Infrasound Equinox successfully returned to Harmony Park with a focus on sound system culture and a diverse lineup of neuro-bass.
Infrasound Equinox Music Festival took place the weekend of October 6-9 and it was the first time the event had taken place since 2015. While their spring Infrasound Festival has been happening regularly for 11 years, the Equinox event is a smaller version that has seen around 4,000 attendees come through the doors this year. Word infrasound stands for “sounds below the range of normal human hearing”, and the ubiquitous sub-bass at this event is no less than the name of the festival.
Festival participants enjoyed a beautiful weekend in Harmony Park Musical Garden outside Clarks Grove, Minn.. The venue has been hosting events since the 80s, and the experienced staff and well-organized event layout prove that this venue is no stranger to handling large groups of people. Sound system culture was alive and well at Infrasound Equinox, with each stage featuring a different high-end rig. Between each of the different stages, festival-goers were able to discover the sounds of their favorite artists through HDD, vacuum acousticsand Element 5 platforms.
Getting to Harmony Park Music Garden by car was incredibly easy.
Located minutes from Interstate 35, those traveling to the event did not need to navigate back roads or confusing directions to enter the venue. For those arriving, the nearest commercial airport is, unfortunately, MSP in Minneapolis – St. Paul, located about an hour and a half away. There was no shuttle for festival-goers to take from the airport, and they had to coordinate their journey there and back. Buses from the airport to the area were limited to one Greyhound going from Minneapolis to Albert Lea, making it difficult for those traveling from out of state to get to the festival grounds.
Upon entering the venue, festival attendees go through the entry process with a light vehicle search, ticket/camping card scan and ID check. This was the first event where I had seen more than 21 wristbands given out at the entrance, but it started to make more sense once I observed the security checks inside the festival grounds. Security was posted in restricted-access areas, such as backstage or other production spaces, while roving security and local sheriffs made rounds around the festival to check on attendees. Overall, their presence was not overbearing and likely went unnoticed by many festival-goers.
Camping at Infrasound Equinox was organized and intimate.
Going from the camping areas to the festival grounds, there were no security checkpoints for wristbands, alcohol or, frankly, anything else. Those who bought the walk-in campsite found themselves amidst the chaos of the event, able to set up shop in the wooded areas between the three stages of the central festival ground. Car Camping has been set up just outside the main festival site, still close to the 360º and Pyramid stages and within walking distance of the main stage and sales areas.
Infrasound Equinox operated using three outdoor stages, each with a different high-end sound system.
All three stages hosted sought-after acts over the weekend, and attendees could easily jump between stages to catch all the acts they wanted to see. Even if some of your favorite artists were at the same time, the convenient layout of the festival meant that the commute between them only took a few minutes. As attendees moved from stage to stage, they were greeted by a unique ambience, with sound noticeably absent from other sets. Although the Tree House stage was meant to be the “main” stage of the three, crowded and less crowded crowds rotated between the three stages.
The Tree House served as the main stage and hosted the headliners, the most regular crowds throughout the weekend, and the central hub for food and prop vendors.
As an homage to one of the original Infrasound stages, which was set in an actual treehouse, the design for this stage was a treehouse cut out of the permanent stage structure of Harmony Park. Those performing on stage could be seen through the “window” of the tree house, while the surrounding tree and house were mapped out for visual projection.
The main headliner who performed the Tree House scene was detox unit, who played a Head Nod set during the day on Saturday and a headlining set closing the Tree House main stage on the same day. The other two evenings were headlined by His KOAN on Friday and snakes and stars Thursday, whose sets both closed the Tree House stage on their respective nights. Snakes & Stars debuted in August this year as a new project by Michael Travis, following his retirement from EOTO earlier this year.
Although the visuals projected on the Tree House stage were different throughout the weekend, the most notable presentation was that of Without tenor, who was hired to handle visuals for Detox Unit and other artists who played before him on Saturday. The Tree House stage had the biggest and most complete sound system of the event, an HSD Haymaker Point source and a subwoofer which allowed the participants to really feel the sound environment created by the various artists who took the scene over the weekend.
