Here's Everything You Need to Know About Phoenix Lights 2017

Some of the visitors, extraterrestrial and otherwise, to last year's Phoenix Lights festival.
Some of the visitors, extraterrestrial and otherwise, to last year's Phoenix Lights festival. Benjamin Leatherman
Thomas Turner believes that we ain’t alone in the universe. Given the vast enormity of the universe, the local electronic dance music promoter thinks there’s a good chance that extraterrestrials exist somewhere out in the cosmos.

“I feel like there's so many planets that there’s got to be something out there,” he says. “I'm definitely not a doubter.”

Turner also believes in another out-there notion that might seem a bit, well, alien to some folks: the idea that Phoenix is becoming a premier destination for DJs and dance music.

Despite our longstanding reputation for playing second fiddle to cities like Las Vegas or LA, Turner feels like the PHX is growing into a major hub for EDM. (And he would know, considering the fact that his company, Relentless Beats, is helping make that happen via all the festivals and club events it produces and promotes around town each year.)

“I believe in Phoenix’s EDM scene so much,” Turner says. “And it keeps getting bigger. All the feedback and enthusiam we get from the people attending our events is really strong and it keeps growing.”

As do the events themselves, like the ever-expanding Phoenix Lights festival. The extraterrestrial-themed EDM extravaganza, which was inspired by the legendary local UFO sighting from 1997, has taken place the last two years and featured an increasing number of DJs and dance music fans. It returns this weekend for a close encounter of the third kind and will be larger than ever.

According to Turner, they’ve upped the number of performers, added a third stage, and extended the hours for this year’s edition of Phoenix Lights, which takes place on Saturday, April 8, and Sunday, April 9, at Margaret T. Hance Park Rawhide Event Center in Chandler.

(Update: Due to last-minute "logistical hurdles” with Hance Park, the festival has been moved to Rawhide. Pretty much everything else about the event will remain the same, including its schedule, set times, and lineup. See below for additional details.)

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Take us to your leader.
Benjamin Leatherman
As a result, more than 50 different dance music DJs, producers, and acts, as well as a few hip-hop artists, will perform across three different stages over two days. The lineup includes Above & Beyond, Keys N Krates, Tiësto, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Bro Safari, Zeds Dead, Pete Tong, Felix Da Housecat, Vince Staples, Tchami, 21 Savage, Cashmere Cat, Loudpvck, and Illenium. A few local DJs will also be in the mix, such as Bijou and Pickster One.

“We're producing a much better event with a lot more depth to it and the added value of 20 more artists on the lineup than last year,” Turner says. “That's enough to sustain an entire festival, so its like we added a festival within a festival.”

And just like in years past, Phoenix Lights 2017 will mix UFOs with EDM, including having a few custom-designed displays resembling alien spacecraft. There will even be one resembling the triangular starship that appeared over the Valley 20 years ago. "The festival is something that identifies with our city and is a fun way to play off something that happened a long time ago," Turner says. "We built some custom-designed art pieces to put at the [event], like one that looks like a Phoenix Lights triangle spaceship that has crashed."

You can inspect the wreckage for yourself, or see if there are any aliens afoot, while soaking up the beats all weekend.

What else will you encounter at this year's festival? Check our our comprehensive guide to Phoenix Lights 2017, which boasts everything you need to know before heading out to the event.

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Colorful beings of every variety will be at Phoenix Lights.
Benjamin Leatherman
When and Where: Phoenix Lights 2017 touches down on Saturday, April 8, and Sunday, April 9, at Rawhide Event Center in Chandler. Gates open at noon each day, and the festival goes until 11 p.m.

Prices: General admission is $99 on Saturday, $79 on Sunday, and $159 for a weekend pass. If you’d rather party like a boss, VIP tickets are $179-$189 per day or $349 for the entire event and include express entry, two complimentary drinks, access to the private viewing deck, hors d’oeuvres and other eats, and a souvenir lanyard. Table and posh seating packages are also available for $500 to $2,500.

Age Limits: Any carbon-based lifeform that's 18 years or older can attend. You have to be 21 to drink, however.

Who's Performing: As we said, this year's lineup is stacked. Saturday will feature Above & Beyond, Keys N Krates, Tiësto, Bro Safari, Zeds Dead, Pete Tong, Asadi, Codeko, Illenium, Dr. Fresch, Low Steppa, Shaun Frank, Josh Wink, Hucci, Sirus Hood, Tiga, Ekali, Sacha Robotti, Jax Jones, Wingtip, Vindata, Said the Sky, Bijou, and others.

