Moonrise Festival Marks Success for the Club Glow and Insomniac Partnership
Tania Hauyon for Insomniac Events
The mission to bring Moonrise Festival back from a three-year hiatus was accomplished – in a truly stellar way. Hanging, life-size orange astronauts greeted attendees who entered Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on August 6 and 7. An iconic Lunar Stage featured panels with phases of the moon. The production set a galactic backdrop for a rock-solid lineup. Indeed, the stars aligned for Moonrise’s spectacular return – but it wasn’t by pure chance.
The biggest dance music event in the mid-Atlantic region reignited under the wing of Club Glow and Insomniac, which together recently acquired a majority stake in the festival. Asked if the acquisition was what made the legacy festival’s revival possible, Club Glow President and CEO Pete Kalamoutsos said, “Yes, absolutely!”
“This year, we (Insomniac and Club Glow) announced our acquisition of Moonrise and our fans got to experience the stellar production Insomniac is known for in large-scale entertainment events, including the world’s largest dance music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival,” said Kalamoutsos.
Cristian Beriguette for Insomniac Events
Moonrise wasn’t a scaled-down version of EDC, or a knockoff of other Insomniac events. Instead, organizers preserved its identity while enhancing its character. The stages in the past were big but bland. This year’s Lunar Stage was the most original and creative – a blueprint for the opposite-facing Stellar Stage, which had a more typical main stage look. Situated in between, the Solar Tent was big enough to shelter many festivalgoers from the afternoon heat.
“The production and art installations were taken to new heights this year,” Kalamoutsos said. “It was our biggest event to date!”
Since launching in 2014, Moonrise has been called one of the East Coast's best and most diverse music festivals. It has attracted some of the most prominent artists in the industry and drawn 35,000 visitors daily “with its eclectic mix of acts from all corners of dance music, from bass and dubstep to house and electronica,” Kalamoutsos noted.
Preet Mandavia for Insomniac Events
On day one, Zedd energetically headlined the Stellar Stage and Rezz closed the Lunar Stage with her hard bass drops. Chris Lake finished the Solar Tent off with a masterful house set. Other favorites were Fisher and RL Grime b2b Baauer.
Day two saw a sunset performance by Porter Robinson’s alter-ego Air2Earth, future house maestro Don Diablo and the legend Tiësto at the Stellar Stage. As the moon rose, bass fans headbanged to Subtronics, Zeds Dead, and Excision on the Lunar Stage. House heads grooved to Dom Dolla and Tchami to wrap up a busy weekend in the Solar Tent.
Preet Mandavia for Insomniac Events
Beyond the music, attendees cooled down in AC domes with stimulating visuals. Moonwalk Road had several space-themed art installations, and the vendor village hosted a meet-and-greet with Lucii that was announced on social media. VIP sections were well-maintained, and operations throughout the festival ran smoothly, for what organizers considered a grand success?
“Yes!” said Kalamoutsos. “We sold out and are already looking forward to 2023.”
It has been nothing short of a journey for Moonrise, which filled the void of a previous, troubled festival in Baltimore. Starscape's 14-year run snapped in 2012 over drug overdoses and safety issues. From its inaugural year, Moonrise grew to offer three days for the first time in 2020 – but was canceled as all other events were due to Covid.
Last year, as most festivals recovered, the Moonrise fanbase looked for updates. Radio silence. It left into question whether Moonrise would ever return. This year’s edition proved that Moonrise is on an upward trajectory
Jordan Sabillo for Insomniac Events
“It was clear that our fans were excited to be back IRL. Our last production was in 2019, so everyone was happy to dance and celebrate together,” Kalamoutsos said. “We're excited to continuously take Moonrise to the next level with the Insomniac family!”