The Decks Are Alive in Dallas… And It’s Free

Festivals, festivals everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all other social media sites have been blowing up with everyone’s latest escapades to Hard Summer, Lollapalooza, TomorrowLand, etc. As ticket prices soar and bank accounts shrink, there’s one event bucking the norms and spreading good vibes to the city of Dallas, Decks in the Park.

Founded by Jeff Mitchell and Ryan Kimura, Decks in the Park is rounding out its 3rd season bigger than ever, hosting the event at beautiful Klyde Warren Park on the last Thursday every month between May and October. Beautiful music, amazing food and great people are worth every penny for the ticket price. What’s the ticket price you say? It’s FREE!

klyde warren park pic

Klyde Warren gets transformed into a nightlife hotspot when Decks in the Park arrives

My Experience

As I walked up to the park, nestled in between skyscrapers over highway 366, the first thing I noticed were the different lifestyles and cultures seen. Rather than being flooded with bro-tanks and rave tutus or drugged out hipsters, there were families with small children splashing in the fountains, groups of friends sitting on towels, hula-hoopers and the occasional businessman enjoying Savor, the gastropub located at the park. If people weren’t eating at Savor, a pack of food trucks were gathered on the other side ready to satisfy any type of hunger.

Meeting up with Marty Martinez and Stephanie Campos, Co-founders of Social Revolt (check out their Instagram here) and the social media gurus behind Decks in the Park’s growing success, I was able to get a behind the scenes look at what makes the event tick along with an inside look at the local artists that performed. While DJ Souljah threw down a reggae infused drumstep set (or was it a drumstep infused reggae set?) I heard about the amazing things that Decks in the Park has been able to accomplish in the 3 short years it’s been here. Gathering sponsors small and large, they have been able to keep the event free to the public while keeping their mission intact connecting and exposing people around Dallas with good music in a great atmosphere.

decks in the park audience Proudly supporting Big Brother Big Sister, the event has been able to have some amazing sponsors including The Modern Home Guy, Futura Events, Spun Group, Culture Map Dallas, D magazine, Social Revolt, Strayer University, Republic Title, Lumen Health and Events Moderne. One of the coolest things I learned is that even though they aren’t paying the artists, the artists continue to be the biggest supporters of Decks in the Park. As costs continue to rise for events to get artists, it’s nice to see a group of DJ’s put aside the greed of money and come together to support a better cause than just their wallets.

Dallas DJs Decks in the Park

DJ Souljah and Nick Van House warming the crowd up

The Interview

Decks in the Park has been boasting a local-driven lineup since its inception this time featuring DJ Jonene, Shooknite, DJ Souljah, Nick Van House, DJ Sober and MSCLS. I was able to step aside with Nick Van House after his set and discuss his thoughts on Decks in the Park along with his solo career, destined to take off soon.

Trying to keep it close to Decks, I proceeded to ask Nick about his favorite thing about the event along with where he thinks its going. Decks in the Park’s diverse culture seems to have inspired more than just the audience as Nick views this as the best thing about the event. The diversity of people attending brings the music to a new group of people, promoting the community feeling that electronic music strives for. Nick hopes the event will continue to grow bigger and bigger to the point that we may see Decks in the Park across the nation, and at the rate it is going, I see that happening.

kid dancing decks in the park

I mean what festival are you going to see this at?

After bringing the crowd to party level with Nick’s style of house, bass house and trap, I wanted to dig deeper into the inner workings of him as a producer. With a name tag stating he is a trap lord, I had to start with Why Trap Lord? After initially starting off in French House, Nick Van House received the opportunity to produce a track that reached number 1 on Beatport in the trap genre and from there, Nick was sold. He loves the variety available in the genre while being able to mix in his original sound and add breakbeat to it.

Who are his heroes/inspirations for creating music?

This question is always interesting to hear answers to and Nick Van House’s answer was no different. If he had to choose an artist it would have to be old Wolfgang Gartner but don’t be fooled, he doesn’t stick with that. Nick doesn’t focus too much on the artist name, he focuses on the music. If the song hits that special spot inside him, he loves it and will draw inspiration from it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest top 40 dance hit or that boiler room beater, Nick looks for great music and wants to expand on it.

Where does he see electronic music going in the future/ how does he see it evolving?

Nick feels that the commercial electronic music scene has hit its critical mass so as that fades, electronic music will find its place amongst the many other genres out there, continually evolving and inspiring more fans and artists alike. Nick sees the “underground” music evolving rapidly into the mainstay of electronic music as EDM fades back in line with the other genres.

Where does he see his career going/ what festivals are in his eyesight?

Nick hopes to continue growing his career whether it be with a label or not, hoping to be able to tour soon to different cities outside of the DFW area, while continuing to expand his music library. Although he doesn’t keep up with the latest festivals, he does have a soft spot for Gary Richards and HARD, so if he had to choose one that would be it.

My Thoughts on Nick Van House

After having my first interview with Gary Richards at Lights All Night, it was great to experience an interview with someone (no offense to Nick) that wasn’t an industry top dog. With Destructo, I was nervous and in awe of who I was interviewing that I felt like I didn’t get everything out of him that I could. With Nick, the vibe was totally different as we discussed each other’s thoughts on the industry and where we think it’s going. As we finished the interview, he pulled out his DSLR camera moving to the stage to catch the latest action that had been going during our interview.

Nick Van House is quickly making a name for himself in the growing scene here in Dallas and continues to immerse himself in the world of electronic music being a part of Decks in the Park. Look out for great things from the artist as he strives to become a well-known name, hopefully being able to make a stop in a city near you soon.

Nick Van House – Don’t Be Afraid

The Future for Decks in the Park and How You Can Help

While Decks in the Park continues to push the seams of attendance, the event is always at a crossroads of having to charge for attendance. They want to keep it free for everyone, but in order to keep it free, Decks in the Park needs sponsors. If you know of a company who would like to sponsor the event, drop the information into their website and they will get back to you. For all you non-Dallacites out there, it might be worth taking a trip down to the Big D (yes, that is what we call our city) to experience the event and the city as a whole. Come enjoy the local scene that is on the brink of exploding with artists that could be attending your next festival.

decks in the park crowd

Follow Decks in the Park on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and sign up for their newsletter on their website. Comment below with your thoughts on free events in your city along with your thoughts on Nick Van House. Check him out on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud too!

Alex Zimmerman

Alex Zimmerman

Writer/Contributor
Music has always been a passion of mine, being the kid trying to find the latest music to listen to. In college, I was exposed to Emalkay's "When I Look At You" and EDM quickly became my favorite genre. I hope to show people through writing what EDM has done to me and hope I can help people discover the beauty that is EDM.
Alex Zimmerman
- 5 hours ago
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