Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: Together As One NYE

Photo by Tyler Hill | www.tylerhillphoto.com

Since expanding to the Pacific Northwest in 2021, Insomniac has been keeping ravers on their toes by bringing new festivals to the region every year, and the iconic NYE event Together As One made a name for itself at the Tacoma Dome as ravers from all corners of the PNW and beyond welcomed the new year on dancefloors.

Together As One is one of Insomniac’s most legendary OG events. The festival operated in Los Angeles under a partnership between Insomniac and rival promoter Go Ventures from 1998 to 2011, and the event played an important role in bringing electronic dance music into the mainstream as the first event of its kind to take over the LA Memorial Coliseum. At its first revival in over a decade, Together As One left us with some great highlights and a handful of setbacks to talk about.

Music B+

Photo by Tyler Hill | www.tylerhillphoto.com

With many New Year’s events across the country competing for headliners, Together As One delivered with its lineup. Both nights saw high-energy and dynamic acts from big names like Seven Lions, Galantis, Alison Wonderland, Above & Beyond, Morten, and Tiesto. We saw acts that musically and energetically took us up into the light, down into the dark, and everything in between with a wholesome representation of genres including techno, house, dubstep, trap, and trance, and it truly felt like every artist did their part to deliver an exciting show.

That said, the festival did suffer a setback with The Chainsmokers’ last-minute cancellation on December 31 due to an illness. Seven Lions delivered a killer closing act in their stead, but we did notice some hiccups in the lineup throughout the night. Some of the openers’ set times got extended, while Galantis’ set got cut slightly short, and there were intervals between sets that sometimes lasted upwards of 15 minutes. With a closing headliner pulling out so close to a performance, it’s understandable that there would be some disruptions—still, we wondered if the left-over time could have been better utilized, especially with only a single stage.

Photo by Tyler Hill | www.tylerhillphoto.com

Venue: B

As indoor venues go, the Tacoma Dome offers some great highlights, including lots of room to dance, a great view of the stage from the bleachers, and fantastic acoustics. Everything was easy to navigate, and wait times to enter were pretty comfortable as the Tacoma Dome offers multiple entry points. The venue has large locker-style bathrooms, which means no squatting over a porta-potty. Lines to get into the bathrooms on the main floor got pretty long as their location in a hallway caused a bottleneck during peak times, but there were plenty of other bathrooms throughout the venue. Security at the Tacoma Dome is known for being particularly stringent, and we felt somewhat limited on what we could bring in—totems, light toys, and hydration packs were not permitted. Even necessities like chapstick were being confiscated. We heard some reports of car break-ins in the parking lot, but otherwise, we felt safe inside the venue.

Austin Quach for Insomniac Events https://www.instagram.com/aquach.media/?hl=en

Vibes: A-

We felt lots of positive energy at Together As One. New Year’s events have a reputation for getting out of hand, and while we did see some typical drunken/ pushy behavior from some people, most of our encounters were polite and friendly. There was plenty of space to dance throughout the venue, and getting in and out of the crowds proved easy. We also saw people participating in PLUR and exchanging Kandi or little rave gifts, which brought out the positive vibes. That said, we noticed that the energy felt a little slow during the earlier part of the night as doors opened at 6 pm, but the crowd didn’t fill in until 9 or 10 pm, and many people left before closing to beat the Uber rush. 

Austin Quach for Insomniac Events https://www.instagram.com/aquach.media/?hl=en

Production: B 

Together As One featured a single stage with a large horizontal LED screen, overhead spotlights, lasers, and pyrotechnics. We saw lots of captivating on-screen visuals and exciting laser displays. As the clock counted to midnight on the 31st, balloons and confetti showered down on the crowd as Above & Beyond opened the first set of the new year, making for a beautiful start to 2024.

The event did not feature any art installations or activations on site, and the overall setup was pretty basic. It felt like the music was the main focus of the production, and the sound setup was delivered in this regard. No matter where you are on the dancefloor, the music sounds crisp, loud, and clear, and we can feel the full intensity of the bass in the back bleachers. 

Photo by Tyler Hill | www.tylerhillphoto.com

Overall: B

In all, we were satisfied with our experience at Together As One, although several hiccups and organizational issues impacted the experience. The Chainsmokers pulling out at the last minute caused some disappointment and disruptions in the timeline on night one. However, we were pleased by Seven Lions’ closing performance; the lineup on day two delivered an exciting NYE experience. We saw expansion opportunities when it came to production and some issues with security and transportation around the venue. Overall, we had a great time and could feel the positive energy shine through at Together As One’s first debut in over a decade.

 

Written by
Federica Brandi

Hi! I'm Federica, I'm a writer, world traveler, and above all, I'm a dance music lover. The communities, culture, history and free expression I've encountered through raving and the world of EDM inspire me to explore the scene far and wide and to share all the stories I encounter along the way. If you see me at a show come say hi and trade kandi!

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