Electronic Dance Party On: City Lights Music Festival 2012

City Lights Music Festival
Calder Plaza, Grand Rapids
Fri Aug. 17 6 p.m.-midnight & Sat Aug. 18 1 p.m.-midnight
$10 one day, $12.50 two day

This August, local and national talent will fuse together to fuel the continuing rise of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in Grand Rapids' fourth annual EDM summer festival. Beginning as Grand Rapids Electronic Music Night in 2009, this dance party has upped its appeal and attendance with each passing year. Now a two-day festival with a small entrance fee, City Lights Music Festival (CLMF) has more stages and bigger DJ names. Scheduled for Aug. 17 and 18, CLMF fills Calder Plaza with pulsing neon lights and thousands of fans.

Among the young, emerging electronic DJs eager to share their sounds is Detroit native Kenneth Thomas. After playing for nearly 12,000 people at last year's festival, Thomas said the high-energy atmosphere of City Lights is what makes it so popular.

"It's like the world's biggest house party, without the ego and big festival drama," Thomas said. "City Lights is just a bunch of great people getting together and celebrating life and music."

Similar to many of the other artists set to perform, Thomas is stoked to play with some of his best friends in the industry such as Finland techno icon Darude, a.k.a. Ville (pictured). Most known from his hit single, "Sandstorm," released in 1999, Darude has been a frontrunner on the EDM scene for more than a decade, with more than five million records sold to date worldwide.

"Ville has been there since nearly day one for me and it's always great to cross paths with him again," Thomas said. "From what I understand, we will be closing down Friday night back to back and I can't think of a better way to play for 10,000 people."

Identical twins James and Paul McElwain -- a.k.a. Milk & Cookies -- are pumped to please crowds with what they term "post-bro" house music. Compiled of genre-blending melodies, snyths and basslines, the dubstep duo pride themselves on surprising audiences with their music selection and unique ways of meshing genres together.

Yet another nationally acclaimed duo set to perform is Scooter & LaVelle, who just recently completed a 30-city U.S tour. Mixing everything from the "Sesame Street" soundtrack to Eminem's "Slim Shady" the two have perfected the art of spinning four turntables at once.

The brainchild of producer DJ Godfather, Detroit Muscle is yet another headliner audiences are getting psyched for. Concentrating on EDM with a raw, gritty edge, Detroit Muscle captured 15th place in the Top 100 DJs in 2011, sponsored by DJ Times magazine.
Plenty of local talent such as Holland-born DJ Xcape will also be given the opportunity to showcase their skills in familiar territory.

"I have been playing nationally for so long and am excited to get back to my roots here in West Michigan at City Lights," DJ Xcape said. "I love that the Grand Rapids electronic community has accepted me and I hope to contribute as much as possible."

In addition to electronic music, the festival will feature a unique array of activities and entertainment available through local artists, businesses and restaurants from around Grand Rapids. When guests decide their feet need a break from groovin', they can ogle at street performers, play games to score free merchandise, adorn crazy costumes at the Photo Wall, get sweaty at Funk Yeah Yoga, chow down on some delicious local GR grub, or sip a classy cocktail in the fully serviced VIP section.

Tickets are available on citylightsmusicfestival.com and are $10 for one day passes, $12.50 for two days. For a full list of artists scheduled to perform, see below.

• Casey 3PM Clark
• Dano
• Darude
• Detroit Muscle
• DJ Icey
• DJ Jenna Brown
• Flipside
• Godfather
• Kalendr
• Kenneth Thomas
• Louis Dee & Bam Bam
• Milk & Cookies
• Mixin Marc
• Revolvr
• Scooter & LaVelle

Local artists:
• Adam Ortiz
• Crispin Klemp
• Danimal
• DJ Bash
• DJ Jason Veeder
• DJ Slim Tim
• DJ Xcape
• DJ Elemnt
• Ethan Stevens
• EZ Top
• Greg Knott & Jimmy Coe
• J Tronic
• MattB
• Minor State
• Nesto
• Random Sample
• Richard Oxygenn
• Sonnrize
• SuperDre
• Swoop
• Sylock
• The Drill Team - Antonio Bliss, Lady Reign, McTiji
• Todd Ernst
• Uncle Jesse
• VanHekken
• William VanDyke
• World War Zer0
• Zach Bletz