Local electronic dance music event promoter Thomas Turner admits there’s a long road to travel before concerts and festivals get back to normal, and there will be many potholes along the way.
He’s experienced a few recently while putting together this weekend’s Park N Rave at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Chandler. Turner’s company, Relentless Beats, is co-promoting the drive-in EDM festival, which takes place on Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, and will be headlined by DJ/producer Seven Lions. Attendees will be required to maintain social distancing and other safety rules at the event.
Turner says the company has dealt with numerous issues with getting Park N Rave into gear. Its original date in early June was postponed because of local protests over police violence and Arizona’s curfew. The recent exponential spike in COVID-19 cases statewide also caused Relentless Beats to consider canceling the event earlier this week.
After speaking with Insomniac Events, the Southern California-based company that’s co-promoting Park N Rave, and adding extra safety precautions to the event, Turner says Relentless Beats is going forward with the festival.
“It’s been difficult, but we’re trying to overcome all these bumps and hold an event where we have [rules] in place to keep people as safe as possible,” Turner says. “We're telling people this is an event where social distancing is very important and how everybody should work together and follow the rules to not risk anyone’s health.”
Cars will each be parked in individual 27-by-28-foot spaces with a maximum of five passengers being allowed. Performances will take place on a large stage separated from the audience with music playing over a P.A. system. Attendees must stay with their vehicles (except when using restrooms) and maintain social distancing from other groups.
The setup is similar to Road Rave, a two-night drive-in festival Relentless Beats put on last month at Wild Horse Motorsports Park. This time, though, there will be additional rules in place, including requiring attendees to wear masks at all times.
“Our [staff] will have them, security will have them, and everyone else going will have to wear one,” Turner says. “We really can't have anyone without masks and creating an unsafe environment. It’s just where we’re at right now.”
Turner says the rule is now required by the Gila Indian River Community, the Native American reservation where the venue is located. On June 18, Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis issued an executive order making protective face coverings mandatory on tribal lands.
Turner says security and Relentless Beats staff will patrol the event to ensure everyone’s following the rules, including wearing masks.
“Some people may complain that they're tough to breathe through, sometimes people will take them off, but we'll have [staff and security] asking them to put them back on,” he says. “You’ve got to be really mindful of everybody else's safety here so it can be a fun event where people can enjoy themselves without worrying about [COVID-19].”
That’s one of the purposes of the festival, Turner says.
“We’re trying to give people something they can enjoy, help them feel somewhat normal, and provide some optimism, which is something that's hard to come by,” he says. “We're at a point where COVID-19 isn't going to be over anytime soon and we all need to learn how to function safely while still living our lives. [Park N Rave] is something where people can do both.”
If you’re curious about what else is in store for Park N Rave, check out the following guide we’ve put together with everything you need to know about the event, including all of its rules.
When and Where Is This Weekend’s Park N Rave Event?
It takes place on Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, on the grounds of Wild Horse Motorsports Park, 20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler. Gates are at 6:30 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. both nights.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend?
Tickets for Saturday are already sold out. Admission for Friday varies depending on how far you’d like to be from the stage. It’s $275 per vehicle to park in the middle lot, $395 per vehicle for rows four through six, and $575 for the front row (service fees will also be charged and range from $48.50 to $93.50). Each vehicle can have a maximum of five passengers and each additional person will have to buy a separate ticket.
How Do I Get There?
Take Interstate 10 to Exit 162 (Wild Horse Pass Road/Sundust Road) and then head west. There will be signs with directions to the park and staff to guide you the rest of the way.
Will There Be Rideshare or Party Buses?
Nope. Neither will be available.
When Should I Arrive?
It’s recommended that attendees show up at least 45 minutes or more before the event to allow the staff time to get every vehicle parked in their particular space.
Are There Age Limits?
The event is only open to those 18 or older.
What’s the Lineup for Each Night?
Seven Lions will headline both nights of the event with support from Drezo and Wooli. Other EDM artists will be announced in the next day or two. Set times have not been posted as of yet.
What Will It Be Like Getting Into the Event?
Your ticket will be scanned by the Relentless Beats staff through your car window at the entrance to the event. Security will then screen each vehicle with dogs trained to sniff out drugs, weapons, or other contraband items. You'll then be directed to your reserved space and park your vehicle.
What's the Weather Going to Be Like?
It’s late June in the Valley, so it will be hot. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s when gates open, with things cooling off throughout the evening. Keep your windows rolled down since performances will play over an amplified sound system.
How Large Is Each Space?
According to Relentless Beats, each vehicle will have a 27-by-28-foot space. “They're pretty big,” Turner says. “You can fit an entire car or van in each space and have another 15 to 20 feet left over.”
Will I Be Able to Get Out of My Vehicle?
Yes, but you’ll have to follow the rules and maintain social distancing. It’s cool if you’d like to get out of your cars, stretch your legs, dance, or use the restroom. Just refrain from interacting closely with people in other spaces or outside your party. “Each individual space is set up for you and your group only,” Turner says. “You've made a decision to spend time with those people, make sure they're safe, make sure they've been safe, and we’re asking you to be smart and keep your distance at the event.” Security and staff will also be monitoring the situation throughout the evening to ensure attendees are following social distancing rules.
Do I Have to Wear a Mask at Road Rave?
Yes. As we mentioned, they’re mandated by the Gila River Indian Community. Turner says that wearing face coverings at an EDM event (including bandannas and dust masks) hasn’t been much of an issue over the past several years. “It's pretty common at festivals and doesn’t seem like it's been a problem for our community before,” he says. “Sometimes people will take them off, but we'll have [staff and security] asking them to have them on at all times.”
You won't be able to get away with masks made from kandi (those colorful, plastic pony beads used by EDM fans for jewelry and other items), though, since they offer little protection from COVID-19.
What Is the Restroom Situation Going to Be Like?
Portable toilets and hand-washing stations will be available at the end of each row of spaces. “They way it’s set up, you'll be sharing them only with people on your side of your row,” Turner says. “So there's a limited amount of people you will see going to the bathrooms or using them.” Staff will also be “sanitizing them regularly” throughout the evening and attendees will be required to maintain social distancing while waiting.
Will There Be Food and Drink Available?
Yes. You can hit up the Relentless Beats site to purchase concessions at the event, which will be delivered directly to cars. You’ll also be allowed to bring outside food and drink into Park N Rave, including alcohol if you’re over the age of 21 (no alcohol will be sold at the event, however).
Can I Leave Early?
Yes, but make sure you’re really ready to go, as re-entry won’t be allowed. Once you're gone, you're gone.
What Can I Bring Into the Event?
Besides outside food and drink, you can have coolers, lawn chairs, lighters, cigarettes, flashlights, and blankets. Relentless Beats is also encouraging people to dress in costume (glowing or otherwise) and bring items like flags, banners under 6 feet in height, and stuff to decorate your vehicle or spaces.
Okay, What Can’t I Bring?
No weapons, fireworks, pepper spray, laser pointers, or other potentially dangerous items will be allowed. Drugs and related paraphernalia are also banned. And although food and alcohol are both okay, both cooking fires and kegs will be against the rules. Beyond that, Relentless Beats says that inflatable items, tents, drones, and spiked jewelry should also be left at home.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.