Global Dance Festival Arizona: A Guide to Saturday's Event at Rawhide

What makes an electronic music festival a memorable one? The lineup’s typically the biggest thing, as are such factors as production value, execution, the energy level of the crowd, and (of course) the quality of the actual performances.

There’s also something to be said for the location itself, which can help add something extra to the experience, particuarly if its unique, and help the event stand out from any of the hundreds of other EDM extravaganza around the world. To wit: there’s Dimensions Festival, which takes place at an 18th century fort in Croatia or Day Zero, an all-night rager within the Mayan ruins of Tulum outside of Cancun, Mexico.

And then there’s the Valley’s own Global Dance Festival Arizona, which utilizes the kitschy setting of Rawhide Western Town in Chandler.

DJs mix with duded-up cowboys at the annual event as a nonstop soundtrack of beats and bass are unleashed from three different stages that are located among the theme park’s old-timey structures.

It certainly made for a fun atmosphere at last year's edition of the festival and will likely to the same at this year's event, which takes place on Saturday, November 19, and features such artists as Bassnectar, Nero, Galantis, Alison Wonderland, Cedric Gervais, Datsik, Herobust, Lee Foss, Louis the Child, Mat Zo, Valentino Khan, and Cheat Codes, and Gina Turner.

Here's what else you can expect to encounter at the event.

When and Where: Global Dance Festival Arizona takes place on Saturday, November 19, at Rawhide Western Town and Event Center, 5700 N. West Loop Road in Chandler. Gates open at 3 p.m. and the party rages until 2 a.m.

Prices: General admission for the festival is $79-$89. If you’d like to party in style, VIP tickets (which include a two free drinks, catered food, access to a private deck and viewing area, and a commemorative lanyard) are $149-$179.

Table packages are available for big ballers and go from $850 to $2,150 and include a variety of posh perks and seating for multiple people. (Full details can be found here.)

Lineup: The array of DJs, producers and EDM artists scheduled to perform at the festival include Bassnectar, Nero, Galantis, Alison Wonderland, Cedric Gervais, Datsik, Herobust, Lee Foss, Louis The Child, Mat Zo, Valentino Khan, Arius, Cheat Codes, Gina Turner, Golf Clap, Jack Lndn, Joyryde, Lee K, Louis Futon, Mat.Joe, Prok & Fitch, and others.

Getting There: Hop onto the eastbound Interstate 10 and take it to Exit 162 and head towards the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Eventually, you'll want to turn onto Sundust Road and follow the various signs that will guide you to the parking lot.

Parking: It’s $10 per vehicle.

Age Limits: 18-and-over to attend, 21-and-over to drink.

Food and Drink: If you get hungry or thirsty, the Western Town will feature a pizza tavern and a few food vendors, as well as a couple of bars and free water stations.

Bring: A valid ID, hoodie or jacket, and comfy footwear are pretty much a necessity for the festival. In regards to what’s permitted into the event, fanny packs or small backs, empty water bottles or bladder systems, festival totems, inflatable toys, banners, flags, hats, glow toys, flow toys, and costumes are all allowed. And if you’re going to be jonesing for nicotine, cigarettes are okay (as long as the packs are sealed upon entry), as are e-cigs and vaporizers (provided you’re using those without refillable chambers filled with visible juice).

Don’t Bring: Drugs or related paraphernalia, pets or animals, lasers, weapons, projectiles, blankets, outside food or beverages, stickers, or eye drops. Pre-opened cigarette packs, cosmetics, or tampons aren’t allowed either. And while sporting a Native American headdress was pretty popular during Halloween, it won’t be permitted at the festival, bro.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.