A matchup with a classic Paradiso lineup will test just how much. The Group Therapy Weekender form 2019 delivered two sets from Above & Beyond, and performances from Andrew Bayer, ilan Bluestone, Grum, and more trance favorites. All taking place over two days at The Gorge.

Per usual, Paradiso 2014 had a bit of everything, including some trance of its own in the form of Above & Beyond, Andrew Rayel, Audien, and Aly & Fila.

Paradiso 2016 vs. Bumbershoot 2016

A lot of these matchups are intriguing, but there may be no more interesting matchup than the battle between 2016’s versions of Paradiso and Bumbershoot. It only takes a quick glance at each lineup to figure out why. Paradiso 2016 brought a typically well-rounded lineup featuring Bassnectar, Hardwell, BT, Caspa B2B Rusko, there was something for everyone.

While Bumbershoot did the same, but across broader genres, the late-summer festival had a strong group of dance music artists. Those artists include Pretty Lights, Kygo, Porter Robinson, Zeds Dead, Marshmello, and many more.

Sasquatch 2012 vs. Paradiso 2019

Paradiso was always going to be represented well in this tournament. But having three lineups out of the 16 was a bit of a surprise. Their most recent, and potentially final incarnation, was too good to leave out. When your lineup features Skrillex, ZHU, Kaskade, Illenium, Zeds Dead, Rusko, Shiba San, and dozens of other top acts, that’s going to happen.

It’s a tough first round matchup for Sasquatch 2012, which joins Pemberton and Bumbershoot as multi-genre festivals in the tournament with a sizable chunk of fantastic dance music on the lineup, like Pretty Lights and NERO.

Let us know which lineups stand-out to you, which ones you’re rooting for to make it to the final, and which lineups you think should’ve made the tournament! We’ll have a recap of round one, and a preview of our round two matchups, next week. Share your thoughts with us by commenting below, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

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Born and raised in the Northwest, professionalized in Pullman. Enjoying the ride that dance music provides in our lovely corner of the country.

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