The lines were long and the weather was sporadic, but Lights All Night gave an unforgettable start to the new year as the two-day event filled the Dallas night with music, dancing and an unforgettable experience.
The Texas-based EDM festival made its seventh annual comeback to Dallas last weekend with over 20,000 attendees pouring into Dallas Market Hall to ring in 2017.
Despite a cold first day, hundreds of people with glowing Hula-Hoops, tutus and fuzzies huddled in line together as they waited to hear their favorite DJs.
The lineup was extensive, and didn’t disappoint as festival attendees partied into the new year with artists like Deadmau5, Nero, A$AP Ferg and Above & Beyond.
The music blew the attendees away, with the festival garnering its two main stages, and one silent disco that boomed throughout the night. Multiple vendors lined the market hall, where you could get fresh fruit smoothies, artist merchandise or the option to lounge on a Dumbo chair. The festival also provided free water, multiple food trucks and a coat check to keep your belongings safe.
Though, the festival seemed to struggle aesthetically, and there was also a lack of strong security and severe issues with traffic.
The festival has had previous issues with navigating and controlling the mass amounts of people. The festival was successful this year with road traffic, opening more lanes and allowing a natural flow to prevent large back-ups. But the sheer amount of people that attend the festival seems to be an issue, as controlling foot traffic failed multiple times throughout the two-day event.
Security at big events is exceedingly important, especially during events that are held on major holidays. This year, though, the festival seemed to be more relaxed on pat-downs and bag checks.
Issues with security were a bit alarming, as people were barely checked with only a slight pat-down and the famous “remove your shoes” bit. The metal detecting batons were noticeably left out this year in the security process, assumingly to further control foot traffic.
Josh Hamilton, a three year attendee, noted a difference in security this year. He was concerned with lay back on pat downs.
“I noticed that there [are] multiple cops pushing the drug dogs up against people,” he said. “A couple of people have been pulled out in front of me for weed. But I don’t care about some dude with marijuana. I care about the guy that might have a gun or knife on him.”
“I do not understand why they didn’t pat me down more, or check my bag more clearly,” he said. “There have been so many recent terrorist attacks, why are they laying back on security? Put more money into the pat-downs, not the drug dogs.”
The festival also seemed to lack a strong presence in decorations, seemingly substituting dancers and a few on-floor entertainers instead; though that didn’t entertain people in the way they had hoped.
“There was a guy running around beating a snare drum while I was trying to listen to the music, and I was not happy. The guy beating his drum was completely throwing me off from the music,” Shannon Stovall said.
“And there were only two people on stilts. I was confused if they were actually with the festival or if they were just ravers.”
The decorations were underwhelming compared to previous years, which filled the Market Hall ceiling with small, bobbing lights and extra seating space.
This year the Market Hall donned a small light-up heart, disco ball and a strip of confetti strung against the back wall. Many attendees like Shelby Chaffin, a UNT graphic design alumna, were extremely upset with the festival’s decision to cut back on decorations this year.
“When you say that you’re going to make this LAN 10 times better, don’t break those promises to those who spent money awaiting to walk into a cheap looking venue,” Chaffin said.
“A random 3-D heart literally hanging in the middle of nowhere, the random disco ball in the back of the side stage room and the cheap looking lanterns hanging outside. It just seemed pointless.”
Despite the few issues, the festival was undoubtedly a success. The DJs blew attendees off their feet as they danced into the new year with music audible from miles away and a party that left people wanting more.
“Lights All Night was everything I wanted it to be plus more,” Stovall said. “Thank you for giving us this amazing experience.”
Featured Photo: DJ Deadmau5 electrifies the crowd on the main stage at the annual Lights All Night festival in Dallas. The event was a two-day experience, December 30 and 31. | Katie Jenkins