When the famous Pimlico race course is not hosting its nationally-renowned horse races with fanciful gambling, it becomes home to a plethora of other exciting events – one of which is Moonrise Festival.
Started in 2014, the summer-based music festival takes over the infield and brings in thousands of fans from all over the city, county and state to see a range of artists mainly centered on electronic dance music (EDM). It spans two days and puts Baltimore on the map as a staple for the electronic dance music community by bringing in big names such as Zeds Dead, Porter Robinson and many more! This year was no different, with globally-respected artists such as Excision and Tiesto revisiting for their second and third times.
The Maryland Leaf team was invited to partake in Moonrise again this year and we couldn’t have been more excited.
The excited energy surrounding the event could not be contained by the track. The music was loud enough to be heard through the neighboring areas and tons of people in neon-clad clothing gathered nearby, preparing themselves for what was in store. The excitement was palpable. The last time the Leaf team visited Moonrise was in 2019, which was the last Moonrise festival until this year. Of course, music festivals across the globe were put on pause for years due to COVID-19 and only recently have come back into swing. Naturally, Baltimore was raring to go.
Obtaining our passes and getting through the security was a breeze. While it was an expensive event, the hosting company – Insomniac Events – made the process fast and simple for everyone. Upon entry we had no plans and all day to execute, so we did a loop of the grounds.
There were three stages: the Lunar Stage, Stellar Stage and Solar Tent. The Lunar Stage, my personal favorite, was the biggest. The DJ was centered in front of a huge screen being covered by different phases of the moon. The Solar Tent was a steady rave from deep house music to dubstep through the day and night – filled with lasers, smoke and other crazy effects. The energy in there was a bit more hype than the other two. The Stellar Stage faced the largest field of the three – it was expansive and crowds were a mix of sitting and standing, and everything in between. All three felt comfortable throughout the day and I found myself walking between them all constantly. The stages were the perfect distance to be able to run back and forth if two of our favorite artists were playing at the same time.
In between the three stages you could find food, drinks and interesting art pieces/installations
surrounding the theme of space (astronauts, terrariums and more). The layout made it easy to find bathrooms, your friends, or anything else needed. There were burgers, mac and cheese, burritos, egg rolls, rice bowls, hot pretzels and more – which helped immensely with the munchies.
While the day was fun, the night was exceptional. The lasers and effects from the stages
spanned the night sky, filling it with colors and waves of all types. It was absolutely jaw dropping. The end of each day came as a surprise, as I found myself deep in a trance of dance and music, going with the flow. The atmosphere at the event was intoxicating. Our team did not go into Moonrise being the most passionate electronic music fans, but by the end of the two-day event we had a new genre to explore that had definitely grabbed our attention. Our team will be back again next year for sure!