The Pyramid stage was tucked away in the woods, away from the main traffic areas, and offered a more intimate setting.
The original construction of this stage dates back to the OG Infrasound days and has been well maintained through years of use. It was a real wooden pyramid with a window cut out for the performers to see the crowd and vice versa. There were no visual projections on the stage, but the visceral art painted on the wood of the stage itself was enough for festival-goers to have a visual stimulus. The scene featured a Empty Acoustic Sound System.
This stage was organized for two different label covers, Renraku and Top of the line. During the takeover of Renraku, the artists Aleph and little snake were joined by Bastard and vhsceral for a four-hour takeover at the start of the day. Alexander Panos opened the Upscale Label Takeover with their first performance of the freshly released album Nascent, giving festival-goers a respite from the driving bass sounds of other artists at Infrasound Equinox with their lighter, melodic and vocal music from the freshly released album , Nascent. Followed by hudson lee, Frequentand O-Prime Deltathe Upscale Takeover was one of the weekend’s unique slots.
Those who made it to the 360º stage enjoyed one of the most unique setups festival-goers have probably ever seen.
Inside a repurposed aircraft hangar-like structure, the stage was set up barely above ground level in the center of the room, which was open on both sides. The Element 5 The sound system towered over one end of the crowd, allowing those playing the full sound experience, while the other end of the room was access to enter and exit the space.
The name 360º referred to the DJ setup and was reminiscent of a DEF or Boiler Room set. Visuals were projected using four high-quality projectors onto the curved ceiling of the hanger-style space, covering nearly 180º from end to end, allowing those on the runway to dance to feel fully included in the atmosphere organized for the stage.
Eylxr and Lita Lotus opened the 360º stage for the weekend with great energy as attendees made their way to the festival grounds. This scene was the first everyone saw and heard when entering and projecting sound into the RV area. After Necromancer & Friends played their 3-4 p.m. set, the energy on that stage rarely dropped throughout the weekend. Necromancer himself was among the most energetic performers of the weekend, maintaining his position as MC for the stage for several sets over the three days. Some of the most unforgettable sets that took place on the 360º were His Sicaria, Visuk, Chief Boyarbeatzand the Silent Disco Open Decks which took place nightly.
Every weekend night, the Silent Disco on the 360º stage held open decks for the artists in the lineup, and there was great support between the artists all the time.
Typically, a Silent Disco may not be among the most energetic experiences at a festival. It provides music to those who are still strong after noise ordinances silenced main stages. The Silent Disco Open Decks hosted on 360º break the mold – it was the most amplified late night many of us have probably ever seen!
During the multi-channel Silent Disco, Jack from Ternion Sound even told his channel that one of the others was playing a hot track to rock. On the final night of the festival, three CDJs operated on the headphones’ three different channels with an epic back-to-back, including members of Ternion Sound, Eazybaked, Necromancer and other guest appearances. In contrast, Detox Unit, Resonant Language and other artists kept the hype high, all partying at the center of the 360º set up all night long.
Infrasound Equinox managed to deliver an intimate fall festival that gave everyone a bass music home in the Midwest.
This festival proved that the bass music and dub communities can come together and throw a party and improve overall. Transitions went smoothly throughout the weekend, the energy on stage remained supportive and attendees maintained extreme positivity even in the cold. The crowd was also incredibly supportive of each other, as everyone at the small event was welcoming. Many infrasound veterans would notice many people from different parts of the country, but there was no regional tension. As crazy as things are, common issues with the medical tent were minor cuts and scrapes, and no injuries or overdoses were reported at the event.
Infrasound Equinox should surely return after finding great success in 2022 and continue to emphasize bass music and high fidelity sound. If this is the kind of event you’ve been looking for, add Spring and Fall Festivals to your list for 2023!