About the Festival
The Midwest leg of #GRIDLIFE returned for it’s fourth year at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan from June 9th – 11th. This was my first time attending the festival, which was an adrenaline-filled experience to say the least. I attended the festival mostly interested in the music, but quickly became captivated by the car culture during the day before performances began on the main stage.
This fast-paced festival was an energizing change-up to the typical electronic music event. In a video interview from Vibrant Performance TV, Director and Founder of #GRIDLIFE Chris Stewart says that he took “a small music festival format and added a car show, drifting and a really robust time attack program.” His vision was successful.
Rather than sitting around and waiting for performances to begin, I was able to watch drifting and time attack races throughout the day. The warm weather and abundance of shade made it easy to absorb the racing culture over the weekend.
In between races and shows, I used my time to drool over all the cars people from around the country came to showcase. The vehicles were extremely unique, some featuring stunning artwork and others showing off the luxurious side of car customization. A few of the cars at the festival were so high-end that they had me too afraid to look at the vehicles, let alone stand near. I can’t tell you much about cars, but I can appreciate its appearance!
I watched several artists perform across two stages on Friday and Saturday, but some stood out more than others. Headliners CoFresi, Keys N Krates and Manic Focus showcased their skills by incorporating either guitars, keyboards and/or drums into their performances. The crowd size for these shows were impressive, but it felt more intimate than the typical large festival setting.
One of my favorite performances was CoFresi, a future bass drummer that integrates live music into his sets. The hybrid DJ/drummer was nothing less than energetic, making it equally exciting as it was refreshing to listen to his live performance.
His set was filled with original and unreleased music that I couldn’t stop moving to and has me pumped up for future releases. I may be biased because I’m a drummer as well, but CoFresi’s performance was my favorite and he has definitely gained a new fan.
Keys N Krates
Keys N Krates gave it their all when they closed out the main stage Saturday night. The Toronto trio performed newer hits like ‘Right Here’ and ‘U Already Know’, while also throwing down the trap anthem that elevated their status in the scene, ‘DUM DEE DUM’.
Things got even better during their performance when they welcomed special guest Grandtheft on-stage to perform unreleased music. After my first time seeing Keys N Krates live I will be looking for their name on festival lineups in the future.
Artist Interview: Azura
During some of my downtime over the weekend I got to meet and hangout with Ethan, an electronic music producer based out of Detroit. The 21 year old DJ has shared the stage with artists such as Illenium and K?d from Michigan all the way to Colorado.
Ethan became passionate for music at the age of 15 after listening to a genre of music known as Eurotrance. With no prior musical experience, he began pursing music production by self-learning everything from music theory to how to use various DAWs.
He described his music style as energetic, but it can also be soft and spacious. Some of his biggest musical influences span from Basshunter (not Bassnectar), Flume, and Porter Robinson, all the way to Jeremy Zuckerman, the producer of the score for Avatar: The Last Airbender.
If given the opportunity to work with any artist on a new track, he would prefer to work with a vocalist. Two of his dream collaborations would be with legendary vocalists Michael Jackson and Kanye West. We asked Ethan what the future of Azura looks like, and he described how he’d love to make a living performing 200+ shows a year. He’s currently focused on original music and honing his skills as a producer.
Areas of Improvement
An inconvenience I encountered was security was often confused by the different types of wristbands. The variations sparked controversy in terms of who was allowed where throughout the weekend. Although we recognize there are multiple areas of clearance at a music and motorsports festival, it could have been simplified to alleviate confusion.
Overall, #GRIDLIFE will be an unforgettable experience. I was entertained almost every minute I was there and I’m not usually one to go out of my way to watch racing. It was exhilarating getting to witness and photograph these high performance cars whip around the raceway. #GRIDLIFE’s unique experience is fitting for any fan of racecars or electronic music. I’m thrilled I was able to experience my first #GRIDLIFE and I look forward to returning in 2018!
Be the first to know about next year’s festival by following #GRIDLIFE on social media.
Lift Spirits, Drop Bass.