Mad Decent Block Party 2015: A Field Guide to Friday's Event in Chandler

While he doesn't possess neither a stovepipe hat nor a bullwhip, esteemed dance music king Diplo is most certainly a ringmaster of the highest order. After all, he's spent the last few years overseeing one of the larger and more vibrant circuses in the EDM world – namely, the Mad Decent Block Party. Packing just as many thrills, spectacle, and hype as any production put together by the fabled P.T. Barnum, the dance music festival offers an action-packed night of raging that's all color, energy, and sound.

As with previous versions of the event, which debuted as a series of block parties ion the east coast back in the aughts and has since expanded into a annual summertime tour, the varying lineups in each city are curated by Diplo himself and feature many artists, DJ, and acts associated with his Mad Decent label.

For instance, the Phoenix version of the event on Friday, September 18, at Rawhide in Chandler will include both Mad Decent cohorts and collaborators like Dillon Francis, as well as such performers as Oliver Heldens, What So Not, Yellow Claw, Post Malone, and Thomas Jack. Diplo's rampantly popular side project Major Lazer will also be a major part of the event.

And when the MDBP rolls into Rawhide this weekend, you'll definitely want to be prepared. As such, we've assembled a field guide for the event with all the information you'll need.

This year’s block party stop runs from 5 p.m. until midnight at Rawhide Western Park, 5700 West North Loop Road in Chandler. 

Price: General admission tickets are currently $53 online via Relentless Beats or in-person at any Zia Records locations. VIP packages (which feature priority entry into the party, a commemorative lanyard, and access to premium viewing areas) are $78.

Age Limits: The party is open to anyone who’s 18 years or older. Those who are 21-and-over can (naturally) partake in any of the bars and alcohol vendors. 

The Lineup: Dillon Francis and Major Lazer are ostensibly the headliners for the Phoenix stop, while the rest of the lineup includes Oliver Heldens, Post Malone, Thomas Jack, What So Not, Yellow Claw, and local turntablism guru Pickster One.

Getting There: Rawhide is situated off of Interstate 10 near the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler, so your best bet is either driving yourself or carpooling with friends. No matter where you're coming from in the Valley, you'll want to get to the I-10 East and take Exit 162 for Wild Horse Pass Boulevard. Head west from there and follow the signs to Rawhide. Parking will be available, albeit for a certain cost.

Weather: As you might expect, it's going to be sunny and plenty warm during the event. Temperatures will be around 95 degrees when things get going at 5:30 p.m. but will (thankfully) get a bit cooler as the night wears on and drop to the mid-70s by the end of the night.

Food and Drink:
As with last year's block party, expect a slew of food and drink vendors offer eats of the casual variety (read: hamburgers, barbecue, and other fast food). Both soft drinks and adult beverages can also be purchased.

Water: Keeping hydrated will be a must, given the heat and activity level, so be sure to make use of the free water stations that will be available. If you've got a CamelBak-style water bladder systems, it will be permitted into the event, provided if they are empty upon entry and are "capable of being removed from the carrier and transparent enough to allow security to visually inspect the empty bladder." Same goes for water bottles or containers, which must be empty at the time you enter and are subject to inspection. 
Bring: Your ID, some cash, sunglasses and hats, small bottles of sunscreen, and a small fanny pack or bag to hold it all. Lighters are okay, as are sealed packs of cigarettes. Ditto for sealed tampons, gum, and chapstick.

Don't Bring: Last year's edition of the Mad Decent Block Party attracted a ton of drama when a number of colorful EDM accessories from the event popular among the raver crowd – including kandi jewelry, pacifiers, masks, stuffed animals, and LED gloves – were forbidden from being brought into the event. If you were one of those who were flummoxed and frustrated by such items being considered verboten, the bad news is that the ban is in affect during this year's tour. In other words, leave any of the aforementioned items at home if you don't want them taken away by security.

The same goes for large bags or purses, focused light beam contraptions (a.k.a. laser pens) totems or flagpoles of any kind, water guns, selfie sticks, e-cigs or vapor pens, markers or spray paint, open packs of cigarettes or tampons, wallet chain, and any sort of weapon or other item meant to disturb the peace or inflict harm upon yourself or anyone else. Obviously, drugs or illegal substances are also taboo.

Schedule: Let's admit it, you're gonna be at the block party for music, right? And if you're r the act will be onstage for 90 minutes during its headlining set. Here's a rundown of who's performing and when at the party.

5:00 p.m.: Gates open
5:00 - 5:30 p.m.: Pickster One
5:30 - 5:50 p.m.: Post Malone
5:50 - 6:40 p.m.: Thomas Jack
6:40 - 7:30 p.m.: What So Not
7:30 - 8:20 p.m.: Oliver Heldens
8:20 - 9:10 p.m.: Yellow Claw
9:10 - 10:00 p.m.: Dillon Francis
10:00 - 11:30 p.m.: Major Lazer

After-Parties: Sam Feldt's gig at Urbane Manner in Scottsdale on Friday night will serve as the official after-party. Admission is $10 in advance via Relentless Beats.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.