The first time walking over to the main stage at Paradiso I had no idea what to expect. I had of course heard about how beautiful the venue The Gorge was, but I did not know that I would stand at the top of that hill and have my breath taken away. It took some time to take in the beauty of canyon and to really understand how big it was. Behind the stage you could see cliffs that seemed to go on forever and a calm river. We were right in the middle of nature surrounded by vineyards, mountains, sunshine and people who were experiencing the same emotions as we were. The first time seeing the view from the top of that hill overlooking main stage was a moment I will never forget.
Paradiso is a two-day festival filled with all kinds of unique characters. I was really surprised at the variety of outfits that I saw. Being in Washington where it got down to the fifties at night, I thought that people would cover up a little more, but that certainly was not the case. Myself, walking around in pants and a flannel, applauded the girls who were brave enough to wear pasties and underwear. Everyone at this festival was colorful and friendly giving the festival a real community vibe. Many people stopped me just to say hi and everyone was eager to let me take their picture.
The three stages at the festival were pretty close to each other, making the walk a little easier and the venue feel much smaller than it was. There was the Paradise Main Stage, the Digital Oasis and the Wreckage stage. There never seemed to be a moment during the day when one of these stages was quiet. The transition time in between sets was almost non-existent. Each stage had their own vibe but the main stage definitely was the most extravagant. When it got dark, the lasers, screens and pyrotechnic effects made each performance so big and bright. The part that really got me was being able to see all of the people on that giant hill, dancing, singing and loving life.
Paradiso had a lot of interactive art pieces throughout the venue. There were people working on graffiti walls and giant intricate sand castles. One of the art pieces even gave attendees a sneak peak at a brand new festival that will be at The Gorge later this year called Magnifique and will be headlined by Kaskade.
There was no shortage of food or entertainment at this festival. So many options of food from deep-fried everything to healthy vegan options. There were also a ton of bars serving beer on tap as well as cocktails. Paradiso had all of your basic carnival rides; just a whole lot bigger than you might be used to. There was even a beach volleyball area complete with island vibe and dj.
The camping area at Paradiso seemed to be where the after party and the pregame took place everyday. You could hear people singing and chanting from almost a mile away. The campsites were located right in between miles of farmland and vineyards and came equipped with an unreal view. Campers got that authentic feeling of being out in nature since the towns were so far away from the venue.
The musical talent is an integral part of any music festival, Paradiso took this extremely serious and booked an insane line up that kept the Gorge vibing until we were forced to go home!Â Unlike most other festivals, which try to keep you at a single stage by over loading a specific genre of music, USC events mixed it up.Â The 3 stages, Digital Oasis, Wreckage, and the amphitheater Mainstage each had itâs own vibe but also an eclectic music selection. Â For example, on Friday the oasis stage had pretty âChill Vibesâ showcasing mostly house music acts like MK, Thomas Jack and Gorgon City. Â Once the night truly set in the tables totally flipped and trance legends Cosmic Gate, Aly & Fila and Astrix took over the decks, raised the BPM and took the crowd on a euphoric yet psychedelic journey to close out the first night.Â Similarly, the wreckage stage was really bass music and dubstep centered for most of the weekend, face meltings courtesy of heavy hitters like Alison Wonderland, Dirtyphonics, Datsik, and Cookie Monster+Funtcase playing B2B!Â However the same stage also featured iconic hardstyle and Drum N Bass artists like Darksiderz, Fury & MC Dino, and Matrix & Future Bound.Â Another heavy hitter made their appearance, NGHTMRE, as one of the most intriguing and energetic producers around. Â His set bounced from larger hits that made it famous, to cross overs with other big artists, to even a brand new track at the end of his set. Â An epic performance all around! One couldnât talk about this festival without hitting on the beautiful main stage and the top-notch music that was played there. Of course as expected most of the artist who played the amphitheater were more âmainstreamâ so the music was more predictable. However that was quickly drowned out by the amazing natural scenery and mind-blowing visual production and even BETTER sound quality! Some of the sets that stood out most from mainstage were RL Grime, Bassnectar, The Chainsmokers and the beast himself HARDWELL.
Every moment at Paradiso seemed better than the last and every song magical. Being at Paradiso was a once in a lifetime experience that I am so glad I got to have. It made me proud to be a part of this exciting and innovative generation of music lovers who travel the world to experience these festivals. Paradiso really was a place where digital met nature, and that was the best part.