Wet Electric 2016: A Field Guide to Saturday's Event at Big Surf in Tempe

Swimsuit-clad EDM fans at last year's Wet Electric in Tempe.EXPAND
Swimsuit-clad EDM fans at last year's Wet Electric in Tempe.
Benjamin Leatherman

Pool parties have become a major hallmark of the warmer months here in the Valley. So much so that it seems like every weekend during the spring and summer features a stylish poolside bacchanal of drinks, dancing, and DJs happening somewhere in either Phoenix or Scottsdale.

And then there's Wet Electric, the daylong electronic dance music festival that amps up the pool party concept to unbelievable levels by taking over an entire water park – specifically Big Surf in Tempe – and bringing in a stellar array of DJs and dance music artists, and attracting a rowdy crowd of thousands of revelers clad in bikinis, boardshorts, and bathing suits who are eager to dance, drink, and rage.

Such will be the case at this year’s edition of Wet Electric 2016, which will take place on Saturday, April 30, and transform the Tempe waterpark into an ultra-colorful dance fiesta with EDM superstars performing on an enormous stage perched in the middle of Big Surf’s 2.5-million-gallon wave pool with thousands watching (and dancing along) from the water.

The main stage at last year's Wet Electric.
The main stage at last year's Wet Electric.
Benjamin Leatherman

When and Where: Wet Electric will take place on Saturday, April 30, at Big Surf Waterpark, 1500 North McClintock Drive in Tempe. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the festival goes until 9 p.m.

Prices: General admission to the festival is $75, which will get you entry to the park and access to all of the waterslides and attractions that will be open. If you wanna roll like a boss, however, VIP tickets are $125 and feature such bonuses as priority entry, a souvenir lanyard, and a private viewing area with better seating, a private restroom, and its own bar. (Note: there is no re-entry available at the festival, so make sure you've got everything you need before heading inside.)

Cabana, bottle service, and high-end packages are also available for those eager to attend in style, but you’ll have to contact the festival staff to set that up.

Age Limits: Anyone 18 or over can attend Wet Electric, while those 21 and over can drink.

Getting There: Big Surf is on McClintock Drive just north of the Loop 202 in Tempe. The closest light rail station is almost two miles away, so your easiest option is to drive. Parking is available at the park, albeit for $10 per car.

Weather: You couldn’t ask for a better day to be at either a waterpark of an outdoor EDM festival, since it will be sunny on Saturday with temperatures around 80 degrees. 

Wet Electric headliners Dada Life.EXPAND
Wet Electric headliners Dada Life.
Martin Adolfsson

Lineup: If you’re big on either electro-house, trap music, or even moombahcore, the roster of DJs and artists scheduled to perform at Wet Electric likely have something that will get you moving. Headliners include Dada Life, 3LAU, Bro Safari, Destructo, Wiwek, and Brandon Scott. Meanwhile, locals like Laffit Rivas, DJ Lujan, Nathan Reeser, Nuck 'n' Futz, and Shmitty will also be in the mix at the festival.

Food and Drinks: Big Surf’s concession stand will be open for business during Wet Electric with pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks, and similar options. A full-service bar stocked with libations will also be available.

Vendors: An array of vendors stocked will be set up at the park, each offering a variety of festival-friendly items like sunglasses, swimwear, T-shirts, and other apparel for sale.

This is how you gear up for a pool party.EXPAND
This is how you gear up for a pool party.
Benjamin Leatherman

Upcoming Events

Bring: Since it’s an all-day music festival, you’ll want to have your ID, sunglasses, earplugs, and cell phone handy. And since it’s at a waterpark, don’t forget to bring your beach towel, hats, some sunscreen, and even an inflatable pool toy or two to enjoy all the fun in the sun. (Note: sunscreen can only be in bottles that are three ounces or less, and any toys must be deflated upon entry.) As is the norm as most festivals, sealed ChapStick and packs of cigarettes are permitted, as are banners or handmade signs, and fanny packs or small bags.

Those who need somewhere to stash their stuff during the festival can rent lockers for $15 each.

Don’t Bring: Leave the LED gloves, pacifiers, and masks at home, since all three won’t be allowed at Wet Electric. Ditto for illegal substances or drug paraphernalia, weapons, outside food or drink, Camelbak-style water bladder systems, oversized bags, coolers, eyedrops, and anything else potentially dangerous or distracting. It also goes without saying that any swimwear worn at the festival has to cover all of your naughty bits.

After-Party: If you didn’t get enough of Destructo’s brand of hard-charging EDM (or enough raging in general), the DJ/producer will headline the afternoon-long Wet Electric Recovery Party at Shady Park in Tempe on Sunday, May 1. You won’t be able to sport the same sort of swimwear you did at Big Surf (since the bar is one of those “no shoes, no shirt, no service” kind of places) but you can definitely get rowdy like you did during the festival. The party starts at noon. Admission info can be found here.


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