WHERE WE WERE
has had a rough couple of years. From some pretty serious issues with lines to the cancellation of Freaknight
and it's fallout, there have be multiple occasions where I've doubted what their future might be.
Now with new festivals springing up every weekend and music enthusiasts almost being overwhelmed with alternatives, there's a very high set of expectations put on everything. Suddenly, a show like Lucky is getting compared to an event like Buku
, even though both are vastly different in nature.
I would imagine that USC had a lot quietly riding on the success of Lucky.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Fortunately Lucky 2015 was easily one of the best events they've hosted in recent memory. From start to finish everything was on point. The process to get in was quick and painless, the staff was (almost universally) friendly and helpful, and musically there was pretty much something for everyone.
What else went well?
Note: We won't be covering the music in this review. Expect that in some upcoming artist interviews.
Events of any size have the potential to go off the rails because of whatever collective attitude surfaces. Say for example, the Seahawks lose the Super Bowl and everyone decides that drinking whiskey would be a good idea (hint: it's not). At Lucky, everyone genuinely wanted to have a good time. This could be because it was the first festival opportunity Seattle EDM fans seemed interested in since Freaknight. Or it could be because Lucky is generally a little less attended, and as a result a little less wild, as people aren't going just because it's something everyone else is doing. Or maybe it's that we've grown up a little bit. The scene's had some time to gain some exposure and those who are a part of it have become more familiar with everything that goes into attending an event. Whatever it was, everyone just seemed happy to be there.
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Especially that guy.[/caption]
The Conscious Crew
We talk a lot about this group, but they could never get enough positive feedback. This enthusiastic crew of volunteers spends the night coursing the grounds and keeping an eye on everyone else. They hand out water when asked and act as a safe resource to anyone who needs it. By now, almost everyone seems to be aware of them, but I sincerely hope it's apparent how essential they are to everything. I honestly can't imagine how we ever managed without them. All this talk about looking out for each other, all the dedication to The Message and PLUR
and all that, these people live it. USC is leading the game with this concept and with every event since their conception, the Conscious Crew has only gotten better and better.
This group is selected impeccably. If you've had a positive interaction with a Conscious Crew member, do them a favor and send Gabe at USC an email.
He loves hearing about his team and they deserve an endless amount of credit. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm using this term pretty loosely. Here's a short list of some of the complaints that I overheard:
- Camelbacks weren't allowed inside
- They took the stalls off the bathroom doors
- Security wouldn't let people sit against the walls
- They rearranged the stages
- Those canons/fireworks/CO2 misfiring during Steve Angello's set scared everyone
- The lights were on in the Clover Park
- Audien played trap
With the exception of the explosions and the bathrooms, this is a fairly low-impact list. When faced with an issue, the question you have to ask yourself goes "How am I going to react to this? Is this an isolated circumstance that I won't let weigh on the rest of my experience? Or is this a deal breaker?"
With the little things, you just gotta shake it off. But you also need to realize what things aren't negotiable to you. With those in mind, you then have to ask yourself how much you're willing to fight to change it and how loud you're going to be. Keep in mind that speaking up and being rude are not the same thing.
For example, the over ambitious security at Paradiso
was one of those things. We spoke up and we were heard.
Lucky was graced with nothing of that caliber - only small hiccups and smooth sailing.
OKAY - A NOTE ABOUT THAT WHOLE BATHROOM SITUATION
I can't really weigh in on this because it never effected me. But in talking to some of my girlfriends, the general consensus seemed to be "worse in theory than it was in reality." Once presented with the situation of not having a door, you could either deal with it or not. And not dealing with it was a much worse alternative.
I get it. It's a hard situation. But if it's really an accessibility issue of safety and being able to reach people inside the stalls, than take the locks off the doors rather than the doors themselves. My best would be that they're trying to avoid giving people a private and easily accessible space to do drugs. And that's...valid.
Is the whole situation legal? I don't know. I've heard many people swear up and down that it is, but they're not lawyers and I don't think that WaMu would push so hard for this policy if it was. Is it an invasion of privacy? Yeah. It is. And it makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable and starts to violate a different kind of safety. This is the kind of action that turns away some long time supporters. I don't know of any other venue that does this and I don't like the idea of having to look out at people with that expression my dog gives me when I take him outside to do his business.
WHERE WE'RE GOING
Lucky 2015 was huge for USC. You can tell just by the response on the Facebook page. Where after certain events, the wall is littered with complaints and profanity, Lucky's is peppered with laments how quickly it was over, compliments to the staff members, and a hopeful few reaching out for "missed connections."
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ISAWU: You - white top. Me - horns.[/caption]
The release of the Paradiso lineup earlier that morning
was no coincidence either. After a long wait, they timed one of the best artist announcements they've ever had to pump everyone up as they went into USC's first massive of the year. People went in to the night in a great mood, had their expectations met, exceeded, and left them longing for more.
That being said, let's always ask ourselves how we can be better. Here are my suggestions for future events:
From delays on the lineup and set times to ambiguity over venue policy to new rules being established shortly before the event begins, a lot of people feel left in the dark and are not shy about voicing their frustrations. So let's open a consistent line of respectful dialogue between USC it's fans.
Maybe this is a newsletter on their end, maybe this is a suggestion box on our end; but both sides need to be informed.
We're told we can only bring in clear backpacks, but aren't given a visual example of what's allowed inside. People were getting lectured for sitting against the wall during the show, but with zero explanation. Whatever WaMu and USC's concern is, it's probably reasonable. Just inform us know ahead of time so we don't feel like we're getting scolded for doing something completely normal. Make that policy known ahead of time and put in more bleachers.
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Man, this was trippy...[/caption]
Preloading us with information is one thing, but the why
is also important. Chad Anderson's message before Lucky regarding policy and the bathrooms was both heartfelt and an huge improvement from everyone just getting surprised at Resolution, but it was released only 30 hours before Lucky.
I've had amazing responses from both USC and First and Goal when I've reached out to them personally with concerns. It's done in a non-confrontational, respectful, and direct manner and I'm treated with the same in return. I'd like to see this become regular behavior instead of the angry rabbling that quickly escalates on Facebook.
Just be straightforward with us. We aren't (most of us) unreasonable people.
2. Cab Vouchers
My first year at Lucky 2012, I walked out of WaMu theater at 3 in the morning to find it snowing. This year we were greeted with a torrential downpour. I happened to be rescued by two amazing members of the Conscious Crew, but it was obvious that not everyone was in the same boat.
So let's book a fleet of cabs to have on standby, give out Uber and Lyft vouchers, and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to make it home safely. When people leave the venue, many under the influence or unfamiliar with the area they're in, the last thing you want is them wandering off into the dark. This should be part of our continued mission to keep everyone safe.
3. Longer Sets
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How about those festival withdrawls?[/caption]
Being my first USC massive three years ago, I have a very strong sentimental attachment to Lucky. As always, the night went by in a blur and far too quickly, and even by the following morning I was left with more of an overall feeling of the experience than too many distinct memories. But it's a feeling I'm hooked on and one of the main reasons I keep going back.
I can't wait for this summer.