The two-day dance-music blowout in Baltimore known as the Moonrise Festival was to have included such EDM movers as Eric Prydz, Crookers and Pretty Lights before it was unceremoniously canceled last summer. A year later, Moonrise organizers are ready to try again, aiming for an ambitious mid-Atlantic fest to rival Miami's Ultra, New York's Electric Daisy Carnival and Georgia's Tomorrow World.
The festival's organizers, who include Steez Promo and longtime D.C. dance music promoter Glow, announced Wednesday that Moonrise will take place at Pimlico Race Course on Aug. 9-10. The new locale, where the Preakness took place this past weekend, will allow for a capacity of 30,000, with three main stages and one smaller stage. Last year's festival would have taken place at the smaller Sun Park in south Baltimore.
"We were put in a position where we canceled last year, and the minute we had to cancel, we had to look at what did we do wrong, how do fix what we did wrong," said Evan Weinstein, one of the partners behind the festival. "We started talks with the city immediately, and we got our permits, and we're moving forward."
The Moonrise Festival was first announced last year as a descendant to the city's longstanding, but increasingly crowded and troubled, Starscape electronic music festival. But the first Moonrise was canceled just weeks before the festival was to have taken place last summer when organizers announced that they had failed to procure a permit. Weinstein said all of last year's tickets were refunded.
This year, Weinstein said, "We've made sure we did everything we needed to do for [Baltimore officials] to approve the event. And we're working very closely with them to make sure the event goes off without a hitch."
A lineup won't be announced until June, but Weinstein said fans can expect offerings beyond dance-music DJs. Tickets will go on sale Friday, despite the lack of a lineup, with early bird two-day tickets priced at $125, rising to $149. "We’re experimenting with different sounds, we've brought in a lot of live bands," Weinstein said. "It's a more diverse lineup than we've done in the past."
One benefit to a less EDM-focused lineup: Politicians and law enforcement have voiced objections to large dance-music festivals after an uptick in drug-related emergencies stemming from such events. Starscape was canceled after the 2012 installment overwhelmed Baltimore and Anne Arundel County emergency response; New York City officials halted Electric Zoo mid-festival last year due to drug deaths; and this week, a Toronto show by Swedish DJ Avicii was overshadowed by a series of drug- and alcohol-related EMS calls.