Here's Everything You Need to Know About Dirty Disco 2017 This Weekend

Patrons of last year's Dirty Disco.
Patrons of last year's Dirty Disco. Benjamin Leatherman
Dirty Disco has never forgotten its roots as a rave.

Sure, the annual electronic dance music event, which started out as a “renegade desert party” back in 2010, may have transformed into a festival-like affair over the past few years (complete with an enormous stage, a huge lineup of DJs and producers, and thousands in attendance) but according to promoter Sam Groove, it still maintains its gritty vibe and underground verve.

“As we've grown larger and turned into a festival-style event, we've tried to keep that desert party feel,” he says. "We just want to keep things as raw and dirty as possible."

Hence the reason why raver gear like kandi and LED gloves are not only allowed, but encouraged at Dirty Disco 2017, which takes place on Saturday, May 20, at Rawhide in Chandler. Not only that, but the sound system will be blasting psy-trance, drum ‘n’ bass, hardstyle, and other rave-friendly genres.

And, as is the norm for any Dirty Disco party, there will be plenty of fire artistry taking place and an actual mirror ball hanging over the stage. And unlike most EDM festivals, there isn’t a VIP section. “What I've been telling everybody is that we don't want any sort of separation,” Groove says. “We want everyone to get dirty together.”

And that’s likely to happen, as the party takes place in the middle of Rawhide’s outdoor Rodeo Arena. Groove is also promising that this year’s Dirty Disco will be an even bigger production, with a slew of art installations.

“Overall, our production is going to be bigger than the last couple of years,” he says. “Our goal is to kind of change the way people look at these events and experience them. So there's going to be more than just the stage when you show up. There's more to look at and more to experience.”

click to enlarge Yes, there will be fire at Dirty Disco. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Yes, there will be fire at Dirty Disco.
Benjamin Leatherman
And there will be plenty of fire, including local poi dancers showing off their artistry. “Last year, we had a fenced-off pit in the middle of the Rodeo Arena where we had our fire spinners perform,” Groove says. “And now, there's going to be more than just the fire pit.”

There’s also going to be pyrotechnic effects onstage that will shoot enormous jets of flame, which has become a hallmark of Dirty Disco.

"We've got over 450 pounds of propane coming in,” Groove says. It's pretty heavy-duty."

Right on. Hank Hill will be pleased, as will any Dirty Disco regular who digs all the pyro.

Dirty Disco's lineup has also leveled up for 2017 and will include sets by Berg, Code Black, Jordan Suckley, Jvst Say Yes, Dubloadz, The Prototypes, and Squnto, as well as locals like Brook B and rave scene stalwart Matt Dunn.

"We want to keep it as rave as possible,” Groove says. "When I created this party, it was all just about having fun and having a good vibe. And that's really what's most important.”

What else can you expect to encounter at Dirty Disco? Check out the following guide we’ve assembled that covers everything you need to know, including what to bring.

click to enlarge Patrons of last year's Dirty Disco at Rawhide. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Patrons of last year's Dirty Disco at Rawhide.
Benjamin Leatherman
When and Where: Dirty Disco 2017 will take place on Saturday, May 20, within the Rodeo Arena at Rawhide, 5700 West North Loop Road in Chandler. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the event goes until 3 a.m.

Prices: Tickets are currently $60 per person.

Age Limits: It’s an 18-and-over event, and you have to be at least 21 to drink.

Lineup: According to Groove, each of the DJs and EDM artists peforming Dirty Disco will differ in the sounds they will be spinning. “It's always a diverse genre lineup,” he says. “For the most part, it won’t be just one genre throughout the night.”

Code Black, for instance, will drop hard dance, while Jordan Suckley does the trance thing, Jvst Say Yes will be all about electro-house, Berg will spin psy-trance, and The Prototypes will blast drum ‘n’ bass. Dubloadz and Squnto will also have plenty of dubstep going, Brook B will do the techno thing, Matt Dunn will play bounce, and Groove will have some breaks going.

Getting There: Rawhide is located a short distance from Interstate 10 in the southwest part of Chandler. Take Interstate 10 to Exit 162 and head west on Wild Horse Pass Boulevard. Watch for the signs that will direct you to the venue.

Local company MVMNT Entertainment will also offer party buses to and from the event that will depart from Gringo-Star Street Bar in Tempe. Pre-gaming starts at 4:30 p.m., pick up is at 5:30 p.m., and it's $20 to $40 to ride.

Parking: It costs $10 per vehicle to park at Rawhide.

Weather: It will still be warm when Dirty Disco gets going in the early evening (temperatures will be in the 90s), but should cool off considerably as the event progresses. Bring a hoodie or one of those furry headdress things just in case.

We recommend drinking it often, particularly if you’re going to be dancing throughout the event. There will be a free water station and Groove says that CamelBak-style hydration packs and metal water bottles are okay to bring in, but only if both are empty upon entry. "It's one of the things we have available for our patrons to stay safe, stay hydrated, and have a good night," he says.

Food and Drink: Not only will Dirty Disco offer food vendors, there will be a "specific steampunk, Mad Max-themed dining area” with tables and seating. Multiple bars and alcohol booths will also be available for those of legal age to get their drink on.

Don't forget your LED gloves. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Don't forget your LED gloves.
Benjamin Leatherman
Bring: Given the amount of dust and dirt that will be kicked up during the event, consider wearing an outfit and shoes that you don’t mind getting messy. “You'll want to avoid wearing your nicest clothes. If you've got any Hugo Boss attire, you probably should leave that at home,” Groove says. “But, most importantly, you want to be comfortable and dress however you’d like.” Dust masks and bandannas are also encouraged due to all the dirt that will be in the air, particularly if you’re susceptible to breathing issues.

And, as we mentioned, rave gear is permitted. “Kandi is cool. Same thing with your LED gloves, your hula-hoops, flow toys, masks ... pretty much anything,” Groove says. “We don't restrict those sort of things.” As a matter of fact, there will be an entire area devoted to people offering light shows. "They're even reserving part of the Rodeo Arena's grandstand seating for that,” he says. "We're actually going to be holding a special section specifically for the [LED] glovers called 'Glover's Delight' where they can sit down and trade light shots and display their art form."

Festival totems are also allowed, provided you keep ‘em under 10 feet in height and use lightweight materials like pool noodles or PVC pipe. Other than that, essentials like your ID, small bags, sunglasses, and sealed lip balm are all okay to bring into the event, as are cigarettes both analog and electronic. "Yes, you can bring in your modified vaporizer," Groove says. "The juice will have to be sealed, though."

As always, earplugs are also a good idea at any EDM festival.

Don't Bring: Obviously, any sort of illegal substances or drug paraphernalia, outside food and drink, and opened packs of cigarettes or tampons. Laser pointers, weapons (toy versions or otherwise), chain wallets, spiked accessories, or any item considered to be dangerous is also verboten. "Generally, if it's going to hurt somebody, we're not going to let it in,” Groove says.

Pre-Party and After-Party: Groove says there will be a Dirty Disco pre-party at the Nile Theater in Mesa on Thursday, May 18, starting at 8 p.m., with headliners Phase One and Boogie T. Tickets to the 18-plus event is $15 in advance, $20 at the door. A "recovery party" will take place on Sunday, May 21, in the 100 Proof Lounge at Wasted Grain in Scottsdale. Doors open at 9 p.m., it's a 21-and-over event, and there's no cover.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.