Something Wonderful Festival Was…Something Else
Where to start, where to start. I guess at the beginning is the best place. On April 18th, Disco Donnie, Full Access and Nightculture joined together to expand on the massive success of Something Wicked with its sister festival Something Wonderful. Placed in the iconic Cotton Bowl (no, not Jerryworld) in Dallas, Texas’ Fair Park, this festival boasted an epic lineup with Tiesto and Zeds Dead headlining the event. With two stages, a giant football stadium and beautiful Dallas weather, what could go wrong?
The Day Before
Most of the setting up went swimmingly I’m guessing except for one little glitch, the weather. Mother Nature decided to be bipolar (as it is most of the time in Texas) by giving us beautiful, sunny 80 degree weather during the day before turning into a nightmare with winds gusting to 40 mph and torrential downpour for most of the night. Only to make matters worse, the meteorologists were predicting the same thing to happen the next day (the day of the festival.) Amidst this news, Something Wonderful sent out plenty of notices saying the event will go on rain or shine. Knowing Texas weather though, undoubtedly something different would happen right?
Instead of trying to get in at the moment gates open, I decided to wait until about 2:30 to escape the crowds. While getting through was easy for me, Facebook is littered with pictures of long lines and disgruntled fans. My only complaint is where I was instructed to park. I parked in gate 11, which was on the far north side of the stadium, while we entered on the south. I don’t mind a 25 minute walk, but this would come back to haunt the festival later.
The Early Sets
With Surain, TroyBoi, Mr. Carmack, Mako, Ansolo and Slander filling the early sets, there was something wonderful for everyone to listen to. I spent my time at the mainstage called the “Wonderful Bowl” inside the stadium where Mako, Ansolo and Slander destroyed. My personal favorite was Ansolo; he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Something Wonderful, unloading new music on the city of Dallas as he jumped around the stage. The weather was beautiful and everyone seemed to be enjoying their time…until I turned around and looked at what was really happening.
Law enforcement and security were taking their job way too seriously, as they had blocked off the entire stadium floor due to it being “over capacity”…seriously? I was in the front section of the floor and trust me, they could have fit at least another 2,000 people in the front section alone, which was also shut off due to “over capacity”. Hundreds were standing restlessly at both stopping points, anxiously awaiting and pressing the issue of why they couldn’t go in. Please tell me a festival that reaches over capacity in an area at 4 in the afternoon, because I can’t think of one.
The Mid Afternoon Sets
Not only was it troublesome for people to get on the stadium floor, it also was a hassle and a half to get between stages. The second stage was out in the Plaza which is split between the stadium by six staircases grouped together. At one point they had four of the staircases closed for “crowd control.” I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t make sense. Why would you bottleneck traffic between the two stages? Anyways, let’s move onto the music.
I made my way between the stages to find Snails murdering the Wonderful Plaza stage with his vomitstep he has become famous for. The bass boomed through the stage as everyone was getting down to his heavy music. Brillz continued the thundering bass after Snails as I headed into the stadium to rest my legs for the night sets. Wait…did I hear some thunder?
The Headlining… Storm
Near the end of Brillz and Tchami’s sets, the sound was cut as an announcer alerted everyone that the festival had been postponed due to weather. According to the weather service and local authorities, a severe storm was headed our way. Making everyone go under cover, the event was postponed until the weather passed. Although the event stated “rain or shine” it seemed that the event would have to be on hold, or canceled (which is what eventually happened). After over an hour of pouring rain, lightning and wind gusts up to 60 mph, the event had to cancel the remaining sets including Ummet Ozcan, Keys N Krates, Bro Safari, Carnage and of course the headliners, Zeds Dead and Tiesto.
While Zeds Dead and Ummet Ozcan joined TroyBoi for the afterparty at the Lizard Lounge, the damage was done. Hundreds of hate comments stormed Something Wonderful’s social media pages asking for refunds and other pains of the event.
More Bad News?
After taking a hard look at the concert, I have to agree with some of the statements that have been made about the event. The mainstage’s sound was subpar. I was sitting about 20 rows up in the stands in the afternoon and I could barely hear the mainstage. If I’m in the stadium, I want to hear the music. It doesn’t have to be eardrum breaking, but if I can hear my phone music when I’m in the general vicinity of a live stage, it’s not loud enough. The stages, although nice looking, seemed unfinished as I saw more scaffolding than light screens (granted I didn’t see what it would look like in the dark, but still). My thought is that they had to cut some of the stage since it rained the night before along with the chance of rain during the festival, so I’ll give them that.
Remember when I said that the parking would come back to haunt them? Now that the event was canceled, everyone had to get back to their vehicles right? Luckily they allowed everyone to stay inside until the rain let up, but by that point I had forgotten where I had parked. I knew it was in gate 11 but where in the hell is that at 10:30 at night? I know that the place (meaning Fair Park) should have these things marked but even when I asked security and other event staff, they had no idea. They seemed more interested in cleaning up the event area than assisting the crowds of people wandering aimlessly through the park. I thought it was their job to assist us?
The Bottom Line
While there were plenty of hiccups, I wouldn’t say that it was a total failure. Sadly, event attendees fail to recognize that weather can’t be controlled, and that the first thing the event has to consider is the safety of the attendees. Canceling a show because of weather is usually because of lightning or torrential downpours, and both happened. Many people complained about the lineup…ummm, why? Did they forget that Coachella weekend 2 was happening? I was surprised at how they were able to lock in some great well-known acts such as Tiesto while featuring some of the best up and coming acts also.
Many are also complaining that the law enforcement were too up in everyone’s business. Do we really think that the organizers had anything to do with that? We all know the Midwest (otherwise known as the Bible Belt) is a haven for the strictest rules and abusers of power, so was I surprised by the overuse of power? No. Did I wish the event organizers controlled the enforcement by having more helpful event staff? Yes. Attendees are still waiting on news from the organizers on if/what the refund will be because of the canceled event, which may cause even more hassle depending on the amount.
I sure do hope Something Wonderful gets to redeem themselves next year. Here’s a note to the promoters: remember the bad feelings will always bring more comments than the people who enjoyed themselves. Work on those few couple things and next year you will blow everyone away. Check out the photos that were taken during the event above and make sure to give the event a second chance all you haters out there.
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