Dusk Music Festival 2019 rocks out Tucson

Nathan Esquite, A R I Z O N A member, performs on the guitar during the band’s Tucson debut at Dusk.

 

Story and photos 

by ELLIANA KOPUT

Dusk Music Festival 2019 took place Nov. 9 and 10 at Armory Park in Downtown Tucson. 

The festival assembled a crowd of college kids, millennials, Gen X-ers, children and elderly folks, all of whom expressed killer dance moves. 

“Dusk was super cool because it had a great vibe and a nice turnout while still being a smaller-town thing while feeling really familiar and unique,” said Brianna Schmidt, a Pima Community College student and festival attendee. “(My favorite part was) probably just the music and the vibes. I think it’s going to create a lot more interest in festivals around Tucson.”

To the left stood classic fair lemonade and pizza by the slice, and to the right was fine local cuisine, festivalized. With a diverse array of food vendors including Dante’s Fire, Jakes Donuts and Treat Trolley, Rollies Mexican Patio, Zinburger and Purple Tree Organic Acai, there’s never been a case of indecisiveness more warranted. 

UArizona student Nophear Bun enjoys the opening musical acts on Nov. 9.

Interactive activities were spread throughout the festival and proved fun for the whole “rave family.” Cobra Arcade Bar provided arcade games. The food vending area also had jumbo Jenga, shuffleboard and ladderball brought by Tucson Plays. 

The clattering of the blocks, chattering of the players and chewing from the nearby food enthusiasts composed a peaceful song arguably comparable to the electronic music selections of the weekend.

The inflatable bag couches, for which the sitter is required to run in circles chasing the wind, were also quite playful in nature. 

The Monsoon Collective live painted and created a variety of art pieces. Jojo the Clown, a local celebrity and performance artist, was an installation all his own. University of Arizona art students and faculty were also commissioned to create sculptures, lighting designs and digital installations. 

A few crowd favorites were the LED sculpture of Rezz and her iconic goggles and LED hoops through which many people decidedly jumped. A collection of dreamcatchers ornamented the pathway between the Armory and San Carlos stages.

JoJo the Clown poses during his live painting art installation.

“I hope to see more people practicing and showcasing their flow art next year!” said Sabrina Guevara, a rave-scene regular. “I think there are so many talented artists, not just flow artists, in Tucson that should be given a platform.” 

Flow artists are movement artists who specialize in dance and the technical manipulation of circus props, such as hula hoops, contact staff, buugeng and fans. 

Dusk had abounding vendors, whose products ranged from music merchandise, to palo santo and wire-wrapped stone pendants, to gifts from Bookman’s and the customized one-of-a-kind clothing pieces by Tucson’s own Cream Design and Print.

Now run by Relentless Beats, the event was maintained by a group of hard-working individuals who bring many of the electronic music events throughout Phoenix and Tucson. Among them were the Relentless Rangers, a team that roams the festival to provide harm reduction services and support to the attendees. 

“You see a lot as a Ranger,” said Thomas Fimbres, a Relentless Ranger and local musician. “But my favorite thing to see is thousands of people just there to have a good time and listen to music.”

The San Carlos stage held about half of the big-name acts while The Armory stage held the rest of the larger names and the Discovery stage hosted the majority of the local acts. On Saturday, performers included Kaskade, Fitz and the Tantrums, A R I Z O N A, Shallou, Whethan, Wax Motif and Whatsonot. On Sunday, performers were with Rezz, Two Door Cinema Club, Broncho, Cray, Dombresky, Goldroom, Malaa and TOKiMONSTA. 

A R I Z O N A made its Southern Arizona debut at Dusk. The band consists of Nathan Esquite, David Labuguen and Zachary Hannah. Their performance was lively, animated and radiating passion. 

“We are A R I Z O N A, the band not the state, performing in Arizona, the state not the band, for the first time,” joked the band’s frontman and vocalist Zachary Hannah. “And we’re really excited to be here.

The neon sculpture of Rezz appears at the San Carlos stage.

 

“We never expected for this project to go anywhere,” Hannah continued, “but all of a sudden we were blowing up and going places. We needed a name, and Nate was wearing an Arizona Tea hat, so we were like, ‘Sure, let’s do it!’ ” 

The band encouraged artists to stay true to themselves, work hard and never give up. 

Dusk Music Festival was a juxtaposition of the Old Pueblo community, the age of technology and fun-loving, rug-cutting, laugh-sharing concert vibrations. With a smorgasbord of electronic, indie, rock ’n’ roll, and hip-hop music, artisan food and art, you’d be a fool to miss the event in 2020 and years beyond. 

“To me, the festival community represents a group of people who are loving and accepting of anyone and everyone no matter what your background is and who you define yourself as in the present,” Guevara said. “The community makes me feel like I’m home when home for me is 1,000 miles away.” 

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