Project GLOW Proves Impactful Addition to East Coast Electronic Events Circuit [Review]
by: Rachel Narozniak
May 7, 2022
In November 2020, electronic dance music news outlets wrote a variation of the same title: “Insomniac Events Acquires Club Glow”.
It was a welcome development in a news cycle that had become littered with festival postponements, cancellations and ominous statements about venues’ financial struggles. Plus, it was a business decision that made sense. Since its inception in 1999, Club Glow has earned a reputation for producing well-oiled events of varying scales in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) area. Over the past two decades and more, this has included club nights at DC dance venues Echostage and Soundcheck, as well as Moonrise Festival, held in August in Baltimore at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course. The oldest electronic music event promotion company on the East Coast, Club Glow naturally turned the head of Pasquale Rotella, who wanted to expand Insomniac’s footprint on the coast. When the acquisition was made public, the union’s promise was clear – and the first foundations of the Insomniac East division, to be announced later that month, were in place.
Expectations for a proprietary Club Glow festival have risen; it would be a logical next step for the Glow brand, and with the support of Insomniac, the East Coast had the ingredients for what could be the first electronic music festival held in the nation’s capital. Moonrise Festival and Preakness InfieldFest, also produced by Club Glow, had operated on the fringes of DC, leaving large-scale dance gatherings limited to Echostage and its 3,000-person capacity. At the end of April, that would change.
From April 30 to May 1 at the RFK Festival Grounds in Southeast DC, Insomniac and Club Glow presented the first version of Project GLOW to over 40,000 attendees. It was a benchmark for the Glow brand. But for Glow President and CEO Pete Kalamoutsos, the GLOW project was more than just a business milestone; it was a dream come true after two decades of working towards its realization.
“The GLOW project has been in the works for 20 years. It was my dream as a Washington native to do a festival in DC proper, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to continue growing here,” Kalamoutsos said.
Those sentiments were echoed by Heather Church, VP of Talent and Marketing, who has worked for Glow since she joined the company as a talent buyer in 2014. It’s a reality,” Church said. dancing astronaut.
Insomniac’s creation of its Insomniac East division was seen by many as facilitating the return of Electronic Daisy Carnival New York, which was discontinued in 2017. But the events were largely aimed at the Florida market. Indeed, in 2021, Insomniac brought two dance-focused festivals to Orlando: Abduction 2021 and the house and tech-focused Skyline festival. Both increased Insomniac’s presence in the Florida festival market. Previously, Insomniac’s impact was primarily driven by EDC Orlando, which defaulted to Insomniac’s flagship festival on the East Coast after EDC New York’s demise.
As the DMV, the Tri-State Area, and other parts of the East Coast farther from Florida watched Insomniac ramp up business in the state, Insomniac and Club Glow worked behind the scenes to put the pieces together for the first GLOW project. in place and it will not be the last.
In the hours leading up to Project GLOW’s inaugural run, Insomniac touted “big festival news to come” on the East Coast. A trip to the porta pots of the GLOW project elucidated the nature of this “big festival news”; posters advertising an Oct. 1-2 follow-up in Chester, Pennsylvania were plastered on porta potty doors, highlighting GLOW’s next steps as the weekend begins.
Throughout its two days of production, it has become unmistakably clear that Project GLOW is poised to become one of the East Coast’s most demanded dance festivals. This potential is due to the diversity and caliber of the event’s lineup, which has established itself as one of the least recycled talent rosters in the 2022 electronic festival market. no shortage of “big” names, such as Diplo, Martin Garrix, Seven Lions, and SLANDER, it also boasted a strong undercard, granting well-deserved time to tend decks to up-and-coming talents like Westend and Nostalgix. The inclusion of Project GLOW from James Hype, an English DJ/producer renowned for his live mixes and mashups, was another bright spot in the booking.
A few hiccups are to be expected from any freshman festival, but Project GLOW significantly defied that expectation. Sets went on time with no delays, and neither restrooms, water refill stations, nor vendor booths were burdened with long wait times. The RFK Festival Grounds proved to be a suitable location choice for the GLOW project; there was excess space in the general admission and VIP areas for the approximately 50,000 festival attendees.
Production-wise, Insomniac’s keys were clear. The festival’s Pulse and Eternal stages celebrated the falls with large pyrotechnic displays inspired by the Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas (see video below). Sound, known to vary in volume and quality from festival to festival, also scored high marks for the first edition of the event. The sound was crisp, clear and notably carried to the back of the crowd, making the choice to listen to the periphery a choice that was not a compromise.
It’s currently unknown if Project GLOW will continue to host two separate installments in different cities (DC and Chester) as it evolves, or if Insomniac and Glow are testing both locations to find the best fit. Information on GLOW’s follow-up to Subaru Park is currently limited to its dates and location, though the lineup will likely be available soon.
Overall, the immediate announcement by Insomniac and Club Glow of a secondary tranche of GLOW bodes well for the development of the Mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast festival market, where exclusive festival options at dance have stagnated in recent years. The mid-Atlantic region, including New York (NY), New Jersey, Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware, Maryland (MD), Virginia, and West Virginia, is known for Camp Bisco (PA ), Moonrise Festival (MD), Infield Festival (MD), Electric Zoo (NY), HiJinx Festival (PA) and Elements Music & Arts Festival (PA). While these annual events have been embraced by the area’s electronic dance community, new dance-specific festivals have been rare in this market, making Project GLOW a welcome addition. And with Insomniac and Club Glow gearing up for the return of the Moonrise Festival from August 6-7, the value of the Insomniac/Glow collaboration is poised to materialize not only in the advent of new festivals, but also in elevating of an existing event on the East Coast.
Featured Image: Ivan Meneses
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