Large crowds clad in neon and glitter flocked to the Dusk Music Festival to see their favorite artists headline on the main stage — but how did local artists fare on this year’s additional third stage?
Although the 2019 Dusk Music Festival DJ Competition and the Battle of the Bands competition decided which lucky artists got to perform on the main stage, the festival also saw a total of 19 different local artists on the third stage over the two-day festival weekend.
Called the Discovery Stage, the new stage gave local artists a platform to share their music with thousands of people.
“We really wanted to enhance the experience of the attendees this year,” said Ben Anderson, better known as Future Syndicate, who collaborated with Yknot and W.A.S.H. at the Dusk Music Festival. "We got to go out and look for a lot of local talent. There’s a ton of talent from [the University of Arizona]. [I] brought some friends down from Phoenix to enhance the experience as well. I think the location is really cool with the vendors surrounding the third stage. I think it’s a real positive to have people supporting and checking out new acts over here.”
The first day of the Dusk Music Festival saw a lineup of local artists, including Low Audio, Junk James, Thoolan, Parsa, Twelve Inches, ENRI, Lo Key, DJ McWhite and Billy Gatt.
Gatt was Saturday’s closing act on the Discovery Stage.
According to Gatt, his music comes from the heart — it’s truly an expression of who he is and sharing it with a large local crowd was an honor.
“I think there is a sense of genuineness and authenticity and the fact that I bleed this,” Gatt said. “If you cut me open, music is my life, my everything.”
Some of the artists on the Discovery Stage were as young as 22 years old, like UA student Luis Mendez, aka ENRI.
Mendez said he has come a long way from making music with friends. Getting out of the club scene and performing on a real festival stage is what Mendez found most rewarding. He enjoyed watching the crowd dance and enjoy themselves, Mendez said.
“[I] actually get to play for people that actually love the music,” Mendez said. “I love it, I love it. There’s actually people here that want to learn from locals.”
The second day brought even more talented musicians to the Discovery Stage. Nocturnal Theory, Sophia Rankin, Housekneckt, Jason E., Big Brother Beats, Future Syndicate, Yknot, W.A.S.H., Teddy Rose and Wolfie performed on Sunday.
Leo Zuckerman, aka Wolfie, took the stage to end Sunday night’s show. Fans and friends alike came to support him, making for a “rowdy” crowd that night. According to Zuckerman, he even had a young superfan backstage headbanging to his Skrillex remixes.
“It was awesome, the crowd was so rowdy. [I] started a mosh pit — I’ve never started a mosh pit before,” Zuckerman said. “It just felt like they were loving it. I was feeding off them, they were feeding off me, it was awesome.”
Aptly named, the Discovery Stage was a new addition this year that aimed to give local musicians a chance to show the city what they can do.
Tessa Gerardo, a UA student, came to the festival with a group of her friends. Gerardo and her friends were most excited to see Zuckerman perform.
According to Gerardo, they wandered over to the Discovery Stage and left headbanging and excited to have found new artists to listen to.
“I like to discover music,” Gerardo said. “I wanted to try something new.”