The following day is just as packed with a slate that includes Alesso, Cashmere Cat, STS9, Crizzly, Oliver Heldens, Thomas Jack, Griz, Vince Staples, 21 Savage, Tokimonsta, Billy Kenny, ZHU, Lane 8, Coyu, Ganja White Night, Pig and Dan, Go Freek, Unlike Pluto, Helena Legend, Justin Martin, K?D, The Knocks, Manila Killa and Viceroy.

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Sound Tribe Sector 9
Courtesy of MSO PR
Getting There: 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.

In light of the venue change, Relentless Beats will offer free shuttle service between Hance Park and Rawhide throughout Saturday and Sunday to accommodate any festival attendees who had hotel reservations in downtown Phoenix. Pickups will be made at First and Moreland streets starting at 11:30 a.m. each day.

Parking: It will be free to park at Rawhide during the festival.

Weather and Water: It’s going to be partly cloudly but sunny both days. Temperatures will be in the high 80s on Saturday and in the high 70s on Sunday. Dress accordingly and stay hydrated. Bottles and Camelbak-style water bladders are allowed, provided that they are empty upon entry. A free refill station will be available.

Food and Drink: Vendors, concession stands, and food trucks will all have grub for sale. If you're 21 or older, there will be multiple bars will adult beverages. They probably won't have any Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, though.

Bring: A government-issued ID is good, since you’ll need it to pick up tickets or purchase booze. And since the bars and most vendors only take cash, hit up an ATM beforehand. Friendly vibes, glow toys, colorful outfits, and kandi are all encouraged, since this is an EDM event and all, but don’t forget a hat or other sun protection, since it's Arizona. You can also bring your awesome totems (you know, those sign-like decorated placards popular at festivals) but only if it's made from lightweight materials and is no bigger than 10 feet in height.

Don't bring: Any sort of drama or a disruptive attitude. Ditto for drugs, weapons, fireworks, anti-gravity devices, eyedrops, large bags, or anal probes. And as with any concert, forget about bringing any sort of laser device, especially if it's a disruptor cannon.

After-Parties: There will be a bunch of 'em. The beats will be blasting at both the Monarch Theatre and Bar Smith in downtown after the festival wraps up both nights. Admission prices, DJ lineups, and other info can be found here.

Schedule and Set Times: More than 60 hours worth of performances will take place at the festival throughout the weekend. Here’s a rundown of when every artist will hit their respective stage.


Mothership Stage:
1 p.m.: Grum
2 p.m.: Dr. Fresch and Bijou (back-to-back set)
3 p.m.: Shaun Frank
4:10 p.m.: Illenium
5:30 p.m.: Tchami
6:50 p.m.: Zeds Dead
8:10 p.m.: Above & Beyond
9:45 p.m.: Tiësto

Invasion Stage:
1 p.m.: Helena Legend
1:55 p.m.: Asai
3 p.m.: Said the Sky
4:05 p.m.: Vindata
5:05 p.m.: Ekali
6:20 p.m.: Loudpvck
7:20 p.m.: Hucci
10 p.m.: Keys N Krates

The Colony Stage:
Noon: Wingtip
1 p.m.: Sage Armstrong
2 p.m.: Jax Jones
3 p.m.: Gerry Gonza
3:45 p.m.: Sacha Robotti and Sirius Hood
4:50 p.m.: Felix Da Housecat
6:25 p.m.: Josh Wink
7:55 p.m.: Tiga
9:30 p.m.: Pete Tong


Mothership Stage:
Noon: Alaska
1 p.m.: Codeko
2 p.m.: K?D
3:10 p.m.: The Knocks
4:15 p.m.: Thomas Jack
5:20 p.m.: Oliver Heldens
7 p.m.: Sound Tribe Sector 9
8:35 p.m.: ZHU
9:45 p.m.: Alesso

Invasion Stage:
Noon: Social
1 p.m.: Pickster One
2:10 p.m.: Ganja White Knight
3:20 p.m.: Unlike Pluto
4:20 p.m.: Crizzly
5:30 p.m.: Tokimonsta
6:50 p.m.: Cashmere Cat
8 p.m.: Vince Staples
8:50 p.m.: 21 Savage
9:55 p.m.: Griz

The Colony Stage:
12:50 p.m.: Manila Killa
1:50 p.m.: Viceroy
3:05 p.m.: Billy Kenny
4:20 p.m.: Low Steppa
5:35 p.m.: Lane 8
6:50 p.m.: Pig & Dan
8:10 p.m.: Coyu
9:30 p.m.: Justin Martin

Editor's Note: This post has been updated since its original publication to reflect the festival's last-minute change of venue and to add a performance schedule.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.